Majestic Harbor posts front-running Mineshaft upset; Cinco Charlie wire to wire in Kenner

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February 20th, 2016

Gallant Stable’s Majestic Harbor seized the initiative at the break and gamely withstood the late bid of Eagle in Saturday’s $125,000 Mineshaft H. (G3) at Fair Grounds. Overlooked as the 6-1 longest shot among four rivals, the 8-year-old horse registered his first stakes victory since upsetting the Gold Cup at Santa Anita (G1) in 2014.

Corey Lanerie was up on the Paul McGee-trained winner. Majestic Harbor established unopposed splits of :24.29, :48.09 and 1:12.30. Eagle, who rated in last early, rallied to challenge in deep stretch but Majestic Harbor kept finding more, prevailing by a head. He finished up 1 1/16 miles in 1:42.86.

 “I figured I was the only speed, but he did break a little slow today and it took him a few strides to get himself together,” Lanerie said. “I just let him do his thing. Once he got up front he was comfortable and he get me what he had. He has a great deal of heart and was very gutsy.”

Eagle, the 2-1 second choice, finished two lengths clear of third-placer Point Piper. International Star, who entered the race with a 4-for-4 mark at the Fair Grounds following a convincing win in the January 16 Louisiana, advanced into contention on the far turn before weakening in the stretch to last as the 3-5 favorite. Jessica’s Star was scratched.

Majestic Harbor was exiting a troubled effort in the Louisiana in which he was interfered with on the far turn after setting the pace. He wound up finishing a well-beaten fifth but was elevated one spot by the stewards to fourth. He snapped a seven-race losing skein, with his last win coming over allowance foes 10 months ago.

“With as bad of a trip as he had last time, I was worried, but he breezed so well out of that race,” McGee said. “He’s been touting himself the last couple weeks, so we figured we would come back in this race.”

By Rockport Harbor, Majestic Harbor was bred in Kentucky by Liberation Farm & Brandywine Farm. He was purchased for $20,000 as a yearling at the 2009 Keeneland September sale. The bay is out of the stakes-placed French Deputy mare Champagne Royale and counts Grade 1 winner and 2014 Kentucky Derby (G1) third-placer Danza as a half-brother.

Majestic Harbor picked up his third overall graded stakes victory and has now earned $990,254 from a 39-9-8-6 record.

Sprinters were up a couple of races later on the Risen Star (G2) undercard and Cinco Charlie returned to the win column in convincing fashion, dominating the $60,000 Duncan F. Kenner on the front end.

The 4-year-old colt spurted clear leaving the starting gate, opening a 3 ½-length lead after an opening quarter-mile in :21.80, and continued to show the way while clear the rest of the way, posting a half-mile in :45.01 on his way to completing 6 furlongs in 1:09.39.

Off as the 9-5 second choice in the seven-horse field, the Steve Asmussen-trained Cinco Charlie was guided to a 2 ¾-length decision by Florent Geroux.

Vigorous Titan held second throughout at 29-1 odds. Officer Griffin came next in third and was followed under the wire by Too Dim, Shotgun Kowboy, County Corrections and even-money favorite Clearly Now, who broke a step slow and never offered anything.

A four-time juvenile stakes hero, Cinco Charlie also captured the Riley Allson at Sunland and William Walker at Churchill Downs before heading to the sidelines following a nose second in the Woody Stephens (G2) on the Belmont Stakes undercard. The son of Indian Charlie rebounded from a disappointing sixth as the favorite in his 2016 return, an allowance/optional claiming event at Oaklawn on January 16.

Owned by Corrine & L. William Heiligbrodt, Cinco Charlie improved his career line to 14-8-2-2, with $556,670 in earnings.

Cinco Charlie was bought for $190,000 at the OBS March two-year-old sale and was bred in Kentucky by Candyland Farm. The bay is out of the stakes-placed marquetry mare Ten Halos, who is a half-sister to graded stakes winners Bwana Bull, Bwana Charlie and My Pal Charlie.

Photo 1: Majestic Harbor (white silks) out-finishing Eagle courtesy of Alexander Barkoff/Hodges Photography

Photo 2: Cinco Charlie courtesy of Alexander Barkoff/Hodges Photography