Windy Hill Farm’s Nates Mineshaft put
in his final work for next Saturday’s Grade I Arlington Million Sunday
morning by going a solid three furlongs in :36.60 along the inner rail
of the firm turf. With jockey E. T. Baird aboard, the son of Mineshaft
went his final eighth in :12 flat and galloped out in :49.80.
Photo: Eclipse Sportswire
Trainer Anne P. Smith was on
horseback watching the work from the outer rail. “E. T. and I spoke
beforehand and really wanted to get a sharp three-eighths, with a
two-minute lick and make sure he galloped out well. I really wanted to
make sure E. T. felt confident in what he had underneath of him going
into such a big race,” the conditioner said. “He came back in pretty
In her first year as a head trainer,
Smith will be trying to get the confirmed frontrunner to stretch a
quarter mile farther than he has ever competed on the grass. “He’s
holding up to what I have asked him to so far. I have been trying to
condition him be ready for the company and the distance. I feel that he
is prepared to the (optimal) level he can be,” she reported.
“I’m definitely respecting the
company who is coming,” mentioned Smith. “I really feel like (trainer
Richard) Mandella’s horse and Little Mike have to be respected.”
Richard Mandella is planning to run GusMay-Fer’s Argentinian champion
Indy Point in the Million, while Priscilla Vaccarezza’s defending
Million champion Little Mike is also on course for Saturday’s event.
Between now and next weekend, Smith
will do her best to prepare Nates Mineshaft for the toughest test of his
career and the biggest event of hers. “Whatever we feel like he needs
to feel fresh from now until the race, we will do. He will do some
light work and also get a few massages.”
The other impressive work of Sunday
morning was Team Block’s Ioya Bigtime, who worked five furlongs on the
turf in advance of his return date in the American St. Leger. With new
jockey Francisco Torres up, the son of Dynaformer worked in a solid 1:00
flat, with a gallop out in 1:12.60 for six furlongs.
Runner-up last year in the inaugural
St. Leger, the notoriously wayward worker was very relaxed under Torres,
who will ride the 6-year-old for the first time on Saturday. The work
also caught the attention of Arlington clocker Bobby Belpedio. “Ioya
Bigtime was really impressive today. He looked really good over the
turf and galloped out nice,” he reported.
Two other St. Leger pre-entrants,
Team Block’s Suntracer and Gary and Mary West’s Code of Conduct, put in
their final serious moves, as well. Also trained by Chris Block,
Suntracer went five furlongs in 1:01 flat with Eddie Castro, who has the
call in the St. Leger. The Wayne Catalano-trained Code of Conduct
worked along with stablemate sophomore filly Dance Team (who is being
aimed toward the $75,000 Hatoof Stakes on the Million Day undercard) and
both were timed in 1:02 flat for the same distance.