Ground Transport En Route to Mineshaft Handicap
Ground Transport stamped his ticket to the $150,000 Mineshaft Handicap (G3) on February 22 with a decisive nearly four length win in a second level allowance race on Friday at Fair Grounds.
Dispatched as the second choice in the mile and 70 yard event, the bay son of Kentucky Derby winner Big Brown lead from gate to wire under regular rider Mark Guidry. He was under a strong hand ride in the final furlong, while well clear of the rest of the field. The final time was a sharp 1:43:20.
Ground Transport was plagued by foot problems over the summer before putting up two subpar efforts on synthetic and turf. A return to conventional dirt is exactly what the doctor ordered.
Upon shipping back to New Orleans, he was second in three straight races, including the Tenacious Handicap. On 1/12 Ground Transport earned a 94 Beyer Speed Figure and 6+ on the Ragozin Sheets while finishing second in an allowance race. Trainer Mike Stidham considered wheeling back in less than a week for the Louisiana Handicap, but decided to wait for the allowance to come back.
“It’s a bit unconventional to run back in 12 days after such a big effort, but he was doing so darn good,” said Stidham. “I’m thrilled to have him break through after three straight runner up efforts. We’ll hope to use the Mineshaft as a springboard to the New Orleans Handicap on March 29.”