Mine That Bird works with
By Marty McGee/ The Daily Racing Form
LOUISVILLE, Ky. 5/11/2009- The top two finishers in the Kentucky Derby made
their final major preparations for Saturday's 134th Preakness when
Mine That Bird and Pioneerof the Nile were sent through half-mile
breezes over a fast Churchill Downs racetrack.
Mine That Bird, the 6 3/4-length winner of the May 2 Derby, was
reunited with his Derby jockey, Calvin Borel, when going out for what
trainer Chip Woolley had planned as "stretching his legs down the
lane," but the gelding was caught going a half-mile in 49.20 seconds
by Churchill clocker John Nichols. Pioneerof the Nile, with Joe
Steiner up and trainer Bob Baffert watching frontside, went in 47.60.
Both horses were on the track as soon as the regularly scheduled
renovation break was completed at about 8:30 a.m. Eastern.
Borel was all smiles and thumbs up as he conversed with Woolley while
Mine That Bird was being walked back to Barn 42 following the work.
Borel, who has opted to ride Kentucky Oaks winner Rachel Alexandra in
the Preakness at Pimlico on Saturday, left almost immediately after
the breeze for a flight to Southern California, where he is scheduled
to appear Tuesday on "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno" on NBC.
Woolley said Mine That Bird "has been doing good and has been a little
too froggy" in recent days. "He might've done a little more than I
wanted, but that's not a lot of work for him, and he didn't take a
long breath" when being cooled out.
Baffert was very enthusiastic about how Pioneerof the Nile came out of
the Derby. "I really liked what I saw this morning," he said.
Two other Preakness candidates also were sent through half-mile
breezes on a busy Monday morning. General Quarters, with Justin Court
aboard, went in 50.20 seconds, and Flying Private, Jamie Theriot up,
went in 48.20.
Six Preakness prospects were scheduled to depart Churchill for
Baltimore over the next couple of days. Mine That Bird, General
Quarters, and Flying Private will leave Tuesday on separate vans,
while a Tex Sutton charter flight carrying Rachel Alexandra, Pioneerof
the Nile, and Terrain will leave Louisville International Airport
around 1:30 p.m. Eastern on Wednesday, with a tentative arrival time
at Pimlico set for about 4 p.m.
Big Drama has final drill at Pimlico
Big Drama, one of only two likely Preakness starters stabled at
Pimlico in Baltimore as of Monday morning, had his final work for the
race, going a half-mile under John Velazquez in 50 seconds. Both
Velazquez and trainer David Fawkes were happy with the work, despite
Big Drama jumping marks on the track at about the eighth pole.
Big Drama came onto the track at the three-sixteenths pole gap just
after 8 a.m. while accompanied by a pony. After backtracking around
the far turn and a short way onto the backstretch, Big Drama was
turned loose from his pony to slowly gallop the right way through the
stretch, around the clubhouse turn, and down the backstretch.
Velazquez, who had never before been aboard Big Drama, took a tight
hold breaking off for the work, and Big Drama began his breeze slowly,
going his first furlong in 13 seconds, according to the Pimlico
Velazquez let Big Drama out a notch going to the three-furlong pole,
and Big Drama accelerated noticeably through the turn, getting his
first quarter-mile in 25.20 seconds. Just before the eighth pole, Big
Drama, who breezed without blinkers or a shadow roll, spotted harrow
tracks on the dirt surface and tried to jump them, but Velazquez
quickly got Big Drama back on stride, and he finished up nicely,
galloping out five furlongs in 1:02.60.