The 2009 Kentucky Derby winner, Mine That Bird, worked out at Saratoga this morning in preparation for the Travers Stakes coming up in twelve days. The workout was, at best, sluggish. He went five furlongs in 1:03.83. It was revealed later in the day by his trainer, Chip Woolley, that the horse will undergo surgery for an entrapped epiglottis on Tuesday. The connections are still hopeful that Mine That Bird will be ready for the Travers Stakes at Saratoga.
Keep in mind that horses have surgery to relieve an entrapped epiglottis and go on to have incredibly successful racing careers. The most famous example might remain 1987 Derby and Preakness winner, Alysheba, who had the surgery prior to his Triple Crown campaign. I just hope that the connections are smart with Mine That Bird and keep in mind that he does not need to run in the Travers to validate his Derby win. He has already done that by running second in the Preakness and almost catching Superfilly Rachel Alexandra in the stretch and his third in the Belmont also was a very strong effort. I think the third in the West Virginia Derby was a throwout, honestly. The pace scenario and short field in that race made it almost impossible for him to be a winner that day.
So, if they don't run Mine That Bird in the Travers, where should the connections put him? May I suggest the Grade 2 $750,000 Super Derby at Louisiana Downs? It might be a more logical spot for Mine That Bird going forward anyway. The date of the race is September 19, which will give him plenty of time to be recovered from the Tuesday surgery without being rushed and will leave him seven weeks out from the Breeders' Cup World Championships at Santa Anita on November 7. Seven weeks might be too much of a layoff for some folks, but coming off a surgery, no matter how routine, it might be smart to spread him out a little bit anyway.
By the way, the other contenders that worked for the Travers today were Rachel Alexandra (5 furlongs in 1:00.37), Warriors Reward (5 furlongs in 1:00.26), and Kensei (5 furlongs in 1:01.85).
Tune in tomorrow for more from They Are Off. For right now, I am Gone... GOODBYE!