The Grade 3, $100,000 Mr. Prospector Stakes lured a strong field of 11, including a number of recent stakes winners or stakes-placed sprinters. Among that group, Coal Front may get first notice by bettors as he comes from the barn of Todd Pletcher and makes his second start after 13 months off. Although unsuccessful in the Grade 3 Bold Ruler Handicap when fifth in his comeback last month, Coal Front has top credentials, having won both the Grade 3 Gallant Bob Stakes and Grade 2 Amsterdam Stakes in 2017. The big question is whether he can rebound off his poor effort in the Bold Ruler. Wild Shot is on the comeback trail as well, having won the Grade 3 Pat Day Mile Stakes in the spring of 2017 and just last month returning from a 15-month layoff to be second in an allowance race. Kroy won the Millions Sprint Preview Stakes last month and fits on form, but he is one of perhaps four entrants in the race who have demonstrated a "need-the-lead" style which means the early pace scenario is very likely to be hotly contested and set the race up to be won by horses who can relax early and charge home late. Conquest Big E is another expected to want the lead early who has top credentials, having won the Grade 2 Hardacre Mile Stakes on this the track in March. Belle Tapisserie adds speed to the mix, with his only previous stakes try resulting in a fourth-place finish. Among the group who can finish well and are proven at the level, Heartwood is notable as he was recently second in the Grade 3 Fall Highweight Handicap and won the Steel Valley Sprint Stakes last year. Uno Mas Modelo enters the Mr. Prospector on a two-race winning streak, both stakes races including the Claiming Crown Rapid Transit Stakes at this track and distance three weeks ago. Storm Advisory is a veteran who leads the field in career earnings at $449,652 and who has won two of his last three races. Sweetontheladies, J. S. Choice, and K Choice round out the field
Wild Shot got a lot out of his comeback effort on Nov. 23 following 15 months away as he battled for the lead midrace and settled for second in the stretch while fairly clear of the rest. Not only does Wild Shot have the back class to compete successfully at the level, having won the Pat Day Mile Stakes in 2017, he has the benefit of a top trainer in George “Rusty” Arnold, who has had tremendous success with horses second off the layoff over the years. According to STATS Race Lens research, Arnold has a record of 12 for 43 (28 percent) in this situation, with 56 percent of those 43 horses finishing in the top three. Wild Shot earned a career best 113 Equibase Speed Figure when he won the Pat Day Mile and that number is the third-highest figure in the field, behind Coal Front and Uno Mas Modelo. With a lot of physical improvement expected in his second start off the layoff, Wild Shot could be very tough to beat in this year's Mr. Prospector Stakes and offers appealing odds of 10-1 on the morning line.
Heartwood has run two big races in a row but has come up just short of winning each time. In the Bet on Sunshine Stakes in November, Heartwood finished second behind Uno Mas Modelo with a 105 speed figure before improving to a career-best 109 figure when second in the Fall Highweight Handicap last month. Earlier this year, Heartwood won the Senator Robert C. Byrd Memorial Stakes, and last year he won the Steel Valley Sprint Stakes (with a $200,000 purse), so this colt has proven himself in top company many times. Current North American leading jockey Irad Ortiz Jr. gets on for the first time and that could be another factor in Heartwood running another “A” race to be competitive to the finish line.
Storm Advisory and Uno Mas Modelo are both owned by Loooch Racing Stables and trained by Anthony Quartarolo but will race uncoupled for wagering purposes. Storm Advisory was overmatched in the Grade 1 Clark Handicap at 1 1/8 miles last month but won two sprints in a row prior to that. The first of the two earned him a strong 107 Equibase Speed Figure. His most recent workout in preparation for the race was fantastic as it was the third best of 126 on the day and, as the field leader in career wins with 10, Storm Advisory must be given some consideration as a contender. Similar to his stablemate, Uno Mas Modelo was overmatched in the Grade 1 Jockey Club Gold Cup in September, but if you remove that race from his past performances he has won five straight sprints, including two stakes. He won the Bet on Sunshine Stakes in November with a 115 figure then won the Claiming Crown Rapid Transit Stakes three weeks ago, earning a 108 figure. Jockey Albin Jimenez was in the saddle for both efforts and rides again, which gives Storm Advisory a fighting chance in this race.
The rest of the field (with best Equibase Speed Figure in similar races): Belle Tapisserie (98), Coal Front (117), Conquest Big E (111), J. S. Choice (86), K Choice (90), Kroy (110) and Sweetontheladies (96).
Main Contenders (in win probability order):
Uno Mas Modelo