Mine That Bird to run in Preakness

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BALTIMORE – Kentucky Derby winner Mine That Bird is headed to the Preakness.

The trainer of the gelding that won the Derby at 50-1 odds said his horse will run in the May 16 Preakness, the second leg of the Triple Crown, Pimlico spokesman Mike Gathagan said Monday.

Mine That Bird, ridden by Calvin Borel, won the Derby by 6¾ lengths over Pioneerof the Nile – the largest margin of victory since Assault in 1946.

Gathagan said Monday that trainer Bennie Woolley Jr. called from Louisville, Ky., to say Mine That Bird is a go for the 1 3-16-mile Preakness. He said he was told plans call for the 3-year-old to be shipped to Baltimore from Churchill Downs on May 11 or 12.

On Sunday, a day after the upset, Woolley said there’s “no obligation” to go to the Preakness and added: “You’ve got to do what’s best for the horse and the horse has got to come first.”

The last Derby winner to skip the Preakness was an injured Grindstone in 1996. The last healthy Derby winner to miss it was Spend A Buck in 1985.

Other Derby horses expected to take on Mine That Bird are fourth-place finisher Papa Clem and possibly Pioneerof the Nile, third-place Musket Man, Join in the Dance (seventh) and General Quarters (10th).

Potential newcomers include Delta Jackpot winner Big Drama, Withers winner Mr. Fantasy, Take the Points and Miner’s Escape.

The Preakness is limited to 14 starters.

The big question, of course, is whether Mine That Bird can win the Preakness and set up a Triple Crown attempt in the Belmont Stakes on June 6. The last Triple Crown winner was Affirmed in 1978.

Borel said he’ll be more than happy to take a shot.

“He’s plenty of horse,” he said.

Baffert had some advice for Woolley and owners Mark Allen and Leonard Blach: if Mine That Bird is OK, go for it.

“This is a dream of a lifetime,” Baffert said. “I hope he comes out of it well and they go and maybe he’s for real. We’re going to find out.”

Last year, Big Brown won the Derby and the Preakness, but finished last in the Belmont after being pulled up on the turn for home.

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