Officiating Looks Tough to Beat in Mr. Prospector Stakes

The $100,000, Grade 3 Mr. Prospector Stakes drew a field of seven sprinters running seven furlongs. It’s an intriguing race because not one of the group has finished in the top three in a graded stakes in 2021. That being said, three horses enter the race having either won their most recent race or the one just prior to that. Dennis’ Moment is one of the two in the former group, having won at the seven furlong distance in his most recent race and with a previous graded stakes win in his career as he captured the Grade 3 Iroquois Stakes in the fall of 2019. Officiating won at this distance one race before last, the win coming in the non-graded Bear’s Den Stakes at Gulfstream Park. Doc Amster won last month at Gulfstream Park at the shorter distance of six furlongs and is trying this seven furlong trip for the first time.

Endorsed has the highest career earnings in the field at $455,375. His best effort at this level came when second in the Grade 3 Westchester Stakes in June of last year, and he enters the Mr. Prospector Stakes off a fast-closing, third-place effort in his most recent start. Poppy’s Pride won four in a row between September and December of last year but has run poorly in two starts since returning from an eight-month layoff in September. Wind of Change finished fourth in last year’s Mr. Prospector and enters this year’s race off a runner-up finish two months ago. Flap Jack rounds out the field, not having won in nine races since June 2020 and still eligible to run in a second-level allowance race.

Main win contenders: 

Officiating took seven tries to earn his first win, doing so on turf this past March. Following his maiden win and after missing by a neck in a non-graded stakes race on turf and a mediocre third-place effort on dirt, he was privately transferred to the barn of trainer Saffie Joseph Jr. Then, after fourth- and third-place finishes on turf, Officiating was entered in the Bear’s Den Stakes, scheduled for turf, but stayed in the race which was moved to dirt due to weather, earning a career best 110 Equibase Speed Figure and winning authoritatively by 3 1/2 lengths. In his most recent race and following the Bear’s Den, Officiating tried the Tapeta all-weather surface and two-turns in the Showing Up Stakes last month and ran poorly, demonstrating only he did not like the surface nor the distance. Cutting back to the distance of the Bear’s Den while moving back to the surface of that race, it can be assumed Officiating can duplicate his effort in that race which is good enough to win. There is also little doubt about his being able to run as well considering his last two workouts on dirt coming into the race have been excellent.

Dennis’ Moment was thought to be a top 2-year-old in the summer of 2019 following his 19-length win in July with a 106 speed figure, virtually unheard of for a young 2-year-old. He won the Iroquois Stakes two months later, but after finishing last of eight in that year’s TVG Breeders’ Cup Juvenile he was given time off to mature. When returning in the Fasig-Tipton Fountain of Youth Stakes last February, Dennis’ Moment was sent to post as the heavy favorite but finished 10th and last. Rested another nine months, he ran poorly one year ago and was again given time off. This time the rest helped greatly as Dennis’ Moment missed by a head in a six-furlong sprint. Two races later in October, Dennis’ Moment earned his first win in 25 months in a highly rated race at Keeneland at the distance of the Mr. Prospector, duplicating the 106 figure earned in the summer of 2019. With logical improvement off that effort in his fourth start off the rest and at the same distance of his last effort, Dennis’ Moment has every right to earn a graded stakes win for the second time in his career. 

The rest of the field (with best Equibase Speed Figure): Doc Amster (103), Endorsed (110), Flap Jack (101), Poppy’s Pride (97), and Wind of Change (114).

Win Contenders, in preference order:


Dennis’ Moment