12/26/2016 8:29PM

Conquest Enforcer's win in Mathis Brothers Mile caps two-stakes day for Prat

Benoit & Associates
Conquest Enforcer goes wire to wire under Flavien Prat in the Mathis Brothers Mile on Monday.

ARCADIA, Calif. – Jockey Flavien Prat missed the last four weeks of action after being injured at Del Mar and then taking a previously planned vacation, but he came back as good as ever, winning a pair of stakes on Monday’s opening-day card at Santa Anita, first with Constellation in the Grade 1 La Brea, and then with Conquest Enforcer in the Grade 2, $201,725 Mathis Brothers Mile, the grass race for 3-year-olds that closed the card.

“You can’t ask for a better day,” Prat said after the final race.

Prat was hospitalized in late November after being tossed from a horse at the start of a race at Del Mar and later in the day finding blood in his urine. He said on Monday that he probably could have ridden a week later, but between doctors wanting him to be cautious and a mid-December trip to his native France to visit family, he just shut it down until Monday.

“The year’s not done, but it’s been a long year, I’ve ridden a lot, and sometimes you need to take a break,” Prat said.

:: Like this article? Get access to all premium articles, real-time coverage, special reports, and charts. Unlock access with DRF Plus.

Business certainly was waiting. One of his biggest clients is trainer Phil D’Amato, who put Prat on Conquest Enforcer for his first start on this circuit and since D’Amato took over as his trainer. Conquest Enforcer ($5.60), the favorite, showed sharp speed away from the gate and led from start to finish, prevailing by 1 1/4 lengths over Mittersill.

Moonlight Drive was another half-length back in third and was followed, in order, by Isotherm, Blackjackcat, Frank Conversation, Blackout, Path of David, Defiantly, and Tusk. Fabozzi was scratched on Monday morning.

Conquest Enforcer covered one mile on firm turf in 1:33.64 following fractions of 22.91 seconds, 46.11, and 1:10.29.

“Phil said to try to relax him, but he was pretty sharp away from the gate,” Prat said. “Down the backstretch he finally relaxed, and at the three-eighths he was perfect. He really has a good turn of foot. That made the difference.”

Conquest Enforcer, a son of Into Mischief, won for the fifth time in eight starts. His prior races had been at Woodbine and Belmont Park, and for trainer Mark Casse. He was acquired by a partnership headed by Loooch Racing Stables during a dispersal sale of Conquest Stable runners, and was then sent to D’Amato.