Prize hopes to regain Winning thread in Wickerr

Profile Picture: Kellie Reilly

July 20th, 2015

Argentine champion Winning Prize looked like the next big thing on the Southern California turf mile scene when turning the Arcadia (G2)/Frank E. Kilroe Mile (G1) double in the spring of 2014. Unfortunately, he hasn't visited the winner's circle since, but a class drop into Wednesday's $80,000 Wickerr S. at Del Mar could do the trick.

Hall of Fame trainer Neil Drysdale returns Winning Prize to the scene of his terrific U.S. debut in August 2013. The dark bay wired an optional claimer over this course and one-mile distance by four lengths in a sizzling 1:32.96, not far off Obviously's record of 1:32.10. He has not raced at the seaside course since.

Winning Prize's best effort during his losing skid was a head second to Talco in the April 4 Thunder Road at Santa Anita. He went on to finish fourth to Bal a Bali and Talco in the May 9 American (G3), in which subsequent Eddie Read (G1) hero Gabriel Charles was third. Winning Prize was last seen tiring to fourth to Talco in the June 13 Shoemaker Mile (G1). Drawn on the far outside in post 11, he figures to use his early speed for a returning Martin Garcia.

Also likely to be on the engine early is Pure Tactics, who exits a near-miss third as the defending champion in the Siren Lure on Santa Anita's downhill course. The Doug O'Neill charge sports a 7-3-2-1 mark at this distance, including a 6 1/2-length romp in last fall's Lure and a third to Talco and Winning Prize in the Thunder Road.

Trainer Tom Proctor is double-handed with Kulik Lodge, who brings a four-race winning streak into his stakes debut, and Global View, who has yet to return to his Grade 2-winning form from last season. The stablemates were one-three, respectively, on June 12 at Santa Anita, with Global View motoring late as a possible signal of recovery. Finishing fourth in a blanket finish that day was Play Hard to Get, a full brother to Diamond Jubilee (G1) winner Undrafted from the Eric Kruljac barn.

French native Flamboyant, seventh in that same allowance, has gone the wrong way since a fine sophomore campaign highlighted by a La Puente score and a third in the lucrative Belmont Derby Invitational (G1). Essentially wrapped up on in the Hollywood Derby (G1) as though something were amiss, he hasn't factored in his two ensuing allowance runs.

Recent French import Zuri Chop tests the waters for his new connections, Hronis Racing and trainer John Sadler. Five times stakes placed in his homeland, the four-year-old gelding cuts back in trip and encounters faster ground.

Wilkinson, the 2012 American (G2) winner, resurfaces from a nearly two-year layoff for Jeff Mullins. The seven-year-old is sure to need the race, but Mullins has already struck on the turf this meet with the aforementioned Gabriel Charles and with Soul Driver in the Oceanside.

Footstepsinbronze steps up off a second-level allowance score for Simon Callaghan, while the Vladimir Cerin-trained County Lineman has been on the fringes of stakes class, and Baccelo has yet to transfer his Brazilian Group 1 cache to this circuit.

Photo of Winning Prize courtesy of Benoit.