(from Santa Anita stable notes)
For the first time in eight months, Chip Woolley Jr. was walking on his own two feet Oct. 22. The trainer of Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) winner Mine That Bird had been navigating with the aid of crutches since breaking his right leg in a motorcycle accident in El Paso, Texas. But on a sun-filled morning at Santa Anita's Clockers’ Corner, the 45-year-old New Mexico native was limping along without support.
“I actually started walking without them yesterday afternoon,” said Woolley, who is preparing Mine That Bird for the $5 million Breeders’ Cup Classic (gr. I) at Oak Tree on Nov. 7. “It was eight months yesterday since I had the crutches. I’m happy to be rid of them. The doc called me yesterday afternoon and told me I could start walking.
“I’d sent him my X-rays last week. He told me he wanted me to start walking on the leg to stimulate the bone a little more. I think eventually I’ll be without a limp. The accident wasn’t a big wreck. It just broke my leg. I didn’t have another scratch on me or anything. It didn’t even hurt me, other than breaking my leg.
“I’ll have to have another surgery done on it later, and I’ll probably end up back on crutches for a while, but that’s OK.”
Meanwhile, Mine That Bird continues to progress towards the 1 1/4-mile Classic following his sixth-place finish in the Goodwood Stakes (gr. I) on Oct. 10. The gelded son of Birdstone is scheduled to work five furlongs on Pro-Ride Monday.
“The horse is doing super,” Woolley said. “He’s really lookin’ good.”