Wanderin Boy comes home first in Mineshaft.

Wanderin Boy comes home first in Mineshaft.

Lou Hodges, Jr

Zito's Wanderin Boy Dominates Mineshaft

(from Fair Grounds report)
The lightly raced Wanderin Boy passed his first stakes test with flying colors, leading every step of the way to take the $100,000 Mineshaft Handicap (gr. III) at Fair Grounds Race Course Saturday.

Wanderin Boy, with Larry Melancon aboard, took control from the outset, dictating the field of nine down the backstretch and into the far turn through solid fractions of :23.29, :46.22, 1:10.94. Pollard's Vision, the 7-5 favorite, put in a bold bid at the top of the stretch to challenge, with Alumni Hall uncorking his late kick and moving into third.

Neither could make an impact on Wanderin Boy, who proved up to the task in just his fourth lifetime start. He remained clear to post a comfortable 1 1/4-length victory over Pollard's Vision. The time for a 1 1/16 mile was 1:44.54.

"He relaxed for me," said Melancon, who completed a stakes double on Saturday after winning the Taylor's Special earlier in the card aboard Wrzeszcz. "When I asked him to run, he cut and ran. He's a nice horse."

Trained by Nick Zito, the 4-year-old Seeking the Gold colt didn't make his first lifetime start until October. The biggest win he owned prior to the Mineshaft was an entry-level allowance score last month at Gulfstream Park.

Wanderin Boy ($12.40) nearly doubled his career purses with the win, earning $60,000 to boost his total to $121,190 for owner and breeder Arthur Hancock.

(Chart, Equibase)