Mine That Bird will have a race of his own.
Racing Officials at Sunland Park have renamed the Borderland Derby in honor of the upset winner of the 2009 Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I). Mine That Bird, a son of Birdstone bred in Kentucky out of the Smart Strike mare Mining My Own, prepped at the New Mexico oval. He was a runner-up in the Borderland and fourth-place finisher in the $800,000 Sunland Derby (gr. III) before winning the "Run for the Roses" at odds of 50-1.
New Mexico-based trainer Chip Woolley conditioned the bay gelding for owners Mark Allen and Dr. Leonard Blach (Double Eagle Ranch and Buena Suerte Equine) to victory in the Derby, a second-place finish in the Preakness (gr. I), and a third in the Belmont Stakes (gr. I), as well as a third in the West Virginia Derby (gr. II).
Now the Borderland Derby will be known as the Mine That Bird Derby, a 1 1/16-mile test held Feb. 23. It will be worth $130,000. Horses that run well there may next try to earn their way to Churchill Downs on the first Saturday in May via the Sunland Derby, worth 50 points to the winner under the new Kentucky Derby qualifying system.
A Feb. 16 race for state-bred fillies and mares going a mile at Sunland has also been renamed. Formerly the Sydney Valentini, it is now the $100,000 Peppers Pride, in honor of the New Mexico-bred daughter of Desert God who was unbeaten in 19 starts in her home state from 2005 to 2008.