(Edited press release)
After being dragged around the shedrow at Barn 37 by General Quarters the morning of May 4, owner/trainer Tom McCarthy began to think a bit about a Preakness bid with the 10th-place Kentucky Derby finisher.
“He came out of the race a lot better than I thought,” McCarthy said. “His legs are cold all the way around, so maybe things aren’t as bad as I thought.”
McCarthy said he would try to walk General Quarters one more day before returning to the track May 6.
“The way he walked this morning, dragging us around the barn…I’m going to try to give him another day,” McCarthy said. “I will gallop him a few days and see where we are, but I want to get a Pimlico condition book so I can see what all the fees are.”
Trainer Bennie “Chip” Woolley Jr. has never been to Baltimore, but that will all change in a few days, as prepares Mine That Bird for a run in the May 16 Preakness Stakes at Pimlico.
Mine That Bird, who shocked the world with his upset win in the May 2 Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I), jogged a mile on a sloppy track at Churchill Downs the morning of May 4.
With owners Mark Allen of Double Eagle Ranch and Dr. Leonard Blach of Buena Suerte Equine on hand, Mine That Bird went to the track at 6:40 with exercise rider Charlie Figueroa up.
“He was just bucking and playing out there,” Figueroa said. “The outriders were surprised to see that yellow (Derby) saddle towel come jogging by.”
A short time later, the Mine That Bird team informed officials with the Maryland Jockey Club that the 50-1 winner of the Kentucky Derby would compete in the second jewel of the Triple Crown.
Woolley had said May 3 he wanted to see how Mine That Bird came out of the race before committing to the Preakness and a possible run toward the Triple Crown.
With Allen leading Mine That Bird to the track, Woolley watched the exercise from the viewing stand at the six-furlong chute.
“Perfect,” he said. “He tried to buck Charlie off in front of the grandstand and doesn’t normally do that,” Woolley said. “Tomorrow he will back-track to the three-eighths and then ‘lope’ around one time and the next day two times. It will be two rounds a day. I might walk him one day, maybe the day we ship, but he will have no breezes before the Preakness.”
Woolley said the Triple Crown pursuit factored into the thinking of going on to Pimlico with the gelded son of 2004 Belmont Stakes (gr. I) winner Birdstone.
“The Triple Crown is good for racing, and without the Derby winner (in the Preakness) there is no chance to have one,” Woolley said.
Mine That Bird is expected to remain at Churchill Downs until at least May 12.