Full Field Contests Gulfstream's Mr. Prospector Stakes

From Gulfstream Park
Well-rested and ready to roll, Delaware Township will take some beating in the $100,000 Mr. Prospector Handicap (gr. III) that headlines the holiday card at Gulfstream Park Monday.

A full field of 14 older horses was entered for the Mr. Prospector, which was run as the Hallandale Beach Handicap last year. The six-furlong event will be offered as the ninth race on the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday card.

Delaware Township goes from Post 7 as one of the highweights in this extremely deep and talented field of sprinters. The 5-year-old son of Notebook, trained by Ben Perkins Jr., will be making his first start since he ran 10th in the Breeders' Cup Sprint (gr. I) last Nov. 4 at Churchill Downs.

However, the chestnut horse had a real excuse that day as he started from Post 14 and was never able to get into the mix near the lead. Delaware Township does his best running on or near the lead at six furlongs and last season won the Forest Hills Handicap (gr. II) in 1:08 2/5 and the Longfellow Stakes at Monmouth in 1:07 4/5. Pat Day, who was aboard in the Belmont score, has the mount at 116 pounds.

Co-highweight is Istintaj, who won four straight last spring and summer in New York for trainer Kiaran McLaughlin. In his final two starts of the 2000 season, the 5-year-old by Nureyev was second to Five Star Day in the Phoenix Breeders' Cup Stakes (gr. III) at Keeneland and second to Stalwart Member in the Grade 3 Sport Page Handicap at Aqueduct.

Jerry Bailey, who was aboard in all of Istintaj's wins last year, has the mount again as they go from Post 8.

Miners Gamble, Bevo and Deep Gold comprise three salty rivals for the top two.

Miners Gamble has been in sharp form, with victories in two straight Calder stakes. His last, in the Kenny Noe Jr. Handicap, was a tour de force, as he drew off to win by four lengths, getting seven furlongs in 1:22 4/5.

Trainer Dennis Ebert worked Miners Gamble over this track on Jan. 1 to get him ready for this race and has named regular rider Eduardo Nunez aboard at 115 pounds from Post 11.

Bevo, a Grade 1 stakes winner as a 2-year-old, scored just once in a limited campaign of five tries last year.

But he was second to Delaware Township at equal weights in the Forest Hills 'Cap and second to Trippi in the Riva Ridge Stakes (gr. II). Richard Migliore again gets the call from trainer Bill Badgett Jr. as Bevo carries 115 from Post 4.

Bernie Flint saddled Deep Gold to win the Deputy Minister Handicap (gr. III) at Gulfstream last winter, but the 5-year-old has been missing in action since last June. Flint said he wanted to give Deep Gold a long rest, and he's done that, because this will be the horse's first start in seven months.

Deep Gold has been working at Gulfstream for more than a month and gets in Monday's race at 114 pounds with John Velazquez aboard.

The others entered are Jeanies Rob, 113, Robbie Davis; Praise From Dixie, 113, Eibar Coa; Gherminella, 113, Mark Guidry; Stormy Do, 113, Roger I. Velez; Sweeping Analysis, 113, Jorge Chavez; Kipperscope, 112, Cornelio Velasquez; Valiant Halory, 114, Edgar Prado, and Smokin Pete, 115, Rene Douglas.

Valiant Halory was a Nick Zito 3-year-old hopeful early on last season, but the colt never made it to the classics. He did turn out to be a good sprinter, however, with four wins and four seconds in 14 starts.

Smokin Pete won his last outing, the Major Moran Stakes at Calder on Dec. 24. In all, the Jimmy DiVito-trained colt won six of 13 on the year, including the Perryville Stakes at Keeneland in October.