Borel back on Mine That Bird
SARATOGA SPRINGS -- Jockey Calvin Borel will be back on Mine That Bird for the Kentucky Derby winner's next two starts.
Trainer Bennie "Chip" Woolley said this afternoon that Borel has given him and co-owners Mark Allen and Dr. Leonard Blach a commitment for the Grade I $350,000 Goodwood Breeders' Cup and $5 million Breeders' Cup Classic, both on the Pro-Ride at Santa Anita Park.
"It's been in the works for a while probably," Woolley said. "We had the commitment from Mike [Smith] for the two races out here, but they wouldn't further commit. Mark and Doc and I discussed it when they were here and it's just what we decided we wanted to do."
Hall of Fame jockey Mike Smith rode Mine That Bird in the Grade II West Virginia Derby on Aug. 1 and was scheduled to be aboard for the $1 million Travers here on Aug. 29, but Woolley was forced to scratch to continue the gelding's recovery from minor throat surgery on Aug. 18.
Borel rode Mine That Bird to his shocking win in the Kentucky Derby at odds of 50-1. He took off for the Preakness to ride superfilly Rachel Alexandra, whom he will be aboard again on Saturday in the Grade I Woodward.
This morning, Borel was in the irons as Mine That Bird worked an easy half-mile in :51.16 on Saratoga's main track.
"It feels good [to be back on]," Borel said today between races. "He went real real good this morning. The way he went this morning I was very happy with. Rachel's not going to run on the [artificial] track, so if everything goes right I think he'll run in both of them. He went good today, so I was real proud."
Woolley and Mine That Bird are scheduled to leave Saratoga at 3 a.m. Tuesday for Newark, N.J., where the horse will board a 7:30 a.m. FedEx flight to El Paso, Texas via Memphis. Horse and trainer will lay over at the Frontera Training Center near Sunland Park before making the final 2 1/2-hour drive north to Ruidoso Downs, New Mexico.
"It was just a nice, soft half," Woolley said. "We let him finish up the last sixteenth of a mile pretty good. We just wanted to stretch his legs before he gets on the plane. It'll be a few days before we can breeze him again, so we thought we would get one in before we go."