Derby winner Mine That Bird co-owner Mark Allen.

Derby winner Mine That Bird co-owner Mark Allen.

Anne M. Eberhardt

Report: Mine That Bird Owner Tied to Scandal

Mine That Bird co-owner has alleged ties to Alaska public corruption scandal.

An Alaska newspaper article claims a co-owner of the upset winner in the May 2 Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) has alleged ties to a public scandal involving state politicians and likely bought his share of Mine That Bird with $30 million he received from the separate sale of his family’s oil field services company.

The Anchorage Daily News has reported that Mine That Bird co-owner Mark Allen, in 2003, allegedly paid at least one bribe to an Alaska state representative in hopes of obtaining help with pending legislation for the family’s Veco Corp., but was never charged due to a plea bargain worked out by his father, Bill Allen. The elder Allen has since pleaded guilty to multiple federal counts of extortion, bribery, and conspiracy.

The Daily News said Mark Allen’s involvement in the alleged corruption was disclosed during his father’s testimony last October in a related trial of former U.S. Sen. Ted Stevens, and that prosecutors haven’t said whether they could have brought charges against the younger Allen.

Veco Corp. was sold in 2007, the article said, from which Mark Allen received $30 million, according to sales records. He then went on a “spending spree” in buying horses, including buying eight Quarter Horses for a combined $726,0000 at the 2007 August Ruidoso Select Quarter Horse sale in New Mexico.

Mark Allen co-owns Mine That Bird with Dr. Leonard Blach. The article said Blach in a July interview with the paper claimed he didn’t know Allen very well. “I just don't know too much about him, to tell the truth about it,” the paper quoted him as saying at the time.

However, at the post-Kentucky Derby press conference, Blach said, "Mark and I have been friends for years, and we're in the racing and breeding business together. I was in business with Mark's dad years ago in Quarter Horse stallions. I've known Mark since he was a horse trainer. We've been good friends and partners ever since he bought the farm across from mine in Roswell, N.M."

The Daily News also reported that both Allens were involved in a partnership that owned So Long Birdie, a half-brother to Birdstone, the sire of Mine That Bird, and eventually bought out the other partners. So Long Birdie stands at Blach's Buena Suerte Equine Clinic in Roswell, N.M.

The link to the full article can be found here.