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Can Fly Down go 12 furlongs?

Fly Down (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 who 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/

 

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