Mine That Bird has returned to New Mexico, arriving Sept. 2 at Ruidoso Downs ahead of next week's $2-million All American Futurity.
The Kentucky Derby Presented By Yum Brands (gr. I)-winning gelding is a Thoroughbred and won't be running in the signature event of Quarter Horse racing.
Instead, he will lead the post parade before the Sept. 7 race.
The decision to return Mine That Bird to New Mexico was co-owner Mark Allen's way to thank the state's racing community for support. The horse was stabled at Sunland Park after Allen purchased the Canadian 2-year-old champion male.
Mine That Bird had a van ride from Saratoga Springs, N.Y., to Newark. N.J., and then a four-and-a-half-hour flight from Newark to El Paso, Texas, Sept. 1. The gelding spent the night at a training facility near Sunland Park and was vanned to Ruidoso Downs Sept. 2.
“Everything went really well. It was smooth. The entire (flight) crew was very professional,” said trainer Chip Woolley. “I like the idea of training at altitude. He’ll be galloping every day.”
Ruidoso Downs is at a 6,900-foot altitude.