Cajun Beat, victorious in the Mr. Prospector.

Cajun Beat, victorious in the Mr. Prospector.

Equi-Photo, Gary I. Rothstein

Cajun Beat Keeps it Going in Mr. Prospector

Cajun Beat, last year's Breeders' Cup Sprint (gr. I) winner, kicked off his 2004 campaign with a gate-to-wire victory in the $100,000 Mr. Prospector Handicap (gr. III) at six furlongs.

After opening up a big advantage in the stretch, Cajun Beat, the 4-5 choice in the field of six, finished up under a hand ride from Cornelio Velasquez. He defeated Gygistar by 1 1/2 lengths in a time of 1:09 for the six furlongs. Deer Lake was third, 2 1/4 lengths behind the winner and three lengths clear of Voodoo.

Velasquez hustled Cajun Beat to the lead from his outside starting post, setting opening fractions of :22 1/5 and :44 4/5. The jockey asked Cajun Beat for some run at the head of the stretch when Gygistar and Jerry Bailey launched a four-wide bid and the 4-year-old Grand Slam gelding responded by pulling away.

The Kentucky-bred Cajun Beat now owns a three-race win streak for trainer Stephen Margolis – he also won the Kentucky Cup Sprint (gr. III) at Turfway in September – while improving to 6-2-0 in 12 career outings. He earned $60,000 for owners Padua Stable and John and Joseph Iracane, pushing his career bankroll to $892,300. Bred in Kentucky by John T.L. Jones Jr. and Smoot Fahlgren, Cajun Beat, from the Cure the Blues mare Beckys Shirt, was purchased for $145,000 in the Keeneland November 2000 auction.

Cajun Beat, top weighted at 121 pounds, paid $3.60, $2.40 and $2.10. Gygistar returned $2.80 and $2.10. Deer Lake, ridden by Edgar Prado, showed for $2.10. The $2 exacta was worth $8.60.

(Chart, Equibase)