Derby winner breezes for Belmont
Jockey Calvin Borel was aboard for Kentucky Derby winner Mine That Bird's final pre-Belmont work this morning at Churchill Downs.
The Preakness runner-up was clocked in 50 seconds for a half-mile, after splits of :13.40, :26, and :38.40. A gelded son of 2004 Belmont winner Birdstone, Mine That Bird galloped out five furlongs in 1:02.20 and six in 1:15.
“We're going to win it, no questions asked," Borel told reporters. "I loved the way he went today. He really came bouncing off the track once we were done. That's what I love about him. He's just so happy."
Borel will ride Mine That Bird in Saturday's Belmont after Rachel Alexandra, the first filly to win the Preakness in 85 years under Borel's direction, was declared out last week by co-owner Jess Jackson. Borel became the first jockey in thoroughbred history to take off a Derby winner for another horse in the Preakness.
No jockey has ever swept the Triple Crown on different horses. At 1 1/2 miles, the Belmont is the oldest, last and longest leg.
Trained by Bennie "Chip" Woolley, Mine That Bird will arrive in New York on a flight from Kentucky along with Belmont contender Mr. Hot Stuff on Wednesday. Woolley and Borel will be in town on Tuesdsay, and be guests at a media luncheon at Madison Square Garden.
Chocolate Candy, fifth in the Derby, also turned in his final Belmont work this morning. He was clocked in :50.25 for a half-mile at Belmont Park.
Luv Gov, bred and owned by Saratoga socialite Marylou Whitney, and Flying Private, both trained by Hall of Famer D. Wayne Lukas, got to New York from Kentucky late Sunday night.