Login for full access to ABQJournal.com



New Users: Subscribe here


Close

Bird Bath

........................................................................................................................................................................................

ROB CARR/THE ASSOCIATED PRESS Kentucky Derby winner Mine That Bird gets a bath after arriving at Pimlico Race Course on Wednesday. The colt, who began his Triple Crown journey with a van ride from New Mexico, will be ridden by Dexter’s Mike Smith on Saturday.

Mine That Bird Third Choice on Early Preakness Line

BALTIMORE — Kentucky Derby winner Mine That Bird is a very relaxed traveler.

The
morning after a 10-hour van ride, the colt galloped around the track
Wednesday at Pimlico in preparation for the Preakness Stakes on
Saturday.

“He made the trip really good,” trainer Bennie Woolley Jr. said. “He was really bucking and playing this morning. He looked super.

“He’s
really handled things well. No matter what you do with him, he wants to
go perform. He bounced back well and he’s happy. I think we’ve got him
where we want him.”

The trip from Churchill Downs was a snap, compared to his previous van trip from New Mexico to Kentucky.

Preakness OddsMine That Bird was listed at 6-1 on the morning line, behind Rachel Alexandra at 8-5 and Pioneerof The Nile at 5-1.

New Mexico native Mike Smith will ride Mine That Bird out of the No. 2 post position.

Woolley Jr. was happy with his colt’s post, pointing out that speedster Big Drama is in the No. 1 hole and Musket Man will start from No. 3.

“They
should clear away from us, put us in a nice spot to coast down the
front side,” he said. “I like the fact that Big Drama is inside of me.
He will move on. It should leave me a little bit of a spot there.”

A win in the Preakness would validate Mine That Bird’s stunning 50-1 upset in the Derby.

“Horses
fire big races,” Woolley said. “I’m not saying he didn’t run over his
form. Hopefully, he’ll fire back like that this week. If he does,
that’s wonderful. If he doesn’t, we’ll regroup and aim at the Belmont
Stakes and see what happens.”

Even Woolley is starting to
unwind. The trainer in the black hat seemed uncomfortable when thrust
into the Triple Crown spotlight. Woolley was more relaxed, and
conversational Wednesday.

“It’s been a whirlwind,” he said.
“At first, it’s been a little overwhelming and hard to get your head
around. Now it’s started to relax and you realize you’ve got the Derby.
Whatever happens after that is going to be gravy.”

Unlike
jockey Calvin Borel who rode Mine That Bird to the Derby upset, Woolley
has not been contacted to appear on the “Tonight Show” with Jay Leno.

And he’s fine with that.

“As far as being a celebrity, the horse is the celebrity,” he said.

FENDER BENDER: The van carrying General Quarters was involved in a minor traffic accident as it approached Pimlico.

Driver
Maurice Poe missed the stable gate and was heading for the entrance to
Interstate 83 when the van was clipped on the driver’s side
by another vehicle as Poe attempted to find his way back to Pimlico.

“My
heart jumped up in my mouth,” trainer-owner Tom McCarthy said when the
news of Tuesday’s accident reached him. “I couldn’t believe it.”

Fortunately,
Poe, groom Billy Bass, General Quarters and another unidentified
thoroughbred were uninjured. McCarthy said the star of his one-horse
stable was sweating a bit after hearing the police sirens, but showed
no signs of stiffness Wednesday morning.

“I think I’m more upset than he is,” McCarthy said. “There was hardly any damage to the van.”

Bass called the collision “pretty scary” but said General Quarters was never in danger.

“It didn’t throw him around, just the feed,” Bass said.

General Quarters, the Blue Grass winner, finished 10th in the Derby.

WAYNE’S BACK: After
a one-year absence, D. Wayne Lukas, a five-time Preakness winner, is
back this year with two horses: Luv Gov and Flying Private. Both will
be long shots, a fact that doesn’t diminish Lukas’ enthusiasm for the
middle jewel of the Triple Crown.

“This place has been good to me,” Lukas said. “I like it here.”

The
Hall of Fame trainer scored his first major breakthrough when Codex won
the 1980 Preakness. He also won here with Tank’s Prospect (1985),
Tabasco Cat (1994), Timber Country (1995) and Charismatic (1999).

The
five victories tie Lukas for second among Preakness trainers with T.J.
Healey. R.W. Walden is the all-time leader with seven winners from
1875-88. Lukas has sent out a record 32 Preakness starters.

Saturday
Preakness: 134th running Post time: 4:15 p.m. TV: NBC, 2:30 p.m.

 

Top
Read previous post:
Quick Hits: Lobo Golf Men Off to Regionals

DALY CITY, Calif. — The University of New Mexico men’s golf team begins play today in the NCAA West Regional......

Close