Mineshaft Tunes Up for Stephen Foster

Expected Stephen Foster Handicap (gr. I) favorite Mineshaft turned in a spectacular work Tuesday, breezing five furlongs in :59.60 over a fast Churchill Downs track. The move under exercise rider Annie Finney came just after the regular break for track maintenance and was the fastest of 31 at that distance.

"He went really, really well -- nice and easy," said trainer Neil Howard. "He usually does things in hand and today was no different. I didn't know he would go in 59-and-change, but he went good. Those kind of horses work like that. He did it well and the last quarter was phenomenal."

Fractional times for the 4-year-old son of A. P. Indy were :12.40, :24.60, :36.80, and :48.20. Mineshaft galloped out six furlongs in 1:13.20.

Mineshaft has a career record of 7-2-1 from 14 starts for owner William S. Farish's Lane's End Farm. He has earned $912,102.

Jockey Robby Albarado will have the mount aboard Mineshaft with a 123 pound weight assignment.

Mineshaft wasn't the only Stephen Foster candidate on the track Tuesday. Colonial Colony and Full Mandate each worked.

Lakeside Farms' Colonial Colony breezed five firuongs in 1:01.80 under jockey Willie Martinez. The 5-year-old son of Pleasant Colony, who is trained by Walter Binder, has one win in four races in 2003, but ran a close second in the National Jockey Club Handicap (gr. III) at Hawthorne.

Fog City Stable and Padua Stable's Full Mandate breezed four furlongs in :47.80 under jockey Lonnie Meche. The work by the Steve Asmussen-trained son of A.P. Indy, a $3.2 million yearling purchase who won the Black Tie Affair at Arlington last time out, ranked sixth among 42 moves at the distance.

In other Stephen Foster news, trainer Murray Johnson is searching for a jockey to pilot Perfect Drift. Kent Desormeaux was scheduled to ride the Dynaformer gelding, but Johnson said a riding commitment in Japan would prevent that from happening.

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