The Aug. 29 Shadwell Travers Stakes (gr. I) lost some of its luster hours before entries were taken Aug. 26 when it was announced that Mine That Bird, winner of the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I), would not run in the "Mid-Summer Derby" at Saratoga Racecourse.
The decision was announced by trainer Chip Woolley and owners Mark Allen and Dr. Leonard Blach after the gelding underwent and endoscopic exam to determine if he had fully recovered from surgery last week to correct an entrapped epiglottis. Woolley said the veterinary exam Aug. 26 revealed a "small spot on the left lateral border of the epiglottis," leading to the decision not to run.
"We’ve decided to err on the side of caution and pass this race up and aim down the road to the Breeders’ Cup," Woolley said. "There’s one little spot underneath the epiglottis pushing up just a tiny bit and after studying and looking at it, we’re going to hold off and make sure the horse is okay and not take any chances with the rest of his career."
After discovering the entrapped epiglottis on Aug. 17 following a workout, Mine That Bird underwent surgery the following day at the Ruffian Equine Medical Center in Elmont, N.Y. Three endoscopic exams conducted after the surgery indicated it was successful.
"It was a hard decision," said Blach. "It’s healed up, it’s not raw, there’s no ulcer on there at all it’s just kind of an enlargement on the left side. Essentially it’s going to be normal and it’s probably going to be there for a while. Having surgery just eight days ago, we probably don’t want to take a risk."
Added Woolley: "It’s probably not a problem, but we don’t feel comfortable taking a chance. It probably would have no bearing on the race but we don’t want to do anything that might jeopardize his future."
Woolley said another factor in the decision was that Mine That Bird could continue to receive post-operative medication, which would have been halted had he run.
No specific plans were outlined for where Mine That Bird might make his next start, but his connections said they would consider the grade I Goodwood Stakes at Santa Anita on Oct. 10 with the Nov. 7 Breeders’ Cup Classic (gr. I) at Santa Anita the gelding’s primary objective.
Woolley said Mine That Bird would remain at Saratoga through the weekend and would ship to his base in New Mexico early next week. He said plans were still on for the gelding to lead the post parade for the $2 million All American Futurity at Ruidoso Downs on Sept. 7.