For The Birds

Summer Bird
Summer Bird (red and blue silks) took the third leg of the Triple Crown.
Calvin Borel and Derby winner Mine That Bird came up short of racing immortality when they finished third behind Dunkirk and winner Summer Bird in the Belmont. Story | Hovdey | Forde | Novak

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Cronley: State of the Union
Where does horse racing stand after the 2009 Triple Crown races?
Novak: Birds of a feather
The cell phone starts ringing at 4:30 a.m., congratulatory calls for trainer Tim Ice from the people who weren't able to reach him the day before.
Forde: Borel absorbs questions, disappointment
Calvin Borel joins the lineup of jockeys who will be second-guessed in perpetuity for his ride with a Triple Crown -- equine or, in this case, human -- on the line.
Moran: Belmont tests champions, humility
We've seen this before. The 12-furlong main course at Belmont Park, the longest, widest dirt racetrack in the world, is unlike any other. Experience counts. Those who discount its importance at Belmont Park are doomed to lose.
Cronley: No guarantee
The Belmont was pretty much over when the jockey on Mine That Bird, the excellent Mr. Borel (when you're going to be slightly critical, it's always nice to use Mister) guaranteed a victory.
Crowned: Summer Bird stops Borel at Belmont
Summer Bird has won the Belmont Stakes, rallying past Mine That Bird to spoil jockey Calvin Borel's attempt at winning all three legs of the Triple Crown.
Novak: Summer Bird ready to fly
On the Wednesday before the Belmont Stakes, trainer Tim Ice stood on the apron at Belmont Park and watched Summer Bird skip over a moist, sandy surface.
Borel guarantees Belmont victory
On Monday, Mine That Bird worked a half-mile in 50 seconds at Churchill Downs, after which jockey Calvin Borel said, "We're going to win it, no questions asked."
Borel to ride Mine That Bird in Belmont Stakes
And on Belmont Stakes day, the filly will rest.
Summer Bird sharp in Belmont Stakes work
A week before the 141st Belmont Stakes, jockey Kent Desormeaux got acquainted with his mount, guiding Summer Bird through a five-furlong work in 1:01.67 Saturday morning over a Belmont main track labeled fast.
Desormeaux takes another shot at Belmont
One year later, Kent Desormeaux still has no regrets.
Rachel Alexandra will not run in Belmont Stakes
Rachel Alexandra, the brilliant filly who won the Preakness Stakes, will not run in the 141st Belmont Stakes, her owner Jess Jackson said in a press release late Friday afternoon.
Cronley: Duh!
How can people be so dumb?
Moran: No Preakness at Pimlico? Unbelievable
It is difficult to envision a time when the second jewel of the Triple Crown is run at a venue other than Pimlico.
Cronley: Your $6 day at the races
There are several approaches to horse-race wagering that seem basic enough.
Preakness: Rachel Alexandra outruns boys
Rachel Alexandra became the first filly to win the Preakness since 1924, holding off a late charge by Kentucky Derby winner Mine That Bird to capture the middle jewel of the Triple Crown.
Moran: The next-best thing
The last of 14 horses running down the Pimlico backstretch launched his bid to stay alive for the Triple Crown just as he had two weeks before at Churchill Downs.
Cronley: Woman's work
I asked as many females who would talk to me at the simulcast venue which horse they had wagered on, and to a person, they all had something on Rachel Alexandra.
Preakness: It's about time
Rachel Alexandra had completed the 1 1/16-miles by a length in 1:55.08 over a fast track. She had also won the heart of a racing industry in desperate need of revitalizing.
Cronley: Honor among Preakness bettors
This Preakness feels like a harder race to figure and bet than was the Derby, for two good reasons.
Moss: Triple Crown medley
It's amazing what a good underdog story can do. Notice how Mine That Bird seems to have temporarily sparked more interest in horse racing among the so-called mainstream sports media?
Novak: Bleak outlook for Maryland racing
It is easy to get caught up in the glamour of the moment, the adrenaline, and storylines of the always-intriguing Triple Crown trail. To view the Preakness telecast from afar, or to come to the track for a single time this season, nothing seems amiss.
Moss: Puzzlement
Jess Jackson purchased Rachel Alexandra and will move her to the barn of trainer Steve Asmussen and consider the Preakness Stakes.
Plonk: The straight shooter
In the end, it was trainer Chip Woolley's dark mustache that curled the biggest smile -- and had the last laugh -- as Mine That Bird did the unfathomable in the Kentucky Derby.
Desert Party to undergo surgery
Desert Party has been diagnosed with a displaced chip in his left front ankle and is scheduled to undergo surgery to have it removed, according to information posted on the website of his owners, Godolphin Racing.
Quality Road resumes training
Quality Road, who missed the Kentucky Derby due to a quarter crack, resumed training, galloping 1 1/4 miles on the training track Sunday.
Forde: This Derby is the upset of all upsets
Mine That Bird won the Kentucky Derby on Saturday. That's hard to even type with a straight face.
Cronley: What's not to like?
After the 135th Derby, here's a question to go unanswered: What's not to like about horse racing just now?
Novak: Derby 135 casts fresh memories
Here came our predecessors: the power-suited professionals of the 1980s and '90s, the long-haired flower children of the '60s and '70s, the fedora-wearing, bel-air driving, cocktails-at-happy-hour couples of the '50s ...
Disappointment on Jones' final Derby Day
If Larry Jones had any second thoughts about retiring at year's end, Saturday's 135th Kentucky Derby erased them.
Borel comes through for his second Derby win
Calvin Borel built his reputation as a jockey by taking whatever work would come his way, be it $5,000 claimers or $1 million superstars.
Long shot Mine That Bird smells roses at Derby
Mine That Bird dug up a miracle, stunning the field to win the Kentucky Derby with a dynamic stretch run through the mud at Churchill Downs.
Fallen filly Eight Belles honored at Churchill
Eight bells tolled in tribute to fallen filly Eight Belles on Kentucky Derby day, a year after her fatal breakdown following the Run for the Roses.
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Countdown to the Crown

Posted each Friday through the Belmont Stakes, Jeremy Plonk's Countdown to the Crown keeps you apprised of the rising stars in the sophomore class from the maiden ranks to Grade 1 stakes.
June 4, 2009

The Road to the Triple Crown

Belmont Stakes: Summer Bird

Summer Bird, with Kent Desormeaux aboard, rallied past fellow Birdstone progeny Mine That Bird to capture the Belmont Stakes, thwarting jockey Calvin Borel's bid to sweep the Triple Crown. Story

Kentucky Derby: Mine That Bird

Jockey Calvin Borel steered Mine That Bird (50-1) through a narrow opening along the rail to score a monster upset by nearly 7 lengths in the 135th Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs. Story

Preakness: Rachel Alexandra

With jockey Calvin Borel aboard, the favored filly Rachel Alexandra captured the 134th Preakness, holding off Derby winner Mine That Bird, who was charging late. Story

Lexington Stakes: Advice

Advice rallied from last under Garrett Gomez to post a 15-1 upset Saturday in the final prep on the Kentucky Derby trail, the Grade 2 Coolmore Lexington Stakes at Keeneland. Story

Arkansas Derby: Papa Clem

Papa Clem picked up a major prep win of his own on Saturday when he drove past Old Fashioned to win the $1 million Arkansas Derby at Oaklawn Park. Story

Blue Grass Stakes: General Quarters

General Quarters held off favorite Hold Me Back by 1 1/2 lengths to win the $750,000 Blue Grass Stakes on Saturday at Keeneland. Story

Illinois Derby: Musket Man

Musket Man won for the fifth time in six starts and was thoroughly impressive winning the Illinois Derby by two lengths over Giant Oak. Story

Santa Anita Derby: Pioneerof the Nile

After winning the Grade 1 Santa Anita Derby, Pioneerof the Nile has emerged as the West Coast's top contender for the May 2 Kentucky Derby. Story

Wood Memorial: I Want Revenge

I Want Revenge overcame his brutal beginning to win the $750,000 Wood Memorial by 1 1/2 lengths over West Side Bernie. Story

Florida Derby: Quality Road

Quality Road established himself a leading Kentucky Derby candidate by turning back the previously undefeated Dunkirk. Story

Lane's End Stakes: Hold Me Back

Hold Me Back ran himself right into Derby contention with a sensational rally to win the 38th running of the Lane's End Stakes. Story

Kentucky Derby Challenge: Mafaaz

Mafaaz assured himself a spot in the Kentucky Derby by outlasting Spring of Fame in a desperate finish to the Kentucky Derby Challenge. He could go first in the Blue Grass Stakes. Story

San Felipe: Pioneerof the Nile

With his mind halfway on the job at hand, Pioneerof the Nile extended his stakes-winning streak to three races in Saturday's $200,000 San Felipe Stakes. Story

Rebel Stakes: Win Willy

Win Willy shook up the road the Kentucky Derby, passing heavily favored Old Fashioned to win the Rebel Stakes in a stunning upset. Story

Tampa Bay Derby: Musket Man

Musket Man, under Daniel Centeno, overtook Join in the Dance in the final length to win the Grade 3, $300,000 Tampa Bay Derby. Story

Louisiana Derby: Friesan Fire

Friesan Fire ran away to a 7 1/4-length victory in the Grade 2, $600,000 Louisiana Derby, giving him a sweep of major stakes races at Fair Grounds for 3-year-olds. Story

Gotham Stakes: I Want Revenge

The connections of I Want Revenge had a strong suspicion their horse would be better on dirt than he had been on the synthetic tracks of Southern California. Story

Fountain of Youth: Quality Road

Trainer Jimmy Jerkens had Quality Road fit and ready to go for the one-mile Fountain of Youth and jockey John Velazquez did the rest, allowing the colt to gain command, increasing his advantage through the final furlong. Story

Southwest Stakes: Old Fashioned

Old Fashioned received the most support among the 23 individual interests in Pool 1 of the Kentucky Derby Future Wager. He did little to change that opinion after easily winning the $250,000 Southwest Stakes. Story

Risen Star: Friesan Fire

Friesan Fire did it again, running right back to his smart score in the Lecomte Stakes here at Fair Grounds last month with a decisive victory in the Risen Star Stakes. Story

San Rafael: The Pamplemousse

The Pamplemousse got a gift in the $100,000 San Rafael Stakes and was not about to give it back, winning the first two-turn graded stakes of the year for 3-year-olds. Story

Breeders' Cup Juvenile: Midshipman

Favored Midshipman stamped proper credentials for a 2-year-old champion on Saturday at Santa Anita, scoring a 1 1/4-length victory over Square Eddie in the $2 million Breeders' Cup Juvenile. Story