Updated on 09/17/2011 10:53AM

Gygistar begins his comeback


HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. - What a difference a year makes.

Gygistar was still eligible for a first-level allowance race when he arrived in south Florida last winter. On Sunday, Gygistar launches his 2003 campaign in the $100,000 Deputy Minister Handicap as one of the nation's top sprinters while using the Grade 3 dash as a stepping-stone to the $2 million Dubai Golden Shaheen Sprint.

Gygistar, ranked No. 1 in the sprint division in Daily Racing Form's Watchmaker Watch, tops a field of 10 speedsters entered for the 6 1/2-furlong Deputy Minister, the second of three graded sprints offered here during the meeting.

Gygistar launched his 3-year-old campaign here in late March and won a pair of races, including the Hallandale Beach Handicap by 10 1/2 lengths, before heading north. He proceeded to win the Riva Ridge, Dwyer, and Grade 1 King's Bishop in three subsequent starts before having his perfect season come to a premature halt because of a serious foot injury suffered in his stall less than two weeks before the Breeders' Cup Sprint.

It took trainer Mark Hennig and his crew nearly two months before they could get Gygistar back into serious training, and the horse appears to be coming into the Deputy Minister in top form.

"He's training superbly," said Hennig, who trains Gygistar for owner-breeder Edward Evans.

Gygistar will carry high weight of 120 pounds in the Deputy Minister, and will concede his competition from five to eight pounds.

The versatile Gygistar, a son of Prospector's Music, is expected to stalk the likely pace of Native Heir and Deer Lake on Sunday.

Deer Lake is in peak form and may prove the one to beat. He comes into this race off a pair of allowance victories, including a 1 3/4-length decision over Boston Brat on Jan. 5. Boston Brat has set one track record and equaled another in his two starts since that race.

Trainer Nick Zito entered Najran, who finished third in the Grade 3 Hal's Hope Handicap earlier in the meet, for the Deputy Minister but said he might scratch him. Najran drew the rail, not the most coveted post in sprint races here.

Harmony Hall is the only member of the field who competed in the first graded sprint stakes of the meet, the six-furlong Mr. Prospector Handicap on Jan. 4. Harmony Hall finished fourth in that race, and trainer Frank Alexander said he might have run him back a little close to his victory in Calder's That's Our Buck Handicap less than two weeks earlier.

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