Olympiad parlayed a perfect trip into an initial graded stakes win on Saturday by taking the $247,500 Mineshaft S. (G3) at Fair Grounds for trainer Bill Mott and jockey Junior Alvarado.
Backed heavily into even-money favoritism, Olympiad produced an effort that was almost a re-run of his Jan. 15 allowance prep at Gulfstream Park, contested over 1 1/16 miles with a short stretch. Olympiad won that race by 7 1/4 lengths.
Perched in second outside Silver Prospector, who showed unexpected speed for the first time in his career, Olympiad tracked that rival until upper stretch. Seizing the lead just before the eighth pole, Olympiad built up his advantage in the final furlong to 2 1/4 lengths.
“I thought the longer stretch today was going to help him a lot because he’s a horse that needs more than a sixteenth of a mile to quicken up,” Alvarado said.
Owned by Grandview Equine, Cheyenne Stable, and LNJ Foxwoods, Olympiad finished up 1 1/16 miles over a fast track in 1:42.01, narrowly lowering the previous track mark of 1:42.02 set back in 1994. Silver Prospector held second by a length over Miles D, who edged O Besos for third by a neck.
The order of finish was rounded out by Happy American, Untreated, Sprawl, and Midcourt.
This was Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott’s first win in the Mineshaft in 37 years. Named for the 2003 Horse of the Year, the race was formerly known as the Whirlaway and run sporadically from the early 1970s through the early 1990s. Mott saddled Rapid Gray to win the 1985 Whirlaway under the late Randy Romero.
This was the fourth win in seven starts for Olympiad. A winner second out at Saratoga as a two-year-old over future graded performers Caddo River and Greatest Honour, he was out of action for a year following that effort. Book-ended by a pair of allowance wins since his return was the colt’s only prior stakes try, a fourth-place finish in the Dec. 4 Cigar Mile (G1) at Aqueduct. He’s now earned $348,440.
Bred in Kentucky by Emory Hamilton and sold for $700,000 as a Keeneland September yearling, Olympiad is by Speightstown and out of the Grade 3-placed Tokyo Time, a Medaglia d’Oro half-sister to Grade 2 heroine Hungry Island and Grade 3 scorer Soaring Empire.
Grade 1 winners hailing from this female family include Preservationist, Chic Shirine, Serra Lake, Keen Ice, Verrazano, and Somali Lemonade.