Expert Pick of the Week: Mr. Prospector Stakes

Dec 19, 2019 by John Mucciolo/

Two of the world’s top sprint performers headline a compact field of six in Saturday’s $100,000 Mr. Prospector (G3) at Gulfstream Park. The seven-eighths dash on the dirt has a Grade 1-caliber cast, and it will take a fine performance to come out victorious in this intriguing event.

RELATED: Imperial Hint, X Y Jet square off in Mr. Prospector

While the top two contenders in the field, X Y Jet and Imperial Hint, are using the Mr. Prospector Stakes as a prep for bigger events overseas, it’s difficult for me to envision the others knocking off the formidable duo. And of the two, Imperial Hint has the most appeal to me as the Expert Pick of the Week.

Trained by Luis Carval Jr., Imperial Hint has continued to shine through his six-year-old campaign. The dark bay Florida-bred has been consistently excellent in his career, and his last pair of races are among his best showings to date.

The son of Imperialism ran arguably the best race of the year in his division when dominating a standout field in the Alfred G. Vanderbilt (G1) at Saratoga in the summer, drawing off by four lengths and earning a whopping 113 Brisnet Speed number in the process. He followed that tour-de-force with his second consecutive Vosburgh (G1) triumph, this time battling back after being passed in late stretch at Belmont Park.

Imperial Hint is training in fine fashion in advance of his second lifetime attempt at Gulfstream Park, showing bullet morning moves in each of his last five workouts. Javier Castellano will pilot the multi-millionaire and have him tracking the pacesetter from the start.

The sensational X Y Jet has banked in excess of $3 million in his lifetime and owns seven career wins at Gulfstream Park, but he has a few strikes against him on Saturday. The gray has not run since the spring, he is winless from three tries at today’s distance, and wasn’t even expected to be fit enough for this event as recently as a week ago. While I fully admire the superstar, I will seek out another to complete my exacta.

Lasting Legacy is a peaking five-year-old who comes in fresh for the high-percentage Jason Servis. The $200,000 son of Tapizar was a stakes winner at Monmouth Park in September (in the aptly named Mr. Prospector), and has posted Brisnet Speed figures of 103 and 104 in his last two performances.

The Kentucky-bred chestnut also owns arguably the best turn of foot in the field, and he figures to have a swift and contested pace to rally into down the stretch under Irad Ortiz Jr. I expect Lasting Legacy to get up for second late at a distance that seems ideal for him.

A cold exacta with Imperial Hint on top of Lasting Legacy is the Free Pick of the Week

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