Intriguing Cast Assembled for Mr. Prospector

Apriority 615 X 400
Photo: Eclipse Sportswire - Aaron Haggart
An intriguing cast of eight will go postward in Saturday’s $100,000 Mr. Prospector Stakes (G3) at Gulfstream Park. Black Diamond Cat, an impressive winner of the Housebuster Stakes on August 3 and Montbrook Stakes on September 14 here will be looking to get back on track after a disappointing effort at even-money last out in the Kenny Noe Jr. Handicap at Calder on December 14.                

“He was probably a little bit closer to the pace than I would have preferred and he hadn’t been out in 90 days, so you might say he ran out of training,” trainer Larry Bates remarked.                

Black Diamond Cat will break from the outside post with Jilver Chamafi in the irons, and he will have plenty of speed to run at with the likes of rivals Star Harbour and Travelin Man.               

“There will be an honest pace, I’m sure, and I’m hoping he can lay right off of it,” Bates said. “It’s a big step forward for him; it’s a graded race. He does appear to like that racetrack—he had some success there during the summer. It’s a real quality field, and he’ll have to be 100 percent or I wouldn’t want to go.”                

The 6-year-old stretched his legs on Christmas Eve with a half-mile move in :51 1/5 seconds at Calder. He will be the starting highweight with a 122-pound impost.               

“He survived the Christmas festivities alright, probably better than his trainer,” Bates quipped.

Favored at 5-2 on the morning line is Star Harbour, who has made quick improvement since being claimed for $35,000 in August. The 5-year-old is coming off a sharp, front-running success in the Sunshine State Stakes on December 8 at Gulfstream. He covered the seven furlongs in 1:21 2/5 that day and earned a 101 Beyer Speed Figure.               

“Everything went as planned [in the Sunshine State],” trainer Bobby Dibona said. “I had a lot of confidence in the way he’d been training. He’s fast—anytime you have a speed horse that can clear [the field] and take it to them like he does, he doesn’t let up.               

The Mr. Prospector will be run at six furlongs, which Dibona feels better suits his charge.          

“Seven-eighths is a little tricky for him; he’s not really looking for that extra ground, and it’s nice to cut back as far we’re concerned,” Dibona noted. “We weren’t really targeting the Mr. Prospector. It really wasn’t in my thoughts at all. Ultimately it was the Sunshine Millions that we wanted. But he came out of the race so good and I didn’t want to sit on him for six weeks. I thought we’d take the light approach with his training. He’s cutting back an eighth of a mile and he’s good to go.”                

Star Harbour will be piloted by Paco Lopez and will break from post three. There will be no question as to the tactics in Saturday’s race.               

“It’s no secret—he’ll go to the front and hopefully improve his position,” Dibona said. “They know where we’re going.”               

The Mr. Prospector octet is completed by Fort Loudon, Trinni Heart, Upgrade, Singanothersong and Apriority.  


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