By Christine Oser
Daniel McConnell's homebred Prince Lucky kept the Todd Pletcher stable rolling March 30 when he drew clear to win the $300,000 Gulfstream Park Mile Stakes (G2) at Gulfstream Park.
Longshot All Golden led the first quarter-mile in :24.14 before Prince Lucky, the odds-on favorite, took over at the half-mile mark and set fractions of :47.04 and 1:11.31 through six furlongs. Tale of Silence moved up on Prince Lucky's outside from fourth turning for home, but once jockey Johnny Velazquez asked Prince Lucky for more, the 4-year-old Corinthian gelding drew off to a 4 3/4-length win. The final time was 1:35.21 over a track rated fast.
"The first quarter seemed like it was sensible," Velazquez said. "He got into the bridle. It was a nice pace. It wasn't a crazy pace. After that, it was pretty easy. He was kind of playing around, looking around. He's never been in the lead that soon."
Tale of Silence, Guy Caballero, Be Gone Daddy, Millionaire Runner, and All Golden completed the order of finish.
"In these kinds of races, you always worry because you feel like you have the best horse and you just want everything to go smoothly," Pletcher said. "He broke alertly, and Johnny was a little concerned because there was some pace in here and he didn't want to get in a duel, so he kind of just bided his time and then secured his spot on the rail. It looked like he had plenty of horse from there."
It was the fifth Gulfstream Park Mile victory for Pletcher, who took the race with Harlington in 2006, Discreet Dancer in 2013, Belmont Stakes winner Palace Malice in 2014, and Blofeld in 2016. The performance followed stablemate Coal Front's Saturday victory in the Godolphin Mile Sponsored by Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum City—District One (G2) at Meydan, which was Pletcher's first victory on Dubai World Cup night.
Prince Lucky wrapped up his sophomore season early last year with a victory in the June 9 Easy Goer Stakes at Belmont Park. He returned to the track for his 2019 debut in the Feb. 23 Hal's Hope Stakes (G3) at Gulfstream and scored a six-length win, his first graded score.
"I think he's a very good miler, but I do think he will stretch out as well," Pletcher said. "It was a matter of timing when he was ready for the last one, and after he did so well in that race, this made perfect sense five weeks later. We'll see what we're going to do next. It might be a mile race for the next one, but down the road we'll try to stretch him out a little further."
Unbeaten in two starts in 2019, Prince Lucky improved to 6-0-2 from 10 starts, including a victory in the Pennsylvania Nursery Stakes at Parx Racing during his juvenile season with trainer Larry Jones. His earnings total $475,970.
Bred in Pennsylvania, Prince Lucky is the third foal out of the Great Notion mare Lucky Notion. He is a half brother to McConnell's 5-year-old mare Saint Main Event, who finished third in the All Brandy Stakes at Laurel Park in September. Lucky Notion foaled a Birdstone filly this year and has three winners from three starters.