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Mineshaft ‘TDN Rising Star’ All ‘Quality’ in Sanford

Bitumen found himself much farther back than he had in his smashing, ‘TDN Rising Star’-garnering debut, but he came alive turning for home here, and powered past his four rivals to win with authority. Belying 6-1 odds to set the pace and air by 6 3/4 lengths under the Twin Spires June 30, he got the nod here over fellow ‘Rising Star’ Random Walk, who had earned a 90 first-out Beyer Speed Figure in a Belmont romp June compared to the 86 Bitumen was assigned for his initial effort.

Bitumen was scrubbed on early into a distant fourth as Zartera showed the way with Random Walk and longshot Bay Numbers (Algorithms) providing pressure through splits of :22.61 and :45.79. Having about five or six lengths to make up as the leading trio hit the quarter pole, the chalk circled up out widest and mowed them all down under confident handling. Irad Ortiz Jr. aboard Zartera lodged an objection against his brother Jose on Random Walk for a bump at the top of the stretch, but the order of finish stood.

“He was very professional the way he did it, handling the dirt very well–three horses up on the lead with a lot of kickback, it hit him for the first time in the face,” offered winning pilot Javier Castellano. “You kind of anticipate he wouldn’t like it much, but he went through it. He figured it out really quick and turning for home he gave me great acceleration. Very professional. He didn’t break too sharp out of the gate. I didn’t want to rush up, I just wanted to do the right thing with the horse, and he showed me a lot of class. It worked out great, just perfect, three horses went into a speed duel, I took my time and when I asked, he responded very well.”

Trainer Eddie Kenneally and Texas-based owner Joseph Sutton have had a solid summer so far, to say the least–they won the GI Stephen Foster H. with Bradester (Lion Heart) last month at Churchill Downs.

“I’m delighted with performance, he ran really, really well,” Kenneally said. “He got a great education today because he was in behind and took so much dirt. He overcame that and that goes to show how much class he has. He’s a really nice horse. He galloped out good and ran a huge race. Today was a great foundation and education and will help him going forward.”

Pedigree Notes:

Bitumen and Random Walk were both graduates of Pete Bradley’s Bradley Thoroughbreds yearling-to-juvenile pinhook venture, and sold on the same day at this year’s OBS March Sale (click here to read ‘Big Day for Bradley’). Also selling that day for Bradley through the Eddie Woods consignment was Klimt (Quality Road), a $140,000 Fasig-Tipton yearling turned $435,000 juvenile who went to trainer Bob Baffert on behalf of Kaleem Shah. The colt was named a ‘TDN Rising Star’ for his second-out score at Santa Anita July 10.

Bitumen, who breezed a quarter in :21 1/5 at OBS, is out of a half-sister to none other than brilliant MGISW and 2014’s leading freshman sire Quality Road (Elusive Quality). His unraced dam brought $380,000 out of the Ned Evans dispersal–the 35th most expensive offering from that blockbuster consignment–at Keeneland November in 2011 while carrying eventual SW and GSP Meshell (Elusive Quality). Bitumen’s year-older half-sister Tizsomthingspecial (Tiznow) was a $350,000 Fasig-Tipton Florida grad last season, and his dam produced another Mineshaft colt this spring. Bitumen’s Grade II-winning third dam Winglet was responsible for 1997 champion 3-year-old filly Ajina (Strawberry Road {Aus}).