(from Gulfstream Park report)
War Front and Friendly Island, part of a terrific stretch battle in the Mr. Prospector Handicap (gr. III) at Gulfstream Park Jan. 7, renew their rivalry Sunday in the $100,000 Deputy Minister Handicap (gr. III) at the South Florida track.
Joe Allen's homebred 4-year-old War Front finished second and the Anstu Stables' 5-year-old Friendly Island third in the Mr. Prospector as Heiligbrodt Racing Stable's Gaff won by a neck in track record time of 1:08:50 for the six furlongs.
John Velazquez rode Friendly Island as the favorite in the Mr. Prospector for trainer Todd Pletcher, his biggest client, but is named on War Front for trainer Allen Jerkens Sunday. Edgar Prado gets the call on Friendly Island in a field of eight older horses set for the Deputy Minister at 6½ furlongs.
War Front, a Kentucky-bred bay colt by Danzig out of the owner's stakes-winning mare Starry Dreamer, ran well in the Mr. Prospector in his first start since finishing sixth behind Pletcher-trained Magna Graduate in the Discovery Handicap (gr. III) at Belmont Park Oct. 29.
Friendly Island set a fast pace under pressure from the start in the Mr. Prospector and gave way grudgingly in the deep stretch to be beaten by one length for it all. The chestnut horse by Crafty Prospector has won six of 10 career starts and finished fourth in the DeFrancis Memorial Dash (gr. I) at Laurel Park in his previous start in November.
Harvey Tenenbaum's 5-year-old Judiths Wild Rush, with jockey Shaun Bridgmohan aboard, will get plenty of support in his first start since finishing third in the Teddy Drone Stakes at Monmouth Park in early August for Canadian-based trainer Reade Baker.
A roan/gray son of Wild Rush, Judiths Wild Rush carries top weight of 117 pounds. He was impressive winning the Bold Venture Handicap at Woodbine in his previous start and has posted several strong workouts in preparation for his return to competition, most notably a 'bullet' five furlongs in :57 2/5 here on Jan. 11.
$100,000 Deputy Minister Handicap (gr. III, Race 9, 4:44 p.m.), 4 & Up, 6 1/2 furlongs
PP. Horse, Weight, Jockey
1. War Front (KY), 115, John Velazquez
2. Friendly Island (NY), 116, Edgar Prado
3. Wild Tale (KY), 114, Mark Guidry
4. Social Probation (KY), 113, Christopher DeCarlo
5. Auguri (ARG), 113, Rafael Bejarano
6. Wiggins (IL), 114, Cornelio Velasquez
7. Universal Form (FL), 112, Manoel Cruz
8. Judiths Wild Rush (KY), 117, Shaun Bridgmohan