In what trainer Chip Woolley labeled "pretty much perfect," Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) winner Mine That Bird worked five furlongs in 1:01 2/5 at Santa Anita Nov. 2 in preparation for the Nov. 7 Breeders’ Cup Classic (gr. I).
Jockey Joe Talamo was aboard for the exercise clip when the track reopened following the renovation break.
"I was very happy," said Woolley, who had instructed Talamo to go in about 1:02. "I was very happy. It was pretty much perfect. What I liked is that he was just sitting on him. The horse was on cruise control. He just looked super over the racetrack. I thought he looked better over the track today than he has since he’s been here. I think that’s because the track has tightened up."
In his most recent start, Mine That Bird finished sixth, 3 3/4 lengths behind winner Gitano Hernando, in Santa Anita’s Goodwood Stakes (gr. I).
Woolley said jockey Calvin Borel now knows that one key to getting the best effort out of the son of Birdstone is to keep him behind horses until he’s ready to make a winning move.
"The main thing is keeping him covered up behind horses," Woolley said. "Once he’s in behind horses he relaxes and is comfortable. If you ever show him daylight he wants to run. I think Calvin sees he’s got to keep him covered up until he’s ready to make that move."
With Mine That Bird facing a Classic field that includes sensational filly Zenyatta, Belmont Stakes (gr. I) winner Summer Bird and seven other grade I winners, Woolley said he did not feel there was one particular horse to beat.
"I got to outrun everybody, not one horse," said Woolley. "I respect them all. They are all great horses. It is a deep, deep field. I really think it’s the deepest field in the Classic in a long time. It’s a tough race."
Racing for Double Eagle Ranch and Buena Suerte Equine Clinic, Mine That Bird has won five of 13 starts and earned $2,196,581.