Thiskyhasnolimit, who led all the way in the Louisiana Handicap at Fair Grounds in mid-January, will try for his second straight triumph when he takes on eight rivals in the Mineshaft Handicap (gr. III) at the New Orleans track Saturday, Feb. 25. The Steve Asmussen trainee will be ridden by Shane Sellers, who was aboard the son of Sky Mesa in the Louisiana Handicap.
One of the morning line favorites at 5-1, Thiskyhasnolimit will be making just his second start since July in the Mineshaft, worth $125,000 in guaranteed money. He will tote 118 pounds in the 1 1/16-mile event for 4-year-olds and up. The race, the ninth on the card, is scheduled for 3:55 (CST).
Thiskyhasnolimit boasts a solid career record with 10 top two finishes, including eight in stakes. His five career stakes wins also include a score in the 2011 Texas Mile Stakes (gr. III).
Tres Borrachos, the 7-2 morning line favorite who will be making his Fair Grounds’ debut, is coming off solid efforts in two graded stakes in California. The son of Ecton Park closed out the year with a runner-up effort in the Native Diver Handicap (gr. III) in December, and then ran second in the San Pasqual Stakes (gr. II) in January. Prior to the Native Diver, he finished third in the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile (gr. I). Trained by Martin Jones, Tres Borraches will be ridden by Edgar Prado.
Next in the betting, at 9-2, is Mister Marti Gras, who last time out finished fourth in the Clark Handicap (gr. I) at Churchill Downs in November after winning the Ack Ack Handicap (gr. I) in the early part of the month at the track. The son of Belong to Me has raced three times at Fair Grounds and has come away with two wins. Shaun Bridgmohan rides for trainer Neil Pessin.
Fast Alex, a son of Afleet Alex , also is at 5-1 odds. A steady Fair Grounds’ campaigner over the years, he ended the year with a victory in the Tenacious Handicap at the track in mid-December, and then finished a length behind in second in the Louisiana Handicap. Robby Albarado rides for trainer Greg Geier.
Alma d'Oro, who finished third in the Louisiana Handicap, and Gladdings and Pants On Fire also are at 6-1 in the morning line. By Medaglia d'Oro , Alma d’Oro competed in the Clark and Ack Ack, finishing seventh and second, respectively. A multiple stakes winner in 2010-11, he will be ridden by Javier Castellano.
Gladdings and Pants On Fire will be making their 2012 debuts in the Mineshaft. Gladdings, by Sarava, will be making his first start since finishing fourth in the Ack Ack. Last year he won the San Antonio Stakes (gr. II) and finished second in the Texas Mile. He gets a new rider in James Graham.
Pants On Fire, by Jump Start , raced at Fair Grounds last winter and spring and came away with a win in the Louisiana Derby (gr. II) over Nehro. He then finished ninth in the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I). He hasn’t been out since running fifth in the Haskell Invitational (gr. I) last July.
The two others in the field, Cool Blue Red Hot (by Harlan's Holiday) and Nates Mineshaft (by Mineshaft ), have been out once this year. Cool Blue Red Hot ran third in the Hal’s Hope Stakes (gr. III) at Gulfstream in January. Nates Mineshaft won an optional claimer at Fair Grounds for his second straight win at the track.
$125,000 Mineshaft Handicap (gr. III, Race 9, 3:55 p.m.) 4-Year-Olds and Up, 1 1/16 Miles
Post Horse Trainer Jockey Weight Odds
1. Mister Marti Gras N Pessin S Bridgmohan 118 9-2
2. Alma d’Oro T Pletcher J Castellano 119 6-1
3. Tres Borraches M Jones E Prado 121 7-2
4. Cool Blue Red Hot A Penna Jr M Cruz 116 12-1
5. Nates Mineshaft A Smith J M Campbell 113 20-1
6. Thiskyhasnolimit S Asmussen S Sellers 118 5-1
7. Pants On Fire K Breen R Napravnik 116 6-1
8. Fast Alex G Geier R Albarado 119 5-1
9. Gladdings J Sadler J Graham 117 6-1