Race of the Week 2017

Is The Hunk Ready for Prime Time?

New Farm’s New Jersey homebred colt The Hunk looked good winning an allowance race at Gulfstream Park on Dec. 10 while going wire-to-wire at six furlongs. It’s a performance that sends him to his stakes debut on a four-race win streak in Saturday’s $100,000 Mr. Prospector Stakes (G3).

Jockey Elvis Trujillo gets a return call on The Hunk for trainer Ben Perkins, Jr. as the 4-year-old son of Eclipse champion sprinter Speightstown takes the big step up in company from three allowance wins at Monmouth Park and the Gulfstream score last out when he was timed in 1:09 flat.

“He’s improved and learned to relax more than when he was there (Gulfstream) last winter and ran in the two allowance races (fourth and fifth),” said Perkins Wednesday morning from New Jersey. “He’s always had tremendous speed, but he was very rank last winter and in his races at Monmouth early this summer. We’d love to have him win a graded stakes that could make him a stud prospect.”

The Hunk is a half-brother to New Farm’s Wildcat Heir, by Forest Wildcat, winner of the 2004 Frank De Francis Memorial (G1) at Pimlico for New Farm and Perkins during a career when he won six of 12 starts with four seconds, and has been a successful stallion standing in Florida since then.

The Hunk faces six rivals in the six furlong Mr. Prospector with Rosemary and David Zell’s 5-year-old gelding Capt. Candyman Can certain to attract strong support with two stakes victories in three starts over the Gulfstream track. Jockey Calvin Borel will be aboard the son of Candy Ride for trainer Ian Wilkes as he makes his first appearance since finishing third in the Aristides Stakes (G3) at Churchill Downs on June 4.

Capt. Candyman Can won the Iroquois Stakes (G3) and finished third in the Kentucky Jockey Club (G2) at Churchill as a 2-year-old and won the Hutcheson Stakes (G2) here in his 3-year-old debut in 2009. He missed the entire 2010 but was back racing here last winter to score in the Sir Shackleton Handicap in early April. His biggest victory came in the King’s Bishop Stakes (G1) at Saratoga on a disqualification.

Trainer David Fawkes sent out 2010 Eclipse champion sprinter Big Drama to win the Mr. Prospector by four lengths in mid-January when he ran six furlongs in 1:08 flat, and has a top contender for Saturday’s renewal with Donald Dizney’s 4-year-old Florida homebred Apriority, who set a track record here for 6 ½ furlongs in early March winning an allowance race by 4 ½ lengths.

Jockey Luis Saez gets the call on Apriority as he makes his first start since a disappointing sixth-place finish behind Amazombie in the Breeders’ Cup Sprint (G1) at Churchill on Nov. 5. The son of Grand Slam lost two tough decisions after his Gulfstream victory when second to Morning Line in the Carter Handicap (G1) at Aqueduct in April and second by a nose in the Churchill Downs Stakes (G2) in May.
Another contender in this talented field will be Stud El Aguila’s Indiano with leading jockey Javier Castellano aboard for trainer Marty Wolfson, who won the 2009 edition with Ikigai. A Kentucky-bred by Indian Charlie, Indiano won the first five starts of his career in Panama before coming to Wolfson last winter.

Indiano made his first two North American starts here early this year, finishing second in an allowance race to Escort and second to Travelin Man in the Swale Stakes (G2). After reeling off three straight tallies at Calder over the summer, including the $200,000 Carry Back Stakes (G2), he finished third last out in the $250,000 Gallant Bob Stakes at Parx on Sept. 24.

Completing the field for the Mr. Prospector are Klaravich Stables and William H. Lawrence’s Zero Rate Policy, Paco Lopez; Robert Abbo Racing Stable’s Immortal Eyes, Jose Lezcano and Thomas Carey’s Nathan’s H Q, Joe Rocco, Jr. – all three of these with  a chance as well.

Zero Rate Policy won the Sunshine State Stakes on Dec. 4 for trainer Terri Pompay, although against a lesser field. Immortal Eyes has five wins and three seconds in his last eight starts for trainer Jimmy Toner. Nathan’s H Q just missed when second by a half-length in the Fall Highweight (G3) last out at Aqueduct on Nov. 24 for trainer Clyde Martin.


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