THERIOT TO WORK MINE THAT BIRD ON MONDAY MORNING – Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (Grade I) winner Mine That Bird is scheduled to work a half-mile after the renovation break on Monday morning with jockey Jamie Theriot in the saddle. Trainer Chip Woolley secured the services of Hall of Famer Mike Smith to ride Mine That Bird in the Aug. 1 West Virginia Derby (Grade II) at Mountaineer and the Aug. 29 Shadwell Travers (Grade I) at Saratoga. Woolley did not get a commitment for the Nov. 7 Breeders’ Cup Classic (Grade I) at Santa Anita.
“I am tickled that this is over with,” Woolley said of landing Smith to replace Calvin Borel, who was aboard for the gelding’s upset victory in the Kentucky Derby and third-place run in the Belmont Stakes (GI), but could not give a commitment to the West Virginia Derby. “We’ve got a rider that we are comfortable with and that is more important than the three-race commitment. We can get through the first two at least.”
Smith rode Mine That Bird to a runner-up finish behind Rachel Alexandra in the Preakness (Grade I) when Borel honored a commitment to ride the filly.
“Calvin’s in a tough spot with three horses in the same category,” Woolley said referring to Rachel Alexandra and Warrior’s Reward, who Borel is committed to ride in the Aug. 1 Jim Dandy (Grade II) at Saratoga. “It is a tough spot, but he is fortunate in that not many get that opportunity.
“Hopefully we’ll have Calvin for a backup, you never know. With Rachel Alexandra, the Travers is one of the races they are talking about with her, so we wouldn’t get him for that one. There is just too much drama mixed in.”
On Sunday morning, Mine That Bird backtracked to the paddock runway and galloped 1 ½ miles under exercise rider Rudy Gallegos.
MR. SIDNEY HAS PROFITABLE STAY AT CHURCHILL DOWNS – Mr. Sidney made only a brief visit to Churchill Downs, but he was here long enough to pick up his second graded stakes score with a triumph in Saturday’s Firecracker Handicap (GII).
“He arrived here Monday and he probably will be heading back to New York before too long,” said Kenny McCarthy, assistant to trainer Bill Mott. “He looked good this morning.”
The Firecracker victory added $101,896 to Mr. Sidney’s bankroll and gave him two graded stakes wins in 2009, the other coming in the Maker’s Mark Mile (GI) in April at Keeneland.
Mr. Sidney had finished 11th in his start before the Firecracker on the dirt in the Metropolitan Mile (GI) at Belmont Park.
“The key to him is to keep him nice and quiet,” McCarthy said. “He did not like that detention barn at Belmont the last time. That was the Storm Cat in him.”
Mr. Sidney’s victory was the 11th of the meet for the Mott barn, the most in a spring meet here since 2004 when 12 wins were recorded. From 54 starters, there also have been 10 seconds and 10 thirds for a 57 percent in-the-money rate. Mott is the all-time leader at Churchill Downs in wins (622) and stakes victories (75).
“It has been a nice meet,” McCarthy said. “We will keep 30 horses here this summer, send some up to Saratoga and get some back from New York.”
RAVI’S SONG FIRST WINNER FOR MILLIONAIRE LU RAVI – If one wants to elicit a huge smile from trainer Carl Bowman, just mention Lu Ravi.
On Sunday morning, Bowman was grinning from ear to ear after the performance of Ravi’s Song on Saturday when she became Lu Ravi’s first winner.
In the 1 1/16-mile race, Ravi’s Song was bottled up on the inside until the eighth pole. She trailed by four lengths at the time, but finally found racing room at the sixteenth pole and drew off to win by a length.
“I liked the way she won yesterday going a route. It was very impressive the way she did it,” Bowman said. “She probably should have won the first time she ran here, but then she wouldn’t have had that chance yesterday. But I am really proud for Lu Ravi.”
Ravi’s Song, a daughter of Unbridled’s Song, is Lu Ravi’s third foal. Superb in Roses never made it to the races and Ravi’s Lovin was winless in two starts. Lu Ravi now has a yearling filly by Ghostzapper.
Under Bowman’s care, Lu Ravi compiled a record of 26-11-8-3 for earnings of $1,819,781. She won eight stakes, five of them graded, and in 2000 beat future Hall of Famer Silverbulletday twice.
“I trained her mother, At the Half, too,” Bowman said of the four-time stakes winner and earner of $338,393. “She was one of the top three or four fillies as a 2-year-old in the country (in 1993). It is always enjoyable to win with a number of horses from the same family.”
Ravi’s Song did not make her racing debut until this March at Fair Grounds.
“She has got some issues,” said Bowman, who intends to keep Ravi’s Song on the dirt. “I’d like to look for an allowance going long and then make a decision.”
BARN TALK – Trainer Ian Wilkes reported that Warrior’s Reward came out of his third-place finish in Saturday’s Dwyer (Grade II) at Belmont Park “with a few little cuts but otherwise looked fine.” Warrior’s Reward stumbled badly at the start and trailed the field most of the way before rallying for third. “Obviously the race did not develop the way we hoped,” Wilkes said. “To rally from that far back to get third, I was really proud of him. We are going to go on to the Jim Dandy as long as he comes back OK. We are going to bring him back here on Tuesday.”
Helen Alexander and Helen Groves’ Selva is scheduled to return to trainer David Carroll’s barn on Monday afternoon after her fourth-place finish in the Prioress (Grade I) at Belmont Park on Saturday. “I was really proud of her,” Carroll said of Selva’s first start since April 8. “She ran her butt off. If she comes out of it all right we will point to the Victory Ride (Grade III) at Saratoga (on Aug. 29).”
Trainer Jim Baker, who has enjoyed a banner spring meet with nine winners from 25 starters (36 percent), will be sending two of his stable standouts east in the coming weeks. Tom Walters’ Pretty Prolific, who won her 2009 debut with an allowance win on May 30, is being pointed to the $70,000 Dearly Precious Stakes at six furlongs on July 18 at Monmouth Park. Patton’s Creek Farm’s War Eagle Lady, one of three three-time winners this meet, is scheduled to be at Delaware Park on July 19 for the $75,000 Light Hearted Stakes at 7 ½ furlongs on the turf.
Calvin Borel entered the final day of the 2009 Spring Meet with a chance to catch meet-long leader Julien Leparoux in the race for leading jockey. Borel trailed Leparoux 62-58 heading into the meet finale and Leparoux is riding out of town.
WORK TAB – Decelerator, winner of the Debutante Stakes (Grade III) on June 27, worked a half-mile in :51 over a track rated as “sloppy” before the renovation break.