Martin L. Cherry's Wynn Dot Comma held off Eurosilver by a head in a frantic finish to Saturday's $150,000 Swale Stakes (gr. III) for 3-year-olds at Gulfstream Park, giving jockey Edgar Prado his 5,000th career victory.
Trained by Martin Wolfson, the Florida-bred Wynn Dot Comma atoned for a disappointing fourth-place finish as the favorite in the Hutcheson Stakes (gr. II) over the same course and distance Feb. 14.
The chestnut Struggler colt completed the seven furlongs in 1:22 4/5. Eurosilver, the 11-10 favorite in the field of five ridden by Javier Castellano, finished 4 1/4 lengths in front of Dashboard Drummer.
Pacesetter Chapel Royal, making his first start since a third-place finish in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile (gr. I) Oct. 25, faded to fourth at odds of 13-10. Caiman was last. Saratoga County scratched.
After Chapel Royal, ridden by John Velazquez, sprinted to the early lead with an opening quarter of :22, Prado forced the pace through a :44 3/5 half, taking the lead on the turn and easing clear through six furlongs in 1:09 2/5. After opening a 1 1/2-length lead over Chapel Royal in the stretch, he was all out to keep the stalking Eurosilver, who just missed, at bay.
"Other than winning, we can't be disappointed," said Nick Zito, who conditioned the runner-up. "The one thing I know for certain is that this horse is going into the Blue Grass."
Wynn Dot Comma, who is not nominated for the Triple Crown, started the year with a 1 1/4-length win as the favorite in the Spectacular Bid (gr. III) at Gulfstream Jan. 10. He lacked room on the turn in his loss in the Hutcheson, but was closer to the lead Saturday.
"Last time was a horrible trip," Wolfson said. "He was checked three times and he was out of the race. He likes to be in the race all the way, so today when I saw him on top of Chapel Royal I knew we had that one beat."
The 36-year-old Prado, who rode Wynn Dot Comma for the first time, became the 19th rider in Thoroughbred racing history to win 5,000 races in his career.
"Edgar has won a lot of stakes for me before and he's riding better now than he ever has," Wolfson said. "After the last race I showed him a tape of the horse and I asked him to ride the horse my way. He did that perfectly today. Edgar took a nice long hold on him."
Prado was thrilled to get the milestone win.
"The way I figured it in this race, I had two horses to beat. One was a sprinter (Chapel Royal) and one was a closer (Eurosilver). Everything worked out perfect.
"I was working real hard since yesterday to get this (5,000th) win. This is both an and end a beginning for me, because now is the time to start working toward 6,000 wins."
The victory, worth $90,000 to his connections, was Wynn Dot Comma's sixth in eight lifetime starts, increasing his earnings to $298,525.
The 4-1 third choice paid $10, $3 and $2.10. Eurosilver returned $2.40 and $2.10. Dashboard Drummer, ridden by Ramon Dominguez, was $2.10 to show.