04/21/2007 11:00PM

Filly shows Mineshaft can produce speed


LEXINGTON, Ky. - A powerful and precocious filly by Horse of the Year Mineshaft topped the Keeneland sale of select 2-year-olds in training on Tuesday with a bid of $1.75 million from B. Wayne Hughes.

The good-looking bay filly had equaled the record of 9.6 seconds for a furlong at a breeze show on April 9. Her obvious speed, combined with a fine pedigree and pleasing conformation, sent her value into the stratosphere.

Seth Semkin, who advises Hughes about his racing program and prospects, said that the Mineshaft filly "had a great deal of talent, ran well in her breeze, and looked like she did it within herself. She had a lot of strength and galloped out really well around the turn" to complete a quarter-mile in 20.24.

Gallop-out times such as that have become increasingly important at the select sales of 2-year-olds in training. As a young horse continues to run past the finish line and around the turn, the gallop-out times indicate how well a horse is carrying its speed and how well it might compete at distances past the one or two furlongs typically breezed at juvenile sales. Increasingly, gallop-out times are one of the factors that can push the prices of the premium lots into the seven-figure range.

Other factors contributing to the filly's price as the leading sales horse at Keeneland April were her conformation and pedigree.

When inspected at Keeneland, the sale topper was a truly robust filly with a bold eye and confident demeanor.

"She is an exceptional physical specimen, very stout," Semkin said. "I don't know if I've ever seen a better one at a 2-year-old sale."

One of the things many breeders would not have expected to see at a 2-year-old sale was such a fast filly by Mineshaft, a son of A.P. Indy who matured somewhat late and was especially effective at distances beyond a mile. The stallion also had a handsome and well-balanced colt who breezed a furlong in 10.2 seconds. With his good looks and sharp speed, the "other" Mineshaft brought a half-million dollars from Dennis O'Neill, as agent for Paul Reddam.

Although some of his offspring are showing early speed, Mineshaft was thoroughly typical of his sire, A.P. Indy, a winner of the Belmont Stakes and Breeders' Cup Classic who became the Eclipse Award winner as top 3-year-old and Horse of the Year.

Last year's leading North American sire by gross earnings, A.P. Indy is perhaps the most consistently classic sire in American breeding today. Even so, A.P. Indy sired an outstanding but atypical filly in his first crop of foals. One of the stallion's nine juvenile winners was a blazing fast filly named A.P. Assay, who later became a graded stakes winner sprinting. Although A.P. Indy has sired relatively few sprinters from his 100 stakes winners, nearly all have speed they can use in a race, which helps to make them more effective racehorses.

From the performance of the sale topper at Keeneland, it would appear that Mineshaft has a potential top-quality speed filly from his first crop, just like his famous sire.

Semkin concurred on the prospects for Mineshaft.

"We thought she had a very good sire, even though he hasn't had any runners," he said. "He was a first-class horse himself."

Adding to the filly's credits, she is also out of the Forty Niner mare Stylish Talent, who was third in the Grade 1 Oak Leaf Stakes as a 2-year-old. Stylish Talent had the precocity to win and race prominently at 2. She has passed on these athletic traits to her daughter, who also has inherited the strongly muscled contours of champion juvenile Forty Niner.

If all goes well, Hughes soon will be shipping his new acquisition to California for training by Richard Mandella.

Semkin said the filly "has shipped to Spendthrift and will lay up there for eight or 10 days, and then she'll go into training. The hope is that she will go right on and be in the thick of the big filly stakes."

Among the traits which will assist this filly in her climb toward stakes success are her good stride qualities.

In her breeze, the filly showed a stride length of more than 24 feet and attained a speed of more than 46 miles per hour, according to data provided by DataTrack International, which computes BreezeFigs for workouts by juveniles in training. The BreezeFig for the Keeneland sales leader was a sparkling 72.

The filly's speed is her greatest asset as a potential top 2-year-old, but she also has a great attitude.

"Every time we went to look at her, she stood calmly and walked around like a princess," Semkin noted. "She seemed to take the noise and activity of the sales environment well."

That poise can only help her as she begins racing and takes on more competitive challenges.