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.
Despite being pleased with how the little gelding got over the track, Borel and his agent Jerry Hissam said they were not willing to make a commitment to Mine That Bird for the Belmont. Their indecision is due to the lack of a decision within the camp of Rachel Alexandra on whether the impressive BlackBerry Preakness Stakes (gr. I) winner will run in the Belmont.
Borel won the Derby with Mine That Bird and was aboard Rachel Alexandra for victories in the Kentucky Oaks (gr. I) and Preakness, in which the Derby winner finished a fast-closing second.
“He went good, like his old self,” Borel said before Hissam added there would be no comment on the mount situation.
“He worked super; he got over the ground good,” said trainer Bennie “Chip” Woolley Jr. “I am tickled with where we are right now. He’s been a little on the hook, so we’re just trying to get him to settle.”
Woolley explained that he and co-owners Mark Allen and Dr. Leonard Blach would delay their decision on a rider for the Belmont.
“We will hold off on naming a rider out of respect for Calvin,” the trainer said. “He won the Derby for us. He deserves the time it takes to make the right decision. I’d like to have closure on this, but it is the nature of the business,” Woolley said. “You’ve got two good horses vying for the same rider. Nobody likes to be in this situation. Both horses are at the top of their game, and it is a tough choice for the rider and it is tough for the trainers.”
Woolley said Mine That Bird would work again next Monday at Churchill Downs, when Rachel Alexandra is also scheduled to work.
The champion 2-year-old male in Canada last year when he was trained by David Cotey, Mine That Bird has won half of his 10 career starts and has earned $2,011,581.