Heart to Heart Headlines El Prado on the Turf
The 5th running of the $100,000 El Prado Stakes is set for Saturday at Gulfstream Park. A solid field of 7 is lined up for Race 8 going 7 ½ furlong race on the turf, which follows the Harlan’s Holiday Stakes in Race 7 and the Rampart Stakes in Race 5.
El Prado was an Irish Group I winner who was sire to great race horses Kitten’s Joy, Medaglia d’Oro, Paddy O’Prado, and Illinois-bred Fort Prado. The 2014 El Prado Stakes winner Mshawish, the son of Medaglia d’Oro also won the 2015 Gulfstream Turf Handicap (G1).
This year’s field has a heavy favorite breaking from the rail in Heart to Heart (6/5). He’ll turn 6-years-old in a few weeks and continues his stellar career having won 10 times in 24 starts. He’s conditioned by top turf trainer Brian Lynch and ridden by Julien Leparoux.He’s the son of English Channel, a top turf horse who won 13 of 23 races including the 2007 Breeders’ Cup Turf while finishing in the money 20 times. Heart to Heart will go to the front as the one-way speed and will be difficult to get by down the lane. Heart to Heart is 2-for-2 over the Gulfstream surface having wired the field in both races while being geared down at the finish. Unless Go Around can put enough pressure on him to force the issue through 6 furlongs, it’s Heart to Heart’s race to lose.
Go Around (4/1) is coming into this race off a very nice bullet work at Payson Park going 4 furlongs in 48 seconds flat and that was the best of 24 workers on that day. This one also gets a major upgrade in rider today as J.J. Castellano takes the irons for trainer Billy Mott. Castellano is perhaps the top turf rider in the U.S. and will improve this one pushing down the stretch against the favorite Heart to Heart. Go Around is a 4-year-old by Medaglia d’Oro who has won 4 times on the turf in 12 starts with 1 place and 4 show finishes. He’s won at Gulfstream and is versatile enough to keep Heart to Heart in range and rally when they turn for home.
Security Risk (10/1) makes his stakes debut for trainer Shug McGaughey, and he used new tactics last out at Aqueduct and went straight to the front to win in hand by daylight. The War Front colt came out of that Nov. 12 race in fine fashion and had a blistering bullet 4 furlong work in 47.60 on Dec. 12. He’s appears to be chomping at the bit to run in this race, and will be offered less than his morning line price when the gates open with Hall of Fame rider John Velazquez aboard having ridden him to his maiden victory in June, 2015 at Belmont. Security Risk is in fine form and is one to watch and include in the verticals and exotic wagers at a price.
Songsational (5-1) is the other Bill Mott-trained colt that will get some action and he finished in the money in his two recent graded stakes races. He’s been off since Oct. 29 but has a solid work tab and would benefit from fast fractions.
Kenny Schmitt contributed to this article. Follow him on Twitter @FBWinners