01/04/2011 3:10PM

Apriority gets prep for possible start in Sunshine Millions


HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. – If trainer David Fawkes opts to keep Breeders’ Cup Sprint winner Big Drama home in south Florida to launch his 2011 campaign in the Grade 3 Mr. Prospector at Gulfstream Park rather than ship cross-country for the Sunshine Millions Sprint, it’s possible Apriority may take his stablemate’s spot on the flight to the West Coast later this month.

But before doing any California dreaming, Apriority needs to have a prep race. That opportunity comes here in Thursday’s $55,000 main event to be decided at one mile under second-level optional claiming conditions.

Apriority began his career out west but has really flourished since joining Fawkes’s barn at Calder late this fall. After failing to win his maiden or post a Beyer Speed Figure above 80 in his first six starts, Apriority suddenly turned into a different animal on dirt, posting back-to-back victories by a combined seven lengths while earning Beyers of 97 and 95 in the process.

“I think getting on conventional dirt has helped him the most,” said Fawkes who trains Apriority for owner-breeder Donald Dizney. “But his last start was almost a month ago, and if he’s going to run in the Sunshine Millions he needs a prep. I really didn’t plan on running him a mile, but that’s the only one that filled and basically if I want to get a race into him before going to California this has to be the one.”

Thursday’s headliner drew a full field of 12, but Fawkes said he believes the horse breaking directly to his outside, Groomedforvictory, is the one he has to beat.

Groomedforvictory also is coming off an impressive win, having led throughout to capture a similarly conditioned second-level optional claiming race in his New York finale on Nov. 13.

Groomedforvictory tuned up for his first start of the new year by working a sharp half-mile in 48.18 seconds at Gulfstream on Monday.

Among the other top contenders in the race are Viscount, Poni Colada, Conservative, and Antenna.