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Nate honors dad with Mineshaft upset
Saturday, February 25, 2012

Windy Hill Farm's Nates Mineshaft, the longest shot on the board at 13-1, did his 2003 Horse of the Year-winning father proud by scoring in the race named in his honor, the Grade 3, $125,000 Mineshaft Handicap, at Fair Grounds on Saturday. Taking a lead no one else wanted, Nates Mineshaft set slow fractions of :25 1/5, :49 1/5, and 1:13 2/5, and then had plenty of gas in the tank to repel a stretch bid from Fast Alex to score by 2 3/4 lengths under Jesse Campbell. The final time for 1 1/16 miles on a fast track was 1:43. Nates Mineshaft returned $29.60, $11.20 and $4.

"This horse has gotten so good," Campbell said. "He's improved so much in such a short time. He used to be a little rank. He lets me ride him now and the horse is just full of confidence."

Nates Mineshaft's victory was made somewhat easier following the unfortunate breakdown of 5-2 favorite Thiskyhasnolimit, who was tracking in second when he was pulled up around the half-mile pole. After the incident, Fast Alex assumed the runner-up position and was the only serious challenger to Nates Mineshaft thereafter. He was unable to make considerable headway, but safely held second by 1 1/2 lengths over Alma d'Oro, who was forced to check after the incident involving Thisskyhasnolimit. A nose behind in fourth was California invader Tres Borrachos, with Mister Marti Gras the last horse across the wire.

Mineshaft, who won the Grade 2 New Orleans Handicap and the Diplomat Way Handicap at Fair Grounds during his national championship season, ran second that year in the Grade 3 Whirlaway Handicap, which was renamed in his honor following his retirement to stud.

Nates Mineshaft is now a perfect four-for-four over the Fair Grounds main track. He preceded this initial stakes triumph with an allowance win over the strip in January 2011, a conditioned $25,000 claimer on December 28 and a $40,000 optional claimer on January 19. He was unplaced in all three prior stakes attempts, his best finishes being fourths in the Oak Hall and Evangeline Mile, both at Evangeline Downs, last summer. Previously trained by the likes of Wayne Kaminski, Barbara Barclay and Martin Rosado, Nates Mineshaft now resides in the barn of  Austin Smith.

"If you saw the last race, he was worth the opportunity to try him in here," Smith said. "He just dominated that bunch. It wasn't anything like this bunch but he is four-for-four on the racetrack and we were here and didn't have to ship anywhere so we took a shot."

Produced by the multiple stakes-winning Angel's Tearlet, a daughter of Silver Deputy, Nates Mineshaft is a three-quarter brother to multiple stakes winner Mr. Trieste. He was bred in Kentucky by Cobra Farm.

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