Mine That Bird, winner of the 2009 Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I), will have surgery Aug. 18 to correct an entrapped epiglottis, trainer Chip Woolley said. The son of Birdstone will still be pointed for the $1-million Shadwell Travers Stakes (gr. I) at Saratoga on Aug. 29.
According to Woolley, the entrapped epiglottis was detected during a routine scope performed by Dr. James Hunt on Mine That Bird following his morning work at Saratoga earlier in the day. He worked five furlongs in 1:03.83, the slowest time of a dozen horses going that distance over a main track labeled "good."
Woolley said the surgery would be performed by Dr. Patricia Hogan at the Ruffian Medical Center just outside of Belmont Park in Elmont, NY. He expected the bay gelding to ship back to Saratoga and return to training.
The condition occurs when the thin membrane lying below the epiglottis (the fleshy tissue that covers the windpipe when a horse swallows) moves up and covers the epiglottis.
"We’re just going to take him to the best facility we can find and try to give ourselves the best opportunity to make the race," the trainer said. "A lot of other guys have had a lot worse problems than him, so we’ll get it fixed and go on. He’s perfectly sound, he’s healthy. This is just something you’d have never guessed he was going to run into. Of course, now it’s going to be a big thing because it happened to him, but it happens a lot. They do these surgeries regularly, so it’s not unheard of, and we’ll get him fixed."
Although Woolley was still hopeful his starter would make the Travers Stakes, he called the minor setback "tough" and said he would nominate to the $1-million Pennsylvania Derby (gr. I) on Sept. 7 as well.
"We’ll make our backup plans and figure out what they are in the next day or two because it’s not something we’d really planned on," Woolley said.