BALTIMORE -- Kentucky Derby winner Mine That Bird made a journey of nearly 10 hours from Louisville, Ky., to Baltimore in a horse trailer, and arrived just before 7 p.m. Tuesday at a racetrack he had never seen. Many horses would have an easy morning the following day, perhaps walking the shed row, grazing, and doing little else. Not Mine That Bird. He was up and at 'em and out to the track just before 7:30 on Wednesday morning, standing in the starting gate before galloping about 1 1/2 miles. So much for a light day.
"He's only not trained on two days since the Derby," trainer Chip Woolley said Tuesday night. "The morning after the race and today, since he worked yesterday."
Mine That Bird looked bright and happy while training Wednesday. He came down the stretch with his ears up and moving smoothly, appearing to steal a glance over at the Pimlico grandstand, but never losing his focus. Mine That Bird is a plain bay gelding, and probably was the smallest horse among 19 in the Derby. He does not cut any more striking a figure 10 days later.
"He's vanilla, but he's a pretty mover. It's not a horse show," said trainer Wayne Lukas, whose two Preakness hopefuls, Flying Private and Luv Gov, also got here Tuesday. "I watch the horse come past my barn every day, and I think he looks even better now than he did going into the Derby."
Woolley's expression and tone never seem to change, but as Mine That Bird walked back from the track to the barn, Woolley said he was pleased to see the way his horse had galloped.
"I was afraid it might just be Churchill that he likes, but he looks just as good here," said Woolley, who plans to give Mine that Bird two-mile gallops the next two mornings.
Mine That Bird went onto and off the track all by his lonesome, notable in an age when many racehorses are accompanied to training sessions by a pony, especially at an unfamiliar venue. But Mine That Bird has always gone without a lead horse.
"He's never needed a pony, and there's not any reason to send him with one," said Woolley.