Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Welcome Back!

Mine That Bird has returned to training in his home base of New Mexico. While there is no concrete date set for the 2009 Kentucky Derby winner's return, trainer Chip Woolley hinted that the Grade 1 Stephen Foster on June 12 might be the likely spot. Mine That Bird has been out of action since his disappointing ninth-place finish in the Breeders' Cup Classic at Santa Anita last fall. It is readily apparent that while Mine That Bird did well as a two-year-old on the polytrack at Woodbine, he just never took to the pro-ride surface in Southern California. Remember, he also ran up the track in the Grade 1 Goodwood at Santa Anita as his last prep before Breeders' Cup Day.

If you get right down it, Mine That Bird has not won any race of any kind since...wait for it... The Kentucky Derby. Yes, he created all kinds of thrills with his stunning finish in the Preakness, where he just missed catching the Horse Of The Year, Rachel Alexandra, in the final strides. He also ran an exceptional third behind the Three-Year-Old Colt Champion, Summer Bird, in the Belmont Stakes. But, the fact remains that Mine That Bird has not won a race since the Run For The Roses. Do you think this diminishes what he did on May 2 last year? I certainly don't. His epic victory will rightly live on in the memories of all who witnessed it that day. Don't ever forget the picture that stands out of Calvin Borel skimming the rails all the way from last to weave through eighteen other horses to win by the daunting margin of 6 3/4 lengths. May 2, 2009 will remain one of the colossal days in the history of the Kentucky Derby and whether Mine That Bird ever wins another race or not, he is the one that made it so.

Tune in tomorrow for more from They Are Off. For right now, I am Gone... GOODBYE!

Photo courtesy of sportsillustrated.cnn.com

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