Borel predicts victory for Mine that Bird; "Candy" Works
Under jockey Calvin Borel, Kentucky Derby winner Mine That Bird had his final pre-Belmont Stakes work Monday morning at Churchill Downs, covering a half-mile in 50.00 in preparation for Saturday’s $1 million race at Belmont Park.
Clockers caught the Birdstone gelding in splits of :13.40, :26, and :38.40, galloping out five furlongs in 1:02.20 and up in 1:15, in preparation for the 1½-mile Belmont, a move which had Borel brimming with confidence.
“We're going to win it, no questions asked," Borel told reporters. "I loved the way he went today. He really came bouncing off the track once we were done. That's what I love about him. He's just so happy."
Borel, who won the Preakness with the filly Rachel Alexandra, beating the Derby winner by a diminishing length, will be back aboard Mine That Bird Saturday. And although the Triple Crown will go unclaimed for the 31st year, Borel has a chance for his own triple, as he tries to become the first jockey in history to sweep all three races aboard two different horses.
Mine That Bird, owned by Double Eagle Ranch and Buena Suerte Equine, will walk Tuesday and gallop a mile and one-half Wednesday morning, after which he will be flown to New York, a departure in travel style from his journeys to Churchill Downs and Pimlico, for which trainer Chip Woolley personally drove the horse van.
WinStar Farms’ Mr. Hot Stuff, 15th in the Derby, will be on the same flight, while trainer Eoin Harty will arrive on Tuesday and will attend the post position draw Wednesday morning at Belmont Park’s Garden Terrace.
Harty was pleased with Mr. Hot Stuff following his five-furlong, bullet breeze of 1:00.00 on the fast PolyTrack at Keeneland this morning under exercise rider Brian Walsh.
“He worked very well this morning,” said Harty, as the Tiznow colt recorded the fastest of 12 works at the distance. We didn’t want to do too much with him, but we wanted to do enough for him to get something out of it. He galloped out [six furlongs in 1:14]. He’s been training beautifully.”
Hall of Fame jockey Edgar Prado, who won the Belmont Stakes with Sarava (2002), at 70-1 the longest win payoff in Belmont Stakes history, and Birdstone (2004), who squashed Smarty Jones’ Triple Crown bid before a Belmont Park record crowd of 120,139, has the mount.
Meanwhile, at Belmont Park, Chocolate Candy, fifth behind Mine That Bird in the Derby, also had his final pre-race workout, covering a half-mile in 50.25 just after 7 a.m. under exercise rider Lindsey Molina.
“He has progressed very well since he first got here (four days after the Derby),” said Molina of the Candy Ride colt, who is trained by Jerry Hollendorfer for the Craig Family Trust. “Now, all I can say is, he just skips over the track. Today, that was just galloping for him. I had to take another hold of him to keep him from doing more.”
William Mack and Robert Baker’s Flying Private and Marylou Whitney Stable’s Luv Gov, trained by Hall of Famer D. Wayne Lukas, arrived at Belmont Park from Kentucky late Sunday.
“I think a horse has to have a high cruising speed and be able to maintain it to win,” said Lukas, who won the Belmont Stakes four times with Tabasco Cat (1994), Thunder Gulch (1995), Editor’s Note 1996) and Commendable (2000). “Those horses who are steady, and can maintain it for a mile and a half, are the kind which is successful in this race. Both of mine fit that mold; whether they do it quick enough is the problem.”
Hall of Fame trainer Nick Zito, who has committed Robert V. LaPenta’s Miner’s Escape and Brave Victory to the Belmont Stakes, worked My Meadowview Farm’s Nowhere to Hide a half-mile on the fast Oklahoma training track at Saratoga Race Course this morning in 49.92. breezing. Nowhere to Hide ran 17th in the Kentucky Derby.
“After to talking to Mr. (Len) Riggio, we’ve decided to pass on the Belmont and look for another spot for him,” said Zito, a two-time Belmont Stakes winner with Birdstone (2004) and Da’Tara (2008).
Miner’s Escape and Brave Victory, who worked a half-mile on Saturday in 48:66 in tandem over Belmont Park’s fast main track, will attempt to give LaPenta back-to-back Belmont Stakes winners. Meadow Stables, with Riva Ridge (1972) and 1973 Triple Crown winner Secretariat, is the most recent stable to have accomplished that feat.
Meanwhile, last year’s Belmont Stakes winner, LaPenta’s Da’Tara worked a bullet three furlongs in 36.54, handily, the fastest of 44 works at the distance at the Oklahoma track.
“He’s had some issues, but he’s over them,” Zito said. “You’re going to see him soon; just a few more breezes. We’re looking forward to a big year from him.”
A field of 10 is expected for the Belmont Stakes, including Mr. and Mrs. William K. Warren’s Charitable Man, Kalarikkal and Vilasini Jayaraman’s Summer Bird and Mrs. John Magnier, Derrick Smith and Michel Tabor’s Dunkirk.
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