The ol' Turk is a horse fan first and a bettor second. The bettor in me is disappointed because of the work I put into preparing for this race, months and months of work, and I could stare at the PPs for the next 10 years and I'd never figure Mine That Bird for anything other then middle to back of the pack. I have handicapped Mine That Bird twice before yesterday: The Breeder's Cup Juvenile and the Sunland Derby, where I wanted to see Kelly Leak run. I was intrigued at the Breeder's Cup only because the horse spent so much time at Woodbine, the nearest major track to the Turk, and that Dick Mandella was his trainer, albeit for a cup of coffee. I still don't see it, but that's why they run on dirt and not paper.
Mine That Bird won by 6 3/4 lengths, a greater margin of victory then mighty Barbaro. For more then 2 furlongs out Mine That Bird drove to the finish. He didn't win in a DQ, he didn't win by a nose, he won in decimating fashion. Was there a rail bias? Sure, but so what. Did pace make the race? Who cares, Mine That Bird made the race.
Yesterday, I placed Calvin Borel's picture on my blog. I choose Calvin because his ride on Street Sense was one of the most exciting trips I have ever seen. How he not only duplicated, but in many ways exceeded that effort, is amazing to me. It was hard not to love the emotion that spilled out of King Carl and Calvin two years ago, but again, a cowboy trainer, a jock who seemingly wasn't getting premier mounts, and owners that are everyday folks ruled the day.
The final two furlongs ran off at :25.17 and the final 3 furlongs clipped away at :40.57. The pace at the front once Join the Dance burned out tightened, as I think the big riders had sized up the competition and were prepared for a last few hops to the wire duel, which it was for Place. Mine That Bird had other ideas and thrilled the racing world in the process.
Race 11 CD: The Kentucky Derby Grade I: 1 1/4 miles of sloppy Ky dirt for 3 YOs.
In color I tried to show that my handicap had three zones; green, yellow and red. Mine That Bird blew up every ticket that I had fashioned, which will bring my inflated ROI back down to reality, which I knew had to happen eventually. All in all, my handicap wasn't bad, but this isn't horseshoes, it's horse racing. No crying over the PP. As I told someone today, I'd rather lose a bet and be thrilled by a horse that people can be excited by.
It's hard to believe the Preakness is 13 days away. The madness that must be descending on Team Mine That Bird must be overwhelming. Who goes from here, who joins this group, what type of betting situation sets up around a horse that before yesterday had a hard time getting a 80 BSF is what makes this game exciting. The race world gets a WHOLE lot more buzz by Mine That Bird winning then just about any other horse except General Quarters winning yesterday. Good Stuff. I am very happy for Trainer Woolley. He's obviously a proud man who does things his way. The Turk has an affinity for trainers like him, a man who channels Frank Whitely Jr. without even trying. I'm very happy as well for the owners who had a May foal and had so much early sucess with him as a two year old, and didn't quit on the horse. I'm unhappy that we don't have a national works clocking standard and horses like Mine That Bird are allowed to sit in NM, most likely working much faster then the midling numbers on the PP show. The team knew what they had. I thought the Peppers Pride story was isolated, but New Mexico has arrived.
The Little Turk made his first communion yesterday. He stuck with Musket Man all day long as was rewarded with a $12 Show bet.