With ample speed in the six-furlong sprint, the 7-year-old son of Unbridled's Song raced seven lengths off the leaders through a half-mile, cut the corner exiting the turn, and took an inside trip to the wire under jockey Corey Lanerie to win by 2 1/2 lengths at odds of 19-1.
"Looking at the (past performances) it looked like everybody in the race wanted to be in the front or right there," Lanerie said. "There was a lot of speed in there. I was hoping to find a good spot to close into it. I saw everybody warming up really good, so I had a good indication that they would be sending. It worked out perfect. Four of them tried to go to the lead and they fell back into my lap."
El Deal shot out of the inside post to take the early lead and favored Delta Bluesman quickly pressed the pace. The first quarter went in :22.36 and the half in :45.01, but Squadron A still had plenty of work to do. As the frontrunners drifted out to the middle of the track in the stretch, however, Squadron A received a dream inside trip and passed his tiring rivals with ease to finish off the six furlongs in 1:10.23. Candip, who closed from fifth but was floated wide entering the stretch, came in second, 1 1/4 lengths clear of Delta Bluesman.
"They were running along there pretty good and Corey got through on the fence and saved all the ground," winning trainer Dale Romans said. "Things went right. It was meant to be. We started the year off right."
Squadron A only made one previous graded stakes start, a seventh-place run in the May 7 Churchill Downs Stakes (G2), but came into the Mr. Prospector off an allowance victory at Churchill Downs Nov. 12. He now has a 4-7-5 record from 31 starts, with earnings of $270,543.
The winner paid $41.60, $13, and $6 across the board. Candip brought $4.80 and $2.60, and Delta Bluesman delivered $2.20 to show. El Deal held for fourth, followed by Yourdreamsormine and Shaft of Light, to complete the order of finish.
Squadron A was bred in Kentucky by Patterson Bloodstock and Taylor Made Stallions, out of the stakes winning Stalwart mare Peaks Mill. Vogel paid $250,000 for Squadron A as a yearling from the Taylor Made Sales consignment at the 2011 Fasig-Tipton Saratoga select yearling sale.