Updated on 09/17/2011 10:53AM

Mineshaft, Rock Slide were bred for success


LEXINGTON, Ky. - The full brothers Mineshaft and Rock Slide could have a blast this weekend. Mineshaft is the likely favorite in Saturday's Suburban Handicap at Belmont Park, and Rock Slide will race the same day in the Firecracker Handicap at Churchill Downs.

By A.P. Indy out of the splendid producer Prospectors Delite, by Mr. Prospector, Mineshaft and Rock Slide are the fourth and fifth stakes winners out of their dam from five foals to live. Will Farish, the United States ambassador to Great Britain, bred Prospectors Delite in Kentucky and raced her in partnership with James Elkins and Temple Webber. Prospectors Delite won the Acorn and Ashland stakes during her 3-year-old season, when she won 6 of 9 starts and was among the very best of her crop.

The mare's first foal was a Grade 1 winner, and Prospectors Delite produced Rock Slide and Mineshaft as her fourth and fifth foals. Yet despite the commercial incentives, neither went through the sales. Farish said that the partners chose not to sell Mineshaft and Rock Slide because "they were late foals and were immature at the time. I felt that they were horses who would develop into very athletic colts but that they wouldn't have done as well at the sale as they would if they had been older and bigger. So I decided to keep them and race them."

Mineshaft was sent to Europe for training. Farish said, "Mineshaft ran well on turf when he got a firm track [overseas] but always seemed to run into a very soft track. Although he wasn't comfortable with the soft turf, he always had trained brilliantly on the all-weather at John Gosden's. So, considering how much we thought of him, it made sense just to bring him home, and we laid out a plan for him to see if he was as good as we thought. And it has turned out very well."

From the beginning, Prospectors Delite gave notice that she was a broodmare of significance. Her first foal was a chestnut daughter from the initial crop of A.P. Indy that brought $575,000 at the Keeneland July sale in 1995.

Named Tomisue's Delight, the filly became a high-class racemare, winning twice at Grade 1 level and earning $1.2 million. Now she is a promising producer. Her first live foal is the Belong to Me filly who brought $2 million at last summer's Keeneland July yearling sale. In addition to being the highest-priced sales yearling last year by the Lane's End Farm stallion Belong to Me, the filly out of Tomisue's Delight, now named Possession, brought the fourth-highest price at the July sale and was the second-ranking filly in the U.S. last year by sales price.

John Ferguson bought the filly for Sheikh Mohammed's Godolphin, and she is currently in training with Eoin Harty in California. Possession is expected to race soon.

Prospectors Delite is one of seven stakes winners out of the grand broodmare Up the Flagpole, by champion Hoist the Flag. Easily one of Hoist the Flag's best-producing daughters, Up the Flagpole was a graded stakes winner on the racetrack. And four of Up the Flagpole's stakes winners won at the graded or group level. In addition to Prospectors Delite, Flagbird (by Nureyev) won at Group 1 level, and Runup the Colors (by A.P. Indy) won the Grade 1 Alabama.

The evidence of the racetrack has shown that this family crosses well with A.P. Indy, and it is a family that has served Lane's End with distinction. In addition to the trio of stakes winners by A.P. Indy, Prospectors Delite also produced stakes winner Delta Music (by Dixieland Band) and group winner Monashee Mountain (by Danzig). Monashee Mountain sold for $1 million as a yearling at Keeneland July, and the Group 3 winner now stands at Coolmore in Ireland.

The mare's only other foal, a Storm Cat colt of 2001, died as a foal, and lamentably Prospectors Delite herself foundered and was put down on June 21, 2001.

Thirty years earlier, Farish had purchased the Herbager mare The Garden Club, who was bred by Ogden Phipps and is the third dam of Rock Slide and Mineshaft. Phipps had acquired this family, which traces to La Troienne as the eighth dam of Mineshaft, as part of the purchase of Col. E.R. Bradley's bloodstock from Idle Hour Farm. Phipps, Greentree Stable, and King Ranch divided the Idle Hour stock, and each came away with gems.

Farish recalled, "It was early on when I was putting together my initial broodmare band that I acquired The Garden Club. Peggy Neloy, the wife of trainer Eddie Neloy, had the mare in foal to Bold Ruler, and I bought The Garden Club from her." The Garden Club produced the graded stakes winners Nostalgia and Up the Flagpole, as well as the listed stakes winner Blushing Cathy.

In addition to breeding Prospectors Delite and her dam Up the Flagpole, Farish also bred A.P. Indy and his dam Weekend Surprise in partnership with W.S. Kilroy. The partners typically sold their premium yearlings, and A.P. Indy was no exception. He went through the Keeneland July sale in 1990 for $2.9 million. Trained by Neil Drysdale, A.P. Indy won Grade 1 races at 2 and 3, including the Belmont Stakes and Breeders' Cup Classic. He earned nearly $3 million, was named Horse of the Year in 1992, and was syndicated to stand at Lane's End as a stallion.

Now second in stud fee only to Storm Cat, A.P. Indy stands for $300,000 live foal, and as a commercial sire, his standing is scarcely less eminent, as his yearlings of 2002 (bred on a $150,000 stud fee) averaged $421,833, with a median price of $297,500.