Keyed Entry won the Deputy Minister Handicap (gr. III) last February at Gulfstream Park.

Keyed Entry won the Deputy Minister Handicap (gr. III) last February at Gulfstream Park.

Bill Denver/EQUI-PHOTO

Mr. Prospector Key for Keyed Entry

Pletcher trainee makes first start off five-month layoff, faces Mach Ride, Roi Maudit

Keyed Entry has not raced since June 9, when he bore out on the turn in the six-furlong True North Handicap (gr. II) at Belmont Park. Making his first start since returning from a five-month layoff, the 5-year-old son of Honour and Glory carries highweight of 118 in the $100,000 Mr. Prospector Handicap (gr. III) Jan. 5 at Gulfstream Park.

Eight starters, 4-year-olds and up, compose the field for the six-furlong event over the main track. Among them are grade II winner Mach Ride, steady contender Grand Champion, and the Bill Mott-trained Roi Maudit, who seeks his first graded win with three consecutive victories under his belt.

This is the second return off a layoff for Keyed Entry, trained by Todd Pletcher and owned by the partnership of Jack Wolf’s Starlight Stables, Donald Lucarelli, and Paul Saylor. He has shown brilliant, albeit sporadic talent, and is 3-for-3 over the Gulfstream surface, where he set a track record in the 7 ½-furlong Hutcheson (gr. II) as a 3-year-old. He later hit the board in the Gotham (gr. III) and Wood Memorial (gr. I), but a last-place finish in the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands and a subsequent 34 ¾-length loss in the Dwyer Stakes (gr. II) sent him to the sidelines for seven months.

When Keyed Entry returned from his first layoff, he turned in a game performance with a score in the Deputy Minister Handicap (gr. III). He raced two more times before Pletcher sent him back to Barry Berkelhammer’s AbraCadabra Farms in Ocala, Fla. following the incident in the True North.

“We were treating him for what we thought was a gluteal problem, but it obviously wasn’t,” said Wolf. “Once we sent him back to the farm it became apparent that the actual problem was with his jawbone. He had a mishap with that which has since been healed. Now that the physical thing is behind him, the question is whether he’ll be mentally sound in the actual race. He seems to have been training very well.”

The Steven Standridge-trained Mach Ride is Keyed Entry’s most obvious opponent, with an assigned weight of 117. A 5-year-old son of Pentelicus owned by George and Karen Russell’s Rustlewood Farms, Mach Ride has not run since finishing fourth after a poor start in the Sept. 30 Vosburgh Stakes (gr. I). Previously, he won the Smile Sprint Handicap (gr. II) at Calder.

“He was going to run in the Breeders’ Cup (Sprint) and he popped an abscess in his foot, so we couldn’t run,” Standridge said. “It took a while to get it healed up, but he’s been training real well going into the race. I think he’s in a good spot. The way he runs depends on the break, obviously, if he breaks sharp he’s gonna go. If not, he’ll lay off it a little bit.”

Shipping south for the winter is the Bill Mott-trained Roi Maudit, a 4-year-old Elusive Quality colt who seeks his first graded stakes victory, and enters the race off a win in the Nov. 14 Maria’s Mon Stakes at Aqueduct with three consecutive wins behind him.

Also in from Aqueduct is Jimmy Jerkens trainee Grand Champion, a Two Punch gelding who won the Fall Highweight Handicap Nov. 22 and has never finished off the board in 10 career starts.

Finallymadeit, Guapeton, Noonmark, and Brother Bud complete the field.

$100,000 Mr. Prospector Handicap (gr. III, race 7, approximate post 4:00 p.m.), six furlongs for four-year-olds and upward, dirt

PP, Horse, Weight, Jockey
1. Noonmark, 112, Rene Douglas
2. Finallymadeit, 115, Eduardo Nunez
3. Guapeton, 112, Manuel Aguilar
4. Mach Ride, 117, Elvis Trujillo
5. Keyed Entry, 118, Edgar Prado
6. Grand Champion, 115, Eibar Coa
7. Roi Maudit, 111, John Velazquez
8. Brother Bud, 109, Raymundo Fuentes