NEW YORK - The fans cheered Mineshaft as he entered the track at Belmont Park before another effortless victory, this time in the $1-million Jockey Club Gold Cup on Saturday.
What they didn't realize was that Mineshaft may have run his last race. Owner William S. Farish said his 4-year-old colt has nothing more to prove and was considering keeping him out of the $4-million Breeders' Cup Classic Oct. 25 at Santa Anita.
"This has been the target, and he's had a hard, hard campaign," Farish said of the Gold Cup. "We'll see about the Breeders' Cup. I don't think this horse has anything more to prove."
With his third straight Grade I win, Mineshaft probably clinched horse of the year no matter what reigning champion Azeri, seeking her 12th consecutive victory in the Lady's Secret Handicap today at Santa Anita, does the rest of the year. Mineshaft has won nine of 11 races since returning from Europe in November.
Mineshaft won by 41/4 lengths. Quest was second, with Evening Attire third.
In three other Grade I races with Breeders' Cup implications: Sulamani stumbled and nearly fell on far turn but gathered himself under Jerry Bailey and easily won the $750,000 Turf Classic Invitational; Dimitrova held off 63-1 Walzerkoenign and favorite Heat Haze to take the $750,000 Flower Bowl Invitational; Ghostzapper made a last-to-first run and blew past the leaders in the stretch for a 61/2-length victory in the $500,000 Vosburgh Stakes.
ARLINGTON: Zosima beat favorite Everyday Angel by a length to win the Grade III $100,000 Arlington-Washington Lassie in Illinois. Zosima had a record time of 1:36.02, beating the mark of 1:36.58 set by Speed Dialer in 1991. In the $150,000 Arlington-Washington Futurity, Cactus Ridge raced to a 3-length victory, keeping his perfect record intact. The winner established a record of 1:35.44 for the mile, beating the mark of 1:354/5 set in 1989.
OLYMPICS: Officials defend security
The Greek government and Olympic organizers denied a Washington Post report that undercover agents found serious lapses while testing security for the 2004 Games."There have already been tests carried out by Greek police officers ... with the best possible results, one whole year before the Games," government spokesman Christos Protopapas said.
COLLEGES: Gator in tennis final
Alexis Gordon defeated Florida teammate Julie Rotondi 6-3, 6-3 to reach the final of the Adidas Tennis Invitational in Peachtree City, Ga. ... Gators freshman Vladimir Obradovic beat Uli Kiendl of USF 6-3, 6-2, and UF sophomore Stefan Tell defeated Karim Benmansour 6-3, 6-1 at the men's Gator Invitational in Gainesville. The schools split the remaining four singles matches, and USF won two of three in doubles.
CROSS COUNTRY: Alison Macsas won in 18:26 to lead Tampa to the women's title at the Florida Southern Invitational in Lakeland. Eckerd was fifth, led by Megan Williams' 16th-place finish in 20:48. Elias Gonzalez won the men's race in 26:06 to lead the Spartans to the title.
GOLF: UF freshman Naree Song shot par 72 in the second round and was tied for sixth at the Mason Rudolph Championship in Franklin, Tenn. The Gators were tied for sixth at 589. UCLA led at 576.
MEN'S SOCCER: J.R. Casadonte scored for USF in a 1-1 tie against Cincinnati in Tampa. ... Florida Tech defeated Eckerd 3-2 in double overtime in Melbourne.
VOLLEYBALL: Ania Ruiz had 19 digs and 16 kills as Tampa defeated Florida Southern for the 19th straight time, 30-22, 32-30, 30-17 in Lakeland. ... North Carolina defeated visiting FSU 14-30, 30-28, 30-27, 22-30, 9-15.
TENNIS: Clijsters injures ankle
Top-ranked Kim Clijsters sprained her right ankle and quit while leading Anastasia Myskina in the Sparkassen Cup semifinals in Leipzig, Germany. After the injury, Clijsters had her ankle wrapped, then played one more game before stopping with the score 7-5, 4-4. She was taken to a hospital for X-rays and an MRI. Justine Henin-Hardenne beat Maria Vento-Kabchi 6-0, 6-3.
HEINEKEN OPEN: Wimbledon runner-up Mark Philippoussis and top seed Jiri Novak reached the final in Shanghai, China.
THAILAND OPEN: Top-ranked Juan Carlos Ferrero beat Ivan Ljubicic 6-3, 6-3 and plays Taylor Dent for the title in Nonthaburi.
CYCLING: Roberto Heras of the U.S. Postal Service team took over the Tour of Spain lead with one stage left.
GYMNASTICS: Alina Kabaeva of Russia took the all-around gold medal at the World Rhythmic Gymnastics Championships in Budapest, Hungary, regaining a title she lost by failing a drug test. Mary Sanders was 10th, the highest finish ever for an American.