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Sunshine State seems to suit Prairie Jaguar
Friday, January 03, 2014 - by Kimberly French, USTA Web Newsroom Senior Correspondent

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Kimberly French
Louisville, KY --- Plagued by sickness and also needing to grow into his big frame, Prairie Jaguar only paced four miles as a 2- and 3-year-old, but his early woes are all behind him now as the gelding has competed in 62 races over the last two years and has captured all four of his starts since returning to the Sunshine State last fall.

“It’s like you going home to Syracuse for Christmas and then coming back home to Louisville,” said Mike Deters, the horse’s co-owner and conditioner. “It’s always great to come back home and he’s happy. He’s eating everything up and everything just seems to agree with him.”

By Spy Hard, a full brother to Riyadh, Prairie Jaguar is out of the unraced Arturo mare Cat Lady and is a full brother to Three Putt Again p,3,1:51.3s ($125,636). Owned by the aforementioned Deters and Laurie Lee Poulin, Prairie Jaguar commenced his career in Deters’ barn, but was sent to Greg Dustin in Ontario to race on the Canadian circuit in 2012 at age four.

 
Dee Leftwich photo
Prairie Jaguar scorched the Pompano Park oval on Dec. 28, taking the Open Pace in 1:49.

He returned to the States last fall after 58 races in 2012-13 with a record of 5-7-5 and earnings of roughly $40,000, but since he has returned to Pompano Park, Prairie Jaguar has captured four straight races while climbing up the class ladder and his performance in 1:49 on Dec. 28 was only one fifth off the all-age track record.

“I think there is only one Florida horse that has gone faster and that was Red Bow Tie in 1:48.2,” Deters said. “That was on a big track though because it was at the Meadowlands.”

The gelding will try to make it five in a row this Saturday (Jan. 4), when he leaves from the eight hole in the $10,000 Open Handicap at Pompano Park. His regular pilot, Jason Dillander, will be holding the lines when the duo compete in the sixth race on the card.

“He has the outside post so we just hope he can get off the gate quickly,” Deters said. “Jason Dillander has done a great job with the horse and when we got him back going again his program didn’t look so good (as far as money won) but I told Jason he was ready to go and that he would be surprised by him. I think he’s pretty happy with him now.”

When Poulin asked Deters to take Prairie Jaguar back to his shedrow, the Coconut Creek resident agreed, but definitely wanted a partnership interest in the horse. Since the gelding lost some weight, Deters decided to “beef him up” and gave him two months off until qualifying him on Nov. 23.

“This horse has a flawless gait and he qualified very well,” Deters said. “Then I trained him another big mile before his first race. I thought he might get maybe three races in a row because he fit the lowest classes here and when he was sent to Canada they wanted him to be in the Opens here with only four starts. To say we are pleased with him is an understatement.”

Prairie Jaguar will continue to compete at Pompano throughout the winter months and then will choose his own destiny later this year.

“He’s a big horse at more than 16 hands, but I think he will get over a half well so when I go up North I’d like to try him at Yonkers since that is where the money is,” Deters said. “He just goes so well and doesn’t even wear boots. He has an excellent attitude and the bloodlines are there. Spy Hard didn’t breed very many mares, but I’ve had a couple of them and they always did well for me.

I had Prairie Lee who went 1:51(.2) at Tioga Downs and that’s pretty good. A lot of people might not know of him as a sire but he’s done well with what he has had.

This horse is very handy and I hope this story is a good luck curse so that he keeps winning. When they win it sure makes things a lot easier!”


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