Mineshaft Revival Continues

Mineshaft (TrueNicks,SRO)’s first two years with runners didn’t go exactly the way supporters of the Horse of the Year might have hoped. However, the following year, 2009, he began a revival that gained further pace in 2010, and juding by the victory of Dialed In in the Holy Bull Stakes (gr. III) at the weekend, is set to maintain momentum in the coming year.

Actually, on reflection, the first crop sired by Mineshaft was not at all bad. From what these days counts as a relatively modest crop of 69 foals, he sired five stakes winners, including Cool Coal Man, a graded winner of over $900,000; Casino Drive, an impressive winner of the Peter Pan Stakes (gr. II), but whose subsequent career was compromised by injury; and graded stakes-winning and grade I-placed Coal Play (TrueNicks,SRO). The second crop produced seven stakes winners from 73 foals (very near the these days rarely attained 10% stakes winners to foals figure), including multiple graded winner Redding Colliery. The third crop of 76 foals has so far yielded the graded I-winning speedster Discreetly Mine (TrueNicks,SRO), and five other stakes winners, including classic-placed millionaire Fly Down, and stakes-winning Bonnie Blue Flag.

Dialed In was making only his second lifetime start in the Holy Bull, and judging from his off-the-pace running style, he should have no problem stretching out at least a little further, although his dam was a speedy and precocious two-year-old. He is the first stakes winner for the sire from 13 foals out of mares by Storm Cat, but the broader cross of A.P. Indy (TrueNicks,SRO) line stallions with Storm Cat mares has been pretty solid, with 14 stakes winners from 159 starters, the most notable being Sky Mesa (TrueNicks,SRO) and Jump Start. Dialed In has a pretty classy pedigree, as his dam, who also produced the Astoria Stakes winner Broadway Gold, is a graded-placed – third Schuylerville Stakes (gr. II) – daughter of Champion Two-Year-Old Filly Eliza. Apart from that, it caught our eye that Dialed In has a double of Secretariat, and a cross of what was Bold Ruler’s second-best staying son, Bold Bidder (bred on similar lines to Secretariat). This pair appear together in more than 100 stakes winners, including 18 grade I scorers. Incidentally, as noted in several places elsewhere, Dialed In is trained by Nick Zito for Robert LaPenta, a duo who seem to have a real predilection for Mineshaft’s stock, or the knack of picking the right ones, as they’ve had four of the horse’s graded winners, and a stakes-placed horse, while Zito also trains Fly Down for different connections.

A six furlong stakes-winning colt who has the paper to go further is Wicked Thunder, who this weekend took the Dancing Count Stakes at Laurel. He is by Thunder Gulch (TrueNicks,SRO), out of Wicked Looking, an unraced Dixieland Band mare who is three-parts-sister to A Lady From Dixie, a grade II scorer who tallied at up to nine furlongs. The granddam is Seattle Slew half sister to not only A Lady From Dixie, but also Champion Older Horse The Wicked North, and Wild And Wicked, who took the Ohio Derby (gr. II). It’ll be interesting to see if his connections try and stretch him out.

On the same afternoon as Dialed In took the Holy Bull, Pomeroy’s Pistol, from the first crop of Florida stallion Pomeroy (TrueNicks,SRO) (by Boundary, by Danzig), garnered the laurels in the Forward Gal Stakes. Pomeroy had 25 individual two-year-old winners last year – tied for top with Congrats (TrueNicks,SRO) and Sharp Humor (TrueNicks,SRO) among freshman – and they also included stakes winner Positive Response, whose already added a decisive win in the California Derby. Another smart-looking Pomeroy is the colt Flashpoint, who debuted with a very impressive win at Aqueduct. Pomeroy’s Pistol is the first stakes winner out of a mare by Point Given (TrueNicks,SRO), and has pretty interesting pattern: Pomeroy is a Northern Dancer/Mr. Prospector cross (which itself combines Nearco/Polynesian – in Northern Dancer – and Polynesian/Nearco – in Mr. Prospector – crosses). Pomeroy’s Pistol’s dam, Prettyatthetable’s paternal grandsire, Thunder Gulch, is a Mr. Prospector/Northern Dancer cross, her maternal grandsire, Deposit Ticket, is a Northern Dancer/Mr. Prospector cross, and Prettyatthetable herself is a Mr. Prospector/Northern Dancer cross.

Saturday was also Sunshine Millions Day. The big prize went to the Montbrook four-year-old Tackleberry. His pedigree is interesting as his fourth dam, Old Bess, is also third dam of Montbrook. Old Bess never won a race herself, and had a pedigree (by Vincentive, out of a Kai-Finn mare) that was not exactly fashionable, even back in 1948, when she was foaled. For Ocala Farms – where branches of the family have flourished ever since – she produced the National Stallion Stakes winner O’Calaway (by Rough’n Tumble). However, she’s gone on to become ancestress of a slew of stakes winners, including the grade I winners Outofthebox, Mighty Appealing and Halo’s Image.

Duplicating Old Bess is one example of inbreeding to a mare that does work, as there are four graded stakes winners – Outofthebox and Tackleberry, and two-year-old scorers Beacon Shine and Jardin – from just 16 starters with the pattern. They are from three different broodmare sire lines too, as Outofthebox has a dam by Notebook, Tackleberry’s dam is by Concerto, and the siblings Beacon Shine and Jardin are out of mares by Valid Appeal.

One time 2010 classic hope, Caracortado upset grade I winner The Usual Q. T. in the Sunshine Millions Turf. He’s by the Storm Cat horse Cat Dreams (TrueNicks,SRO) (out of J J’sdream), who is now in Indiana, out of Maria’s Mon mare, and TrueNicks A++. Oddly enough, he’s another with Secretariat and Bold Bidder. The other big winner of the series was Northern Afleet (TrueNicks,SRO), who had no less than three of the winners. Evening Jewel (TrueNicks A++), out of a Giant's Causeway (TrueNicks,SRO) mare, won the Sunshine Millions Distaff Stakes; Aegean (TrueNicks A), is out of a mare by Aptitude (dam by A.P. Indy); and the Sunshine Millions Sprint Stakes fell to Amazombie (out of an In Excess mare, and TrueNicks rated A), who scorched the still lightning quick Santa Anita strip – after a half in 42 and change – to clock 1:07.28.

We don’t get a lot of major stakes winners coming from Portland Meadows, but Alec’s Moon (TrueNicks A++), who took the Portland Downs Oaks by 6½ lengths, with the third horse nearly 11 lengths back, looks like she has the potential to make her mark against better. This was her third win in her last four starts, the other two coming in 5½-furlong allowance races at Hollywood Park. Alec’s Moon is out of a mare by Conquistador Cielo, so inbred 3x3 to Mr. Prospector. There has been a lot of discussion about the value of duplicating that horse as far as Malibu Moon (TrueNicks,SRO) is concerned, but when Conquistador Cielo is involved there doesn’t appear to be much question. Malibu Moon has two stakes winners from four starters out of Conquistador Cielo mares. There are six more starters out of mares by sons of Conquistador Cielo, and they include Champion Two-Year-Old Declan’s Moon, to take the total to three stakes winners from 10 starters on the cross.

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