“He’s doing good, real good,” said Woolley from beneath his trademark black, felt-tipped cowboy hat. As is his custom, Woolley hauled the 3-year-old gelding by Birdstone himself from his New Mexico base. “It was a typical transport and he settled in well. He didn’t eat all his feed, but that’s not out of the norm for him. He ate good and drank good, so that’s all right,” he said.
“I haven’t really scheduled them yet,” said Woolley Friday morning. “I’ll decide in the next couple of days. He will breeze on Monday or Tuesday, and then of course, (again) the following Monday or Tuesday, and then he runs.”
Mine That Bird’s ultimate goal at Santa Anita’s Oak Tree meeting is the $5 million Breeders’ Cup Classic on Nov. 7, but should he win the Goodwood on Oct. 10, he would become only the third Kentucky Derby winner to also take the Goodwood, joining Derby-winning alums Ferdinand and Silver Charm, who both completed the double as
4-year-olds in 1987 and ’98, respectively.
Although he is winless in three starts since shocking the racing world at 50-1 on Derby Day, May 2, Mine That Bird ran a fast-finishing second behind super filly Rachel Alexandra in the May 16 Preakness Stakes and finished a respectable third in the June 6 Belmont Stakes. In his most recent start, Mine That Bird finished third, beaten 1 ¾ lengths at odds of 4-5 in the West Virginia Derby on Aug. 1.
Even though he was last in a field of 12 in last year’s Breeders’ Cup Juvenile at Oak Tree, Woolley has no reservations about returning to Santa Anita’s synthetic surface.
“He won four in a row on synthetic at Woodbine and he ran respectable in the Breeders’ Cup last year,” said Woolley. “He came up a little empty here in the Juvenile, but I’m kind of sure he’ll handle it okay. He kind of seems to carry his race track with him wherever he goes. We haven’t run into one he didn’t like yet.”
Calvin Borel, who skimmed the Churchill Downs rail when producing the Derby shocker, will be back aboard Mine That Bird for the Goodwood. Although Borel took off the Derby winner to stay with Rachel Alexandra in the Preakness, he was back aboard the Woolley trainee for his third place finish in the Belmont. Hall of Fame Jockey Mike Smith rode Mine That Bird in the West Virginia Derby and in the Preakness.
Owned by Mark Allen and Dr. Leonard Blach, Mine That Bird’s record now stands at 12-5-2, with earnings of $2,196,581.
In addition to Mine That Bird, Chocolate Candy, Colonel John, Parading, Tiago and Richard’s Kid are all listed as possible Goodwood starters.
The Oak Tree at Santa Anita meeting will get underway on Wednesday, with first post time at 1 p.m. For more information on Oak Tree and the Breeders’ Cup World Championships, fans are encouraged to visit http://www.oaktreeracing.com.