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Amira’s Prince Captures Mac Diarmida

Trainer Bill Mott was certainly expected to be a key figure at Gulfstream Park this weekend, considering that he is scheduled to saddle two-time Breeders’ Cup Ladies’ Classic winner Royal Delta for Sunday’s $100,000 Sabin Stakes (G3).

However, the Hall of Fame trainer never relied on just one horse – not even two-time Horse of the Year Cigar – to achieve success.

While Royal Delta’s 2013 debut promises to be an electrifying occasion Sunday, Mott enjoyed a pretty exciting day at Gulfstream on Saturday, saddling three impressive winners on the card, including Amira’s Prince, who captured the $150,000 Mac Diarmida (G2) by 3 ¾ lengths.

After saddling Starformer ($5) for a 3 ¼ -length victory in the $100,000 The Very One (G3) and Emollient ($3) for a ¾ - length triumph in an allowance race earlier on the card, Mott visited the Gulfstream Park winner’s circle with Amira’s Prince ($5.40) for his third victory in three starts during the current meeting. The Irish-bred 4-year-old colt had previously raced in Europe before Mott’s longtime client Adam Wachtel invested in a partnership that includes Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners and Gary Barber.

“We had no idea (how good he would be),” Mott said. “They sent him over for the Jamaica last fall. We didn’t run him. He looked like he needed more time, so we brought him down here and freshened him up, and this is the result.”

Amira’s Prince, who had won allowance races over the Gulfstream turf course on Dec. 22 and Jan. 19, assumed a good stalking position behind pacesetter Teaks North around the first turn and along the backstretch. Without much encouragement from jockey John Velazquez, the son of Teofilo pulled alongside Teaks North on the turn into the homestretch before taking the lead at the top of the stretch and drawing away to victory.

“I looked at the race and it didn’t look like there was a ton of speed so I didn’t want to be too far back,” said Velazquez, who has been aboard Amira’s Prince for all three Gulfstream victories. “He didn’t break all that well and I wanted to ask him a little bit early to get him up there. From there it all worked out well. He did everything I asked.”

Amira’s Prince ran 1 3/8 miles over a ‘good’ turf in 2:17.14. Teaks North, who was ridden by Edgar Prado, held second, nearly three lengths ahead of third-place finisher Ioya Bigtime and jockey Jeffrey Sanchez.

Mott will let Amira’s Prince tell him when he should return to action.

"They run the Pan American (March 23) here. Whether it would be too much to run him one more time here I don’t know. He ran well over the course. I guess you’ve got to be careful this early in the year. There are a lot of things coming up later on,” Mott said. “If he’s doing extremely well….The plan was not originally to run him in this race, but he was doing so well. I said, ‘You know, it would be a shame to keep the horse in the barn as well as he’s doing.' He might be doing as well as anyone else in the barn, just the way he’s been training."



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