An exuberant Calvin Borel expressed confidence that Mine That Bird will win the Belmont Stakes (gr. I) after working the diminutive gelding a half-mile in :50 on a warm, sunny June 1 morning at Churchill Downs.
Mine That Bird's entourage grew a bit the morning of May 31 as Mark Allen and Dr. Leonard Blach, the New Mexico-based co-owners of the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) winner, made a quick stop in Louisville en route to New York for the June 6 Belmont Stakes (gr. I).
Charitable Man and Dunkirk, who could be the second and third choices behind Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) winner Mine That Bird in the June 6 Belmont Stakes (gr. I), turned in their final works May 31 for the 1 1/2-mile race.
With firm knowledge that the Preakness (gr. I)-winning filly Rachel Alexandra would pass on a possible run in the third jewel of the Triple Crown, trainer Bennie "Chip" Woolley Jr. and jockey Calvin Borel are both enthusiastically looking forward to the June 6 Belmont Stakes (gr. I) and a bid to take two-thirds of the crown with Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) winner and Preakness runner-up Mine That Bird.
Rachel Alexandra will not be running in the June 6 Belmont Stakes (gr. I), Jess Jackson, the co-owner of the filly announced May 29.
While Mine That Bird galloped as usual, the morning of Friday, May 29, was decidedly not business as usual for Kentucky Oaks (gr. I) and BlackBerry Preakness (gr. I) winner Rachel Alexandra at Churchill Downs.
Whatever the reasons for Jess Jackson delaying his decision on Rachel Alexandra's Belmont Stakes status, Chip Woolley, trainer of Mine That Bird, is prepared to wait him out and will not name a rider for the Kentucky Derby winner until Jackson announces his decision.
A review of the Preakness and the Triple Crown so far, including the jockey situation, and the return of Zenyatta. Plus, special guest Jack Wolf of Starlight Stable. Watch Video
Dogwood Stable, which paid $485,000 for Kentucky Derby winner Mine That Bird's half-brother by Yonaguska at the Fasig-Tipton Midlantic 2-year-old sale, has named the colt Brother Bird.
Talkin' Horses with Chip Woolley, trainer of Kentucky Derby winner Mine That Bird. Transcript now available!
Jockey Calvin Borel, who is in the enviable position of being considered to ride the country's two best 3-year-olds in the Belmont Stakes (gr. I), was aboard Monday, May 25 as Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) winner Mine That Bird worked four furlongs in :51.
The Yonaguska half-brother to Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) winner Mine That Bird, which brought $485,000 from Dogwood Stable president Cot Campbell at the recent Fasig-Tipton Midlantic sale of 2-year-olds in training, will be raced in partnership by Dogwood and Paul Saylor.
Cary Frommer, a Georgia-based pinhooker who is moving to South Carolina soon, was the leading consignor at the recent Fasig-Tipton Midlantic sale of 2-year-olds in training in Maryland. She sold 19 of the 22 horses she offered for $1,850,500.
Robert V. LaPenta's Brave Victory and Miner's Escape breezed a half-mile in company on the main track at Belmont Park May 21 as they prepped for a start in the $1 million Belmont Stakes (gr. I) on June 6.
MAHUBAH'S CORNER, by Avalyn Hunter
Thanks to Mine That Bird and Rachel Alexandra, respectively, both Birdstone and Medaglia d'Oro have achieved the distinction of becoming Classic sires with their first crops. But how much of a boost will it really give them?
It was a day for racing royalty at Churchill Downs on May 20 as Blackberry Preakness (gr. I) and Kentucky Oaks (gr. I) winner Rachel Alexandra returned to track for a gallop, and Mine That Bird, winner of the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) and a fast-closing runner-up in the Preakness, continued to show his spirit during his first gallop since the race.
After two days off and a 9 1/2-hour van ride from Baltimore, Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) winner Mine That Bird returned to the track at Churchill Downs for a light jog Tuesday, May 19. Meanwhile, Rachel Alexandra walked under Asmussen's shedrow on her second day back at Churchill.
Rachel Carson, author of "Silent Spring," wrote: "One way to open your eyes is to ask yourself, 'What if I had never seen this before? What if I knew I would never see it again'?"
For the second race in a row, Mine That Bird's connections must look for a different rider, as Mike Smith has decided to honor his commitment and ride Jerry and Ann Moss' Madeo in the Charlie Whittingham Stakes (gr. IT) at Hollywood Park the same day as the Belmont Stakes (gr. I).
Wagering was up on several segments of the Preakness day card, according to data released May 18 by Maryland Jockey Club officials, fueled in part by the showdown between Kentucky Derby Presented By Yum! Brands (gr. I) winner Mine That Bird and Kentucky Oaks (gr. I) victress Rachel Alexandra.
A Yonaguska half-brother to Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) winner and BlackBerry Preakness Stakes (gr. I) runner-up Mine That Bird brought $485,000 during the opening session of the Fasig-Tipton Midlantic sale of 2-year-olds in training May 18. Dogwood Stable purchased the dark bay or brown colt from Cary Frommer, agent for Paul Saylor.
Early on the morning of May 18, trainer Bennie "Chip" Woolley had just loaded Mine That Bird into a horse trailer and was preparing for the 9-10 hour drive from Baltimore, Md., to Louisville, where the little gelding had won the May 2 Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) before going on to finish second in the May 16 BlackBerry Preakness Stakes (gr. I).
Even in the midst of an economic crisis, there is hope for a solid performance from the Fasig-Tipton Midlantic sale of 2-year-olds in training, which is scheduled for May 18 and 19 in Timonium, Md. The bulk of the auction's catalog consists of reasonably-priced, blue-collar stock, and some of the other regional sales, which offered juveniles of the same type, generated results that were better than expected earlier this year.
There will be no Triple Crown winner in 2009, but there is a possibility of a showdown in the June 6 Belmont Stakes (gr. I) between the winners of the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) and Blackberry Preakness Stakes (gr. I).
Calvin Borel made the right choice and history was made May 16 at Pimlico, when for the first time the Kentucky Oaks (gr. I) winner not only ran in the Preakness Stakes (gr. I) but won the race in convincing fashion. Rachel Alexandra finished first and Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands winner Mine That Bird was second.
As of about 6:45 a.m. EDT, every horse was on the grounds at Pimlico Race Course for the May 16 Preakness Stakes (gr. I), the middle jewel of the Triple Crown.
How much did the addition of the filly Rachel Alexandra mean to the dynamics of the May 16 Preakness Stakes (gr. I)? According to the patrons at Pimlico Race Course the day before the middle jewel of the Triple Crown, it meant everything.
Can Rachel Alexandra come back in two weeks and beat the boys after earning outrageous speed figures that suggest a bounce is imminent? Was Mine That Bird's shocking Kentucky Derby score a fluke or the birth of a superstar?
As Mine That Bird, winner of the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I), quietly goes about his business at Pimlico in preparation for the May 16 Preakness Stakes (gr. I), so does the man who has been at his side since the Birdstone gelding's unlikely Triple Crown quest began. Charlie Figueroa is Mine That Bird's excercise rider and groom.
With all the rain recently in Kentucky, and with a minor business matter requiring him to be out of town over the weekend, Calvin Borel had an important project to finish before leaving town. The morning of May 15 he was mowing his grass.
There was little new activity Thursday morning, although Pioneerof the Nile did have his first feel of the Pimlico track. Rachel Alexandra went unseen, walking the shed at around 4:30, but did show up for all to see in the afternoon, schooling in the paddock before the fourth race.
A field of 13 is set to line the gates at Pimlico Race Course May 16 for the 1 3/16-mile classic. It is shaping up to be one of the most intriguing Preakness Stakes in recent memory.
An Orientate colt worked a quarter mile in :21 2/5, which was the fastest time for the distance, during the May 13 first session of the under tack show for the Fasig-Tipton Midlantic sale of 2-year-olds in training in Timonium, Md.
The chance of rain and potential for a wet racing surface don't bother trainer Bennie "Chip" Woolley Jr. But he said dry and fast conditions wouldn't hurt the chances of Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) winner Mine That Bird.
Rachel Alexandra, the impressive Kentucky Oaks (gr. I) winner and 8-5 morning-line favorite for the May 16 Preakness Stakes (gr. I), walked the shedrow at Pimlico Race Course the morning of May 14 and was expected to school in the paddock later in the day, according to assistant trainer Scott Blasi.
Insight into the pedigrees of this year's Preakness contenders is only a click away. This easy-to-read report includes pedigree analyses from Alan Porter, Avalyn Hunter, and Tom Hall. Order your copy today and separate the contenders from the pretenders.
Kentucky Oaks (gr. I) winner Rachel Alexandra drew post 13 and was installed as the solid 8-5 morning-line favorite for the $1-million Preakness Stakes (gr. I) May 16 at Pimlico.
The exodus of Churchill Downs-based contenders for 134th running of the $1-million Preakness (gr. I) was completed May 13 when major contenders Rachel Alexandra and Pioneerof the Nile stepped onto separate vans around 12:30 p.m. EDT for the short trip to Louisville International Airport for their flight to Baltimore.
Mine That Bird arrived at Pimlico Tuesday looking to annex the Preakness (gr. I), the second jewel of racing's Triple Crown, after shocking the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands at 50-1.
A few minutes after 9 a.m. EDT on May 12, Double Eagle Ranch and Buena Suerte Equine's Mine That Bird rolled out of the Churchill Downs barn area headed for Baltimore and the second leg of racing's Triple Crown.
Derby Trial Stakes (gr. III) winner Hull, who is undefeated in three career starts, will bypass the Preakness Stakes (gr. I) and will run instead in the seven-furlong Woody Stephens Stakes (gr. II) on Belmont day. Also trainer Chip Woolley confirmed that Mike Smith will ride Mine That Bird if Rachel Alexandra runs in the Preakness.
Zayat Stables' homebred Pioneerof the Nile, second in the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I), breezed a half-mile in :47 3/5 at Churchill Downs May 11 as the Empire Maker colt prepped for the May 16 Preakness Stakes (gr. I). The time was fourth-fastest of the morning among 48 horses working four furlongs.
Trainer Chip Woolley, who had said Mine That Bird would not have a workout prior to the May 16 Preakness Stakes (gr. I), called an audible and breezed the son of Birdstone at Churchill Downs on the morning of May 11.
Peachtree Stable's homebred Mythical Power rebounded emphatically from a last-place effort in the Sunland Derby, taking over at the top of the lane under Victor Espinoza and drawing off for a resounding victory in the $400,000 Lone Star Derby (gr. III) May 9.
The prospective field for the May 16 Preakness (gr. I) received a boost in star power when assistant trainer Scott Blasi informed Maryland Jockey Club director of horsemen's relations Phoebe Hayes that Kentucky Oaks (gr. I) winner Rachel Alexandra is scheduled to fly to Baltimore May 13 for the May 16 $1 million classic. A decision on whether she actually gets on the plane will not be made until the filly works.
Stonestreet Stables and partner Harold T. McCormick announced May 8 that Calvin Borel has agreed to ride Kentucky Oaks winner Rachel Alexandra for the current racing season.
A decision as to whether Kentucky Oaks (gr. I) winner Rachel Alexandra will be supplemented into the field for the $1 million Preakness (gr. I) could be made May 10 or 11 after the filly works for her new trainer, Steve Asmussen.
Join Calvin Borel as he talks about his Derby winning ride aboard Mine That Bird, Rachel Alexandra's Kentucky Oaks, and more. Transcript also available.
Paul Saylor said "I nearly fell out of my chair" while watching the May 2 Kentucky Derby Presented By Yum! Brands (gr. I) on television. Like a lot of people, he was surprised by Mine That Bird's huge upset. But what really knocked Saylor for a loop was the realization that a juvenile Yonaguska colt he owned suddenly had become a half-brother to a classic winner.
Friesan Fire, who grabbed his quarter and suffered a several cuts while finishing 18th in the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I), will ship down to Pimlico next Monday from Delaware Park and will work on Tuesday under jockey Gabriel Saez to determine whether the colt will run in the Preakness Stakes (gr. I).
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