On a sloppy track at Churchill Downs, 50-1 Mine That Bird shocked the horse racing world with a convincing 6-3/4-length victory in the 135th running of the Kentucky Derby. Pioneerof the Nile was second, followed by Musket Man and Papa Clem.
Calvin Borel, a popular Cajun jockey famous for riding along the rail, won his second Derby in three years, following his victory aboard Street Sense in the 2007 Derby. He also rode heavy favorite Rachel Alexandra to a record-breaking 20-1/4-length victory yesterday in the Kentucky Oaks.
Mine That Bird—son of Birdstone, who at 36-1 won the 2004 Belmont in a shocking upset over Triple Crown hopeful Smarty Jones—was voted Canadian champion last year as a two-year-old, but finished 12th in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile. He was then purchased by Mark Allen and Dr. Leonard Blach and moved to New Mexico.
He failed to win either of his races against weak competition at New Mexico’s Sunland Park this year. Nevertheless, his graded stakes earnings necessary to qualify for the Kentucky Derby and his connections decided to enter him.
“We had a chance to be elsewhere, but we decided this might be a once-in-a-lifetime chance for me and for the owners,” said trainer Chip Woolley before the race. “So we're here. It's all kind of intimidating, but we're just tickled to death.”
Woolley, a former rodeo rider from New Mexico who had never had a horse in the Derby, hauled Mine That Bird 1,480 miles in a trailer attacked to his Ford pickup. He appeared Saturday at Churchill Downs with crutches, having broken his right leg in a motorcycle accident.
Article originally published at findingDulcinea.
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