02/19/2013 2:17PM

Gulfstream Park: Prado back in Hall of Fame form

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Barbara D. Livingston
Graydar gave Edgar Prado his first Grade 1 win since the 2010 Breeders' Cup.

HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. – Hall of Fame rider Edgar Prado entered the 2012-13 Gulfstream Park meet with a new agent and high hopes, but not a lot of established business to hang his helmet on.

Eleven weeks into the session, Prado has himself a Grade 1 winner, a clientele base that is growing on a daily basis, and is riding as good as any jockey on the grounds.

Prado, 45, posted just 12 victories during the opening two months of the meet. He’s won 13 more races since Feb. 1 alone, including the Grade 1 Donn Handicap for trainer Todd Pletcher aboard Graydar and Saturday’s Grade 3 The Very One with Starformer for fellow Hall of Famer Bill Mott. He also finished second here last weekend aboard Teaks North in the Grade 3 Mac Diarmida.

“Things have really changed over the last couple of weeks due to a number of reasons,” Prado said. “I’ve been working hard the whole meet and I’ve called upon my experience and changed a few little things here and there along the way. I’ve been riding smart and perhaps most important with a lot more confidence than before. I’ve also been riding a lot of good horses and making the most of the opportunities I’ve been given. Everything is just falling into place.”

Prado said having the mount on Graydar was a big factor in his recent resurgence. Prado has ridden Graydar in all four of his starts, winning three of those races including an allowance earlier in the meet as a prelude to his three-length victory Feb. 9 in the Donn.

“Graydar was a big plus for me,” Prado said. “Todd was very nice to let me keep riding the horse – the same with Billy Mott and Starformer. The success of those two horses alone helps brings a lot of customers back.”

The Donn was Prado’s first Grade 1 win since he captured the Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Turf aboard Shared Account in 2010 and his first at Gulfstream since combining with Pletcher to win the 2007 Florida Derby with Scat Daddy.

Prado also credited his agent, former trainer Bob Klesaris, as another major factor in his success this winter.

“Bobby has done a great job for me since taking my book during the fall,” Prado said. “It’s kind of ironic because he also gave me my first big opportunity shortly after I came to this country, riding me in Boston and then taking me to Maryland, where my career really took off. Now, we’re back together again.”

Prado says he and Klesaris are planning to return to New York at the end of this meet, although he acknowledged that things could change.

“I guess it all depends upon where our business takes us,” Prado said. “Like everybody else, we’re looking for a big 3-year-old, and I also have a lot of business with turf horses for Mott and Graham Motion, so you never can tell.”