by Kimberly French
In an industry where colts often dominate the scene, a Florida champion such as Prairie Panther may not hold the key to Mike Deters’ heart. That special location may only belong to Prairie Sweetheart, so this young colt has some very large hoofprints to follow.
“She is the horse of a lifetime,” Deters said. “She is exactly like her name and a pleasure to be around every day. I can’t thank Ross Croghan and Eric Cherry for allowing me to have her on turn-out for another month.
“(Prairie Panther) is a very nice colt. He’s perfectly gaited, you can drive him however you need to and he enjoys racing, but he has some big shoes to fill.”
Bred by Laurie Poulin, the 2-year-old son of Royel Millennium and Cat Lady just upped his resume to an impressive 8-7-0-0 and is now a state champion after his conditioner/co-owner/pilot steered him to a victory in the $54,270 Florida Breeders Stake championship contest at Pompano Park on Sunday (Nov. 27).
With $61,690 in the bank, Prairie Panther is poised to join his siblings, Three Putt Again (Spy Hard $125,636) and Prairie Jaguar (Spy Hard, $212,970), in the $100,000 club with a full sister, Prairie Cougar, prepared to pounce on the competition in 2017.
“The family has been so good to us,” Deters said. “I always look forward to having her fillies. They just seem to catch on right away and they fit this Florida program.”
Prairie Sweetheart, however, who Deters also conditioned to a Florida championship that same evening, will demonstrate her abilities up north, rather than remain down south for a 2017 campaign like Prairie Panther.
“She was just special from the beginning and a delight to be around every day,” Deters said. “The plan was to take care of her and save her for next year. She beat those big mares up in Lexington (a 1:49.1 triumph over older mares in the $112,500 Allerage Farms Pace). She just can dominate races while she is all wrapped up. She just does it so easily.”
The 3-year-old daughter of Royel Millennium-Taylors Lady has simply been spectacular in her sophomore season of competition. Owned by Let It Ride Stables, the filly was bred by Poulin. Her dam collected $112,639 during her career and is also responsible for Prairie Lee (Spy Hard, $122,628) and Owosso Flash (Royel Millennium, $138,096).
Prairie Sweetheart, who has amassed $197,636 and has yet to be headed in 14 trips to the gate, has a full younger sister in Prairie Cowgirl. That 2-year-old lady recently came home third in her Florida Breeders Stake championship with John MacDonald holding the lines for Deters, but from the way he reverently speaks of her older sister, Prairie Cowgirl is going to have a tough time receiving the same sort of esteem.
“She raced very, very well,” he said. “We think she will also be a very nice horse for next year. You can have all kinds of horses in the barn and you do over the years, but when you have a couple like that you are very fortunate. They don’t come along very often.”