Favored Mr. Prankster, making his first start in six weeks, came from off the pace to win the $50,000 Turfway Prevue Stakes at Turfway Park on the night of Jan. 7.
Mr. Prankster turned in a strong performance for trainer Mike Maker, who co-owns the colt with Thomas Conway. The victory was the first in a stakes for Mr. Prankster, a Kentucky-bred son of It's No Joke.
John McKee was aboard for the well timed ride. Mr. Prankster rated in mid-pack before unleashing a bold move while five wide on the turn. He won the 6 1/2-furlong test by 3 1/2 lengths as a 6-5 choice in a Polytrack time of 1:18.96. Twelve 3-year-olds contested the Prevue.
Magical Season, also trained by Maker, finished second with Victor Lbron aboard after getting shuffled back early and closing hard up the center of the track. Frankie is Rock tracked the pace for Julio Felix and got up for third, another half-length back.
The Turfway Prevue is the first of three local preps for the Vinery Racing Spiral Stakes (gr. III) March 24.
Pressured by D' Wildcat Road all the way to the top of the stretch, Jasizzle jumped out first under Perry Ouzts and led the first three quarters in :22.46, :45.49, and 1:11.83. After D’ Wildcat Road gave way, Jasizzle led by one length at mid-stretch with Circus Clown and Frankie is Rock challenging. But while those two were bearing down on the leader, Mr. Prankster steadily advanced and ran them all down, free and clear while five wide.
“It looked like there was a good pace scenario and John had him in a good spot, and when he called on him he responded for him, and that’s all you can ask for,” said Maker.
“He’s just kind of a pushbutton horse,” added McKee. “The race set up well for us and we let the speed go. I was in a good position down the backside, and turning for home, when I asked him, he was there. Mike had him ready to go and I was just a passenger.”
Behind Frankie is Rock were Circus Clown, Jasizzle, D’ Wildcat Road, Desert Doc, Midnight Legacy, Win for Morgan, Little Kick, Jonmil Johnny, and Salvatore G.
Mr. Prankster, who is out of the Avenue of Flags mare Cremedelacramer, paid $4.40, $3, and $2.80. The bay colt was bred by Colby Fields and Greg and Valorie Scherr.
After missing by a neck in his debut in August, Mr. Prankster won his next race and then was a strong second in the Fitz Dixon Memorial Jr. Stakes. His steady advance was temporarily stalled by a disappointing finish in the Kentucky Jockey Club (gr. II) in November and a subsequent brief illness.
Mr. Prankster now has two wins and two seconds in five starts and earnings of $88,612.
My Friend Steve and Sunday Mass did not draw in from the also-eligible list and were scratched.