Was there ever any doubt that Mine That Bird, who caused one of the biggest upsets in Kentucky Derby history last Saturday, would go on to the Preakness in search of the Triple Crown? Not really. For many last week, watching Mine That Bird in the Kentucky Derby was like watching Street Sense all over again thanks to jockey Calvin Borel who for the second time was dead last, but positioned his horse against the rail, picking up speed as they came down to the stretch and making a clear shot for the finish line well ahead of all the other horses!
When you know the story about Mine That Bird who was first bought for $9500 and who’s never even run in a Grade 1 race before; it seems incredible that not only did he win, he won by an incredible 6 3/4 length! Unlike some of the other horses in the race that were flown in for the Derby on private planes, trainer Bennie “Chip” Woolley brought the gelding up from New Mexico in a van. The expectations from co-owners Allen and Blach were for the horse to finish at least sixth. So little faith did they have in him winning, they didn’t even bet of their own horse!
Mine That Bird going into the race was a 50-1 longshot and ended as the Derby’s second largest payout in its history, $103.20 to win. The victory earned this little horse a $1.4 million purse and now he’s setting his sights for the Preakness Stakes and then on to Belmont Stakes where is father Birdstone won the race in 2004.
Maya Muses: Every year the excitement begins to grow after the Kentucky Derby that maybe this year there will be a Triple Crown winner! And rightly so! Each year there have been contenders and hopefuls, but the title has eluded them. The last horse to win the Triple Crown was Affirmed back in 1978! In 90 years only eleven horses have won the coveted Triple Crown. Will 2009 end the 31 year dry spell?
In any case, once again, horse-racing aficionados are now looking to Mine That Bird in hopes of a fairy tale ending!
(If you just want to see the instant replay of the race and Mine That Bird’s maneuvering, advance the video to 9:10 minutes.)
Photo Credits: Flickr