Barbaro Updates: 851
updates are now here.
Update 4952: Work schedules and travel schedules tomorrow from Pimlico (Mike Gathagan):
Papa Clem will work at 7 am
Friesan Fire scheduled for 8 am work. Trainer Larry Jones to decide on Preakness after breeze
Big Drama has been here since last Tuesday. He has been going to the track at 6:30 am
D. Wayne Lukas' horses (Flying Private & Luv Gov) leaving Louisville at 4 am
General Quarters scheduled to leave Churchill at 5 am
Mine That Bird will leave Kentucky at 9 am
Van drivers tell us it is 10-11 hours from Churchill to Pimlico. Derby winner will get a police escort from Route 70, prior to the Baltimore Beltway into Old Hilltop.
Update 4951: My latest entry for The Rail: Mine That Bird Works Out.
Update 4950: Mike Gathagan's Preakness report:
MINE THAT BIRD WORKS UNEXPECTEDLY IN KENTUCKY; RACHEL ALEXANDRA NOW LIKELY FOR HISTORIC START; HULL OPTS OUT OF RACE
MINE THAT BIRD – Trainer Bennie "Chip" Woolley altered Mine That Bird's training schedule at Churchill Downs Monday morning, when he sent his Kentucky Derby winner to the track for an impromptu half-mile workout in preparation for a start in Saturday's 134th running of the Preakness Stakes at Pimlico.
"The horse looked good. I hadn't planned to work him, but he was getting pretty high. He bounced back from the Derby a little quicker than I thought he would," Woolley said. "He was getting a little rattled, he was feeling so good. We just wanted to let him stretch his legs."
Calvin Borel, who rode Mine That Bird to a 6 3/4-length victory in the Kentucky Derby, was aboard for the breeze that was timed in 49.20 seconds, ranked 17th of 48 workouts at the distance. The 50-1 bomb galloped out five furlongs in 1:02.80. Barring any surprises before entries are taken Wednesday for the Preakness - which was expected Monday to attract a field of 13 - Borel will not be aboard Mine That Bird for the Middle Jewel of the Triple Crown.
Borel has committed to ride Rachel Alexandra, the Kentucky Oaks-winning filly who will only be able to run in the Preakness if no more than 13 Triple Crown nominees are entered and her owners pay a $100,000 supplemental fee to make her eligible for the series. On Sunday, Mine That Bird's owner Mark Allen had indicated an intention to enter maiden Indy Express in the Preakness, a move that potentially could have excluded Rachel Alexandra from the field, but he scrapped that plan later in the day.
"Calvin will have the call on my horse right up to the time entries are taken. If the filly is entered, then Mike Smith will have the mount," Woolley said. "We've had talks with Mike and we decided it was the best move to have Mike on our horse if the mare is in the race."
Smith, a New Mexico native, will fit the stretch-running Mine That Bird, said Woolley.
"Mike watched the Derby. He saw how the horse ran and knows the kind of running style he has," the New Mexico-based trainer said. "We're confident that he'd do his job well."
Woolley, who vanned Mine That Bird during a 21-hour trip from New Mexico to Kentucky, said he plans to get behind the wheel again at 9 a.m. Tuesday for a 10-hour trip from Churchill Downs to Pimlico.
RACHEL ALEXANDRA - After breezing on Sunday, Kentucky Oaks winner Rachel Alexandra had a quiet Monday morning while walking the shedrow at trainer Steve Asmussen's barn at Churchill Downs.
The Kentucky Oaks winner tuned up for her planned debut in the Triple Crown series with a half-mile breeze in 48.40 seconds.
"She came out of her work in good order," said Scott Blasi, a top assistant to trainer Asmussen. "Physically she looks beautiful."
Rachel Alexandra is now poised to be officially entered in the Preakness Wednesday morning and would be the first Kentucky Oaks winner to compete in Maryland's signature race. Sunday evening, the owners of the top two Derby finishers - Mark Allen, who co-owns the winner Mine That Bird, and Ahmed Zayat, breeder and owner of Pioneerof the Nile - said they had nixed plans to enter additional horses in the Preakness. Those decisions created an opening in the field and the announcement Monday that Hull would not be entered added yet another position in the starting gate. The filly's new owner, Jess Jackson, said he intends to pay the supplemental fee of $100,000 to enter her in the race.
Blasi said the filly, who has won five consecutive races, is scheduled to be shipped from Louisville to Baltimore Wednesday on a charter flight.
If Rachel Alexandra is entered in the Preakness, she will be ridden by Calvin Borel, who has decided to give up the mount on Derby winner Mine That Bird. Borel is scheduled to appear on the NBC program Tonight with Jay Leno on Tuesday.
BIG DRAMA - Jockey John Velazquez and Big Drama got acquainted at Pimlico Monday morning during a four-furlong workout that was timed in 50 seconds. The pair galloped out five furlongs in 1:02.60 in preparation for the Preakness Stakes.
Although the clocking wasn’t eye-catching, Velazquez was suitably impressed with the son of Montbrook.
"He did everything very, very easy. I just wanted to get a little feel for him. He was going to the pole a little bit strong, so I wanted to be a little cautious with him. The race is pretty close right now," the New York-based jockey said.
"The reason I started slow was because he was going strong to the (half-mile) pole. I didn't want him to do too much. If I let him go too fast the first part, I'd have no control of him. I wanted to have control of him to have him do what I wanted him to do, not him controlling me," added Velazquez, who inherited his Preakness mount when Eibar Coa opted to stick with Kentucky Derby third-place finisher Musket Man.
Big Drama, who made a little jump over a spot in the track at the top of the stretch that had different harrow marks than the rest of the track, otherwise appeared to move well over the Pimlico racing surface.
"He didn't want to leave his race on the track. I'd rather have (50 seconds) than go out there and go 46 (seconds) and get sick to your stomach," trainer David Fawkes said. "He galloped out good. He's fit. It was just maintenance."
Velazquez said he was "shocked" that Calvin Borel made a commitment to ride Rachel Alexandra instead of Mine That Bird in the Preakness, but that he could identify with him. Velazquez made a switch to Rags to Riches before her historic victory in the 2007 Belmont Stakes.
"I know the feeling that he has," said Velazquez. "I jumped off another horse to ride her, because of the quality of horse that she was. So I already did it once. I didn't win on that horse before, but I was committed to another horse. I just think he knows the filly has the quality to win this race. She's showing the potential to do what Rags to Riches did."
FLYING PRIVATE/LUV GOV - Trainer D. Wayne Lukas said any number of superlatives could be used to describe his reaction to Flying Private's half-mile breeze Monday morning at Churchill Downs.
Working in company with stablemate Sea Admiral, Flying Private breezed a half-mile with jockey Jamie Theriot up in 48.20 seconds. The fractions were 12.80; 24.80 and 36.20 seconds while finishing about seven lengths in front of his workmate.
Flying Private, who finished last in the Kentucky Derby, will be ridden by jockey Alan Garcia.
Lukas said Marylou Whitney's colt Luv Gov was still on course for the Preakness. However, Lukas said the colt will not be entered if his presence would have an impact on Rachel Alexandra being able to compete in the race. He said it was never his intention to enter a second horse to block the filly from being in the field.
"Let me make this crystal clear, there is no controversy," Lukas said. "We entered and I told Coley Blind, the stakes coordinator, that we would enter only if there was no controversy with the filly and we did not exclude her. If in any way, shape or form she is excluded because of our entry, then we will not enter. We are not trying to keep the filly out.
"We're only entering if there is a hole open in the 14th gate. We are not trying to keep the filly from running. If she is excluded by Luv Gov, he will not run. Marylou Whitney, with her status in racing and what she has meant to the industry, has no interest in causing a controversy in the Preakness.
"If we make the 14th horse, we'll enter. If for some reason between now and Wednesday's draw, if somebody else enters and it eliminates the filly, we will not enter."
Luv Gov walked the shedrow Monday, the morning after he worked a half-mile.
"He had a nice breeze Sunday, probably one of the best of the spring for him," Lukas said.
No rider has been named for Luv Gov. Lukas's two Preakness horses and three other horses pointed toward Pimlico races are scheduled to be shipped from Churchill Downs on Tuesday.
FRIESAN FIRE - Friesan Fire arrived by van at Pimlico Monday shortly before 2 p.m. The Louisiana Derby winner was accompanied by his groom, Cory York, who reported that all went well during the short van ride from trainer Larry Jones' Delaware Park barn.
Friesan Fire, who suffered cuts in his left front leg while finishing 18th as the Kentucky Derby favorite, is slated to work out at Pimlico with jockey Gabriel Saez aboard Tuesday morning.
GENERAL QUARTERS - The Blue Grass Stakes winner put in his final work at Churchill Downs Monday morning for owner Tom McCarthy, who said he got exactly what he was looking for from the son of Sky Mesa.
Clockers caught the 10th-place Kentucky Derby finisher in 50.20 seconds for a half-mile with exercise rider Justin Court aboard. The breeze ranked 28th of 48 recorded at the distance. He galloped out five furlongs in 1:04.60.
"Perfect," said McCarthy, the retired school principal-turned-trainer. "He started off a little slow, but he finished up better than he started. That was pretty much what we wanted."
McCarthy, who claimed General Quarters for $20,000 out of his winning maiden debut, plans to load the gray colt onto a van Tuesday morning at around 6 a.m. for the trip north to Pimlico. He is expected to arrive around 2 p.m.
"It was the first time I had worked the horse, and I was impressed with him," Court said. "I had a lot of horse, and I think he will do well over there (Pimlico)."
General Quarters has already earned $641,735 for McCarthy's meager investment. The only horse in McCarthy's stable also won the Sam Davis (G3) at Tampa Bay Downs en route to the Kentucky Derby.
HULL - The connections of the least-experienced prospect for the Preakness decided on Monday to withdraw the son of Holy Bull from the Preakness field.
"When I committed to run in the race, I liked the way it was setting up," said co-owner Barry Irwin of Team Valor International. "I think the pace is going to be too hot. I don't like the way it's shaping up for our horse. It's going to be our horse's first time around two turns, and I just think there's too much speed in there and I'm not comfortable."
The unbeaten son of Holy Bull won the Derby Trial in his last start, only the third of his career. Irwin said they would run Hull in the Woody Stephens on the Belmont Stakes undercard on June 6.
"I'd like to be able to run him in the Preakness, but I don't want to screw the horse up," Irwin said. "He's only run three times, so I don't want to mess him up."
MUSKET MAN - Trainer Derek Ryan sent out the Illinois Derby (G2) for a 1 3/4-mile gallop Monday morning at Monmouth Park, where he'll get a final half-mile workout on Tuesday morning.
"He's doing fine," said Ryan, a native of Ireland and a former assistant to Joe Orseno. "He seems to be doing pretty good since the Derby (third behind Mine That Bird and Pioneerof the Nile)."
Eibar Coa has been aboard for Musket Man's last two starts, which included the victory at Hawthorne that preceded the Kentucky Derby. Coa elected to ride Musket Man in the Preakness over Big Drama.
"He's ridden a lot for us in New York and we've had a lot of success with him," Ryan said. "He decided to go to Illinois with us and he gave him a great ride there."
Coa was the fourth rider for Musket Man in seven career starts, five of them victories. The son of Yonaguska won his first three career starts before finishing third in the Sam Davis Stakes at Tampa Bay, his only other defeat besides the Derby.
Musket Man, a $15,000 yearling who sold for considerably more at 2 when he was purchased privately by Eric Fein and Vic Carlson, will remain in New Jersey until race day and van in for the Preakness.
PAPA CLEM - The Arkansas Derby (G2) winner, one of only two Preakness candidates in the Pimlico Stakes Barn, galloped over the track for the first time Monday and will be sent out for a five-furlong breeze on Tuesday.
Trainer Gary Stute will try to duplicate the feat accomplished by his father, Mel, who won the Middle Jewel with his first starter (Snow Chief, 1986). When asked if he and any of his colleagues should be concerned about the now-likely prospect of running against superstar filly Rachel Alexandra, Stute didn't hesitate.
"There should be 13 of us (concerned) to be exact," Stute said. "She changes the whole race in my opinion. She's an exceptional filly. I've kind of been following her around and she's impressed me a lot. If I could change places in the race, I probably would."
Papa Clem, a son of Smart Strike who ran fourth in the Kentucky Derby, might have deserved a better fate in his first Grade 1 outing.
"I thought I was a little unlucky not to finish second," Stute said. "Bob's (Baffert) horse (Pioneerof the Nile) came out and bumped me. In a normal race there might have been an inquiry, but I've heard the Kentucky Derby is like Game 7 in the NBA finals. They're gonna let them play. They better mug you before they call a foul. I was real proud of him."
Stute also had high praise for the ride of Calvin Borel aboard Derby long shot winner Mine that Bird.
"He's the new 'Iceman,' " Stute said. "He was 50-1, but (Borel) also rode the Derby favorite (Street Sense) that way. He made it look like we were all standing still."
PIONEEROF THE NILE - Following the colt's solid four-furlong work in 47.60 seconds at Churchill Downs Monday, trainer Bob Baffert confirmed that the Derby runner-up will compete in the Preakness.
Under rider Joe Steiner, Pioneerof the Nile turned in consistent split times of 12:20, 24.40 and 36.20 seconds, then galloped out five furlongs in 1:00.20 and six furlongs on 1:14.80.
"He worked great and went over the track really well," Baffert said. "We finally got a nice track. He bounced out of the race great and I don't see any effects from the Derby; he looks strong. It looks like he's sitting on another great performance."
Pioneerof the Nile is scheduled to be shipped to Pimlico on Wednesday. Garrett Gomez, the leading rider in the U.S., will ride the colt in the Preakness.
TAKE THE POINTS - The Starlight Partners' colt jogged a mile Monday morning at Belmont Park, a day after he completed a five-furlong breeze in 1:00.09.
"We were very happy with his breeze," said Jonathan Thomas, an assistant to trainer Todd Pletcher. "It was a standard breeze and he appeared to come out of it pretty well."
Shipping plans from New York to Baltimore have not been finalized. Hall of Fame jockey Edgar Prado will ride the speedy colt, who will compete in blinkers for the first time.
TERRAIN - The connections of Terrain decided Monday to offer Jeremy Rose the Preakness mount on the son of Sky Mesa. Trainer Al Stall Jr. said he was looking for some "local knowledge" while zeroing in on Rose, who has enjoyed considerable success on the Maryland circuit and visited the Pimlico winner's circle with Afleet Alex following his victory in the 2005 Middle Jewel of the Triple Crown..
"Jeremy rides well and he's won the race," Stall said.
Terrain walked the shedrow at Churchill Downs Monday morning after working five furlongs in 1:02.60 the day before.
The Kentucky-bred colt didn't make a start this year until March 14, when he finished third behind Friesan Fire and Papa Clem in the Louisiana Derby at Fair Grounds. Terrain finished fourth in the Blue Grass Stakes over Keeneland's Polytrack surface in his most recent start.
"He's set up for a good effort," Stall said. "He's fit now and he's fresh."
Terrain is scheduled to gallop at Churchill Downs for the next couple of days before a scheduled flight from Louisville, Ky. to Baltimore on Wednesday.
TONE IT DOWN - The son of Medaglia d'Oro galloped 1 1/2 miles at trainer Bill Komlo's home base at Laurel Park. Komlo said he is mulling the possibility of a final workout Tuesday or Wednesday.
"He's perfect right now," said Komlo, whose daughter Deborah and son-in-law Michael Horning own the colt under the name of M and D Stable. They purchased him at Timonium as a 2-year-old for $100,000.
Komlo is a native of Pennsylvania, but has spent most of his adult life in Maryland. This is his second go-round as a horse trainer beginning in the 1960s. He left racing for several years to coach his sons in football and returned nearly a decade ago. This is Komlo's first Triple Crown entrant.
"I guess it would be the epitome of happiness, being in the horse business and having an opportunity to run in it (Preakness)" he said. "We're Maryland people, excited about it. It would be a great thing."
Tone It Down's only prior stakes experience came in the Federico Tesio (G3) here at Pimlico two weeks ago, when he finished third in a field of eight.
Update 4949: John Asher's report from Churchill Downs on Monday:
CHURCHILL DOWNS BARN NOTES
Monday, May 11, 2009
BOREL UP AS MINE THAT BIRD WORKS HALF-MILE
PIONEEROF THE NILE ZIPS FOUR FURLONGS, BAFFERTANTICIPATING MINE THAT BIRD REMATCH, 'RACHEL'
GENERAL QUARTERS, FLYING PRIVATE BREEZE
KENTUCKY DERBY WINNER MINE THAT BIRD WORKS SURPRISE FOUR FURLONGS WITH BOREL IN SADDLE - Trainer Bennie "Chip" Woolley Jr. waited until after the renovation break to send Kentucky Derby 135 winner Mine That Bird to the track Monday morning at Churchill Downs.
That signaled the trip was not business as usual - no two-mile gallop under exercise rider Charlie Figueroa.
"Are you working?" Woolley was asked upon arrival at a viewing stand.
"No. I'm just going to let him stretch his legs for a half-mile and let him finish the last eighth with Calvin (Borel) on him," Woolley said.
As Mine That Bird back-tracked to the paddock runway, Kentucky Derby runner-up Pioneerof the Nile appeared on the scene heading in the same direction.
"Are they going to work together?" one onlooker queried.
"They better not be," Woolley said with a laugh.
Soon after, Mine That Bird came into view and went about his business, which was duly recorded as a half-mile work in :49.20 with fractions of :12.80, :25.20, :37 and out five-eighths in 1:02.80. The move ranked as the 17th fastest of 48 at the distance.
"That was no work for him," Woolley said. "He didn't flare a nostril coming back. Calvin did a great job."
Woolley had intended to jog Mine That Bird in the morning before leaving for Pimlico.
"This way, I'll be able to walk tomorrow and then get back on the track Wednesday at Pimlico," Woolley said. "I would have possibly missed a day, so it worked better this way to do what we did."
Borel, who won his second Kentucky Derby aboard Mine That Bird, would ride Kentucky Oaks (Grade I) winner Rachel Alexandra if she runs in the Preakness, leaving Woolley without a rider.
"Calvin has first call," Woolley said. "Mike Smith has agreed to be the backup and he will be there to ride him (if Rachel Alexandra runs)."
Smith, who rode Chocolate Candy to a fifth-place finish behind Mine That Bird in the Kentucky Derby, won the 1993 Preakness on Derby runner-up Prairie Bayou.
Woolley said he hopes to have everything loaded and ready to go for a 9 a.m. departure Tuesday for Pimlico.
Mark Allen, who along with Dr. Leonard Blach owns Mine That Bird in the partnership of Double Eagle Ranch and Buena Suerte Equine, said that Indy Express, who he owns as part of Fourteen Enterprises, would remain at Churchill Downs and point for a race Friday.
Trained by Joe Merrick, Indy Express had been considered as a possible Preakness starter by Allen, who nixed the idea Sunday night. Indy Express, a well-bred son of A.P. Indy, is winless in nine starts. Indy Express worked five furlongs in 1:02 under Joe Johnson about the same time Mine That Bird went through his paces.
PIONEEROF THE NILE ZIPS, BAFFERT LOOKS FORWARD TO PREAKNESS AND MEETING WITH RACHEL ALEXANDRA - Zayat Stables LLC's Pioneerof the Nile, runner-up in the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands and winner of the Santa Anita Derby (GI), was sharp in his final major training move for Saturday's Preakness (GI) as he worked four furlongs in :47.60 on Monday at Churchill Downs.
Joe Steiner was aboard for the move, which was the fourth-fastest of 48 at the distance. The 3-year-old son of Empire Maker covered the distance over a "fast" track in fractions of :12.20, :24.20 and :36.20, then galloped out five furlongs in 1:00.20 and six furlongs in 1:14.40. The clocking of Pioneerof the Nile's gallop-out for five furlongs would have tied as the fastest work of the day at that distance.
Trainer Bob Baffert, a three-time winner of the Kentucky Derby and four-time Preakness winner, watched the work from the Churchill Downs clubhouse with Zayat Stables owner Ahmed Zayat
"I liked what I saw," Baffert said. "He bounced out of that race well. He was full of himself and he really wanted to work...He looked great. I look for him to come back and run another big race."
Baffert said he is looking forward to saddling Pioneerof the Nile for a rematch with longshot Kentucky Derby winner Mine That Bird and a first meeting with Rachel Alexandra, the brilliant Kentucky Oaks (GI)-winning filly who is expected to be made a supplemental entry to the 1 3/16-mile second jewel of the Triple Crown.
"I think it's going to be a really exciting race," Baffert said. "She's a great filly, but I think we have a great horse. There's some other horses in there that are pretty good - Musket Man, Papa Clem and the Derby winner.
"There are going to be a lot of questions answered in the Preakness and that's what it's all about. We'll just see what happens, but we looked great today. I really liked what I saw."
Baffert downplayed Sunday's controversy over the prospect that some owners, including Zayat, might enter other horses in the Preakness in an effort to keep Rachel Alexandra out of the race.
"That's no issue - that was something that was just being mulled around and never really got any legs," he said. "I think it stems from Calvin Borel - I've never seen a jockey take-off a Derby winner. So that's where it all started. But it's dead - it's a dead issue, so we won't even talk about it."
Baffert does have experience running a high quality filly against colts in the spring classics. He saddled Golden Eagle Farm's Excellent Meeting for a fifth-place finish behind Charismatic in the 1999 Kentucky Derby, and then sent out Kentucky Oaks (GI) winner Silverbulletday in that year's Belmont Stakes (GI). Silverbulletday will join racing's Hall of Fame this year with her trainer, but she faltered in the homestretch of that running of the Belmont Stakes to finish seventh behind the victorious Lemon Drop Kid.
"I was mad at myself for doing that," Baffert said of Silverbulletday's classic run against colts. "It just takes a lot out of them. The classics are so tempting. That's probably why they (former owner Dolphus Morrison and trainer Hal Wiggins) never nominated Rachel Alexandra."
But Baffert said the talented Rachel Alexandra could have some advantages against males that could set her apart.
"With her style of running she probably has a better chance because she's out there away from the action," he said. "If she was a come-from-behind type, it's harder on them. I think the Belmont would probably suit her. She'd get out there with that long stride and cruise around there. But it (Rachel Alexandra's presence in the Preakness) brings a lot to the race. It's gonna be exciting, it's gonna be big. It's gonna be just as big as the Derby, having a great filly like that run with these colts. You've got the Derby winner and you've got all these horses, so it's gonna be a big field - but you still need a lot of luck. But I'm really excited about it and it's gonna be a great day for racing.
"Now that we can't go for the Triple Crown, we're running for glory now and that's what it's all about. There's no shame in running second in the Derby, but there's no glory. Now we get a chance to redeem ourselves."
GENERAL QUARTERS WORKS EASY HALF-MILE - Owner/trainer Tom McCarthy was looking for something in the 50- to 51-second range for a half-mile from General Quarters on Monday morning and he wasn't sure he got it.
"I'll say 52," McCarthy said. "He started off a little slow."
"Fifty and one (fifth)," came the report.
"Perfect. Looks like he finished up better than he started," McCarthy said. "That was just enough to put him on the van and go on over (to Pimlico)."
Clockers caught General Quarters in splits of :12.60, :25, :37.40 and out in 1:04.60 under exercise rider Justin Court in the move accomplished before the 8 a.m. renovation break. The move was the 28th best of 48 at the distance.
"It was the first time I had worked the horse and I was impressed with him," Court said. "I had a lot of horse and I think he will do well over there."
General Quarters, the 10th-place finisher in the Kentucky Derby, is scheduled to leave Churchill Downs on Tuesday before training hours begin at 6 a.m.
FLYING PRIVATE WORKS IN COMPANY FOR PREAKNESS - Robert Baker and William Mack's Flying Private tuned up for his expected engagement in Saturday's Preakness Stakes by working a half-mile in :48.20 in company with stablemate Sea Admiral after the renovation break Monday morning.
With jockey Jamie Theriot aboard, Flying Private clicked off fractions of :12.80, :24.80 and :36.20 en route to the :48.20 clocking that was the ninth best of 48 at the distance. Flying Private left his workmate seven lengths behind at the wire.
Trainer D. Wayne Lukas said he was satisfied with the move and that Flying Private and four other horses from his barn would leave for Pimlico at 4 a.m. on Tuesday.
Alan Garcia has the Preakness mount on Flying Private, who finished 19th in the Kentucky Derby.
EASY MORNING FOR SUNDAY PREAKNESS WORKERS - The three Preakness possibles who worked Sunday morning at Churchill Downs remained in the barn Monday morning.
Terrain, who worked five furlongs in 1:02.60, is scheduled to return to the track in the morning as is Hull, who worked five-eighths in a bullet :59.40. Kentucky Oaks winner Rachel Alexandra had worked a half-mile in :48.40.
Update 4948: La Ville Rouge & 09 Barbaro full brother (VIDEO).
"Honorable mention" has to go to Video 2 (Please Stop Horse Slaughter), which led for a long way in what turned out to be a two horse race.
In total the videos have garnered close to 31,000 page views to date and 1,800 comments. So far!
Congratulations to all who participated.
Update 4946: Wow! A version of this story that I wrote for The Rail last week: How Mine That Bird Got His Name is on the front page of the Sports section of today's New York Times. Very cool!
At Steve's we had five sets today. An easy morning's work. I had four before the break and one after the break, which did some gate schooling. All my horses galloped nicely. A chilly start to the morning, but it looks like it is warming up to a nice day.
Update 4945: Mark Allen, Mine That Bird's co-owner, has now withdrawn Indy Express from the Preakness. Indy Express was being considered, at least in part, to make it more difficult for Rachel Alexandra to run in the Preakness. From Mike Gathagan at Pimlico:
Indy Express out of Preakness
Mark Allen, owner of the 135th Kentucky Derby winner Mine That Bird, will not enter Indy Express in the 2009 Preakness Stakes.
Early this morning Allen was delivered a message to contact another owner "Our conversation consisted of congratulating me on our win in the Derby and talking about a rematch, wanting a chance to hook us on a fast surface. We laughed and joked about what a race that would be,"
"When it comes to Rachel Alexandra, I personally don't think any filly should be in a race against colts at this stage of their careers. I don't believe in running fillies against the colts. But Rachel Alexandra is a superior filly and could be the exception. Mr. Jackson has a great trainer in Steve Asmussen and I'm sure they will make the right decision and Lord help us all if she does get in."
"And yes, it's true that I would like to have my jockey back. Calvin Borel is great and did a great job for us. I also respect him and I completely understand his love for Rachel Alexandra. If the filly gets in we have a commitment from Mike Smith. We have a lot of confidence in Mike, he's from our part of the country and he's got some Cowboy in him too, I've seen his boots," said Allen.
"Additionally, my decision to enter Indy Express in the Preakness was strictly business but after consulting with my Dad and Doc Blach, I have decided to withdraw Indy Express to prevent any further miss understandings. They're advice to me was just to do what's right, because arrogance and greed isn't right. Indy Express is a good colt and showing a lot of potential. I'll just have to look forward to running him later on down the road. The bottom-line for me is that we came here to race and enjoy our win here in Louisville. So, we'll meet everyone in Baltimore, ready to run," said Allen.
And please keep calling.