Fair Grounds was the site of Mission Impazible’s biggest victory in last year’s Louisiana Derby (gr. II). After returning from the sidelines, the son of Unbridled's Song hopes to make another big score in New Orleans when he takes on Apart in the $125,000 Mineshaft Handicap (gr. III) on Feb. 19.
Mission Impazible and Apart top a field of nine in the 1 1/16-mile test, the second of four graded stakes on the Fair Grounds program. Post time is slated for 3:42 p.m. CDT.
Twin Creeks Racing Stable’s Mission Impazible set himself up for a run in the 2010 Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) with his narrow win in the Louisiana Derby. He wound up finishing ninth in the first leg of the Triple Crown but came out of that race with a bone chip in his knee, which he had surgically repaired and required him to miss the rest of the season.
After recuperating at Twin Creeks Farm in Kentucky, trainer Todd Pletcher brought the gray/roan colt down to Palm Meadows in Florida where he trained up to his 4-year-old debut. Mission Impazible ran a solid second in an optional claimer Jan. 23 at Gulfstream, an effort that should set him up well for the Mineshaft. Regular rider Rajiv Maragh will have the mount.
With a record a 2-2-2 from seven start and earnings of $533,854, Mission Impazible is out of the Hold Your Peace mare La Paz. He was bred in Kentucky by Summer Wind Farm.
Adele Dilschneider’s Apart, the 2-1 morning-line choice, has disappointed in his last two starts. The son of Flatter looked to be on the cusp of establishing himself as one of the top dirt horses in the country after three consecutive stakes wins—the Super Derby Prelude and Super Derby (gr. II) at Louisiana Downs, and Nov. 5 Ack Ack (gr. III) at Churchill Downs.
But Apart ran an uninspired eighth in the Clark Handicap (gr. I) to end his season and was the beaten 4-5 favorite in his 4-year-old debut in the Louisiana Handicap on Jan. 22. Garrett Gomez was aboard for the last three starts but trainer Al Stall Jr. has named Jesse Campbell, who was in the irons for the Super Derby, to ride this time.
The third, fourth, and fifth-place finishers of the Louisiana Handicap are also back. Jim Tafel’s homebred Country Flavor returns after being beaten 1 1/2 lengths in a fast-closing finish. The 5-year-old son of Empire Maker is a two-time stakes winner, including the Tenacious Handicap at Fair Grounds two starts back. Country Flavor will run as a coupled entry with Fast Alex, who is also owned Tafel and trained by Greg Geier.
Mad Flatter and Z Humor, fourth and fifth, respectively, were well beaten in the Louisiana Handicap.
Also in the mix is consistent 7-year-old Demarcation, who ran a good fourth in the Clark to end his season. With 22 in the money finishes from 36 starts, Demarcation has won nine times, including twice at Fair Grounds.
$125,000 Mineshaft Handicap (gr. III, Race 8, 3:42 p.m.), 4YO and Up, 1 1/16 Miles (Dirt) PP. Horse, Jockey, Weight, Trainer 1. Demarcation (KY), A R Napravnik, 119, P J McGee
2. Fast Alex (KY), S Bridgmohan, 114, G Geier
3. Mission Impazible (KY), R Maragh, 118, T A Pletcher
4. Apart (KY), J M Campbell, 120, A M Stall Jr.
5. Le Grand Cru (KY), J Theriot, 115, R W Werner
6. Z Humor (KY), G Melancon, 115, S M Asmussen
7. Midnight Mischief (KY), J R Leparoux, 113, W I Mott
8. Mad Flatter (FL), J Graham, 114, J D Thornbury
9. Country Flavor (KY), S J Sellers, 118, G Geier