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Apriority seeks return to top form in Mr. Prospector

Apriority 615 X 400
Photo: Eclipse Sportswire - Aaron Haggart
Two years ago Apriority was the narrow victor of an otherwise bad race for the son Grand Slam. The bay horse stumbled leaving the gate, grabbing a quarter in the process. He injured himself so badly that he bled heavily throughout the race, but spectators would never have known due to the way he performed that day. He courageously gathered himself and stalked the pace before finally wearing down the pacesetter in the final strides and winning the head bob on the wire.
Since that effort and injury, Apriority has not been the same. In the 13 starts he has made since December 2011, he has only hit the board 4 times and recorded just one win, that one coming in his most recent start. Sent off at 9-1 in a NW2$, Apriority stalked a quick pace before taking over in the stretch and pulling away to win by 5. Fellow G3 Mr. Prospector Stakes entrant Travelin’ Man was the beaten favorite that day. With that confidence boosting win in the books, trainer David Fawkes and owner Donald Dizney hope that their former graded stakes winner can reclaim his Mr. Prospector crown in this year’s edition of the race. He will face a short but tough field, but bay son of Grand Slam has a proven affinity for Gulfstream and appears primed to fire his best shot. Here's a look at the field:
Fort Loudon—Jacks or Better Farm’s Fort Loudon won the G3 Gulfstream Park Sprint Championship back in February but has failed to find the winner’s circle since then. Should he run in this spot, it will be his third race in 20 days. He has not done well in listed stakes in his last two starts, but it is hard to ignore that this will be a class drop for the son of Awesome of Course. The quick turnaround and recent poor form are concerns here.
Trinni Heart—If Trinni Heart sounds familiar, there is probably good cause. He hails from the same barn as 2012 Sprint Champion Trinniberg and was second best behind Zaikov in a MSW back in March. That is about all the son of Lion Heart has going for him as I find him to be grossly overmatched against this field. The fact that trainer Bisnath Parboo supplemented the colt into this spot makes me wonder if I may be missing something, but Parboo has also been known to take a shot even when there appears to be no chance of success.
Star Harbour—Five-year old Star Harbour has proven to be a good claim for new connections Bobby Dibona and Marco Thoroughbred Corp. In his first start for his new connections, he ran third behind New York stalwart Caixa Eletronica. In his most recent start, the son of the late Indian Charlie beat a loaded field to become a stakes winner by just lasting in the Sunshine State Stakes over this same track. This will be his first attempt at the graded stakes level, but trainer Dibona seems to have figured out just what makes his new charge tick.
Upgrade—Michael Tomlinson trained Upgrade is an interesting entrant here as he has raced almost exclusively on turf and synthetics. The couple of races he has had on dirt indicate that he may race as well on that surface as the other two. He most recently finished second on the dirt to multiple stakes placed Bull Dozer. I feel that this is an ambitious spot for Upgrade, but a good price would make me look again.
Travelin’ Man—One time graded stakes winner Travelin’ Man has had a very up and down career, but one thing has not changed, namely his affinity for the Gulfstream course. He hasn’t had much success lately, but he ran third behind fellow entrant Apriority in his most recent start as the beaten favorite. Bettors would be loath to ignore a Pletcher trainee, but Travelin’ Man’s recent races make me look elsewhere.
Singanothersong—Runner-up in this year’s edition of the G3 Swale, Singanothersong has shown good form all year. He was given some time off following a third in the Big Drama Stakes at Calder and shows up in this spot third off the layoff. Since his return, he has finished second and most recently first by 3 ¾ lengths in a NW2X. He relishes the Gulfstream surface and proved that he can keep pace with quick fractions.
Apriority—I have been a fan of Apriority for some time, and I believe that the drop in class and subsequent win was just what the big guy needed. If he runs the same race he ran last out, he will be tough to beat. Jockey Joe Bravo gets the repeat call, and the duo gets a four pound break in weight to high weight Black Diamond Cat. Apriority has not been particularly adept at the Mr. Prospector distance of 6 furlongs, but he does have 4 wins from 7 starts at Gulfstream and won the 2011 edition of this race.
Black Diamond Cat—This gelded son of Wildcat Heir has been having a career year. He became a stakes winner in 2011 but had not recorded a win since August of that year until he upset the Ponche Handicap at odds of 13-1 back in June. He threw a clunker in the G2 Smile Sprint Handicap but bounced right back to record two straight stakes wins over the main track here at Gulfstream. He most recently finished 7th in a $75,000 stake at Calder on December 14, but a return to Gulfstream will likely be all he needs. This will be just his second attempt in a graded stake, but he seems well-matched with the rest of the field.
Star Harbour and Singanothersong are the speedsters of the field, but Star Harbour has the advantage of being the closest of the duo to the rail. They both laid down quick fractions in their most recent starts and came away winners. Interestingly enough, their final times were both excellent. Singanothersong missed the track record for 6 furlongs by less than half a second, and Star Harbour was just a little over a second off the track record for 7 furlongs. I really like both their chances here, but I also believe that Apriority is finally rounding back into top form. Black Diamond Cat and Fort Loudon are hard to ignore, but the aforementioned three are my top picks.
                Top Selections—Apriority, Singanothersong, and Star Harbour
                Contenders—Black Diamond Cat and Fort Loudon
                Top Longshot—Upgrade
                Pretenders—Trinni Heart and Travelin’ Man 


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Meet Ashley Tamulonis

Despite growing up in a non-horse racing state, Ashley has been a fan of the sport since a young age. Her love for horse racing was fostered through the kids’ book series Thoroughbred by Joanna Campbell, and it was her love of reading and horses that led her to educate herself on the ins and outs of the sport. Since becoming actively involved in the industry just a few short years ago, Ashley has had the opportunity to meet many important players in the industry, attend the Eclipse Awards, see personal favorite Mucho Macho Man race twice in person, and get to personally meet and befriend many of the fantastic fans and horsemen involved in the sport.


Before joining Horse Racing Nation, Ashley created her own blog Wired with Ashley Paige. The idea to venture into the world of blogging came to her when she realized that she had much to say about horse racing and no one to say it to at the time. Ashley began her time with Horse Racing Nation blogging as The Florida Filly. Using that moniker, she mainly covered racing in South Florida but also blogged about nationwide racing, industry issues, and from time to time offered her opinion on how various changes could be beneficial to the industry as a whole. A move north to New Hampshire began both a new chapter in both Ashley's personal life and professional life. She currently pens the new From Coast to Coast blog for HRN, which is simply a revamped version of The Florida Filly. Don't let the new look and name change fool you, though. Ashley still brings to the table the same great coverage as From Coast to Coast as she did for The Florida Filly. Ashley also participates as a voter in the NTRA Top Thoroughbred Polls.


An alumni of Macon State College, Ashley is from Central Georgia but is currently living in New Hampshire with her husband Chris and their two sons Charlie and Michael. A stay-at-home mom, Ashley juggles parenting with blogging and her other passions. Aside from horse racing, Ashley is a fervent football fan, enjoys reading and studying history, and hopes to someday author a historical work covering the Tudor period as well as biographies of horse racing’s stars, equine and human alike.

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