Graded stakes placed Bradester returned to the winner’s circle Friday, with a performance that was just a tick off the track record at Gulfstream Park for the 1 1/16-mile distance.

The 4-year-old colt was broken and trained in Aiken by Cary Frommer, is owned by Joseph Sutton and trained at the racetrack by Eddie Kenneally. Friday’s performance was well-received by the bay colt’s connections.

“That was his first time racing in blinkers,” said Frommer.

The son of Lion Heart was on the 2013 Kentucky Derby trail, before an injury derailed his hopes, but strong performances during the summer and fall of his sophomore campaign, a second place finish in an allowance race at Saratoga after a 7 1/2-month layoff, and a determined effort, that saw him in front in the stretch and holding on for the place in the Grade 2 Indiana Derby in the fall, were promising signs that Bradester was nearing a return to his previous form.

“He was a Derby prospect, so we expected big things,” said Frommer. “He’s back on track.”

Irish Lion has been extremely consistent in his last three starts, two wins and one second, and he returned to the winner’s circle on Saturday, scoring a 1 1/4-length victory in a 1-mile allowance contest at Laurel Park for trainer Jamie Ness and owner Midwest Thoroughbreds Inc. The victory pushed the son of Lion Hearted’s earnings to $295,896.