12/27/2012 1:50PM

Gulfstream Park: Action Andy has just one thing to prove in Mr. Prospector

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Tom Cooley Photography
Action Andy comes off a victory in the Pelican Stakes at Tampa Bay Downs (above).

HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. – Action Andy can do almost anything. He’s won going short and won going long. He’s won on dirt and won on grass. He’s won on the lead and won from off the pace. About the only thing Action Andy hasn’t done yet is win at Gulfstream Park. And that’s the one element that will give his trainer, Carlos Garcia, the most concern when he sends Action Andy out as the starting highweight and likely favorite in Saturday’s $100,000 Mr. Prospector.

The Grade 3 Mr. Prospector drew a competitive field of six to contest the final graded stakes of 2012 at Gulfstream. The lineup also includes Bull Dozer, Dreaming of Neno, Off the Jak, Partyallnightlong, and Indiano.

Action Andy has won 7 of 11 starts in 2012, with five of those victories coming in stakes races, topped by his gallant nose decision over Il Villano in Laurel’s Frank De Francis Memorial. He also established a course record going 6 1/2 furlongs at Tampa during the spring. One of his four losses on the season, however, came in his only previous visit to Gulfstream, when he finished a tiring sixth last March in the Sir Shackleton.

“The only question in my mind for Saturday is whether he’ll handle the track,” Garcia said. “About the only bad race he’s had in a long time came here earlier this year, and I’m not sure if it was because of the track or because I shipped him in just a day before the race. This time, I brought him in early, so there will be no excuses.”

The De Francis is part of a three-race winning streak Action Andy has fashioned since turning back to six furlongs off a series of two-turn races on the grass late this summer. In his most recent start, Action Andy won Tampa’s Pelican Stakes.

John Velazquez will ride Action Andy on Saturday.

“He can do anything and he definitely doesn’t need the lead to win,” Garcia said. “He broke on top, but the rider took him back as per his instructions in the De Francis, and he was lucky enough to nail that other horse right on the wire. That’s why I’ve got Johnny on him Saturday. He knows the track, and I’ll leave the strategy up to him. My horse knows how to win, he knows where the wire is. I just hope he knows where it is at Gulfstream.”

Indiano, a 4-year-old trained by Marty Wolfson, finished second behind Action Andy in the Pelican while making his first start in four months. But unlike Action Andy, Indiano is proven at Gulfstream, having finished second in the Grade 2 Swale here at 3 and third, beaten a half-length by winner Apriority, following an awkward start in the 2011 Mr. Prospector.

Bull Dozer has won 5 of 9 starts and has been stakes placed twice while also changing hands twice via the claim box this season. He recently joined trainer Mike Maker’s barn after being haltered for $62,500 out of a win against optional claiming foes here three weeks earlier.

Dreaming of Neno is a fast but relatively inexperienced 3-year-old who makes his stakes bow Saturday off an easy allowance win at Calder on Nov. 11.

Partyallnightlong has started just once since July 2011, winning a New Jersey-bred stakes at Monmouth Park on May 5.

edb More than 1 year ago
4/6/1/all for superfecta
chad mc rory More than 1 year ago
I'd like to hear, truthfully, about horses who could not/would not handle the track at Gulfstream?