02/19/2011 7:08PM

Demarcation rallies to victory in Mineshaft

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Hodges Photography/Lynn Roberts
Demarcation (left), winning the Mineshaft, could make his next start in the New Orleans Handicap, according to trainer Paul McGee.

NEW ORLEANS - There's nothing flashy about Demarcation, but in a 37-start career, the 7-year-old gelding has banged out 10 wins for earnings of more than $625,000, and he rallied from last on Saturday to capture the Grade 3, $121,250 Mineshaft Handicap by a head over favored Mission Impazible.

"He's a sound horse, easy to gallop, easy to get along with in the barn," said winning trainer Paul McGee, who has sent Demarcation out to successful tilts on dry dirt, wet dirt, synthetic, and turf.

Mad Flatter, a pace player, was scratched from the Mineshaft, but the early fractions in the 1 1/16- mile race still were demanding. Mission Impazible, winner of the 2010 Louisiana Derby, set out for the early lead, but soon was engaged from the outside by Z Humor, the pair setting fast fractions of 23.35 seconds for the first quarter-mile, and 46.75 for the opening half. At about the half-mile pole, with Z Humor a half-length or so in front, jockey Rajiv Maragh on Mission Impazible let his pace rival go, taking back a touch and coming back around on the outside. That move conserved a little energy -- but not enough.

Under Rosie Napravnik, Demarcation swung into action past the three-furlong pole, reached contention at the top of the stretch, and pushed past Mission Impazible just after the eighth pole. Mission Impazible fought back once headed, but could not regain the lead.

Demarcation, owned by the Amerman Racing Stable, paid $7.60 to win, and was timed in 1:43.45. Mission Impazible finished 2 1./2 lengths clear of Apart, who loomed at the top of the stretch but had no final punch. Z Humor was fourth, followed by Le Grand Cry and Midnight Mischief.

McGee said the winner probably would be pointed to the New Orleans Handicap next month.