HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – Despite a 13-month layoff, X Y Jet was all class in his return to the race track, winning Saturday’s Grade 3, $100,000 Mr. Prospector Stakes at Gulfstream Park.
Off sharply as the 3-2 favorite from post 6 under Emisael Jaramillo, X Y Jet quickly took the lead and set moderate fractions of :22.21 and :44.81. Set down for the stretch drive, X Y Jet soon came under a drive as Gulfstream’s recent Claiming Crown champion First Growth commenced a challenge to his outside. X Y Jet, however, dug in and was able to keep his opponent at bay, crossing the line first by a 1/2-length in a final time of 1:09.45 for the 6-furlong main track event.
“Our fear was that the horse hasn’t run for a long time and he might get tired,” Jaramillo said. “This horse is on top again.”
First Growth finished 4 lengths ahead of Sonic Mule, who necked out third over K Wave. It was another 3/4 of a length back to Fast Friar in fifth. Fire Mission nosed out Quijote for sixth, with Quinientos a neck away in seventh. Yourdreamsormine necked out Sweetontheladies to complete the order of finish.
The victory was X Y Jet’s second in as many attempts in the Mr. Prospector, having previously won the 2015 edition, which makes him the only two-time winner in the race’s 63-year history. After the race, trainer Jorge Navarro praised the efforts of the staff at the Ocala Equine Hospital, where X Y Jet had spent time recovering from injuries that forced him to miss an entire year of racing.
“It’s crazy what I’m going through right now,” Navarro said. “I asked myself all the time: ‘Is he ready?’ It’s been two races in two years.”
Owned by Rockinham Ranch and Gelfenstein Farm, the 5-year-old gelded son of Kantharos improved his record to 18-7-6-2 with career earnings of $860,053. Navarro hinted that his ultimate goal could be a return trip to Dubai, where X Y Jet was second in a photo finish in the 2016 Group 1 Golden Shaheen.
“We’ll see how he comes out,” Navarro said. “If he comes out, they’re in trouble. That’s all I can say. I think there is a Florida-bred race (the Sunshine Millions Sprint on January 20). If I can get a month in between, you’ll see him here one more time (before the Golden Shaheen).”
X Y Jet returned $5 to win, $3.60 to place, and $3.20 to show. First Growth brought back $5 to place and $3.60 to show, while Sonic Mule paid $3 to show.