Mac Diarmida: Amira's Prince Has Perfect Run
The 4-year-old Irish-bred son of Teofilo also delivered win number three on the card for both Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott and Hall of Fame jockey John Velazquez. He cleared his contenders by 3 3/4 lengths in a final time of 2:17.14 for the 1 3/8 miles over a good turf course.
Mott and Velazquez collaborated after Mott and fellow Hall of Famer Edgar Prado took the $100,000 The Very One (gr. IIIT) with Starformer two races earlier on the card.
Amira's Prince, 8-5 favorite over seven other older turf runners in the Mac Diarmida, was coming off a strong three-length score in an optional claimer Jan. 19 at 1 1/2 miles at Gulfstream for Wachtel Stable, Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners, and Gary Barber. He also won by a solid 1 1/4 lengths when started for the first time on the Gulfstream lawn by Mott last December, after racing seven times and winning once in Ireland.
"He hasn't put a foot wrong," Mott said of Amira's Prince. "It seems like he keeps improving. My owner Adam Wachtel is very proactive in buying horses and he got into the partnership. Adam was the one that bought (multiple graded stakes winners) Ron the Greek and Al Khali.
"We had no idea (how good he would be); they sent him over for the Jamaica Handicap (gr. IT) last fall. We didn't run him. He looked like he needed more time, so we brought him down here and freshened him up, and this is the result."
Off slow at the start in the Mac Diarmida, the bay colt was hustled up into contention by Velazquez and was never far off an early pace set by Teaks North. That one was off like a shot to assume the front-running position by a length, going a quarter in :25.42 and a half in :49.46 with Ioya Bigtime tracking three-wide.
Amira's Prince pulled his way up after three-quarters in 1:14.65 and was just a head behind Teaks North when they hit a mile in 1:39.15, straightening away to engage the leader headed for home.
"I looked at the race and it didn't look like there was a ton of speed, so I didn't want to be too far back," Velazquez said. "He didn't break all that well and I wanted to ask him a little bit early to get him up there. From there it all worked out well. He did everything I asked."
Velazquez gave a quick peek behind him to judge the competition, then set his runner down for the drive. Amira's Prince edged clear over a stubborn Teaks North, who held for second. It was 2 3/4 lengths back to Ioya Bigtime in third.
Amira's Prince paid $5.40, $3.60, and $3. Teaks North brought $7.20 and $5.40, and Ioya Bigtime returned $5.20. Twilight Eclipse, Belo Acteon, Nikki's Sandcastle, Lucky Chappy, and Shkspeare Shaliyah completed the order of finish. Fifty Proof and Newsdad scratched.
"They run the Pan American (gr. IIT, March 23) here," Mott said. "Whether it would be too much to run him one more time here I don't know. He ran well over the course. I guess you've got to be careful this early in the year. There are a lot of things coming up later on.
"The plan was not originally to run him in this race, but he was doing so well. I said, 'You know, it would be a shame to keep the horse in the barn as well as he's doing.' He might be doing as well as anyone else in the barn, just the way he's been training."
Amira's Prince now has a 4-2-1 record from 10 starts, with earnings of $189,913. He was bred in Ireland by Gigginstown House Stud out of the Green Desert mare Twice The Ease.
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