05/20/2013 1:51PM

Arlington Park: Nates Mineshaft ready to return in Hanshin Cup

Reed Palmer Photography
Nates Mineshaft got a late fall/early winter break from training.

ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. – Nates Mineshaft, who for a period of about three months last year was one of the top horses in the country, is set to return from a lengthy layoff in the Hanshin Cup here at Arlington Park on Saturday.

Nates Mineshaft worked a half-mile in 50.20 seconds under E.T. Baird on Sunday here, a work that pleased his connections enough that they plan to enter Nates Mineshaft on Wednesday in the Hanshin, a one-turn mile on Polytrack.

“The work went really well,” said trainer Anne Smith, who regularly gallops and often works Nates Mineshaft herself. “The sixteenth before the wire and the sixteenth after was the best part of it. He galloped out strong.”

Nates Mineshaft – officially trained at the time by Smith’s husband, Austin – rose from total obscurity during the 2011-2012 Fair Grounds meet to become a tiger on the track, his winter in New Orleans culminating in a 7 1/4-length, track-record-setting performance in the New Orleans Handicap. Nates Mineshaft ran poorly in the Alysheba Stakes, but rebounded with a strong win in the Lone Star Park Handicap and a close third-place finish behind Wise Dan and Ron the Greek in the Grade 1 Stephen Foster.

But the Foster would prove to be the last start of Nates Mineshaft’s campaign. His owners, Windy Hill Farm, strongly desired to make the Breeders’ Cup last fall, and pushed hard to run Nates Mineshaft in the Hawthorne Gold Cup in October, but Austin Smith, feeling the horse wasn’t fit to run, scratched him the morning of the race. Nates Mineshaft then was sent to trainer Richard Mandella in California, but Breeders’ Cup dreams eventually were dashed, and Nates Mineshaft wound up turned out on a farm during late fall and early winter.

“He went down to Ocala in January, chilled out for a month there, and then went back into training at Classic Mile about the middle of February,” said Peter Scott, one of Nates Mineshaft’s owners.

Nates Mineshaft posted four timed workouts at Classic Mile, a training center in Florida, before shipping into Smith’s barn at Arlington, where he has now worked twice. In his only other synthetic-surface start, Nates Mineshaft finished fourth in a Turfway Park sprint, his first race after being turned over to Smith.

“Like any horse that’s been off this long, he might be a little sharp, and we’re just hoping he likes the Poly,” Scott said. “We’re really looking forward to running him again.”

Perl More than 1 year ago
I'd be nervous that he wasn't fit enough to run in the FG meet since he loves that track so much.
jttf More than 1 year ago
i would like to thank the connections for being so patient with this horse. keeping him off of lasix for so long will pay off in the long run. here we have evidence of a horse improving bigtime later on in his life. he was fun to watch last year.
Antonio Vazquez More than 1 year ago
Hope the best I know the horse.
Pete R More than 1 year ago
Good article except your comment about Austin Smith he did not scratch the horse he was told to scratch the horse after a lengthy conversation with principal owner, Pete Reiman. I asked Austin if the horse was OK after reading an interview in the DRF where Austin left a doubt if the horse was ready to run so after reading the article I asked Austin two times if the horse was ready to run & his comment each time was DO YOU WANT TO SCRATCH HIM? I told Austin it was his place to know if the horse was ready to run in the Gold Cup & he again asked me if I wanted to scratch him--of course after the third time he asked if I wanted to scratch him I told him to scratch him because I knew something was apparently wrong & after telling him to scratch him I fired him & made him scratch Jake Wil Gallop too. I want to emphasize it was not Austin Smith decision to scratch the horse it was the owners. All of this happened after I had driven 350 miles in a storm to watch the horse & Austin Smith had assured that the horse was fit & sound & ready to run. What happened in California had no association with scratching Nate's Mineshaft from The Gold Cup at Hawthorne.
D Lange More than 1 year ago
So when the horse went back into training, you gave it to his wife. Did I read that correctly.
Pete R More than 1 year ago
You read that correctly. Anne has been our trainer since Austin was relieved of his duties as our trainer. Pete Reiman
Bob Gorsky More than 1 year ago
Good luck Mr. Reiman. I wish you, Scott and the family all the best with Nate.