October 3, 2023

Prince Lucky returns with a flourish in Hal’s Hope

Prince Lucky and jockey John Velazquez win the Hal's Hope Stakes (G3) at Gulfstream Park on February 23, 2019 (c) Adam Coglianese Photography/Lauren King

Prince Lucky made a splash in his four-year-old opener, posting a six-length victory in Saturday’s $100,000 Hal’s Hope (G3) at Gulfstream Park. Last seen posting a 14-1 upset in the Easy Goer on the Belmont Stakes undercard, the Todd Pletcher-trained gelding was overlooked at 7-1 but performed like an odds-on favorite winning the one-turn mile event.

John Velazquez was up on the Daniel McConnell homebred.

Prince Lucky showed speed from the break and tracked in third before drawing even with stablemate Copper Town nearing the conclusion of the far turn, edging past the 2-1 second choice after straightening into the stretch. He drew off sharply in the final eighth of a mile, stopping the teletimer in 1:34.84.

Copper Town, who established splits in :23.07, :45 and 1:09.21, held second by 1 1/4 lengths over Grade 2 winner Quip, who was making his first start since an unplaced finish in the Preakness and chased the pace before weakening in the latter stages. It was another length to Tale of Silence, who was making his first start since an upset win in the Winchester (G3) in early May. Breaking Lucky, the 9-5 favorite, wound up retreating to last.

The Pennsylvania-bred Prince Lucky made his first five starts for Larry Jones, winning the restricted Pennsylvania Nursey in his juvenile finale. He was transferred to Pletcher prior to a ninth in the Sunland Derby (G3) and followed with a third in the Sir Barton on the Preakness undercard. The bay son of Corinthian then scored by a neck at 14-1 odds in the 1 1/16-mile Easy Goer.

Prince Lucky returned from a 259-day layoff in the Hal’s Hope. He hails from the Great Above mare Lucky Notion and counts as a half-sister the stakes-placed Saint Main Event. Prince Lucky has now earned $291,830 from a 9-5-0-2 record.