05/28/2012 7:30PM

Lone Star Park: Nates Mineshaft changes tactics to take Lone Star Handicap

Reed Palmer Photography
Jesse Campbell takes a peek in the stretch and sees his mount Nates Mineshaft is comfortably in front in the Lone Star Handicap.

GRAND PRAIRIE, Texas - Nates Mineshaft returned to his front-running ways one race after a 20-length defeat and the result was a cruising, 7 1/4-length win in the Grade 3, $300,000 Lone Star Park Handicap on Monday. Get in Da House finished second in the 1 1/16- mile race, edging Night Party by a half-length. The handicap was the richest race of the meet at Lone Star Park.

Nates Mineshaft ($5.40) flashed considerable talent back in April, when he won the Grade 2 New Orleans Handicap with a Beyer Speed Figure of 113. One start later, he finished a distant sixth in the Grade 2 Alysheba at Churchill Downs, a performance his trainer, Austin Smith, blamed himself for after instructing jockey Jesse Campbell to take the horse off the pace to avoid dueling with a longshot.

Smith changed tactics Monday, and Nates Mineshaft was on the lead soon after the start, easily clear through an opening quarter in 25.11 seconds. He proceeded to lead the field through fractions of 49.20 for the half-mile and 1:11.97 for six furlongs before opening up through the stretch, to win in hand in 1:42.91.

“I had a big smile going into the first turn, a bigger one at the sixteenth pole,” said Campbell.

Nates Mineshaft earned $174,000 for  his seventh win from 15 starts. He has now earned $592,806. He races for Windy Hill Farm.

“I think the horse just keeps getting better and better,” said Smith. “That was trainer error last time. I took him out of his game.”

Nates Mineshaft, a 5-year-old ridgling by Mineshaft,  had won four consecutive races up to the Alysheba, including the Grade 3 Mineshaft at Fair Grounds.

“He’s gotten to be a very confident and very kind horse,” said Campbell. “I think the job Austin has done - he’s in sharp form - says what this barn is doing for this animal.”

Nates Mineshaft shipped in from Kentucky for the Lone Star. Marilyns Guy finished fourth in the race, followed by Golden Yank, Apart, Fog Alert, and Imco Spirit.

Attendance ontrack was 10,673.