Kentucky Derby (Grade I) winner Mine That Bird continued his preparation for a return to competition in the Aug. 1 West Virginia Derby (GII) with a strong five-furlong work on Monday at Churchill Downs.
Trainer Chip Woolley looked on from the grandstand as the gelded son of Birdstone finished strong while covering five furlongs over a “fast” track in 1:02. Jockey Jamie Theriot was in the saddle as Mine That Bird galloped out six furlongs in 1:15.
Fractional times for the work were not available, but observers timed Mine That Bird’s final eighth of a mile in less than 12 seconds, which pleased Woolley.
“The horse is doing super – he really worked good this morning,” Woolley said. “He started off real soft – I imagine that first eighth of a mile must have been in 13-and-change. But he really picked it up down the lane and was really firing off the ground down the lane. He’s coming into it real good. We’re really kind of excited and ready to pick up and head across there and run.”
“He worked fantastic,” said Theriot. “He was nice and easy leaving the pole and he wanted me to pick it up in the last eighth of a mile and he came home in 11, so it was exactly what we wanted from him.”
Woolley said Mine That Bird would work again next Monday, July 20, at Churchill Downs, which is scheduled to be his final local work before the West Virginia Derby. The race will be his first since he finished third to Summer Bird in the Belmont Stakes (GI) on June 6 at Belmont Park. The schedule now calls for Mine That Bird to ship to Mountaineer Park on Friday, July 24.
“We’ll breeze him one soft one over the racetrack over there (at Mountaineer) and run,” Woolley said. “After that we’ll head straight to Saratoga (for the Grade I Shadwell Travers on Aug. 29).”
The work by Mine That Bird ranked as 12th fastest out of 18 moves at the distance.
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