Saturday, January 7, 2012 12:00 AM
FLORENCE, Ky., Jan. 7, 2012 – Mr. Prankster came from off the pace and a six-week layoff to win the $50,000 Turfway Prevue Stakes at Turfway Park Saturday, getting back on track for trainer Mike Maker, who co-owns the colt with Thomas Conway. John McKee was aboard for the well timed ride.
Magical Season, also trained by Maker, finished 3 1/2 lengths behind Mr. Prankster after getting shuffled back early and closing hard up the center of the track. Frankie is Rock tracked the pace and got up for third, another half-length back.
Written for 3-year-olds going 6 1/2 furlongs, the Turfway Prevue is the first of three local preps for the Vinery Racing Spiral Stakes (G3) in March.
Pressured by D' Wildcat Road all the way to the top of the stretch, Jasizzle jumped out first under Perry Ouzts and set the first three quarters in :22.46, :45.49 and 1:11.83. After D' Wildcat Road gave way, Ouzts urged Jasizzle to meet a new challenge coming from Circus Clown and Frankie is Rock, but while those two were bearing down on the pacesetter, Mr. Prankster had steadily advanced from the middle of the field and ran them all down, free and clear five wide. Final time was 1:18.96.
"It looked like there was a good pace scenario and John had him in a good spot, and when he called on him he responded for him, and that's all you can ask for," said Maker.
"He's just kind of a pushbutton horse," said McKee. "The race set up well for us and we let the speed go. I was in a good position down the backside, and turning for home, when I asked him, he was there. Mike had him ready to go and I was just a passenger."
Behind Frankie is Rock were Circus Clown, Jasizzle, D' Wildcat Road, Desert Doc, Midnight Legacy, Win for Morgan, Little Kick, Jonmil Johnny, and Salvatore G. My Friend Steve and Sunday Mass did not draw in from the also-eligible list and were scratched.
Mr. Prankster was the post time favorite at 6-5 and paid $4.40, $3, and $2.80.
After missing by a neck in his debut in August, Mr. Prankster won his next race and then was a strong second in the Fitz Dixon Memorial Jr. Stakes. His steady advance was temporarily stalled by a disappointing finish in the Kentucky Jockey Club (G2) in November and a subsequent brief illness. The colt earned his first stakes win with his return to action in the Turfway Prevue.
By It's No Joke out of Cremedelacramer, by Avenue of Flags, Mr. Prankster now has two wins and two seconds in five starts and earnings of $88,612.
Racing continues Sunday at Turfway at 1:10 p.m.