Mineshaft Draws Outside in Stephen Foster
The Neil Howard-trained son of 1992 Horse of the Year A.P. Indy drew the outside post in the 1 1/8-mile race, but still hasbeen installed as the strong 8-5 morning line favorite. The race is the centerpiece of "Stephen Foster Super Saturday," which includes three other stakes events and total stakes purses of $1.35 million.
The four races, which also include the $300,000-added Fleur De Lis (gr. II), $200,000-added Regret (gr. III), and the $100,000-added Northern Dancer, will be linked in a special All-Stakes Pick Four that will carry a guaranteed minimum pool of $250,000. Post time for the first race is 1:15 p.m. (EDT).
Mineshaft began his racing career on the grass in England, but has won six of seven races since he arrived at Howard's barn at Churchill Downs last fall. That string of success includes consecutive stakes wins in the Pimlico Special, Keeneland's Ben Ali (gr. III), and the New Orleans Handicap (gr. II) at the Fair Grounds.
Robby Albarado has ridden the colt in all of his U.S. races.
"He's getting better every race," said Albarado. "I don't think he's peaked yet. His best races are still aheadof him."
The American exploits by Mineshaft have lifted his career record to 7-2-1 in 14 races and his earnings now total $912,102. Mineshaft will carry highweight of 123 pounds and will concede from three to 13 pounds to his rivals.
The main rival to Mineshaft may be Flaxman Holdings Ltd's Aldebaran, who hails from the white-hot stable of Hall of Fame trainer Bobby Frankel.
The 5-year-old son of Mr. Prospector comes into the Stephen Foster in career-best form and has scored successive victories in the Churchill Downs Handicap (gr. II) and Belmont Park's prestigious Metropolitan Handicap (gr. I).
Jerry Bailey will ride Aldebaran, who has been assigned 120 pounds.
The Stephen Foster field also features Proud Citizen and Perfect Drift, the 2-3finishers from last year's Kentucky Derby (gr. I).
Proud Citizen is looking to snap a five-race losing streak for Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas. Perfect Drift returns to the dirt after a pair of turf outings for trainer Murray Johnson.
The field for the Stephen Foster Handicap (gr. I)
Post, Horse, Weight, Jockey, Odds
1. Bonus Pack, 112, Shane Sellers, 15-1
2. Slider, 112, Jon Court, 15-1
3. Colonial Colony, 112, Willie Martinez, 20-1
4. Crafty Shaw, 112, Calvin Borel, 15-1
5. Full Mandate, 113, Lonnie Meche, 20-1
6. Woodmoon, 110, John McKee, 20-1
7. Unbridled Vision, 110, Larry Melancon, 20-1
8. Aldebaran, 120, Jerry Bailey, 5-2
9. Perfect Drift, 115, Pat Day, 5-1
10. Consistency, 112, Mark Guidry, 15-1
11. Proud Citizen, 115, Cornelio Velasquez, 12-1
12. Mineshaft, 123, Robby Albarado, 8-5