With trainer Bennie “Chip” Woolley behind the wheel of the Ford F-450 Lariat and exercise rider Charlie Figueroa riding shotgun, the Kentucky Derby-winning team left Barn 42 with Mine That Bird comfortably ensconced in the trailer behind the truck.
“I think he is ready,” Woolley said. “If we make the trip up there good and he eats good, I couldn’t ask for anything better.”
Woolley arrived pulling the trailer at 6 a.m. and began the process of loading everything for the 10-hour trip to Pimlico. Mine That Bird, who had worked a half-mile in :49.20 on Monday morning, walked the shedrow for 20 minutes and grazed behind the barn for another 15 minutes before returning to his stall for 10 minutes before loading on the trailer at 9 o’clock.
The only stops Woolley planned to make was the occasional restroom break and to grab a bite to eat.
“I have about 115 gallons and hauling the trailer I get about 8 ½ miles a gallon,” Woolley said. “This will be about like our first day coming here when we went from El Paso on Lone Star Park (in suburban Dallas). We won’t need to stop for gas. When we stop to eat, I’ll open the top of the window and let him look out and take things in. He’s a good shipper. Nothing bothers him.”
Woolley was eager for the trip to begin.
“It’s getting exciting; things are starting to build and I am eager to run again,” Woolley said. “I came here as the underdog with no pressure. Things have changed slightly.”
Before Mine That Bird walked into the trailer, Bob Baffert, astride his stable pony Leo, rode up from Barn 33 where his Kentucky Derby runner-up Pioneerof the Nile is housed.
“I just want to see how this is done,” Baffert said with a laugh.
The two trainers shook hands, wished each other luck and then it was time to go.
With Baffert running interference on Leo, Woolley pulled in right behind and had a clear shot to Gate 6 and the open road east.
PREAKNESS-WINNING RIDER ROSE GETS MOUNT ON TERRAIN – Trainer Al Stall Jr. said Jeremy Rose would have the mount on Adele Dilschneider’s Terrain in Preakness 134 on Saturday.
“He has won the race (on Afleet Alex in 2005) and he knows the track there,” Stall said of Rose.
Julien Leparoux had ridden Terrain in his first two starts of 2009, but has the call on General Quarters in the Preakness.
Terrain, with exercise rider Jimmy Valdez up, jogged in the mile chute alongside a pony for about five minutes and then galloped once around the main track before the renovation break Tuesday morning.
Stall said Terrain would gallop in the morning and is scheduled to be on a 1:30 p.m. flight to Baltimore.
HULL TO BYPASS PREAKNESS – “Looks like we’re not going,” trainer Dale Romans said Tuesday morning about the undefeated winner of the Derby Trial (Grade III) Hull. “I just don’t like the shape-up of the whole race.”
Hull, who had worked a bullet, five furlongs in :59.40 on Sunday, returned to the track Tuesday morning to jog. Owned by Heiligbrodt Racing Stable, Team Valor International and Gary Barber, Hull will now be pointed to the Grade II Woody Stephens at seven furlongs on June 6 at Belmont Park.
BARN TALK – Kentucky Oaks (Grade I) winner and Preakness possible starter Rachel Alexandra was on the track at 6:20 a.m. Tuesday, going once around with exercise rider Dominic Terry up. Rachel Alexandra had worked a half-mile in :48.40 on Sunday and walked Monday.
Zayat Stables Pioneerof the Nile walked the shedrow a day after working a half-mile in :47.60 on Monday. Trainer Bob Baffert said Pioneerof the Nile would go to the track in the morning and then leave for Baltimore on a 1:30 p.m. flight.
Getting a jump on the migration east to Baltimore was owner/trainer Tom McCarthy’s General Quarters as well as five horses trained by D. Wayne Lukas including Preakness hopefuls Flying Private, owned by Robert Baker and William Mack, and Luv Gov, owned by the Marylou Whitney Stable. All were gone before the track opened for training at 6 o’clock.