Trainer Chad Brown began planning for an ambitious 4-year-old campaign for Miles D the instant the son of Curlin ran down a stubborn Speaker’s Corner to capture last November’s Discovery Stakes at Aqueduct Racetrack.
Brown told the NYRA media team following the colt’s victory that a potential trip to Saudi Arabia for the $20 million Saudi Cup (G1) could be in the colt’s future. While that race is clearly off the table, there are several important gems on the winding pathway to the Longines Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) that awaits Miles D.
“If (Miles D) takes another step forward next year, runs in all the handicap races and has success in one or more of them, he has a lot of stallion potential,” said Chad Brown back in November. “Races like the Whitney Stakes (G1) or the Jockey Club Gold Cup (G1) are ones that would matter to me quite a bit.”
And so the lightly raced Miles D begins what could be a promising 2022 season in the Feb. 19 $250,000 Mineshaft Stakes (G3) for older horses going 1 1/6-miles at the Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots.
Owned by Peter Brant and Robert LaPenta, Miles D. broke his maiden last June at Belmont Park after an eight-month layoff, to which Brown credits the “patience by our team and our two owners. They never questioned giving him a little time.” That patient approach allowed the colt to bypass the rigorous Triple Crown series and blossom as a late-blooming 3-year-old. After breaking his maiden, he was second in the Curlin Stakes and a solid third at 18-1 behind Essential Quality and Midnight Bourbon in the Runhappy Travers Stakes (G1).
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Shipping in from Brown’s Payson Park Training Center winter home base in South Florida, Miles D. will be piloted by Jose Ortiz in the Mineshaft.
Another intriguing contender traveling to New Orleans from Payson Park is the Bill Mott-trained Olympiad . A $700,000 Keeneland September yearling, Olympiad stamped himself as a horse to watch this winter after a dominating 7 1/4-length win in a Jan. 15 allowance optional claiming contest at Gulfstream Park. Running for Grandview Equine, Cheyenne Stable, and LNJ Foxwoods, Olympiad earned a sterling 116 Equibase Speed Figure for his performance. Fourth in the Dec. 4 Cigar Mile Handicap presented by NYRA Bets (G1) in a less-than-ideal trip, the Speighstown colt will be seeking his first stakes victory Saturday.
Local hero O Besos will be waiting for the Florida invaders. The Greg Foley trainee has won three of his five races over the Fair Grounds strip, including a last out Jan. 2 allowance optional claimer in which he prevailed by a nose after a slug-fest with Intrepid Heart down the length of the stretch. Intrepid Heart runs back this Saturday as well, but will be competing in a $101,000 allowance optional claiming event at Oaklawn Park.
O Besos, campaigned by Bernard Racing, Tagg Team Racing, West Point Thoroughbreds, and Terry Stephens, rose to prominence on the Kentucky Derby Presented by Woodford Reserve (G1) trail last year after a fourth-place finish in the Risen Star Stakes presented by Lamarque Ford (G2) followed by an excellent third in the Twinspires.com Louisiana Derby (G2) where he lost the bob to Midnight Bourbon for runner-up honors. The gritty Orb colt later was a rallying fifth in the Kentucky Derby and second in the Matt Winn Stakes (G3). His Jan. 2 allowance optional claiming tally was his first effort in nearly six months.
Entries: Mineshaft S. (G3)
Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots, Saturday, February 19, 2022, Race 10
- Grade III
- 1 1/16m
- 4 yo’s & up
- 4:25 PM (local)