Owner Robert V. LaPenta and trainer Nick Zito have enjoyed significant success with the progeny of the A.P. Indy sire Mineshaft through the last few seasons and that has now run into 2011. On Sunday at Gulfstream, the pair’s inexperienced 3-year-old Mineshaft colt Dialed In remained undefeated in two starts by taking the Grade 3 Holy Bull Stakes over a mile in a manner that suggests he’ll be a legitimate contender through the classics preps. He is the fifth individual stakes-winning son of Mineshaft trained by Zito and the fourth owned by LaPenta. Only Fly Down, winner of the Grade 2 Dwyer last year and a multiple Grade 1-placed millionaire, is not owned by LaPenta among the five Zito-trained Mineshaft stakes winners.
A few of us—Jeff Lowe from Thoroughbred Times; Frances J. Karon, managing editor of North American Trainer; and blogger/groom/Fly Down fan Connie Matia—commented Sunday on Twitter about this affinity between the connections of Dialed In and his sire, and Frances wondered if Zito’s stakes success with the Mineshafts was better than the sire’s own percentage of stakes winners to foals. The answer, we found, is a resounding Yes.
Through 2010, Mineshaft was represented by four crops of racing age and had sired 18 stakes winners, or 6% stakes winners to foals. Dialed In is his sire’s 19th stakes winner. Jeff, through past research, told us that Zito had “about 20” Mineshafts, which means Zito has had about a 25% strike rate and LaPenta about a 20% strike rate with the progeny of the Lane’s End sire, who stands for $25,000 this year. Also impressive, as Jeff noted, is that Zito has trained four of Mineshaft’s seven graded stakes winners, or more than half of them to date.
Not included in the group of four LaPenta stakes winners is the stakes-placed colt Miner’s Reserve, who was second in the Grade 2 Jim Dandy last year. Mr. LaPenta’s four stakes winners are Grade 2 Fountain of Youth Stakes winner Cool Coal Man, who’s earned $929,728; Grade 3 winner and Grade 1-placed Coal Play, an earner of $528,068; Listed stakes winner Miner’s Escape, who won the Federico Tesio, ran unplaced in the 2009 Belmont Stakes and has earned $70,590; and new Grade 3 winner Dialed In, whose earnings after two starts stand at $268,800. The Zito-trained Fly Down has earned $1,167,070 to date.
Mr. LaPenta purchases yearlings at auction as Whitehorse Stable. Coal Play was purchased as a yearling for $280,000 in 2006 by Whitehorse, which also purchased his brother in 2010 for $340,000. Cool Coal Man was purchased for $200,000 as a yearling in 2006, and Whitehorse was back in 2008 to purchase his brother for $220,000. Miner’s Escape wasn’t purchased at auction but was sold as a racing prospect for $40,000 last November. Stakes-placed Miner’s Reserve was purchased as a yearling in 2008 for $150,000. Dialed In was a $475,000 yearling in 2009. Fly Down, the biggest earner to date, was the cheapest yearling among the Zito-trained group of Mineshaft stakes winners at $80,000 in 2008.