Last December, Gary Tanaka’s Proudinsky lost the San Gabriel Handicap (gr. IIT) to the Dan Hendricks-trained Daytona by just three-quarters of a length. But roles were reversed March 8, as the son of Silvano nipped Daytona in the stretch of the $600,000 Mervyn Munitz Jr. Memorial Handicap (gr. IIT)(VIDEO).
Part of Fair Grounds’ Louisiana Derby Day undercard, the 1 1/16-miles turf event that featured 10 runners was mostly led by a solid-running Daytona, who set the early pace through a quarter in :24.06 and a half in :49 flat. Twilight Meteor ranged up in second, followed briefly by Elusive Fort in third. Proudinsky, after racing wide on the first turn under Garrett Gomez, angled in slightly and moved up to second through three-quarters in 1:13.03.
It looked like Daytona might run away with it when the field turned for home, as no one loomed to challenge him from the tightly-bunched group. But Proudinsky broke away a few furlongs into the stretch, digging down the center through a mile in 1:38.11. He passed the leader and cruised to a one-length win in 1:50.44 over the late-closing 35-1 shot French Beret, who got up for second after racing in seventh for most of the race and going four-wide on the turn. Daytona hung on for third and Fracas was fourth.
Jazz Quest, Elusive Fort, Twilight Meteor, Yate’s Black Cat, Buffalo Man, and Brilliant completed the order of finish.
Trained by Bobby Frankel, Proudinsky returned $9.60, $6, and $3.60. French Beret paid $27.40 and $8.60 under James Graham, while Daytona and Alex Solis brought $3.
Bred in Germany by Dr. R. Wilhelms, Proudinsky is out of the Dashing Blade mare Proudeyes. He now owns a 4-3-1 record from 10 starts and has amassed earnings of $555,864.