04/23/2010 12:00AM

Cold in Florida, Prado warms up in N.Y.


OZONE PARK, N.Y. - It will take more than not having a Kentucky Derby mount for the first time since 1999 to wipe the smile off jockey Edgar Prado's face these days.

Highlighted by a five-win afternoon on Thursday at Aqueduct, Prado has won with 14 of his last 36 mounts from April 11 through Friday and is building some momentum heading into the start of Belmont Park's spring meet next Friday. Coming off a disappointing Gulfstream meet - where he won just 14 races from 155 mounts - Prado needed something positive to happen at Aqueduct.

"We went there and thought we'd have a better meet than that, but I was going through a transition changing agents,'' said Prado, who went from Bob Frieze to Jim Riccio Jr. "A lot of people didn't know [Riccio]. They didn't know I changed agents.''

Many of Prado's wins during his recent hot streak have come for lower-profile trainers, including Michael Sedlacek, Timothy Keefe, and Oscar Barrera Jr. Earlier in the meet, he won races for James Ferraro and Gary Sciacca.

"In the jockeys' room they're making fun of me,'' Prado said. "They say 'When's the last time you rode a horse for Gary Sciacca and Ferraro and Barrera and Sedlacek?' I said, 'These are my customers man; don't mess around with my customers.' Like I said, you ride the right horse in the right spot at the right time, you give him the trip, you will win.''

Though he won't be in Kentucky next week with many of his fellow New York riders, Prado should be able to get off to a good start at Belmont. Among his scheduled mounts are Convocation in Friday's Grade 3 Westchester and Scolara in Saturday's Grade 3 Beaugay. Prado is hoping to compete for the Belmont riding title, something he won in 2005 and 2006.

"It's good to try and get the title back again. We're working real hard to get there,'' said Prado, whose 6,347 career wins rank him 14th all-time "If you don't, just to have a good meet is good and we're definitely working towards that. It's all based on opportunity, you know.''