Mine That Bird continued his progress toward the West Virginia Derby (gr. II) when he breezed four furlongs in :49 2/5 July 7 at Churchill Downs. The time was co-sixth fastest of the day among 66 horses working the distance over a fast track.
Trainer Chip Woolley, who had delayed the workout originally scheduled for July 6 due to wet track conditions, said the work was exactly what he wanted.
“He knocked it right off this morning,” Woolley said. “He looked sharp and the splits were excellent.”
With jockey Jamie Theriot aboard, the Birdstone gelding who upset the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) at 50-1 odds was timed in fractions of :13 1/5, :25 3/5, and :38. He galloped out five furlongs in 1:02 4/5.
“He (Theriot) loved him. He thought it was great, Woolley said.”
The workout was the second for Mine That Bird since finishing third in the Belmont Stakes (gr. I). In his previous work, Mine That Bird went a half-mile in :51, a slower time than Woolley was looking for since the gelding was coming off a break in competition.
Mike Smith, who rode Mine That Bird to a second-place finish in the BlackBerry Preakness Stakes (gr. I), has been named to ride him in the Aug. 1 West Virginia Derby at Mountaineer Casino and Racetrack.
Woolley said Mine That Bird will have another "softer" (slower) work Monday, July 13. The trainer said he has not decided when the gelding will ship to West Virginia, noting there is a possibility he could remain at Churchill until closer to race day and not work over the Mountaineer surface.
“I haven’t decided for sure if I’ll take him and work him one time at Mountaineer right before the race or just stay here and go into the race from here,” Woolley said. “Either way, the horse is doing good and is ready to roll.”