Updated on 09/17/2011 11:32AM

Mineshaft shines in Pimlico Special

Mineshaft ($4.60) roars past Western Pride to a 3 3/4-length victory in the $600,000 Pimlico Special.

BALTIMORE - It was a sea of mud at Pimlico Race Course Friday, but the result of the $600,000 was crystal clear.

Mineshaft, in a powerful, dominating performance that stamped him as one of the best older horses in the country, roared past Western Pride at the top of the stretch and drew clear for a 3 3/4-length victory in the Grade 1 race to brighten an otherwise wet, miserable afternoon.

The victory, before an announced crowd of 16,153, was the third straight for Mineshaft and sixth in seven starts since his first North American outing last November. Racing on a sloppy track, Mineshaft was timed in 1:56.16 for 1 3/16 miles.

Mineshaft ($4.60) got a perfect trip under jockey Robby Albarado, who has been aboard Mineshaft since the 4-year-old A.P. Indy colt was repatriated from Great Britain. Mineshaft settled into third position early while Balto Star and Western Pride dueled through fractions of 23.09 seconds and 46.79 for the first half-mile.

"I was really glad to see Balto Star go out and press Western Pride," Albarado said.

Balto Star began to fade after five furlongs, but Mineshaft immediately advanced to put pressure on Western Pride, who led after six furlongs in 1:11.12. Those two raced together on the turn, before Mineshaft took over at the top of the stretch and drew away. He was in front by 1 1/2 lengths after one mile in 1:36.40.

"He's getting better every race," Albarado said. "If the Breeders' Cup Classic was this week, he'd be one of the favorites."

Western Pride, the second choice at 3-1, held on for second by a head over the fast-finishing Judge's Case, a 41-1 longshot. Hero's Tribute, the third choice in the race at 7-2, faded to eighth, and Balto Star was last in the nine-horse field.

"We always thought the world of this horse," said Neil Howard, who trains Mineshaft for Will Farish, Jim Elkins, and Temple Webber. "The reason I think that is that he's a model of consistency. Today was a big step."

It was also an important step from a breeding standpoint. With Mineshaft's regal pedigree, a Grade 1 win was called "paramount" by Howard. The colt's value skyrocketed more than the $400,000 he earned for winning the race.

"This is a big relief," Howard said. "These are the things that Mr. and Mrs. Farish strive for. This is a big day for Lane's End Farm and the Farishes."

Howard said Mineshaft would most likely make his next start in the Stephen Foster Handicap at Churchill Downs June 14.