There were many who believed Mine That Bird’s Kentucky Derby victory this year at 50-1 odds was a fluke, a product of the sloppy track at Churchill Downs. But the gelding has gone on to run competitively in the Preakness, Belmont and West Virginia Derby to show he wasn’t just a one-trick pony.
As many of you know and made me painfully aware immediately after the race, I gave Mine That Bird zero chance to win the Run for the Roses. In my column that morning, he was the first horse I said had no chance. I drew a line through him. I thought he’d have a better chance of winning one of the claiming races that afternoon.
Trainer Chip Woolley himself admitted he was surprised Mine That Bird won the Derby, but he did think he had a better horse than the betting public believed.
“In my mind, there was no question that the horse had anted up every time, but to some people I guess there was,” Woolley said. “Then when you see the horse just continue to show up every time you lead him up there and put up his best effort … I mean, we’ve come up short and we can blame it on whoever we blame it on, but the horse everytime has laid it on the line and given us everything he had to give.
“You’ve got to respect him for that. I guess it’s some vindication that the horse, my program, the whole thing has worked very well together and we’ve showed up every time we’ve gone somewhere.”
Now that the Mine That Bird camp has decided to skip Saturday’s Travers Stakes, giving the gelding more time to recover from last week’s minor throat surgery, plans call for him to run in the Goodwood Stakes during Santa Anita’s Oak Tree meet on Oct. 10 as a prep for the $5 million Breeders’ Cup Classic on Nov. 7