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Mine That Bird Gallops Toward Preakness; Terrain, Stall Near Preakness Decision; Pure Clan Works
MINE THAT BIRD ‘LOPES’ ONCE AROUND – Double Eagle Ranch and Buena Suerte Equine’s Kentucky Derby 135 winner Mine That Bird back-tracked to the paddock tunnel and then ‘loped’ once around a “fast” Churchill Downs main track Tuesday morning before the renovation break.
Trainer Bennie “Chip” Woolley Jr. liked what he saw and said Mine That Bird would ‘lope’ around twice on Wednesday.
“The only reason we are staying here is because he is very comfortable here and training well,” Woolley said. “We will leave Monday or Tuesday, probably Tuesday. He may jog the morning we leave. I’d like to leave about 9 and get into Pimlico around 7 that evening.”
The magnitude of pulling off the second-largest mutual shocker ($103.20) still has not sunk in on Woolley.
“The whole thing is still a whirlwind,” Woolley said. “It is hard to get a grip on it that it really happened. Eventually you’ll get used to the fact that it really did happen.
“Sunday I was in the paddock getting ready to do an interview and looked up at the sign ‘Kentucky Derby 2009, Mine That Bird’ and I almost started crying. I couldn’t believe it.”
Winning jockey Calvin Borel, who saw his bid for a Triple Crown end two years ago at Pimlico on Street Sense when he was nipped by Curlin, came by the barn to look in on the Derby winner.
Woolley was asked what Borel told him after he worked Mine That Bird five furlongs the Monday before the Derby after being on the gelding for the first time.
“I was looking for 1:01 that morning and he went in 1:02 but he got off a little slow,” Woolley said. “Calvin never moved on him and he said ‘He will finish’ and that gave Calvin the confidence to take back and come driving.”
PAPA CLEM RETURNS TO THE TRACK – Bo Hirsch’s Papa Clem returned to the track at Churchill Downs at 6:15 Tuesday morning for the first time since running fourth in Kentucky Derby 135.
With exercise rider Mundo Gonzalez aboard, Papa Clem jogged the wrong way around accompanied by a pony. Gonzalez said Papa Clem would gallop in the morning about the same time.
Trainer Gary Stute is scheduled to return to Louisville this weekend and the colt is scheduled to fly to Baltimore on May 13.
PIONEEROF THE NILE HEADS BACK TO TRACK WEDNESDAY – Zayat Stables’ Pioneerof the Nile is scheduled to return to the track Wednesday morning for the first time since his runner-up finish in Kentucky Derby 135.
Trainer Bob Baffert is scheduled to return to Louisville on Saturday night. Two of the nine runners he has at Churchill Downs, Mike Pegram’s Mayor Marv and Peachtree Stable’s Mythical Power, will be heading to Texas on Wednesday for Saturday’s $400,000 guaranteed Lone Star Derby (Grade III) at a mile and a sixteenth.
GENERAL QUARTERS REMAINS PREAKNESS POSSIBILITY – Owner/trainer Tom McCarthy walked General Quarters on Tuesday morning and plans to return the 10th-place Kentucky Derby 135 finisher to the track Wednesday morning.
“The Preakness is a possibility, but I want to see how he gallops and go from there,” McCarthy said. “He is doing so well. I’d like to get him over there (Pimlico) and get a few turns around the track.”
McCarthy is not sure when he would bring General Quarters to Pimlico if he decides to try the Preakness. A charter flight leaves from Louisville on May 13, but, McCarthy said, “He ships so well, I may van him up.”
HULL, MENA TO TEAM UP IN PREAKNEES FOR ROMANS – Heiligbrodt Racing Stable, Team Valor International and Gary Barber’s undefeated Hull galloped Tuesday morning at Churchill Downs.
Trainer Dale Romans said the undefeated winner of the Grade III Derby Trial on April 25 would work Saturday morning and fly to Baltimore on May 13. Miguel Mena, who was aboard for the Derby Trial win, has the Preakness call.
TERRAIN HEADING FOR TEXAS … OR BALTIMORE – “We’ve got a decision to make,” trainer Al Stall Jr., said Tuesday morning. “The plane for Texas leaves at 7 o’clock in the morning.”
The decision will be whether Adele Dilschneider’s Terrain goes to Lone Star Park for Saturday’s Lone Star Derby or remains in Stall 7 at Barn 47 at Churchill Downs and trains for the Preakness.
“We are not 100 percent for the Preakness,” Stall said. “He is at Keeneland and is coming over here this afternoon. If he does not go to Texas, he will work here this weekend and fly to Baltimore next Wednesday.”
Terrain ran fourth in the Toyota Blue Grass Stakes (Grade I) at Keeneland on April 11 in his most recent start.
“We gave him a little time off after the Blue Grass and he has had two works since,” Stall said of Terrain, who worked a half-mile in :50.40 at Keeneland on Sunday. “He has done real well since the Blue Grass.”
Terrain has run twice this year, opening with a third-place finish in the Louisiana derby (Grade II) on March 14. Fourth in last fall’s Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (Grade I), Terrain closed 2008 with a fifth-place finish in the Grade III Delta Jackpot behind possible Preakness rival Big Drama.
BARN TALK – IEAH Stables, Lewis Lakin and Pegasus Holding Group Stable’s Pure Clan, winner of last year’s Grade III Regret at Churchill Downs and the American Oaks Invitational (Grade I) at Hollywood Park, worked five furlongs on a “fast” main track in 1:00.40, second best of 25 at the distance, under regular morning partner Steve Schmelzel.
“When we got her back off the farm, she had a stone bruise and that put us about 30 days behind with her,” trainer Bob Holthus said of Pure Clan, a three-time stakes winner at Churchill Downs and third-place finisher in the 2008 Kentucky Oaks (Grade I). “I had been working her on Saturday, but I didn’t want to go on Derby Day.”
Pure Clan’s return is expected to come in the Early Times Mint Julep (Grade III) at a mile and a sixteenth on the Matt Winn Turf Course.
“She worked well this morning, but her next work or two will probably be on the grass,” Holthus said.
The only faster work was turned in by three-time graded stakes winner Capt. Candyman Can, owned by Joseph Rauch and David Zell in 1:00.20 for trainer Ian Wilkes.
Robby Albarado joined the 800-win club at Churchill Downs last week, becoming only the sixth rider in track history to reach that milestone. He hit the mark in Thursday’s eighth race when he guided La Mousse (ARG) to victory.
Calvin Borel, currently third in the rider standings with nine victories, is six wins shy of becoming the fourth rider in Churchill Downs history to reach 900 victories. Victory No. 9, which came aboard Mine That Bird in the Kentucky Derby, gave him 4,729 for his career.
Jamie Theriot and Julien Leparoux lead the rider standings with 10 victories each.
Trainer Ken McPeek enters Wednesday’s card with 996 career victories, 231 of them at Churchill Downs. McPeek has two horses entered on Wednesday’s card: Biden Our Time in the second and Mimi’s Kids in the sixth.
Nominations close Wednesday for the eighth running of the $100,000 Matt Winn for 3-year-olds going seven furlongs on the main track on May 16. Zayat Stables’ Eaton’s Gift gave trainer Dale Romans his second consecutive Matt Winn victory in the 2008 running.
Closing Saturday are nominations for the 72nd running of the $100,000 Louisville Handicap (Grade III) for 3-year-olds and up going a mile and a half over the Matt Winn Turf Course and for the sixth running of the $100,000 Winning Colors for fillies and mares 3-years-old and up going six furlongs on the main track. The Louisville Handicap will be run May 23 and the Winning Colors on Memorial Day, May 25.
Adele Dilschneider and Claiborne Farm’s Lattice won last year’s Louisville Handicap for trainer Al Stall Jr. Graeme Six, trained by Tom Amoss for the ownership of Tom O’Grady, Johns Martin and Team West Side Stables, won the 2008 Winning Colors.
Tracy Farmer’s Commentator, a two-time winner of the Whitney (GI) at Saratoga, worked four furlongs in :47.60 for trainer Nick Zito. The 8-year-old Distorted Humor gelding is coming off an upset loss in his 2009 debut in the $500,000 Charles Town Classic at West Virginia’s Charles Town Races & Slots.
Chrysalis Stable LLC’s Silverfoot, the 9-year-old three-time winner of the Louisville Handicap (GIII), continued to work toward his 2009 debut with a five-furlong breeze around the dogs on “good” turf in 1:03.40.
Mr. Nightlinger, winner of the 2008 Aegon Turf Sprint (GIII), breezed four furlongs on the grass in :49.40.