12/31/2011 6:48PM

Gulfstream Park: Apriority bloody but unbowed in Mr. Prospector victory

Adam Coglianese/Gulfstream Park
Apriority and Luis Saez (inside) hold off Zero Rate Policy to win the Grade 3 Mr. Prospector on Saturday despite suffering an injured foot during the race.

HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. -  Apriority left it all out on the track and a little in the winner’s circle, too, after surviving an eventful start to get up in the final stride and nail pacesetter Zero Rate Policy by a nose in Saturday’s $100,000 Mr. Prospector at Gulfstream Park.

Apriority, making his first start since the Breeders’ Cup Sprint, stumbled  leaving the gate, grabbing his left front quarter so badly that he was bleeding profusely when he returned to the winner’s circle. But despite the poor start and an injured foot, Apriority recovered to stalk the pace before eventually finding room near the rail to slip inside the leaders and wear down Zero Rate Policy at the wire.

Zero Rate Policy survived an early speed duel with Immortal Eyes and The Hunk, opened a clear lead while easing off the rail into the stretch, dug in gamely when hooked by the winner, but was out bobbed at the end. Indiano, the tepid 5-2 favorite, rallied mildly to finish another half-length farther back in third. Capt. Candyman Can lacked the necessary late response after angling extremely wide into the stretch, finishing fourth making his first start in seven months.

The Hunk, Immortal Eyes and Nathan’s H Q rounded out the complete order of finish.

Apriority, a homebred son of Grand Slam owned by Donald Dizney, gave Fawkes his second Mr. Prospector victory in the same year.  Fawkes won the first renewal of the Grade 3 race in January with Big Drama.

Apriority was ridden to victory by Luis Saez. He completed six furlongs in 1:09.28 over a fast track and paid $7.20.

“That was unbelievable,” Fawkes said. “How he won, I don’t know. I thought we were done after the start. A race like that you’ve got to be close. The horse overcame a lot, he ran a fabulous race, and the rider did a great job.”

Fawkes said he hopes Apriority's injuries won’t be too serious to keep him out of the Sunshine Millions Sprint on Jan. 28.

“The wounds appear superficial,” said Fawkes after inspecting Apriority’s blood-soaked foot in the winner’s circle. “He’ll come back in the Sunshine Millions if we make it.”