(Mineshaft – Queen Randi, by Fly So Free) soared to a six length victory
in the 1 1/8 mile Dwyer Stakes (G-2) on Saturday in the local prep race
for the Belmont Stakes. The lightly raced colt, ridden by Jose Lezcano,
who is also the jockey for Fly Down’s stable mate Ice Box, soundly
defeated morning line favorite Drosselmeyer
who had no apparent excuse, and Remand
finished 1 ¼ lengths behind Drosselmeyer. Fly Down gave trainer Nick
Zito another contender for the Belmont Stakes, but both Fly Down and Ice
Box have similar running styles. In any event, winning at 1 1/8 miles,
no matter how impressively, does not guarantee an effective journey at 1
½ miles. Let’s take a look at Fly Down’s bloodlines and see if, at
least on paper, he has a shot to wear the Carnations on June 5.
Fly Down’s sire Mineshaft spent his early career in England. The son of
A.P. Indy was slow to mature and was unraced at two. As a three year
old, he broke his maiden gong a mile on the turf and two races later he
was third in the 1 1/16 miles Group 3 Prix Daphnis in France. Not living
up to his potential on turf, Mineshaft was shipped to the United States
where he won two allowance races on dirt. Mineshaft showed his true
talent as a four year old, winning the Jockey Cup Gold Cup (G-1),
Pimlico Special (G-1), Woodward Stakes (G-1), Suburban Handicap (G-1)
and clinching the 2003 Older Horse and Horse of the Year honors although
he was retired before the Breeders' Cup due to injury. At stud,
Mineshaft has four graded stakes winners from four crops of racing age.
He has several winners at 1 1/8 miles, but none at 1 ¼ miles or further.
Similar to his sire A.P. Indy, Mineshaft’s offspring are often slow to
develop, although occasionally, a Mineshaft progeny will flash a promise
of talent at age two, generally due to its distaff influences.
Fly Down’s damsire Fly So Free, a grandson of Damascus, won the
Champagne Stakes and Breeders’ Cup Juvenile at two. He became the
favorite for the Kentucky Derby after winning the Hutcheson, Fountain of
Youth and Florida Derby, but had a rough trip in the 1991 Derby and
finished fifth. Fly so Free was tough to beat up to 1 1/8 miles and put
up a good fight to finish second at 1 3/6 miles in the Pimlico Special
to his nemesis Kentucky Derby winner Strike the Gold, who he beat in the
Florida Derby and Jim Dandy Stakes.
Fly So Free stood less then ten years at stud due to heart problems, and
only 19 of his daughters have begot foals. As a broodmare sire, Fly So
Free’s offspring have won up to nine furlongs, however one daughter
produced the winner of a 1 ¼ mile Chilean Group 1 race.
Fly Down has a modest distaff family. He is a half brother to Seafree
(by Chief Seattle), winner of the LaCanada Stakes (G-2) at 1 1/8 miles.
His unraced dam Queen Randi is a half sister to three stakes placed
runners and her half sister produced two listed stakes winners. Fly
Down’s second dam Randi’s Queen raced, but never earned any black type
(stakes earnings). She is a half sister to a Grade 3 stakes winner.
Fly Down has won three of five starts with only one off the board
finish. This talented son of Mineshaft is a little light on stamina,
particularly on his distaff side. True, he carries the bloodlines of
Damascus and Mr. Prospector is his second damsire, but this colt will
likely be at his best up to 1 1/8 miles. His stalking style could propel
him further in a race laced with speed, but 1 ½ miles appears to be out
of his reach.
For more, visit Iron Maidens Thoroughbreds: http://www.ironmaidensthoroughbreds.com/