Early on the morning of May 18, trainer Bennie “Chip” Woolley had just loaded Mine That Bird into a horse trailer and was preparing for the 9 ½-10 hour drive from Baltimore, Md., to Louisville, where the little gelding had won the May 2 Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) before going on to finish second in the May 16 BlackBerry Preakness Stakes (gr. I).
“We just loaded him and we’re pulling out of the Pimlico stable gate,” said Woolley, who drives the Ford Lariat pickup with the Turnbow trailer attached despite having a broken leg sustained in a motorcycle accident.
The trainer, who saddled the 3-year-old son of Birdstone to upset the Derby at 50-1 odds and then nearly catch winner Rachel Alexandra before finishing second, beaten a length, in the Preakness, said Mine That Bird would train at Churchill Downs in preparation for the June 6 Belmont Stakes (gr. I).
“He came back good and looks real sharp,” Woolley said of Mine That Bird, who had traffic problems coming out of the second turn in the Preakness. “We will track him at Churchill tomorrow (May 19) and get a feel for how he’s doing and then train him up to the Belmont. The plan all along has been to return to Churchill and then ship to Belmont four days or so before the race.”
Initially sold for $9,500 at the 2007 Fasig-Tipton Kentucky October yearling sale, Mine That Bird was champion 2-year-old male in Canada last year before being purchased privately by Mark Allen's Double Eagle Ranch and Dr. Leonard Balch's Buena Suerte Equine for $400,000. With his second in the Preakness, Mine That Bird has earned $2,011,581 while winning five of 10 starts, with two second-place finishes. In addition to the Derby, he won the Silver Deputy, Swynford, and Grey (Can-III) Stakes, all over Woodbine’s artificial surface.