Margolis Tries to Keep the Beat in Mr. Prospector

(from Gulfstream notes)
Breeders' Cup Sprint (gr. I) champion Cajun Beat makes his first start Saturday since his 2 ½-length win at Santa Anita in October in the $100,000 Mr. Prospector Handicap (gr. III) at Gulfstream Park.

The 4-year-old gelding will be the starting high weight for trainer Steven Margolis in the opening day co-feature, and according to his conditioner, things have been progressing well since his million-dollar payday.

"Knock wood, we're ready to go. He came out of the Breeders' Cup really well and has just been full of himself ever since the fall," said Margolis, who trains him for the partnership of Satish Sanan's Padua Stable and John and Joseph Iracane. "This horse just came into himself as we watched him over the summer and into the fall. He seemed to wake up with each race and just seems to be really happy and smart and loves everything he does."

On paper and on the track that development showed up with a victory in the Kentucky Cup Sprint (gr. III) at Turfway Park in September prior to his Breeders' Cup run. He is a far different horse than the one that finished last, beaten 42 lengths, in the Hutcheson (gr. II) last winter here at Gulfstream.

"It's just been the thrill of a lifetime," said Margolis. "He became a different horse. I had been reluctant to run him in the Sprint, but Mr. Sanan really made the push to go in the race. Then he started to really come into his own and the Turfway race woke him up even more. The schedule just worked out perfectly. We know when to run him about every four to six weeks or so, and it just fit perfectly into the Sprint. So far that has been working the same way since."

Cajun Beat has posted three strong workouts at Palm Meadows Training Center.

Margolis called those workouts "very good" and has mapped out a tentative schedule beyond the Mr. Prospector, including the $100,000 Deputy Minister on Feb. 7. The horse's connections are hoping good performances in these races will lead to a berth in the Dubai Golden Shaheen in March.

Also returning to action in the Mr. Prospector is Gygistar, who has been one of the best sprinters in the country over the past two seasons. But illness kept him from his biggest appointment – the Breeders' Cup Sprint (gr. I) – in October.

The 5-year-old has been off since finishing a disappointing fourth in the Vosburgh (gr. I) at Belmont Sept. 27, Gygistar has been training well these last two months for Mark Hennig, who is looking for a good return but admits he's hooked some tough competition.

"He's doing great, but any time you run against a Breeders' Cup winner this early in January you know it's going to be tough," said Hennig.

In the $100,000 Hal's Hope, also on Saturday's card, grade II winners Bowman's Band and Puzzlement head a field of 10 going 1 1/16 mile.

$100,000 Mr. Prospector Handicap (gr. III), 3 & up, 6 furlongs
PP. Horse, Weight, Jockey, ML Odds
1. Multiple Choice (KY), 115, Rene Douglas, 6-1
2. Deer Lake (KY), 115, Edgar Prado, 10-1
3. Voodoo (KY), 115, Jorge Chavez, 4-1
4. Gygistar (KY), 118, Jerry Bailey, 2-1
5. Wake At Noon (KY), 116, Hector Karamanos, 8-1
6. Cajun Beat (KY), 121, Cornelio Velasquez, 8-5

$100,000 Hal's Hope Handicap (gr. III), 3 & up, 1 1/16 mile
PP. Horse, Weight, Jockey, ML Odds
1. Gander (NY), 114, Jose Santos, 6-1
2. Vinemeister (KY), 113, Jose Velez Jr., 12-1
3. Bowman's Band (KY), 118, Ramon Dominguez, 3-1
4. Well Fancied (NY), 115, Edgar Prado, 6-1
5. Puzzlement (FL), 116, Jorge Chavez, 5-2
6. Wodmon (FL), 113, Eibar Coa, 15-1
7. New York Hero (MD), 113, Cornelio Velasquez, 12-1
8. Cool N Collective (MD), 113, Joe Bravo, 20-1
9. Stockholder (CA), 113, Jerry Bailey, 5-1
10. Senor Amigo (TX), 108, Rene Douglas, 20-1