Pioneer of Medina Wins Thriller in Grade 3, $250,000 Mineshaft Stakes | La Derby Preview Day Recaps

Contact: Kevin Kilroy
Notes Writer/Media Relations
[email protected]
  • Two Emmys Decisively Wins Grade 3, $150,000 Fair Grounds Stakes
  • Evan Sings Rallies for 3/4-Length Victory in $100,000 Colonel Power Stakes
  • Godolphin 1-2 in $100,000 Albert M. Stall Memorial with Lake Lucerne, Soft Touch

New Orleans (Saturday, Feb. 18, 2023) – Fans were treated to a thrilling 38th edition of the $250,000 Mineshaft Stakes presented by Relyne GI by Hagyard (Grade 3) when Sumaya U.S. Stables’ Pioneer of Medina gamely held off a fast-charging Mr. Wireless for a head victory.

Trained by Todd Pletcher and ridden by Luis Saez, Pioneer of Medina completed 1 1/16 miles in 1:43.59 on the “fast” Fair Grounds main track.

The thrilling stretch battle began around the far turn when Run Classic poked his head in front of the rail-skimming Hoist the Gold, who tallied early quarter-mile fractions of :23.79 and :47.59. Saez began to ask Pioneer of Medina for his best run at the quarter-pole as he sat third behind the pacesetters. Jockey Deshawn Parker and Mr. Wireless sat sixth in the early stages of the race and made a prolonged rally down the center of the course. At the 3/16 pole, Pioneer of Medina poked his nose in front of Run Classic while Mr. Wireless began to draw to his outside. The trio battled to the wire where ultimately Pioneer of Medina was able to get the best of his hard-trying rivals.

Pioneer of Medina rewarded his backers with payouts of $7.60, $4.40 and $3.60. Mr. Wireless returned $6 and $4 while Run Classic paid $5.80.

Early pacesetter Hoist the Gold finished fourth followed in order by Tawny Port, King Fury, Big Blue Line, Happy American and Farmington Road.

Pioneer of Medina banked $150,000 for his victory in the Mineshaft. He improved his overall mark to 12-4-2-2 with earnings of $446,370.

Pioneer of Medina is a 4-year-old son of Poineerof the Nile out of the Eskendereya mare Lights of Medina. He was bred in Kentucky by International Equities Holdings Inc.

Mineshaft Quotes:

Luis Saez, jockey, Pioneer of Medina, (winner): “This horse always tires hard and gives 100% effort every time. Today, he broke very well. Our plan was to follow the leaders and make one move around them. He’s become more mature this year and overall has just been better.”

Deshawn Parker, jockey, Mr. Wireless (winner): “(Pioneer of Medina) really dug in on his inside. My horse ran great but that horse really tried hard on our inside and just got the best of us.”


Two Emmys Decisively Wins Grade 3, $150,000 Fair Grounds Stakes

Wolfe Racing’s fleet-footed Two Emmys left no doubters in the final stages of the $150,000 Fair Grounds Stakes presented by Horse Racing Nation (Grade 3) when he convincingly pulled clear to a 4 ¼-length victory Saturday at Fair Grounds Racecourse & Slots.

Ridden by James Graham and trained by Hugh Robertson, Two Emmys led every step of the way in the 1 1/8-mile Fair Grounds Stakes and stopped the timer in 1:54.73.

Graham and Two Emmys broke sharply from the gate and into the first turn they were joined by a hard-hustled Cavalry Charge. Graham and Two Emmys traveled comfortably through the first opening quarter-mile of :24.04. Down the backstretch, Graham was able to slow the fractions even more to a half-mile clocking of :51.52. Around the far turn, Graham kept Two Emmys to the outside rail of the Stall Wilson Turf Course and cruised to a front-running score.

Two Emmys was well-backed in the wagering and returned $5.60, $3.20and $2.60. Gentle Soul and Rey Gutierrez finished second to return $4.40 and $3.40. English Tavern and Deshawn Parker completed the Top 3 and paid $4.60.

 Bay Street Money rounded out the superfecta and he was followed by Pixelate, Tiz the Bomb and Cavalry Charge.

Two Emmys is now a seven-time winner from 23 starts. He sports 9 runner-up finishes and one third. His purse earnings were boosted in the Fair Grounds Stakes to $925,083.

Two Emmys is a 7-year-old gelded son of English Channel out of the Buddha mare Miss Emmy. He was bred in Kentucky by Tottenwood Thoroughbreds.


Fair Grounds Quotes:

James Graham, jockey, Two Emmys, (winner): “Hugh had him ready to go today. He needed his last run in the Colonel Bradley. He’s a cool horse and shows up every time he runs. You watch him go out there and he throws his ears up and puts himself on the lead. He doesn’t need the lead but he always finds himself there.”

Hugh Robertson, trainer, Two Emmys (winner): “He trains nicely and now that he’s older he put on some weight and does it a little better. He’s a fun horse to train and does it so easy now.”

Rey Gutierrez, jockey, Gentle Soul (runner-up): “Today he was ready to roll. Last time we were able to get the best of him. Everything in the race played out to plan. I got to be where I wanted to be. I know I was riding a really good horse. I made the same run at Two Emmys this time as last time but credit to his connections they had him ready for us today.”

Evan Sings Rallies for 3/4-Length Victory in $100,000 Colonel Power Stakes

Norman Cheng’s Evan Sing boldly rallied down the center of Fair Grounds’ turf course to defeat seven rivals in the 35th running of the $100,000 Colonel Power Stakes.

Piloted by Flavien Prat and trained by Al Stall Jr., Evan Sing completed 5 ½ furlongs in 1:05.98 over the “firm” Stall Wilson Turf Course.

In the early stages of the Colonel Power, Evan Sing tracked in third, about two lengths behind the early dueling leaders Yankee Seven and Angaston. Into the far turn, following an opening quarter-mile fraction of :23.30, Yankee Seven and jockey Aubrie Green separated themselves slightly from Mitchell Murrill and Angaston. Meanwhile, Prat was beginning to ask Evan Sing for his best run at the top of the homestretch and inside the 1/16 pole, Evan Sing was able to rally past Angaston for a three-quarters of a  length victory.

It was another 1 ½ lengths back to a tiring Yankee Seven followed by Surveillance, Ice Chocolat (BRZ), Pyron, Manny Wah, All In Sync.

Evan Sing was sent off the 2-1 favorite and returned $6.20, $4 and $3.40. Angaston, who re-rallied on a tiring Yankee Seven, returned $7.80 and $6.40. Yankee Seven completed the trifecta and paid $9.60.

Evan Sing is a 4-year-old gelded son of Hard Spun out of the Spectrum (IRE) mare Viapervita (IRE). He was bred in Kentucky by his owner.

Colonel Power Quotes:

Flavien Prat, jockey, Evan Sing, (winner): “We had a good trip and drawing the outside post helped. He was traveling really well around there and kicked home strong.”

Al Stall Jr., trainer, Evan Sing (winner): “We gave him a little freshening after running hard in Kentucky. He would’ve came back sooner but the last race came off the grass. So, he continued to train forwardly into this race. I think the freshness allowed him to sit closer to the pace and hopefully this is a good sign of things to come.”

James Graham, jockey, Surveillance, (fourth): “When he’s right, he’s proven that. Maybe it was just the grass that he wasn’t as happy on. He punched too but they went slow up front.”


Godolphin 1-2 in $100,000 Albert M. Stall Memorial with Lake Lucerne, Soft Touch

Godolphin’s 6-year-old mare Lake Lucerne was able to rally past Soft Touch inside the eighth-pole to win Saturday’s 55th running of the $100,000 Albert M. Stall Memorial at Fair Grounds.

The Top 2 finishers were both owned by Sheikh Mohammed al Maktoum’s Godolphin. Lake Lucerne, ridden by jockey Tyler Gaffalione and trained by Brendan Walsh completed 1 1/16 miles on the “firm” turf in 1:48.07.

My Philly Twirl broke sharply from the gate and set the early fractions into the first turn of the Albert M. Stall Memorial. While jockey Florent Geroux rated My Philly Twirl on the lead, Lake Lucerne was in third about seven lengths off the lead. Following a pedestrian half-mile in :50.10, the back markers began to make their charge including Island Hideaway (GB), who made a bold move to take over the lead at the head of the stretch. Gaffalione and Lake Lucerne found themselves in the far outside lane on the turf course. At the 3/16ths pole, Gaffalione was able to rouse Lake Lucerne for best stride and the duo spurted clear for a two-length victory.

Lake Lucerne, who was sent off as the 8-5 favorite, returned $5.40, $2.60 and $2.40. Soft Touch, and Mitchell Murrill paid $5 and $3.60 to place while Trail Ridge Road rallied for third and returned $3.

Russian Mafia checked in fourth followed by Carpe Vinum, Island Hideaway, My Philly Twirl and Clara Peeters (GB). 

Lake Lucerne banked $60,000 for her victory to bring her career total to $228,620 and a record of 9-5-0-1.

Lake Lucerne is a daughter of Dubawi (IRE) out of the Awesome Again mare Round Pond. She was bred in Kentucky by her owners.

Albert M. Stall Memorial Quotes:

Tyler Gaffalione, jockey, Lake Lucerne, (winner): “All the credit for this mare goes to Godolphin and Brendan Walsh’s team. We gave her a little bit more of a warm up today and I think that mentally got her into focus more than previous starts. She showed me a really good kick for home and was able to get it done.”

Brendan Walsh, trainer, Lake Lucerne (winner): “I’m so thankful to be able to get this win today for Godolphin who has been a long supporter of mine. Tyler gave her a great ride and she had a big effort today.”

Mitchell Murrill, jockey, Soft Touch, (runner-up): “My horse put me in a situation towards the outside which is probably the best ground right now. I was sitting pretty and she was well into the bridle. She ran a solid effort and was second best.”


About Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots

Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots, one of the nation’s oldest racetracks, has been in operation since 1872. Located in New Orleans, LA, Fair Grounds, which is owned by Churchill Downs Incorporated (NASDAQ Global Select Market: CHDN), also operates a slot-machine gaming facility and 15 off-track betting parlors throughout Southeast Louisiana. The 151st Thoroughbred Racing Season – highlighted by the 110th running of the Louisiana Derby – will run from Nov 18, 2022 through March 26, 2023. More information is available online at

Pioneer of Medina Wins Thriller in Grade 3, $250,000 Mineshaft Stakes