When Prince Lucky stepped on the track at Gulfstream Park Feb. 23 for the Hal's Hope (G3), it had been more than eight months since his previous start.
You would have never known it.
After pressing the pace set by graded-stakes winner Quip and stablemate Copper Town in the mile event, Prince Lucky took the lead down the stretch under Hall of Fame jockey John Velazquez and drew off to a six-length victory.
Five weeks after that impressive victory, Prince Lucky returns Saturday to Gulfstream for trainer Todd Pletcher and is expected to be the favorites in the $300,000 Gulfstream Park Mile (G2), one of seven stakes (four graded) on the Florida Derby Day program.
First race post is 11:30 a.m. Doors to Silks open at 8 a.m. Doors to Ten Palms, Sport of Kings, and Flamingo Room open at 10 a.m. Doors to Makers Mark and Frankey's Sports Bar open at 11 a.m.
Owned and bred by Daniel McConnell, Prince Lucky, a 4-year-old gelded son of Corinthian, won his racing debut at Delaware in August of 2017 and over the course of the next year would win at distances from 5 ½ furlongs to a 1 1/16 miles while winning the Pennsylvania Nursery at Parx, finishing third in the Sir Barton at Pimlico and winning the Easy Goer at Belmont last June.
After the Easy Goer, Pletcher said Prince Lucky “needed some time off.” That time off was rewarded with his impressive victory in the Hal's Hope.
“We were excited about his comeback race and have been targeting [the Gulfstream Mile] for a while, and so far everything has gone according to plan,” Pletcher said. “I think he has the capability to stretch out, but coming off a good win at a mile race here and having the opportunity to do the same thing again, it seemed to make sense.”
Velazquez will once again be on board.
Charles Fipke's Tale of Silence, a 5-year-old trained by Barclay Tagg, enters the Gulfstream Mile after finishing fourth in the Hal's Hope, beaten 8 ¼ lengths by Prince Lucky. The Gulfstream Mile was Tale of Silence's first race back since May when he won the Westchester (G3) at Belmont Park.
Be Gone Daddy, trained by Marcus Vitali, is on a two-race winning streak after winning a starter allowance on Feb. 8 and an allowance optional claimer March 3. Guy Caballero comes into the Mile off a second-place finish Feb. 27 in an allowance optional claimer. Rounding out the field is All Golden and Millionare Runner.
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