Mine That Bird not certain for Preakness
LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- Mine That Bird, the shocking winner of the 135th Kentucky Derby on Saturday at Churchill Downs, is not a certainty to head to the second leg of the Triple Crown, the May 16 Preakness Stakes, trainer Chip Woolley said Sunday morning, though co-owner Mark Allen said, "If he's doing good, we will run."
"We'll let the horse tell us," Allen, who owns Mine That Bird with Dr. Leonard Blach, said Sunday morning as a light rain fell at Churchill Downs. "We'll run some blood work on him, make sure it's where it should be."
Allen said that had Mine That Bird not won the Derby, the 1 3/16-mile Preakness wouldn't even be under consideration for the small-sized gelding.
"The plan was that if he showed something here, to skip the Preakness and go to the Belmont, like his dad," Allen said. Mine That Bird is a son of Birdstone, who won the 1 1/2-mile Belmont Stakes in 2004. This year's Belmont is June 6.
Woolley said that if Mine That Bird should skip the Preakness, "we'd wait for the Belmont."
"Go in fresh," Woolley said. "The farther he goes, the better this horse is going to be.
"He's come back super, so far," Woolley said. "You've got to do what's best for the horse. We'll see how he is in a couple of days." Woolley cited as another concern the widely held, though empirically false, belief that Pimlico, the home of the Preakness, "is speed-biased."
Though 20 horses entered the Derby, and 19 ran, far fewer are expected for the Preakness.
Pioneerof the Nile, who was second, is only a possibility, trainer Bob Baffert said Sunday.
"We'll see what he looks like," Baffert said. "He had some nicks on him on his back legs. I want to wait a week and see how he is."
Musket Man, who finished third, is "under consideration," trainer Derek Ryan said.
"If he runs in the Preakness, he would not run in the Belmont," Ryan said. "It'll be one or the other."
Papa Clem, who was fourth for trainer Gary Stute, may come back in two weeks for the Preakness. Stute's father, Mel, won the Preakness in 1986 with Snow Chief, who finished 11th in the Derby.
Kelly Breen, the trainer of West Side Bernie (ninth) and Atomic Rain (16th), said he had no plans for either colt, but did not expect to run in the Preakness. "We are going back to Monmouth and regroup," he said.
Elliott Walden, the racing manager for WinStar Farm, said its three Derby starters -- Hold Me Back (12th), Advice (13th), and Mr. Hot Stuff (15th) -- would not run in the Preakness.
Summer Bird, who finished sixth, will skip the Preakness and point for the Belmont, trainer Tim Ice said.
Friesan Fire, who finished 18th as the favorite, had a gash on the back of his left front hoof -- a grabbed quarter -- and will skip the Preakness. Dunkirk, who finished 11th, injured his left hind hoof and also is out of consideration for the Preakness.
Todd Pletcher, the trainer of Dunkirk, said that Join in the Dance, who was seventh in the Derby after setting the early pace, might run in the Preakness. Pletcher will definitely run Take the Points, who skipped the Derby despite having enough graded stakes earnings to make the field.
In addition to Take the Points, other non-Derby starters who could run in the Preakness include Big Drama and Mr. Fantasy.
-- additional reporting by David Grening
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