Saturday, May 2, 2009

10 things to love about Mine That Bird

  1. He was bought for $9500 [as a yearling -- see comments for more detail] and won his owner $1.24 million. That's a pretty good return.
  2. Neither MTB's owners or his trainer have ever had a horse start at the Derby.
  3. The jockey Calvin Borel began riding match races in his native state at the age of 8 and started his professional career at the age of 16.
  4. No horse based in New Mexico has ever won the Derby.
  5. Trainer Chip Woolley hauled the horse 1,500 miles while driving with a broken leg (multiple fractures).
  6. He's the least expensive horse in the field sold at auction.
  7. He trotted to the winner's circle as if he was going for a trail ride.
  8. He's a good boy, according to his trainer who described him after a workout prior to the Derby. "He came back to the barn really playing. That's as good as you are ever going to see him feeling. He's not an animated horse."
  9. The trainer and owner have worked together 20 years.
  10. What a cute face!


  1. He really does have a cute face! That's exactly what I thought as they paraded him after the race. And he was nice and relaxed afterwards too. Nor did he look particularly stressed.

    Always hard to tell after a win like that if the horse is a true classic runner or if he just had an exceptional ride by his jockey, but he surely did finish strongly.

    Hey! That was only ten things!! *G*

    I like the $9500 price tag too. Nothing like proving you don't need a million dollar horse to win the most famous race in the US. Heck, I almost could have afforded to buy him. And he's a gelding too.

    I held my breath during most of the race. I am so worried about injuries at this point I simply lose my enjoyment of the whole spectacle. Hope everyone came out nice and sound.

  2. I was on the phone w/ a very good pal of mine, who happens to train TB's in KY (and runs at Kentucky Downs,) and she said, "Watch that horse! He'll do well and shock a WHOLE lot of people!"

    She sure pegged the race! Makes me think I'd like to watch more races with her, even if it's on the phone!!

    Nice horse. Fine owner. Good race. And they all made it home safe.

    Works for me. Now, to see what happens in two weeks.... Hooves will be crossed here!

  3. Check out the third place horse, Musket Man. Another bargain basement horse part-owned by a retired Oregon teacher/coach.

  4. I love the Derby! and I LOOOVE when the underdog wins! Calvin Borel's win today, like his 2007 win, made me cry. He's so sweet & sincere, and so obviously thrilled to win!

    You know, just a sticking point: the $9500 price tag was for the colt's purchase at yearling auction. His current owners bought him a year later -- I would imagine for much more, as he'd already won several races. Obviously it's still a really low price tag, but it was frustrating to me today how NBC was so hell-bent on making even more of a human interest story out of him. They hounded his trainer so badly, too, about that broken leg and that drive, that after the race he stormed off away from the cameras. Wish I could have watched the race in person and avoided all the commentary :) !

  5. I think he was sold young (yearling?) for 9,500, in Canada. He won a 2-year old award there, and then changed a few hands... but his current owner did NOT pay 9,500 for him. I think it was somewhere near 6 figures? Still cheap for a derby horse.

    Someone on COTH has the correct facts... just can't remember where I read it!

  6. Gawd, the media is really overkilling this story. Sure, Mine that Bird was a longshot, but his stock has been steadily rising.

    Though he sold as a yearling at auction for $9,500, he's was hardly a claimer. According to his entry at Pedigree Query, he sold through a private sale for $400K as a two-year-old. He also won "the Sovereign Award as champion two-year-old male in Canada last year off the strength of three stakes wins." [Thoroughbred Times]

  7. I was at a big party and all anyone could talk about after was how cute the horse was after the race! He had this look on his face like "I did good right? Did I win? I think I did good". It was priceless! I still wanted my Grey TB named General to win, but MTB had wins and that was amazing to watch.

  8. And his odds were 50-1. I love it!

  9. It was thrilling to watch him come from nearly the very back of the pack to win so easily!

  10. Great story but just one modifcation. He sold as a yearling for $9500 but his current owners paid $400,000. He was quite successful in Canada as a 2 year old.

    Still, compared to the horse in the race that sold for 3.7 million as a yearling (!) that's pretty darn impressive.

  11. What a great race it was and spectacular finish by this little guy! -- No one has remarked that he's not a big strapping horse.

    Calvin Borel is a doll. Who can't love that guy with his enthusiasm and his obvious love for his departed parents.

  12. Heh. . .want to know why he is such a good boy? They gelded him. There is SUCH a difference in personality of young racers when they are not dealing with raging hormones ;)

  13. Hooray for Mine That Bird!
    Hurrah for New Mexico training.


Hi Guys, Your comments are valued and appreciated -- until recently I never rejected a post. Please note that I reserve the right to reject an anonymous post.