01/01/2017 3:19PM

Squadron A ($41.60) starts Romans' year off right

Lauren King/Coglianese Photos
Squadron A's victory in the Mr. Prospector was the first stakes win of his career.

HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. - Trainer Dale Romans got his new year off to an unexpectedly good start after Squadron A, the longest price on the board at 19-1, rallied up the rail under jockey Corey Lanerie to win Sunday’s Grade 3 Mr. Prospector at Gulfstream Park.

Squadron A was not even in the entries when the Mr. Prospector was originally scheduled to be run on Dec. 26. But when the race died that afternoon with only five horses in the entry box and was brought back six days later, Romans decided to take a shot with his late-running, 7-year-old veteran after discovering the field was loaded with speed.

Squadron A trailed early, as expected, with El Deal setting the pace while stalked by the odds-on Delta Bluesman from the outset. Lanerie kept Squadron A  on the fence while launching his bid into the stretch, ultimately running down the leaders inside the eighth pole before winning off by 2 1/2 widening lengths.

Candip advanced wide turning for home, wrested command from Delta Bluesman near approaching the furlong marker, but proved no match for the winner while easily second best. Delta Bluesman, making his first start since finishing a troubled sixth in the Breeders’ Cup Sprint, weakened through the final furlong while another 1 1/4 lengths farther back in third.

El Deal, Yourdreamsormine and Shaft of Light completed the order of finish.

The victory was just the fourth in 31 starts for Squadron A, a son of Unbridled’s Song, giving him the first stakes win of his career. Owned by Carolyn Vogel, Squadron A completed six furlongs in 1:10.23 and paid $41.60.

“That’s a nice way to start off the New Year,” Romans said. “I wasn’t thinking about running. I had him in an allowance race that didn’t go, I walked into the racing office and they said you should start looking into this race, its speed, all speed. We were already training for the allowance race, so we were ready to run and decided to take a shot. They were moving along pretty good, he got through on the fence, saved all the ground, and it worked out right. It was meant to be, I guess.”