03/17/2008 12:00AM

Mineshaft's first crop coming into its own



As a freshman stallion last year, Mineshaft had offspring who were not expected to make a big splash as juveniles, but they are beginning to develop at 3, as suggested by the Fountain of Youth Stakes winner, Cool Coal Man. On March 9, Shafter, a 3-year-old filly by Mineshaft, won a six-furlong Aqueduct maiden race by 2 1/2 lengths at 9-2. Out of the Silver Ghost mare Marital Spook, Shafter is a half-sister to stakes-winning sprinter-miler Yonaguska, as well as stakes winners Call It Off and Halo Homewrecker and stakes-placed Cherokee Spook. Shafter's dam is a half-sister to five stakes winners: Cat's at Home, Honor the Hero, Prenup, Giant Wrecker, and Capitalimprovement. Shafter should only get better with maturity and more distance.

* Three races after Shafter won a maiden race, Ophite, a 3-year-old filly by Yonaguska, won a six-furlong maiden race by 4 1/2 lengths at 3-1. Ophite is out of the Fortunate Prospect mare Fortunately Fast, and her fourth dam, Aphonia, was a half-sister to a champion racemare, Gamely. Aphonia produced stakes winner Sitzmark, as well as the good speed influence Cutlass.

* Visionaire won the Gotham Stakes on March 8 by rallying from far back over a sealed, sloppy track, and the 3-year-old colt by Grand Slam (by Gone West) is firmly on the Kentucky Derby trail. Visionaire was coming off a third-place finish in the Risen Star Stakes behind Pyro, and while he has shown talent, there is a serious question about his ability to get 1 1/4 miles. His sire is predominantly a speed influence, and his first three damsires - French Deputy, Silver Badge and Princely Pleasure - don't add very much stamina. Nevertheless, Visionaire has looked impressive thus far. and his next Derby prep, at nine furlongs, should reveal whether he may be capable of winning at 1 1/4 miles.

* Spurrier won a one-mile and 70-yard optional claiming allowance on March 5, and this 3-year-old colt by Dixieland Band is out of the Valiant Nature mare Humble, a half-sister to Rose Park, the dam of Metropolitan Handicap winner Wild Rush.

Bay Meadows

Private Dreams won a six-furlong optional claiming allowance on March 8, going wire-to-wire to win by 3 1/2 lengths over five other fillies. A 4-year-old filly by speed influence Johannesburg, she has as her dam Private Colors, a full sister to undefeated Hall of Fame member Personal Ensign. She was making her first start since running 10th in the San Clemente Handicap on July 28, 2007.

Fair Grounds

On March 6, Sativa won a maiden race at about one mile on the turf, and the Horse Chestnut 4-year-old filly out of a Riverman mare has a pedigree with hidden turf influences on top and bottom. But the filly to keep an eye on is Le Entourage, who was second at 27-1 in her career debut. By last year's leading stallion, Smart Strike, she is out of a Theatrical mare and is from the female family that produced Luth de Saron, Roi Normand, and Trampoli.

* Proud Citizen had a good day on March 8, when two members from his first crop won impressively. In addition to Proud Spell, who won the Fair Ground Oaks over the previously unbeaten juvenile champion filly Indian Blessing, Proud Citizen is also the sire of Proud Kentuckian, a 3-year-old colt who won a one-mile and 40-yard maiden race by three lengths. Proud Kentuckian is out of the Skywalker mare Paris Sky, a half-sister to Brancusi, who was second in the Blue Grass Stakes. His third dam, Trezieme, won the Group 1 Grand Criterium Stakes.


Mineshaft had another winner, at Gulfstream on March 8, when Dixie Miner won a nine-furlong maiden race by a head. Dixie Miner is out of the Dixieland Band mare Dixie Holiday, and is thus a half-sister to stakes winner Holiday Runner.

* Big Brown, who won a one-mile allowance on March 5 by 12 3/4 lengths, has tongues wagging in Florida. By a speed influence, Boundary, Big Brown is being considered for the Florida Derby off his scintillating performance. Winner of his only start last year at 2 at Saratoga, Big Brown is out of the winning Nureyev mare Mien, who is inbred 4x5 to an influential broodmare, Rough Shod II, through her daughter Thong and her full brother Lt. Stevens. Rough Shod II is also the dam of a champion and co-Horse of the Year Moccasin, a full sister to Thong, Lt. Stevens, and major stakes winner Ridan.

* Rejoicing, a 4-year-old filly by speed influence Forestry, won a six-furlong maiden race by three lengths as the 3-1 second choice on March 6. Rejoicing is out of the Mr. Prospector mare Pennant Champion, a full sister to Miner's Mark, Our Emblem, and Traditionally and a half-sister to My Flag. Rejoicing's second dam is champion Personal Ensign.

* On March 9, Daddy Rabbit, a 3-year-old colt by Forestry, won a nine-furlong maiden race on the turf at 7-1. Daddy Rabbit gets stamina from his damsire, Lord at War, and his stakes-winning dam, Under the Rug, descends from the Christiana Farm female family of champion Go for Wand.

Santa Anita

Mineshaft had another winner at Santa Anita on March 9 when Forest Prince, a 3-year-old colt out of the Forest Wildcat mare Forest Heiress, won a maiden race at about 6 1/2 furlongs on the downhill turf course. Forest Heiress was a multiple-stakes-winning full sister to stakes winners Wildcat Heir and Forest Heir. This is the same family that produced a Preakness winner, Louis Quatorze, and a Hall of Fame member, Nashua.