03/06/2017 2:00PM

Mineshaft and son dominate recent preps

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Debra A. Roma
J Boys Echo wins the Grade 3 Gotham on Saturday.

As the great stallion A.P. Indy contentedly lives out his days as a pensioner at Lane’s End Farm in Versailles, Ky., his legacy to the breed is already more than secure, thanks to his sons and grandsons at stud who continue to make headlines and new representatives looking to join the ranks.

His son Malibu Moon sired Kentucky Derby winner Orb, now a freshman sire of 2017. The late Pulpit not only produced North America’s reigning leading sire, Tapit, but also Lucky Pulpit, the sire of two-time Horse of the Year and new stallion California Chrome. A.P. Indy is also the sire of successful stallions Bernardini, Congrats, and Flatter; his champion son Honor Code entered stud last year.

Yet for all the accomplishments of these stallions, one of A.P. Indy’s sons stands alone with his unique credentials.

Mineshaft, who resides in the stall directly across the aisle from his sire at Lane’s End, is the only one of A.P. Indy’s offspring to follow his sire’s hoofprints as Horse of the Year, securing the golden statue for the 2003 season. Mineshaft is now a successful sire himself, and perhaps a sire of sires. He took a turn in the spotlight on Saturday, as he and his son Dialed In, last year’s leading freshman sire, swept the day’s three stakes races for Kentucky Derby hopefuls.

Mineshaft’s son J Boys Echo upset the Grade 3 Gotham Stakes at Aqueduct by 3 1/2 lengths; the 50 Kentucky Derby qualifying points he earned with the victory essentially lock up a berth in the spring classic. The Gotham was the first stakes victory for J Boys Echo, a $485,000 Keeneland September yearling purchase for Albaugh Family Stables. He previously finished third in the Grade 3 Withers Stakes at Aqueduct.

“This horse hasn’t been the easiest of horses,” trainer Dale Romans said. “He’s been a project for [assistant Tammy Fox], and she’s done a great job getting him around and getting us here.”

J Boys Echo is the latest stakes winner for Mineshaft, who was bred in partnership by Lane’s End’s W.S. Farish along with James Elkins and W.T. Webber Jr. He began his career in France, where he was Group 3-placed. He later came to the U.S. and put together a record of 9-7-2-0 to earn championship honors in 2003, posting Grade 1 victories in the Pimlico Special, Suburban Handicap, Woodward Stakes, and Jockey Club Gold Cup.

Since entering stud in 2004 at Lane’s End, Mineshaft has sired 45 stakes winners and another 45 stakes-placed runners, with standouts including Grade 1 winners Bond Holder, Dialed In, Discreetly Mine, Effinex, It’s Tricky, and Weep No More; Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Sprint winner Hightail; and classic-placed Fly Down and Nehro.

Dialed In was also active on the Kentucky Derby trail for Mineshaft in 2011, winning the Grade 3 Holy Bull Stakes and the Grade 1 Florida Derby. Now standing at Darby Dan Farm, he edged out Lane’s End’s Union Rags on the freshman earnings list last year thanks to Gunnevera, who captured a pair of graded stakes. The colt returned to finish second in his 3-year-old debut in the Holy Bull before romping by 5 3/4 lengths in last Saturday’s Fountain of Youth Stakes at Gulfstream.

The leader on the Kentucky Derby points list, Gunnevera has already earned $1,075,200 in his young career.

“He’s a very professional horse,” jockey Javier Castellano said after the Fountain of Youth. “He’s a 3-year-old horse, but he acts like a 6-year-old. He’s an old pro.”

Dialed In could add another first-crop Kentucky Derby starter with It’s Your Nickel, who improved to 3 for 4 for his career by winning the John Battaglia Memorial Stakes by 6 1/2 lengths Saturday night at Turfway Park. The race is the final local prep for the Grade 3 Spiral Stakes on March 25, which offers 50 Derby points to the winner.