Mine That Bird Wins!

Double Eagle Ranch and Bueno Suerte Equine's MINE THAT BIRD (Birdstone), a New Mexico-based gelding who lost his first two starts this year in the Borderland Derby and Sunland Derby, rallied from last to win the 135th running of the Kentucky Derby (G1). And it wasn't even close. The top Kentucky Derby jockey this century, Calvin Borel, got to the rail after the break and stuck -- nobody saves ground better than the Cajun.

Borel knew the inside was best and was in no hurry after being squeezed at the start, and Mine That Bird dropped out of it early on, trailing as much as six lengths behind the next-to-place runner. He entered the far turn with a lot of ground to make up, but the Kentucky-bred kicked it in like he was shot out of a rocket.

Mine That Bird was the only horse to finish strongly, registering a 113 BRIS Late Pace number, and it was really something to see Borel work his magic. He skillfully negotiated Mine That Bird around a rival approaching the top of the stretch and then quickly darted back to the rail, rapidly reeling the leaders in with every stride, but there didn't appear to be any place to go nearing the quarter-pole, with pacesetter JOIN IN THE DANCE (Sky Mesa) racing along the inside. Borel has no fear, though, and squeezed the diminutive Mine That Bird through tight quarters, skimming the rail in classic Borel style.

The race was over in the blink of an eye as Mine That Bird kicked clear, and the Canadian champion earned an outstanding 110 Speed figure for the 6 3/4-length decision. His final time of 2:02.66 is good.

Borel won his second Derby in the last three years, and he finished third in 2008. He captured Friday's Kentucky Oaks (G1) by 20 1/4 lengths with Rachel Alexandra (Medaglia d'Oro). The 42-year-old journeyman was one of the weekend's biggest stars.

There were troubled trips to go around. FRIESAN FIRE (A.P. Indy) grabbed a quarter and was bleeding after being hit hard out of the gate, essentially just galloping home under Gabriel Saez. DUNKIRK (Unbridled's Song) stumbled a couple of jumps after the break, but that wasn't as much of a factor as Edgar Prado's guidance -- he was rushing the gray colt forward like he was aboard a front runner and got his mount slammed around for no reason approaching the first turn. Prado could have taken a lesson from Borel.

Mine That Bird closed from far back, but the front runners still ran well. Second-placer PIONEEROF THE NILE (Empire Maker) enjoyed a terrific trip under Garrett Gomez, closely tracking Join in the Dance from the start, and looked like a winner approaching the stretch. Fourth-placer PAPA CLEM (Smart Strike) was forwardly placed, stalking in fourth most of the way with Rafael Bejarano, and just missed third by a head. Join in the Dance turned in a respectable effort, much better than expected from the maiden winner, and led the way into the stretch. He weakened only to seventh.

MUSKET MAN (Yonaguska) was farther back during the early stages following a bad start but still raced within striking range under Eibar Coa. They took the overland route to reach contention turning for home and wound up only a nose back of Pioneerof the Nile in third. Bred to be a six-furlong specialist, Musket Man is as hard-hitting as they come.

The defections of Quality Road (Elusive Quality) and I Want Revenge (Stephen Got Even) hurt the depth of the field, and the Derby was held over a sloppy track. Most people will label Mine That Bird's victory as a complete fluke, an impossible winner who will be up the track two weeks later in the Preakness S. (G1). But that's horse racing; 50-1 upsets happen. Mine That Bird was the best horse on Saturday, and I give credit to Chip Woolley for a great training performance -- he had the former $9,500 yearling ready for the race of his life.

Trainer

Bennie Woolley Jr.

Bennie "Chip" Woolley Jr. began training horses in 1983 in New Mexico, and the 45-year-old conditioner will saddle his first Kentucky Derby starter with Mine That Bird. A resident of Bloomfield, New Mexico, Chip is a regular on the New Mexico circuit, training both Thoroughbreds and Quarterhorses, and he's been an active member of the New Mexico Horseman's Association for many years. With an expanding public stable, Woolley is now starting to run Thoroughbreds at other tracks in the Midwest. The avid motorcycle enthusiast was injured in an accident over the winter and arrived in Louisville on crutches. // Full Bio...

Jockey

Calvin Borel

Born in South Louisiana, Borel knew from a very early age he wanted to become a jockey. He won his first career Kentucky Derby in 2007 on Street Sense, and followed that up two years later with a rail skimming ride on longshot Mine That Bird, and won his third Kentucky Derby in 2010 aboard Super Saver. Borel also won the 2009 Kentucky Oaks and Preakness Stakes aboard Rachel Alexandra. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2013. // Full Bio...

Owner

Double Eagle Ranch & Bueno Suerte Equine

Mark Allen and Dr. Leonard Blach own in partnership Canadian champion two-year-old Mine That Bird, who will be the first Kentucky Derby starter for the New Mexico residents. Allen and Block purchased Mine That Bird after the Kentucky-bred gelding captured the Grey S. (Can-G3), Swynford S. and Silver Deputy S. at Woodbine last year and turned him over to Bennie "Chip" Woolley Jr., who trains for both Allen and Block on the New Mexico circuit. At Allen's Double Eagle Ranch in Roswell, New Mexico, Allen and Block are partners in the Double Eagle Ranch Training Center, which Quarterhorse Hall of Famer Jerry Nicodemus manages. So Long Birdie (Pioneering), a half-brother to 2004 Belmont S. (G1) and Travers S. (G1) hero Birdstone (Grindstone), stands at Double Eagle Ranch. // Full Bio...

Breeder

Lamantia, Blackburn & Needham/Betz Thoroughbreds

Lamanthia, Blackburn & Needham/Betz Thoroughbreds bred Mine That Bird, who initially sold for $9,500 at the 2007 Fasig-Tipton October Yearling Sale. The Kentucky-bred garnered Canadian champion two-year-old honors for his previous owners, reeling off three straight stakes wins at Woodbine, before being privately sold to Mike Allen and Dr. Leonard. Needham/Betz Thoroughbreds is a commercial breeding operation co-owned by Phil Needham and Bill Betz, who have been partners for 20 years. Needham/Betz is one of the industry's most successful consignors, despite modest numbers. They generally consign some 25 horses to the Keeneland September yearling sale and a few yearlings to the Fasig-Tipton July and Saratoga yearling sales. Their 280-acre farm is located near Fasig-Tipton Kentucky in Lexington, where they have approximately 60 broodmares. The farm keeps a few fillies to race and to build its broodmare band. Top horses bred by Needham/Betz Thoroughbreds (singly or in partnership) include El Corredor, Roman Ruler, Dubai Escapade, Madcap Escapade, Tricky Squaw, Dignitas and Silver Tornado. // Full Bio...

2001-Present

Current Era

2001 - Growth of the Kentucky Derby continued on all fronts as the 127th running attracted a crowd of 154,210, the second largest attendance in Derby history. Overall Derby Day wagering (all sources) rose to a record $107,598,904. For the first time in Derby pari-mutuel wagering history, all horses ran uncoupled with no entries or mutuel fields as betting interests.

Continue Reading
# Contender Jockey Trainer Owner Breeder
1 Mine That Bird Calvin Borel Bennie Woolley Jr. Double Eagle Ranch & Bueno Suerte Equine Lamantia, Blackburn & Needham/Betz Thoroughbreds
2 Pioneerof The Nile Garrett Gomez Bob Baffert Zayat Stables
3 Musket Man Eibar Coa Derek Ryan Derek Ryan Jim E. Nelson & Sergio de Sousa
4 Papa Clem Rafael Bejarano Gary Stute Bo Hirsch Bo Hirsch
5 Chocolate Candy Mike Smith Jerry Hollendorfer Sid & Jenny Craig Sid & Jenny Craig
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Kentucky Derby 135 Race Recap

Double Eagle Ranch and Bueno Suerte Equine's MINE THAT BIRD (Birdstone), a New Mexico-based gelding who lost his first two starts this year in the Borderland Derby and Sunland Derby, rallied from last to win the 135th running of the Kentucky Derby (G1). And it wasn't even close. The top Kentucky Derby jockey this century, Calvin Borel, got to the rail after the break and stuck -- nobody saves ground better than the Cajun.

Borel knew the inside was best and was in no hurry after being squeezed at the start, and Mine That Bird dropped out of it early on, trailing as much as six lengths behind the next-to-place runner. He entered the far turn with a lot of ground to make up, but the Kentucky-bred kicked it in like he was shot out of a rocket.

Mine That Bird was the only horse to finish strongly, registering a 113 BRIS Late Pace number, and it was really something to see Borel work his magic. He skillfully negotiated Mine That Bird around a rival approaching the top of the stretch and then quickly darted back to the rail, rapidly reeling the leaders in with every stride, but there didn't appear to be any place to go nearing the quarter-pole, with pacesetter JOIN IN THE DANCE (Sky Mesa) racing along the inside. Borel has no fear, though, and squeezed the diminutive Mine That Bird through tight quarters, skimming the rail in classic Borel style.

The race was over in the blink of an eye as Mine That Bird kicked clear, and the Canadian champion earned an outstanding 110 Speed figure for the 6 3/4-length decision. His final time of 2:02.66 is good.

Borel won his second Derby in the last three years, and he finished third in 2008. He captured Friday's Kentucky Oaks (G1) by 20 1/4 lengths with Rachel Alexandra (Medaglia d'Oro). The 42-year-old journeyman was one of the weekend's biggest stars.

There were troubled trips to go around. FRIESAN FIRE (A.P. Indy) grabbed a quarter and was bleeding after being hit hard out of the gate, essentially just galloping home under Gabriel Saez. DUNKIRK (Unbridled's Song) stumbled a couple of jumps after the break, but that wasn't as much of a factor as Edgar Prado's guidance -- he was rushing the gray colt forward like he was aboard a front runner and got his mount slammed around for no reason approaching the first turn. Prado could have taken a lesson from Borel.

Mine That Bird closed from far back, but the front runners still ran well. Second-placer PIONEEROF THE NILE (Empire Maker) enjoyed a terrific trip under Garrett Gomez, closely tracking Join in the Dance from the start, and looked like a winner approaching the stretch. Fourth-placer PAPA CLEM (Smart Strike) was forwardly placed, stalking in fourth most of the way with Rafael Bejarano, and just missed third by a head. Join in the Dance turned in a respectable effort, much better than expected from the maiden winner, and led the way into the stretch. He weakened only to seventh.

MUSKET MAN (Yonaguska) was farther back during the early stages following a bad start but still raced within striking range under Eibar Coa. They took the overland route to reach contention turning for home and wound up only a nose back of Pioneerof the Nile in third. Bred to be a six-furlong specialist, Musket Man is as hard-hitting as they come.

The defections of Quality Road (Elusive Quality) and I Want Revenge (Stephen Got Even) hurt the depth of the field, and the Derby was held over a sloppy track. Most people will label Mine That Bird's victory as a complete fluke, an impossible winner who will be up the track two weeks later in the Preakness S. (G1). But that's horse racing; 50-1 upsets happen. Mine That Bird was the best horse on Saturday, and I give credit to Chip Woolley for a great training performance -- he had the former $9,500 yearling ready for the race of his life.