05/23/2012 3:54PM

Nates Mineshaft headed for Lone Star Handicap

Amanda Weir/Hodges Photography
Nates Mineshaft, with Jesse Campbell riding, wins the New Orleans Handicap.

Nates Mineshaft is headed to the Grade 3, $300,000 Lone Star Park Handicap on Monday after breezing for the race Wednesday at Churchill Downs. His trainer, Austin Smith, was working on travel arrangements for the horse the same morning. Nates Mineshaft, who won the Grade 2 New Orleans Handicap in April, has raced once since, finishing sixth in the Grade 2 Alysheba at Churchill Downs.

“He worked very well this morning,” Smith said Wednesday. “We’re trying to work out plane reservations. We’re going to make it there one way or another.”

Nates Mineshaft, who worked a half-mile in 48 seconds, turned in a powerhouse performance in the New Orleans Handicap at Fair Grounds. He led the field throughout for a more than seven-length win April 1, and earned a Beyer Speed Figure of 113. The effort made him one of the top choices in the Alysheba, the May 4 race in which he never made the lead and finished 20 lengths behind winner Successful Dan.

“There was a horse in there that everybody knew was just going to the front for no reason,” Smith said, noting that he had instructed jockey Jesse Campbell, ‘Don’t chase the 80-1,’ and Nates Mineshaft just didn’t rate.”

The tactics will be different in the Lone Star.

“He’ll go to the front,” said Smith.

Nates Mineshaft used his speed to his advantage all season at Fair Grounds, winning a $25,000 conditioned claiming race, an allowance, the Grade 3 Mineshaft, and the New Orleans Handicap in a streak of four straight wins that started in December.

Nates Mineshaft races for Windy Hill Farm. He is a 5-year-old ridgling by Mineshaft. Nates Mineshaft is a winner of 6 of 14 starts and $418,806. He is also a half-brother to Mr. Trieste, a nine-time stakes winner who won 15 of 37 starts and $602,429 while spending most of his career in New Mexico. Both horses are from the multiple stakes-winning mare Angel’s Tearlet.

The Lone Star, to be run at 1 1/16 miles, had seven probables as of Thursday, said Lone Star’s racing secretary, Mike Shamburg. The potential field with weights is: Nates Mineshaft, 121 pounds; Marilyn’s Guy (120); Get In Da House (118); Golden Yank (118); Imco Spirit (116); Fog Alert (115); Night Party (115).

◗ The popular and free “Jockeys & Java” morning training and interview program at Lone Star will be held for the first time this meet on Saturday. It is on the apron, and begins at 8:30 a.m. Central.

◗ Youcannotbeserious and G G’s Girl will each be going for their fourth straight wins when they run in Friday night’s featured sixth race at Lone Star. The first-level allowance for fillies and mares is at seven furlongs. Both horses are trained by Karl Broberg.

◗ Goldikova’s half-brother, Ocean Seven, goes in a $15,000 starter allowance at 1 1/8 miles on turf Friday night at Lone Star.