On to Preakness for Derby winner Mine That Bird
BALTIMORE – Mine That Bird is headed to the Preakness.
The trainer of the gelding who won the Kentucky Derby at 50-1 odds said his horse will run in the May 16 Preakness at Pimlico, the second leg of the Triple Crown.
"I've never been to Baltimore, but it looks like I won't be able to say that in a few days," trainer Bennie Woolley Jr. said Monday.
Woolley said the horse will remain at Churchill Downs in Louisville at least until May 12 before shipping to Baltimore. He jogged a mile at Churchill on Monday morning and will have light jogs each of the next two days.
Woolley said there are no plans for the horse to have a full workout before the Preakness.
Mine That Bird, ridden by Calvin Borel, won the Derby by 6 3/4 lengths over Pioneerof the Nile — the largest margin of victory since Assault in 1946.
On Sunday, a day after the big upset, Woolley said there's "no obligation" to go to the Preakness and added: "You've got to do what's best for the horse and the horse has got to come first."
And the horse has given every indication he came out of the race in good order.
"The Triple Crown is good for racing, and without the Derby winner, there is no chance to have one," he said.
The last Derby winner to skip the Preakness was an injured Grindstone in 1996. The last healthy Derby winner to miss it was Spend A Buck in 1985.
Other Derby horses expected to take on Mine That Bird are fourth-place finisher Papa Clem and possibly Pioneerof the Nile, third-place Musket Man, Join in the Dance (seventh) and General Quarters (10th).
Potential newcomers include Delta Jackpot winner Big Drama, Withers winner Mr. Fantasy, Take the Points and Miner's Escape.
The Preakness is limited to 14 starters.
The big question, of course, is whether Mine That Bird can win the Preakness and set up a Triple Crown attempt in the Belmont Stakes on June 6. The last Triple Crown winner was Affirmed in 1978.
Borel said he'll be more than happy to take a shot.
"He's plenty of horse," he said.
Pioneerof the Nile's trainer Bob Baffert had some advice for Woolley and owners Mark Allen and Leonard Blach on Sunday: if Mine That Bird is OK, go for it.
"This is a dream of a lifetime," Baffert said. "I hope he comes out of it well and they go and maybe he's for real. We're going to find out."
Last year, Big Brown won the Derby and the Preakness, but finished last in the Belmont after being pulled up on the turn for home.