Istintaj acted up in the starting gate, unseating rider Jerry Bailey, but was perfectly behaved in the running as he rallied to win the $120,000 Mr. Prospector Handicap (gr. III) or 3-year-olds at Gulfstream on Monday.
Miners Gamble came from 11th to finish second and Smokin Pete, who was far behind on the backstretch, edged favored Delaware Township for third in a three-horse photo for the place.
Istintaj ran six furlongs in 1:09 3/5 and paid $12.80, $7.40 and $6.20. Miners Gamble paid $7.80 and $4.80. Smokin Pete paid $8.60 to show.
Istintaj was sixth nearing the far turn, saving ground. Delaware Township was seventh with Miners Gamble 11th and Smokin Pete 12th in a field of 13. Gherminella and Salty Glance, who had been on the pace down the backstretch, were heads apart for the lead turning for home. Gherminella, on the inside, put away Salty Glance approaching the eighth pole but Istintaj, now on the outside, swept to the front before the sixteenth pole and won by two lengths.
Miners Gamble was up for second, from the outside, a neck in front of fast-closing Smokin Pete, who was a head in front of Delaware Township.
Istintaj is a 5-year-old son of Nureyev bred and owned by Shadwell Stable. He raced in Great Britain until the spring of 2000. In nine starts in the United States he has won five with two seconds, earning $246,160. In Great Britain he earned only $8,189 in four starts.
He closed out his 2000 campaign with second-place finishes in the Phoenix Breeders' Cup Handicap at Keeneland and the Sports Page Handicap at Aqueduct, both Grade 3 events.
At Aqueduct on the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday card, Forest Heir drew clear in the stretch for a 3 3/4-length victory in the Fred "Cappy" Capossela Stakes for 3-year-olds.
Bianco Appeal closed fast to be second in the seven-horse field, 1 3/4 lengths ahead of Bay Head King.
New Farm's Forest Heir, ridden by Joe Bravo, carried 116 pounds over six furlongs on a good track in 1:10 4-5 for his third win in four career starts. He paid $7, $3.30 and $3.20 and earned $48,690 from a purse of $81,150.
Bianco Appeal returned $3.60 and $3, and Bay Head King paid $4.30.
The stakes formerly was named The Swift. It was renamed the Capossela in 1993 in honor of the longtime race caller at the New York Racing Association tracks of Aqueduct, Belmont Park and Saratoga.