Apriority Puts on a Show in Mr. Prospector Stakes
By Ed Gray
HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – Big Drama was a very tough act to follow in the stable of trainer David Fawkes, but Apriority still put on quite a show Saturday at Gulfstream Park.
Apriority didn’t come close to the track record of 1:08.28 that Big Drama set while winning $100,000 Mr. Prospector Stakes (G3), but the 4-year-old son of Grand Slam turned in a mind-boggling performance of his own to give Fawkes back-to-back triumphs in the 59th running of the six-furlong stakes.
Despite stumbling badly leaving the starting gate from the rail post position and lacking running room until reaching the deep stretch, a resilient Apriority demonstrated an irrepressible will to win with a last-ditch lunge at the wire to prevail over pacesetter Zero Rate Policy by a nose.
“I thought we were done at the start after he stumbled so bad. We’re lucky the jock stayed on,” said Fawkes, whose 5-2 second choice was ridden by Luis Saez. “It’s amazing what he overcame to win it. When he got back in contention at the top of the stretch it was a matter of inside, outside. (Saez) waited and waited and then made the right choice and got through.”
Apriority ($7.20) recovered quickly after nearly unseating his rider and tracked Zero Rate Policy, who set solid fractions of 22.54 and 44.74 seconds for the first half mile while being stalked by Immortal Eyes and The Hunk. Zero Rate Policy, ridden by Paco Lopez, took the lead into the stretch and opened a length lead with an eighth of a mile to go, completing five furlongs in a swift 56.72 seconds.
Despite his early troubles, Apriority still had some fight in him and battled his way to victory after a path opened along the rail inside of Zero Rate Policy. While winning his third race over the Gulfstream track in as many starts, Apriority ran six-furlongs in 1:09.28 to break a five-race winless streak since turning in a career-best effort at Gulfstream last April. But he did so at a cost.
“He grabbed his left front foot inside, but it appears to be superficial,” Fawkes said. “We’ll see. If everything’s all right he’ll come back in the ($200,000 Florida) Sunshine Millions Sprint (Jan. 28).”
Zero Rate Policy, who captured the $60,000 Sunshine State Stakes for Florida-bred horses at Gulfstream on Dec. 4, finished a half-length ahead of Indiano, the slight 5-2 favorite ridden by Javier Castellano.
“My horse ran a great race. I floated a little wide around the turn, but he ran hard all the way,” Lopez said. “We just lost the bob. That’s the way it goes sometimes.”
Trainer Terri Pompay was encouraged by Zero Rate Policy’s effort despite losing by just a nose.
“He ran a good race. At least he proved he can go with these horses. He made the step up. He got beat, but he ran real credible,” said trainer Terri Pompay, who will also point the son of Trippi to the Florida Sunshine Millions Sprint.