(Edited New York Racing Association press release)
Mine That Bird, winless since taking the 2009 Kentucky Derby Presented By Yum! Brands (gr. I) at odds of 50-1, remains on target for the $750,000 Woodward (gr. I) at Saratoga in New York Sept. 4, but will get a change of equipment, according to Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas.
“He’s being pointed in that direction at this point, between now and next week,” Lukas said.
In his last start, the second since being transferred to Lukas from trainer Chip Woolley, Mine That Bird ran fifth of six, beaten 12 ½ lengths in the Whitney Handicap (gr. I) at Saratoga August 7.
“I thought he got totally out of touch with the race, frankly, he got so far back,” Lukas said. “I think it was a conditioning experience; I don’t think it was a learning experience.”
Since the Whitney, Lukas has worked Mine That Bird with blinkers, which the 4-year-old Birdstone gelding will wear in the Woodward, and has been pleased with the results.
“He had a really nice work the other day in 1:11 4/5 on the training track,” Lukas said. “We put little cutback cup blinkers on him, and we think that may let him lay a little bit closer to the pace. I think he’s responded well to it. I liked the way he’s worked. He worked alone the other day, and he was much more focused, I thought. He’s very genuine.”