Find That Bird--a Win

Last weekend's Whitney did not disappoint, as the top two handicap males in the country put on a terrific display for fans at Saratoga. But lost in the shuffle of the photo finish was the fifth-place effort of Mine That Bird, who was never a factor.

Mine That Bird finished 12 1/2 lengths back of Blame, but it might as well have been 30. He never ran a lick. Like his previous three starts, there was no legitimate excuse.

Dating back to last year's Breeders' Cup Classic, Mine That Bird has been beaten a total of 31 lengths. Since winning the 2009 Kentucky Derby he is winless in seven starts. What is my point?

It is not to disparage a former Derby winner and a horse that many people grew to love, but it is to simply point out that he does not belong in grade I company anymore. At least not right now. Is there anyone that disagrees with that?

We have debated many times before about whether or not Mine That Bird's Derby win was a fluke. That is a matter of opinion, but what is indisputable is that he was in good form throughout last year's Triple Crown races--turning in three solid efforts. Since then, he has never been close and things don't figure to get any better unless he is dropped into company where he belongs.

Since finishing an average sixth in the Goodwood Stakes last October, it is questionable at best to think about how Mine That Bird's career has been handled. Racing him in the BC Classic was a puzzling decision. He was obviously a tired horse at that point and most of us at Santa Anita that week could see it.

After given time off at the start of his 4-year-old campaign, Mine That Bird was taken away from trainer Chip Woolley. It was an inexplicable decision to almost everyone, especially his legion of fans. Derby winners have been taken away from trainers before, but the circumstances of this particular decision have never been fully revealed and it certainly came as a surprise to Woolley himself. At the very least, the feel-good part of the story ended when he was taken away from the guy on crutches who shipped the little gelding across country in his van to pull off one of the biggest upsets in Derby history. What have you done for me lately?

Even more puzzling was D. Wayne Lukas' decision to start Mine That Bird back in the July 4 Firecracker Handicap on turf in his first start of the season. Lukas tried to start his new charge in an allowance race a week earlier on the dirt, but after it failed to fill opted for a race that had a full field of 14 on a surface the horse had never started on before while coming off an eight-month layoff. Talk about putting your horse in a tough spot. Hmm...

Speaking of tough spots, the Whitney could not have been any more difficult. Facing the top two handicap males in the country is a near impossible task for any horse, especially one that is not in great form. Is there anyone that really believed he had a chance to win that race? Apparently so, he went off at 9-1.

There has been no word from Lukas as of yet about where Mine That Bird will go next. Before the Whitney he talked about the Woodward, another grade I race that will likely include Quality Road again. For his fans' sake, let's hope Lukas has a change of heart. There are plenty of viable options for him.

It's not an embarrassment to win a grade III, a listed stakes, or even an optional claimer. Remember, Funny Cide won an optional claimer at the start of his 4-year-old season before going on to win the Excelsior and Jockey Club Gold Cup that year. There is no crime in that.

This horse needs a win by any means necessary. With each subsequent loss, it can be argued that his reputation is further tarnished. In my opinion, they should take some of the pressure off, put him in a winnable race, and then move up the ladder.

Right now he is in over his head.


Leave a Comment:

Karen in Indiana

I agree with everything you wrote, Jason, with one addition.

He needs a different jockey. They got lucky together in the Derby, but even though Calvin is a good jockey, they are not a good fit. D. Wayne Lukas made the comment that MTB would be kept closer to the pace, but Calvin had him dropped waaaay too far back. What I would like to see - and since I don't own or train him, that's not worth much - put someone like Jeremy rose on him, stick him in an optional claimer, and let him win something to get some confidence.

12 Aug 2010 12:58 PM
Mike Relva

I totally agree with you. MTB needs a win somewhere and as you've stated nothing is wrong with a Grade 3. Doesn't need to face QR or Blame in the near future. As a fan,I care alot about this horse and will always remember him as a Derby winner.

12 Aug 2010 1:05 PM
Susan W

Thank you, Jason. I've been saying this for a few races and everyone comes back at me saying I don't like MTB, I don't respect him, etc. I love Mine that Bird, I just the best for him, and I don't think putting him where he doesn't belong and letting him get beat over and over again is right.

12 Aug 2010 1:12 PM

There are horses who win the Kentucky Derby, Preakness and Belmont that are not that good. If you would like, I can name them for you.

Mine That Bird is just not that good. He never was. This is why Rachel Alexandra won the Preakness.

The 2009 Preakness field is one of the worst on record.


12 Aug 2010 1:22 PM

I agree that he should be put into a race he can win. And also with Karen that he probably needs a new rider. But I do think he has some excuses for his last few starts. He obviously doesn't care for the Pro-Ride at Santa Anita. He ran last on it as a two year old before the two starts last year. And he obviously doesn't want anything to do with turf. Perhaps in the Whitney, he was too far off the pace that wasn't that quick anyway. Drop him into an easier spot and hope he gets the pace. And maybe some rain.

12 Aug 2010 1:23 PM
Pam S.

I agree with everything you wrote, Jason.  Since his disappointing "comeback," MTB has gotten a lot of attention and raised a lot of questions.  

I've said before I don't argue with the connections for making a trainer change.  But (here goes) I would not have chosen DWL as the new trainer, despite the long friendship and the many champions he trained decades ago.  Just don't think his style is right for this horse.

Are Lukas' best days behind him?  The stats would seem to indicate that they are.  Lukas' hallmark has always been boldness -- "You can't win if you're not in" -- and we've all seen it work in the past.  But it has been a while since Charismatic, Cat Thief and Spain.  I also think boldness isn't what MTB needs right now, but rather patience and a drop in class.  Surely they can find an allowance race somewhere.

Guess the allowance has to be on dirt, not grass or synth.  Or are they even 100% sure of that?

Related note:  On the earlier blog someone posted that Zenyatta's career would have been very different had Lukas been her trainer.  I don't resort to caps very often but WOW, THAT'S FOR SURE.

12 Aug 2010 1:35 PM
Pam S.

Forgot to add, I don't think a different jockey would hurt either.

12 Aug 2010 1:36 PM

I agree 100% with both Jason and Karen.

I'm sure the decision to run him in the Breeders' Cup was all about the surface -- after all, hadn't he performed well on the synth at Woodbine? But they didn't have to take him into the Classic. Tired as he was, he may have fared better in the Mile.

As for jockey changes ... The Derby was lightning in a bottle -- it's tough to beat Calvin on his home track with a deep closer on the slop. I'd love to see them change things up a bit: Rose, Prado (maybe), or get him back under Chantal. And definitely a drop in class, just to build his confidence back up.

12 Aug 2010 1:48 PM

I agree with everything you wrote, Jason.  Horses can lose confidence just as humans can.  This little guy needs to be put in a couple races where he can win and get his confidence back.  Also, I thought they were going to have him closer to the pace??   He's put in some speedy works.   I'd love to see him in more of a stalking position and see what he can do.   Hope we can enjoy him for years to come.

12 Aug 2010 1:55 PM

I agree Jason.  Let's get him a win.

Also, can anyone elaborate on the change in his running style?  Or the suggested change?

I read on some blog that with his body changes they don't think he can close from last anymore?  And Karen you mention that Lukas wanted him closer to the pace?  

I'm just trying to figure out if his running style has changed or if the trainer is trying to change it to make him more competitive.  

Seems that a fundamental change like that might be tough.

And Pam, I'm not sure if they've decided on his ideal surface, but Calvin said flat out that "he's not a grass horse."  After last weekend, I kept waiting for Calvin to come out and say something like "well, he's not a DRY dirt horse."  I can't find ANY news on MTB since the Whitney.

12 Aug 2010 2:08 PM

Jason, absolutely agree with you.

I think his owners are overly ambitious in their placement of this gelding.  His starts make no sense from a trainers standpoint so I wonder just how much say Lukas has had.

MTB ran 3 very good races over a 5 week period of time.  He hasn't been as good since.  You can excuse the synthetic races at the end of a long year, you can excuse the grass start.  But he had every opportunity to show something in the Whitney and he didn't. That needs to be a wake up call for his connections.

It also goes to show you how hard it can be to get a horse back to form after such an extended lay off.    

12 Aug 2010 2:10 PM
Adele Maxon

A confidence-builder, Wayne; it's not rocket science.  Just because he won the Derby doesn't mean he has to be in all Gr.1's forever...and he IS a gelding!

12 Aug 2010 2:16 PM
Billy's Empire

Jason, you my friend, have hit it out of the park with this blog. You should get some colorful responses in the near future. I agree with you 110%. Like I said in the guest blog, I feel bad for the horse more than anything. I feel bad for the fans that love MTB, and are left wondering, WHAT THE HELL WERE THEY THINKING? 9-1 in the Whitney is a joke. 99-1 should of been the odds.

The Firecracker againt Tizdejavu, and he was the favorite? Should I thank Wayne for placing him there, or the fans for betting him? I am at a complete loss over his campaign. Mind Boggling.

I thought it was a bad idea to send the Fluke to Wayne, and I was criticized. Now, after I give everyone facts on the guest blog yesterday, crickets! No one has a word to say.

11% winning percentage for a top 50 trainer. MTB needs to race at least 8 more times before he gets a win based on the winning percentage of his trainer. At this rate, he will be 6 years old. Maybe he can pull a Zenyatta, and win 4 Grade 1's at six?? As JayJay always does, LOL!!

12 Aug 2010 2:24 PM
Mike in SB

What about running him at Woodbine? Wasn't he champion 2 yr old up there? Chantal Sutherland could ride him.

12 Aug 2010 2:28 PM
mr pibb

Just goes to show we had two flukes last year. First was MTB winning the Derby and second was RA winning HOY by beating horses like MTB that weren't very good.

12 Aug 2010 2:36 PM

I think his size is his problem.(MTB)  He is much smaller than the rest.

12 Aug 2010 2:37 PM
Zen's Auntie

I pretty much agree with all this and add that Borel Rules CD and is mediocre this years meet at Satatoga.  Not every Jock (even the best) keeps fitting the mount. I love Gomez on Blame but prefer Garcia on LAL and thats just how it goes you do what works.  it aint working for borel and mtb anymore.

MTB reminds me of Action THis Day One AMAZING race and then probalby a nice competitive upper level allowance horse or perhaps well chosen grade III or II stakes horse. not Grade 1 winner. who knows maybe but get him back to a spot that he can win first.

People love him and just want to see him win again I really felt bad to see him run the race before this wasnt it turf.?!  I watched it and just felt sad.  

12 Aug 2010 2:41 PM

chantal is not going to leave canada to ride a horse she might not even be named as rider, especially since i have never heard of lukas naming any female rider on one of his horses, ever in the afternoon

12 Aug 2010 2:43 PM

I told EVERYONE he was a fluke and got the wrath for it but I was 100% right as usual.  MTB and Super Saver are fluke winners of the Derby and conditions took it away from more deserving winners.  They won the Derby which is great but there are what they are fluke winners.  All hail Draynay who once again nailed it !  The only chance MTB has of winning is if he were allowed to race the slow motion moving Zenyatta.

12 Aug 2010 2:43 PM
Kit J


"Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas said Sunday morning that 2009 Kentucky Derby (G1) winner MINE THAT BIRD (Birdstone) "came out well" following his fifth-place finish in the Whitney. Racing along the rail with Calvin Borel aboard, Mine That Bird trailed the field and passed one horse at the finish.

While Lukas was disappointed with Mine That Bird's performance, he believes the four-year-old gelding still may have needed the race, his second start of 2010."

"I was very disappointed on how far back he was in light of the fact he just worked out here in 1:12 and they ran in 11 and change," Lukas said. "He's supposed to be a lot closer. He might need to get a race under his belt to be mentally sharp because he's fit. He didn't even take a breath."

On the turf race? "Lukas said he would have to consult with Blach and Allen before deciding how to proceed"

12 Aug 2010 2:45 PM
Billy's Empire

Mr Pibb, Dr Pepper is WAYYY Better. Don't be upset buddy. She only ran the most ambitious 3yo filly campaign EVER, and never lost. First Filly to ever win Woodward and first in 85 years to win the Preakness. But, hey, keep drinking the haterade. I will stick to the DR. Maybe you and Mind that Bird should go to diet haterade. Wouldn't hurt to lose a few.

12 Aug 2010 2:47 PM


Welcome back from vacation.  You just hit the ball out of the park!  The KY Derby winner is suppose to be best horse, but with twenty horse fields, slop and etc we now know that anything is possible if the horse gets a nice trip.  Let's hope that Super Saver is not the second coming of MTB.  Then again, MTB did hit the board in the Preakness and Belmont.  

Zookeeper, I see that your horse Runflatout was a scratch.  I hope everything is alright.  He was really working well.

12 Aug 2010 2:55 PM
Kit J

anna, remember Donna Barton? She rode for him a lot, a couple others did too. Can't remember their names but I do remember watching them saddling in the paddock and the young lady got injured.

Donna said once that Wayne wanted to leave her on Honour and Glory but the owners 'Euro mindset prevented her from riding.

I always followed her career, I think she's sensational.

12 Aug 2010 2:56 PM

Lukas craves the spotlight and MTB was going to give him that whether he belonged or not. Most trainers would have skipped the Whitney if they couldn't get a good spot to prep in. He will be a stable pony before long if they don't manage him better... Also, very hard to change a horses running style. Calvin had it right the horse was in WAY over his head.

12 Aug 2010 2:57 PM

I agree that it is time for a new jockey I was saying that after the Breeders Cup I love Calvin but he only rides really good at CD. Let's bring in new blood for our fan favorite. Would love to see MTB in winners circle

12 Aug 2010 2:58 PM

jason, thank you so much for writing an article on mine that bird. i'm pretty worried for the little guy TBH.

i agree that he needs a win, desperately; and that a drop in class might really help. he also needs a longer distance--a mile an 8th is almost too short for him (unless he has a super hot pace to run at); a mile is definitely too short form him.

i also agree with those who think he needs a new a jockey, i've been saying that since his belmont. calvin has never been shy about his disdain for mine that bird--it looks to me like the feeling is mutual.

i have never raced horses, but i have been around them my whole life. i first rode one when i was 3, and became a show jumper when i was in first grade.

horse and rider must be a team. horses pick up negative feelings from their riders very easily, and also can just simply not like a particular rider, just like people can not like other people. the difference in performance between a horse ridden by a rider he does not like and one he does can often be amazing.

mine that bird's west virginia derby was not a poor effort, and he was closing fast in the goodwood--with another furlong he may well have been in the money. the firecracker was the most deceptive lost of all--he was almost exactly where he was at the mile in his winning derby performance, and he actually ran that race faster than he did his derby win. i honestly believe that he had more trouble with the distance (only a mile), than with the surface.

no one would question a true sprinter, whose best distance is 6 furlongs, finishing up the track in a classic distance race, so why is it so hard for everyone to realize some horses have just as much trouble with shorter distances, and will likewise finish up the track when they race in them?

at least in the firecracker, he was moving forward; in the whitney, as you say, he didn't even fire. maybe that mile long work two weeks before the race wasn't a good idea?

one thing that has been pointed out to me, is that throat surgery can often have permanent negative consequences. it is actually not unusual for a horse to never return to his prior form after having throat surgery--so maybe the real answer to his lack of form is related to his surgery last fall. the west virginia derby was not an embarrassment for an S type of runner (except for zenyatta, closers will always lose more than they win), but his form really seemed to go south after his surgery at SPA last year.

anyway, thanks again for the article. right now, i'm more concerned about making sure he isn't the second derby winner to wind up in slaughter house, than disproving his derby wasn't a fluke (besides, for whatever the reason, he had a much more respectable triple crown than super saver did).

12 Aug 2010 2:58 PM

Donna Barton was FIRST call rider for Lukas when she rode! He will use a female but, he is picky with them!

12 Aug 2010 2:59 PM

Whirlaway said, "The 2009 Preakness field is one of the worst on record."

I have to disagree with this. You had the top 3 finishers from the Kentucky Derby (including the winner of the G1 Santa Anita Derby), the winner of the G1 Blue Grass S., the winner of the G1 Kentucky Oaks, the winner of the G2 Louisiana Derby, and the winner of the then-G2 Arkansas Derby. You also had a future multiple G1-winner in Take the Points and a future G2 winner in Big Drama. In fact, of the 13 horses who ran in the 2009 Preakness, only 4 have not yet won either a Grade 1 or Grade 2 stakes race. Compare this to the Preakness field of 2008; 12 horses ran in the race that year, but as of right now only 5 of them have won Grade 1 or Grade 2 stakes, and at the time of the race, only Big Brown was a Grade 1 winner. (When the '09 Preakness was run, four of the entrants had already won a Grade 1.)

Even the strongly-regarded 2007 Preakness could be called "weak", aside from the top 3 finishers. Nine horses ran in that race, and only four of them have won a graded stakes race to date.

I guess strength of a race is somewhat subjective, but I wouldn't  say that the '09 Preakness stakes was especially weak.

12 Aug 2010 3:01 PM
mark c

#1 get woolley back- mtb and him have a special bond

#2 he is a come from behind horse, as a two year old, they tried a stalking position with very little success.

#3 yes he is a dirt horse

#4  R.A won the preakness becasue she is a very good horse, but mtb was closing. Woolley told smith after the race, he should have let mtb go when he started pulling, but smith held him becasue he thought it was to early.

#5 What the hell are his owners thinking, they do not know what to do with the success of the triple crown races.

#6 mtb is not a great horse, he is somewhere between a very good horse and a great horse, but his owners need to start thinking about the horse and not that they are derby winners.

TAKE CARE OF THIS HORSE, DO WHAT IS RIGHT FOR HIM. Start by getting woolley back and let him pick the races for mtb.

12 Aug 2010 3:02 PM


Minor throat infection. He's ok now, back on the track and doing well. Thanks!

12 Aug 2010 3:05 PM
Billy's Empire

Quick change of subject, just throwing this out there? How is DUBLIN?

12 Aug 2010 3:06 PM


Weren't Musket Man, Big Drama, and Pioneerof the Nile in that Preakness, too?

I hope you thoroughly analyzed all 135 runnings before you made that statement, an obvious attempt to criticize Rachel. Just in recent memory alone, the field Funny Cide beat was worse.


12 Aug 2010 3:11 PM

I will never give up on Mine That Bird! He's just having a slow start. I think if he ran some GII's he would win, and prove a lot of people wrong.  

12 Aug 2010 3:11 PM

It is demoralizing when a horse is mismanaged. MTB's last four races were nothing short of a mistake: two on a synthetic surface, another on turf & lastly in the Whitney where he was in way over his head. What are these people thinking? He's a dirt horse & he needs to be placed in a race that he can WIN!! Be reasonable & smart & don't expect more than this horse can deliver. Let him (hopefully) work his way back up the ladder. You can put an underachiever in with a bunch of overachievers. You don't do it with kids in school & you shouldn't do it on the racetrack.

12 Aug 2010 3:13 PM
kathleen o

Dray, you were 100% wrong last weekend, as usual.

12 Aug 2010 3:15 PM
Kit J

Okay, in answer to all the criticism about where Mr. Lukas is placing this horse?

From The DRF while Chip Wooley was still the trainer of record and the horse was at Mr. Allen's ranch.

"Doc, Mark, and I have not conferred on our first out," Woolley said. "It just depends on when he gets ready to run. It would be nice to be ready for the Stephen Foster, but it's hard to say if he will be ready or not. He's been off for four months. It's hard to say what his first out will be."

The Grade 1, $600,000 Stephen Foster will be run at Churchill on June 12.

As far as his 'weight gain' some of you are talking about?

"The horse was really tired by the end of the campaign, HAD LOST SOME WEIGHT, and we wanted to give him the opportunity to get back to 100 percent. (Wooley again)"

He also said they weren't going to have as ambitious of a campaign, maybe the owners didn't agree and that is why he is no longer training him?

Mike M, he didn't hire himself to train the horse and if you looked at the comments by all parties it's pretty easy to tell who wants him in these races.

What spotlight? The race was on TVG and MSG+. The same old story redux, that story was old in the 90's.


12 Aug 2010 3:17 PM

slightly OT, but where's Dublin? He was supposed to be pointed for the Haskell, Jim Dandy, or Travers yet I can't remember when he last had a workout.

12 Aug 2010 3:18 PM

It's gratifying to me to see people's unsubstantial, single line statements be perfectly debunked by someone else with facts and figures to sustain their arguments. It's a beautiful thing! Bravo Kim!

12 Aug 2010 3:22 PM

Surprisingly insightful blog given the way you've bashed the horse in the past. ...

12 Aug 2010 3:25 PM

I think MTB needs to spend more time building up those red blood cells in New Mexico, that (along with the mud, an obvious love of Churchill's mud - something not every horse has - and a ride by Calvin that he's done a thousand times before, yet keeps getting away with), I believe, was a major factor in his vast improvement in form in the Derby and into the Preakness.  I think it had worn off by the Belmont, but he also got a not-so-great ride in that one.

"It's not an embarrassment to win a grade III, a listed stakes, or even an optional claimer. Remember, Funny Cide won an optional claimer at the start of his 4-year-old season before going on to win the Excelsior and Jockey Club Gold Cup that year. There is no crime in that."

...apparently there is (even for a gelding with no stud value to consider), as very few seem to take that route anymore, everyone wants to come back in a stakes race, and it's not fair to the horses, IMHO

12 Aug 2010 3:27 PM
Kit J

Yes Billy, you claim to know what is going on in his barn, what is Dublin doing.:>

Like someone told you a long time ago you're obsessed.

You sound like a girl with a crush on someone who doesn't know you're alive.


12 Aug 2010 3:34 PM

I saw Mine That Bird run in the Firecracker at Churchill.  Besides being a hot day, it was also the first time he had run on the turf.  Big mistake.  He was no factor at any point in the race and it hurt to see him struggle.  During the post parade, however, he was "last year's Derby winner" and elicited applause, including me, who didn't think he had an ice cube's chance in Hell of winning the Derby.  He deserved the respect he got then and still deserves it now.  Lukas should definitely drop him down in company so the guy can gain his confidence back.  To ask him to go up against the likes of Quality Road or even Zenyatta, if he is being pointed toward the Classic, in absurd.  Please, D. Wayne, take it from those of us who have followed MTB struggle.  We don't like it and he deserves more.  I agree that Calvin should be taken off him.  His mind isn't on MTB at all.  He knows Birdie can't do anything for him anymore.  It's sad and I'm sorry to see this little guy go down the tubes.

12 Aug 2010 3:36 PM

Thanks Jason for the insightful article and take on MTB.  When I heard that he was taken from Wolley, I was a lil bewildered.  As many of you have said, Chip and MTB had a close bond.  That can make a huge difference in a horses mentality.  As well as the rider.  In my experience, I've had to be taken off of horses because we didn't get a long and that horse wouldn't do anything for me visa versa.  I think that Chantal would be good for him.  She has just enough finess/agression and experience.  I think it would be a good change.  It could make a HUGE difference and put him where he belongs, at a 1 1/4 or a lil less. Put him where he at least has a chance.  I thought putting him in the Whitney was crazy because of his long lay off, trainer change, stable change etc...  It takes some horses awhile to acclumate to the new surroundings and new people.  I hope Lukas will start doing right by him.

12 Aug 2010 3:39 PM

Right on Jason! It all seems so obvious to everyone but his owners and trainer.  Go figure.

Wayne said he is going to the Woodward most likely, too.

On Lukas and women riders, yes he rode Donna.  She rode Hennessy as I recall in 95 BC Juvenile?  She might have given Wayne "first call" but Lukas' first call back then  was Gary Stevens. He just had so many good horses he needed more than one good rider.

12 Aug 2010 3:41 PM
Billy's Empire

Kit G, I mean Tim G, I mean Kit J, Is that you? Obsessed, hardly. Like I said yesterday, fascinated at the fact that he is no longer capable of winning races, training horses, or telling the truth.

I know what is going on in his barn. He is ruining horses left and right. Irish emperor, Be fair, Dublin, Fast Draw, MTB, I could go on but I am not wasting my time. Defend him all you want, you are in the minority, as usual... Optimistic and Crazy are very different points of view

12 Aug 2010 3:46 PM
Billy's Empire

No one knows what he is doing b/c he was worked like a dog, and is now DOG TIRED. I was just happy he did not run in the Belmont. Best move of the year, and Wayne did not make it. The owner did. Wayne wanted to run him. HA

12 Aug 2010 3:49 PM

Mine That Bird CLEARLY needs a drop in class. It's nothing Lukas or Borel have done wrong. He's simply not as good as Blame, Quality Road or Musket Man. I think a race like the Meadowlands Cup or the Hawthorne Gold Cup would suit him perfectly. It would get a decent field, but at the same time, the drop in class. It's too bad they did away with the Kentucky Cup becuase that would have been a perfect spot for him.

12 Aug 2010 3:51 PM
The Rock


I agree with everything that you said except for Wayne placing him in the Firecracker. He obviously wasn't entered with thoughts of winning the race. What the rest of the public were thinking when they made him the fave is beyond me. He tried to enter him in an allowance race and it didn't fill. He was trying to get something out of him, but Calvin blew that objective by taking him waaaaaaaayyyyy far back and eventually MTB didn't get the conditioning that Lukas was hoping for. Maybe the owners of MTB can do a Jess Jackson and get Ruidoso or Zia Park to create a race for him to run in and win to build his confidence up. (wink wink)

12 Aug 2010 3:52 PM
Mike Relva


I would've thought in your younger days you were a class clown,but actually you're just a clown,period! Thanks as always for showing  RESPECT by knocking a horse when he's down and bringing Zenyatta into the mix. I know,ANYTHING TO GAIN ATTENTION,RIGHT? If you lost your house and had to live in a cardboard box cause of a bad bet,that's your fault!

12 Aug 2010 3:53 PM

Very nice article Jason.  Agree completely.  

A couple mention a jockey change to Jeremy Rose.  I was a huge fan of Afleet Alex and have never understood why Rose hasn't gotten more top class mounts.  He seems to me to be a strong jockey.  

12 Aug 2010 3:54 PM
Karen in Texas

I agree that Mine That Bird needs come changes to be made in his handling--probably a softer race for a confidence-builder and maybe a jockey change. Chantal S. might be a possibility, as someone mentioned.

Donna Barton not only rode for Lukas frequently, she was aboard some of his best horses. She rode Hennessy to a second place finish in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile in 1995, and was on Serena's Song for the last race of Serena's career.

12 Aug 2010 3:57 PM

Change the trainer! I thought sending Bird to Lukas was a dreadful decision.

Change the jockey! Something isn't working.

Ship him back to Woodbine & let him run in some stakes and rich allowance races here to finish his season. His confidence is shot, and he has forgotten how to compete. Familiar surroundings may help.

12 Aug 2010 4:04 PM
Kit J

Billy not that I need to explain to you but I'm a 64 year old grandmother of 5 who lives in a town with racing. I summer in a state with the Rockies.  I'm not Tim G. He apparently owns race horses, like Zookeeper and a couple others which I am so envious of.

I'm someone who doesn't understand the need for rudeness which SOME people seem to specialize in and constantly going after someone who isn't here to defend themselves or probably could care less.

You need to move on, it's old and tired and frankly most of us don't care to here your hyperbole.

12 Aug 2010 4:05 PM
Kit J

Karen, I forgot she rode Hennessy.

I think she was a wonderful jockey and had such a great feel for horses. I know the females have to work so much harder for everything they get. Chantal would be a good jockey for MTB. The show, Jockeys, made it clear how hard it is for them to make it in racing.

12 Aug 2010 4:08 PM

Hi Jason, hope you had a great vacation. I say give him to Rudy Rodriguez. I don't know what he's doing but as a trainer, he's got a nose for the winner's Circle.

12 Aug 2010 4:18 PM
Cowboy Adventure

I love Mine That Bird and I agree with everything you said Jason - except I don't think he is some fluky horse that happened to win the Derby. He was able to compete and hit the board in all 3 Triple Crown races - could any horse do that this year - NO! I guess if SuperSaver doesn't win again he is jsut a fluke as well?  MTB was 2 year old champ in Canada so he is a very good horse.  Owners have no business making these kinds of decisions.  MTB had been training very well but when that allowance race did not fill they should have just charted a new course and waited instead of putting him in that Turf race.  And then after he did poorly in the that race to go forward to the Whitney - they should have waited and put him in something else - with those works he may have just won or placed in an easier Grade 1 race. The Whitney was just not a good choice.  I do agree he needs to drop but I don't think down that low to allowance level. It is frusterating for his fans to see such a good horse handled so poorly.  He most likely went off at 9-1 in the Whitney becasue so many fans will bet on him - because we believe he is a good horse and will win again!  Just my two cents - I do love my MTB and I beleive in him!  I wish Chip was his trainer again and I wish they would let Chantal ride him again!

12 Aug 2010 4:35 PM


From the way you worded your most resent venom, I think it proves that all that mioney you said you won on the Derby was BBBBBB.SSSSS.

12 Aug 2010 4:38 PM

I cannot know what is not working with Mine That Bird, but something is obviously not as it was.  Continuing to put him into races where he will not be a factor is pointless.

Assuming that there are no physical problems--one is left to believe that the difficulty is mental.  Perhaps the horse just doesn't want any part of racing--the way to find out is to put him into an allowance race that he should win.

Decades ago, before top TBs had months between races, allowance races were frequently used to prep them for stakes.  It was no disgrace at all.  I saw Seattle Slew in such a race at Saratoga.

There is no point to continuing the sad spectacle of Mine That Bird running poorly.

12 Aug 2010 4:42 PM


12 Aug 2010 4:45 PM

Alas, more ammo for Draynay, and his usual spewing hatred of MTB. Yes, I agree that MTB needs a confidence builder, in the form of a drop in class, and, or, a new jockey, and maybe this would help him win. MTB's connections need to look into this. I will always be a fan of MTB's. Fluke? No way! As for you Draynay, maybe YOU are the fluke.

12 Aug 2010 4:49 PM

Send him to Woodbine and put Chantal back on him. They got along well when he was younger. There are numerous Grade III stakes there that quite often go with small fields. I realize that it's Polytrack, but I don't think that was the issue in last year's Classic, I agree he was a tired, tired horse at that point. I'd love to see him win a race, I root for the little bird-horse every time he runs!

12 Aug 2010 4:53 PM
Gary at Rough Creek

Trebloc and the persistent troll Draynay,

Any comparison of Mine That Bird to Supersaver is specious and misplaced.  On similar tracks, SS ran close to 2 seconds slower than MTB in their respective KY Derbies.  In his Derby victory, MTB beat POTN, Musket Man, and eventual 3 YO Champion Summer Bird, who was one of the only horses making up ground at the end of that race.  MTB came back - with a new jockey - to come a fast closing second - in good time - to the eventual  HOTY while conceding 5 pounds.  If she's all that good, then he is too.

I hope this adds some to Kim's smart points.

And speaking of "all that good", good ol' Musket Man is about as game as you'd want.  Hasn't he come back this year to run a close 2nd to SUPERDUPER horse Quality Road in the Grade 1 Met Mile, and then a pace pressing 3rd to him in the Whitney?

MTB beat him every time they faced each other too.  

C'mon you id...  I mean...guys...enough already.

Back to the present.

MTB has too much weight on him.  

If he were my horse, I would have never let Calvin back on him after the Preakness...period.  Too much conflict of interest.

Chip really knows this horse.  The decision to go to Lucas was bizarre to me.  I still don't understand it.  But he's with Lucas now.  I love the horse, so I hope they figure it out.  I also have a vested interest in Birdstone's stud career, so I hope they figure it out for that reason too.  I'm not too hopeful though.

12 Aug 2010 4:56 PM
mike williams

Mine that Bird is a Grade one horse.I also find it astounding that snyone would describe Rachel Alexandria as a fluke.I am also puzzled that Mine that Bird was entered in the Bredders Cup Classic at Santa Anita, given that he had already disclosed his dislike for Sanita by his first race there as a two year old and his loss in the Goodwood.I am also puzzled by the decision to enter him in the Firecracker on turf at Churchill Downs.He is definitely not at his best right now and maybe his handlers should emulate the Rachel Alexander folks and get him some easier and confidence building races.And folks we should stop disparaging these horses when they are not their best.They are not machines and we will never attract new fans to the sport with disrespectful remarks about the main attraction, the horse.

12 Aug 2010 5:00 PM

Mine That Bird gave me one of the 3 best jaw dropping races that I will always remember.  He's a good little horse with a lot of heart.  Let's get him back to Woolley (most likely the place he feels the best...and it does matter) and put him in some races where he can taste a win again and build his confidence.  I don't even care if it's ungraded.

12 Aug 2010 5:07 PM

I agree with those that say MTB should go back to Chip.  And yes change jockeys. Borel is stuck on riding him a certain way.  I will always think of MTB as the little horse that did.

12 Aug 2010 5:16 PM

DRAYNAY what happened to Quality Road last week? I think its a fact that he is not a mile and a quarter horse. Period. There is no excuse for not winning the Whitney last week.

And about MTB, he at the most is at Grade III level now. There is no sense running him in G1's and embarrass him furthermore. There are lots of options open for him, in which he can be more than competitive.

12 Aug 2010 5:16 PM
In aint easy being good!

haha Dray just said hail draynay that was the best line of the day. I agree though that Mine that third...damn you can even say that anymore needs to move down in class. The real loser though is poor Chip you can tell he really loved that horse and wayne needs to retire. He cant hang with the big boys anymore. Lukas=Joe Paterno

12 Aug 2010 5:17 PM


12 Aug 2010 5:26 PM
Kit J

Gary, I TOO love Mine That Bird. I defended him when Chip had him and will continue to do so. You took my comments on the other blog the wrong way.

I figure there's nothing we can do about what ANY of these owners decide to do with their horses, you said you're an owner so you CAN control yours and I think you'll appreciate that other owners want to control theirs.

I was very upset when Calvin took off of MTB, who let him back on? I thought from what I read it was Chip?

Like I said, Chip said the horse lost TOO much weight from his hard campaign. I also read that he came to Mr. Lukas 150 lbs heavier than when he was turned out, and that was what the owners wanted.

I figure Dr Blach being a veterinarian would tell Mr. Lukas if he thinks the horse is too heavy.

I think he just needs to get some races. Someone wrote that he is more flighty than a gelding usually is I believe, so maybe getting his mind back in the game is what he needs?

I just find it odd that he is held to this standard and being off so long doesn't give him any leeway, yet Rachel is forgiven everything with that excuse. On one hand people are complaining about her running in allowance races but think the Derby winner should be?

Somebody quoted a comment after Winning Colors was disparaged and a comment made that she'd never win another race. The retort quoted was "she doesn't have to."

Same applies to Mine That Bird.

For those who say the Derby isn't a good determination of who's the best, the same people hyping their Derby horses to the max.

As far as Birdstone, I think you're very lucky and will be just fine. He's had some nice runners. But I guess the market is still very bad so maybe if you just run whatever you get from him you'll be ahead?

12 Aug 2010 5:27 PM

From reading all these comments, I realize how many people care for Mine That Bird and how MUCH they care. I thought there were only a few of us who fell in love with last year's KD winner and continued to love him in spite of his misfortunes.

I won't pretend to know what's wrong and how to fix it but it seems like a good idea to run him in longer races, with a lot of pace from speed horses who run out of steam in the stretch. Not an easy thing to find! But you are less likely to find it in a Gr 1 race.

Since I don't know the circumstances for the switch in trainer, I will reserve judgment. If I owned MTB and felt the need for a change in trainer, Wayne Lucas would not have been my choice.

As far as the jockey is concerned, I don't know how people determine that MTB doesn't like Borel and vice versa. On what do you base your assertion? If MTB didn't like or trust Calvin, do you think he would have listened to him and squeezed through at the rail the way he did in the KD? If Calvin didn't think much of the horse, would he have asked him to do it?

...Just some random thoughts as I ponder HOW to "Find That Bird--a Win".   :)

12 Aug 2010 5:37 PM
Karen in Indiana

Good points, Gary at Rough Creek, and they are all facts. MTB was underappreciated last year, as was Musket Man, and I don't understand why people can't appreciate one horse without knocking the others. I was not knocking Mine That Bird by suggesting an optional claimer, he just needs the win mentally. He's got such heart and is so game that it wasn't like him not to at least try.

12 Aug 2010 5:40 PM

Has anyone considered maybe it's the physical change he has gone through?  If you look at his recent picture on Haskin's facebook, many people couldn't believe that that was him.  He has put on a lot of muscle since last year so maybe he's not used to his new body?  Wasn't Rachel's excuses for her losses this year due to her physical change from 3 to 4?

12 Aug 2010 5:50 PM
Barbara W

This was a column that really needed to be written. Thank you, Jason, for putting in print what so many of us have been thinking. I, too, love MTB and felt as if I had been kicked in the stomach when the owners took him away from Chip.

I would love to see Chantal back on him. The same thing happened when Line of David looked smashing under Jon Court in the Oaklawn, and then he was quickly dismissed for the Derby. LOD ran poorly. Not a word appeared in print about him until it was announced that he was going to stud.

Who is making these decisions? MTB deserves better. The owners, trainer, and current jockey don't seem to give a rip about him. If they do, I wish they'd start acting like it.

12 Aug 2010 5:53 PM

I think the owners should at least of the decency to the fans to explain their decision to send this tough little horse to Lukas. I don't understand since Chip trained the horse to win the Derby and, with a bit of time, maybe figured out what was up wiht his horse.

The only reason I see is that the owners got blinded by money.  They had won some with MTB, enough that they felt he 'needed' a new trainer.  Why not Lukas- more expensive, I'm sure, than Chip, looks better when listed during a race and, heck, he's won Derbies and preaknesses and stuff.  No concern over MTB at all and now this poor animal is toughing it out at a level that he can't maintain.

Personally, I say retire the horse. yes maybe he could still do better at lower grades or races, but come on- he's now history and I'm sure Old Friends or similiar kind of stable would be willling to take the gelding on and let him finally relax.  He's earned it, doesn't everyone agree with that?

12 Aug 2010 5:54 PM

Thanks Kit J for the current news and the older news.

Thanks Zookeeper for the RFO update!

Mike Relva and others, I know it's hard to ignore him, but can you please try?  You're right, anything to gain attention.  Just ignore it.

Thanks to those who appreciate MTB.

12 Aug 2010 5:59 PM

I'm floored that I was thinking all this about MTB last night driving around town and here it's the blog o' the day!

MTB won the Derby. He doesn't HAVE to do anything or prove anything else.

Besides that, he's a gelding and doesn't have the pressure of having to build a reputation before he heads to the breeding shed. I think he'd have much more fun, assuming he's not mentally burned out beyond repair, in a couple of run-away Grade 3's. After all, who's going to tell him they're Grade 3's?

Calvin has nothing against MTB--he calls him Little Birdie Man,

works him out in the mornings and posts pictures of him on his Facebook page. I'm pretty sure he wouldn't go to that effort if he hated him as Papillon suggests. That being said, Martin makes a difference to LAL so maybe a jockey switch would help...

12 Aug 2010 6:00 PM

How was your vacation?

I'm not jumping off his bandwagon yet, I mean, I lived through John Henry losing like 9 or 10 in a row before he became "John Henry"...MTB's only 4.

You're right, though, he was tired late last year, but "they" keep beating him up by putting him smack in the toughest races with no confidence build-up...he does not run with the same joy as early last year.

This is a graded stakes race horse, just not the Whitney after a long layoff, and only a race on grass.

12 Aug 2010 6:02 PM

I have a couple of things to say.

!) dont blame lucas about where the horse runs (what race)

2) the owners obviously call the shots

3) it WAS wrong to take the horse from chip wooley. but im not the one paying the bills.

4)the horse is very nice, but he doesnt want any part of the countries best like QUALITY ROAD, ZENYATTA AND MANY MORE. howerver he is way above average.

5) why must people always blame the jockey when a horse simply is not the same horse he was.

12 Aug 2010 6:18 PM
Mike Relva


I know you're right,totally agree.

12 Aug 2010 6:19 PM
Pedigree Shelly

    Mine That Bird should have stayed with Chip Wooley ! He really seemed to care about the horse ! I'm not downing Lukas,it seemed that Chip had more time for him ! MTB needs to take a step down in class! He's a talented little gelding and I dont want to see anything happen to him ! He could be with us for a long time if managed well !

12 Aug 2010 6:26 PM
Ida Lee

I adore MTB. I just don't want him embarrassed anymore. Do whatever needs to be done to give him a chance to win again. I also don't understand why he was put in there with the likes of QR and Blame at this point. He's a wonderful little horse. Oh and just for the record...Once a Kentucky Derby winner, always a Kentucky Derby winner. He's already made history. He doesn't have to do anything else spectacular. Just win a few smaller races and retire him where I can go see my little darling.

12 Aug 2010 6:29 PM

Jason, "Congratulations"  on your boy POINT GIVEN being inducted into the Hall Of Fame.

12 Aug 2010 6:30 PM

I have a guess about why MTB is with Lukas instead of Chip.  The owners want the horse to be famous and to race with the big kids.  Chip's stable appears to be more of a local business, without a lot of Assistant Trainers to travel all over the world while others take care of the horses at home.  So the logical decision is to place MTB with a trainer who has a large enough business to get the horse into the big races.

I also think that Borel should never ride MTB again.  He is not getting the best out of the horse, and I think there is still a huge amount of potential for MTB.  

Why not race him all over - so the folks in Washington, Oregon, and Texas can see the Derby winner run?

I know that doesn't sound like what the owners want for the horse, but MTB could do a lot for racing in smaller venues, with the right trainer and a good jockey.

12 Aug 2010 6:31 PM
Barbara W

There is one consolation for me if worst comes to worst and he doesn't win any more races (and I pray that it doesn't), I am sure the Kentucky Horse Park would always have a place for him. So I don't worry about him becoming another Ferdinand.

We just want to see him happy and plugging away like he was before.

12 Aug 2010 6:32 PM

Draynay: conditions were exactly right for the winner to win.♥

Whirlaway (one of my top 10 faves alltime) Don't diss Rachel's Preakness too much ;-), she ran the Preakness 3 4/5 seconds faster than your name sake...♥ PS Name one horse besides Whirlaway that ran in his Preakness....

Gary at Rough Creek: good point about MTB beating MM last year...

12 Aug 2010 6:37 PM

He could run in texas.. maybe but washington and oregon i  bet are far from any derby winners schedule. there is simply NO MONEY in theses states horse racing except one or two race at emerald. NO MONEY.

12 Aug 2010 6:39 PM

Agreed Jason, also with a Jockey change and maybe racing back in Canda. He seemed to do well there. He is a gelding his connections can continue to race him or lead pony- imo. But if they do he may get another GR I later down the road again...

12 Aug 2010 6:54 PM

Mr. Pibb, what is; is. HOY for 09 and once a Derby winner, always a Derby winner.

12 Aug 2010 7:02 PM
Karen in Texas

Thank you, jeffrey...It was somewhat upsetting to see Texas, where Lone Star Park hosted the Breeders' Cup in 2004, compared to Washington and Oregon as racing venues. We would indeed be thrilled to have Mine That Bird run here in the Metroplex! Bob Baffert always brings several of his good horses here for our spring meeting--even Real Quiet, another Derby winner, ran here for Baffert.

12 Aug 2010 7:04 PM

ya think he might just miss Chip?

12 Aug 2010 7:05 PM
Gary at Rough Creek

Kit J,

Thanks for your comments.  We breed, and we will be racing as many homebreds as we can afford.  When the young horses are here, I am one of their trainers.  We get them ready to be ridden.

Before we got into Thoroughbreds, I worked heavy horses in the woods, and still do.  

When I turn horses over to a trainer at the track,  I do not tell that trainer what to do.  We consult, we discuss things, and we may make some suggestions, but the trainer is with the horse every's his call what to do with the horse.

I hope that such a mutually respectful relationship will exist even if one of our horses steps up and wins a big race or two.  That's what the trainer is there to do...get the horses ready to run, place the horses where they need to run, and run them when they need to run.  

If I was so arrogant to think that I knew better then my trainer, then I'd either switch trainers or get a trainer's license and train them myself.

I have no idea why MTB was moved to the Lucas barn.  But I was saddened to hear that he was.  And to date, my initial concerns have not been assuaged.  I hope they figure him out and get him back on track.  Going back to synthetics (Canada) is silly.  What was his best Beyer up there?  In the 80's maybe?  I'd definitely switch jocks.  And maybe I'd put in a call to Chip and pay him a consulting fee!    

12 Aug 2010 7:33 PM

It Ain't Easy - I think there are alot of college football coaches that would love to have won 4 bowl games in the past 5 years plus 2 Big 10 championships!

Lukas = Paterno?  Not hardly.

12 Aug 2010 7:38 PM

Mike Williams said:

"And folks we should stop disparaging these horses when they are not their best.They are not machines and we will never attract new fans to the sport with disrespectful remarks about the main attraction, the horse."

Thanks.  Well said.

12 Aug 2010 7:50 PM
Backside Sweetie

Carol,I care what you have to say because you hit the nail on the head!Some people do not realize,its not all about statistics,the fact is horses have feelings and they can be hurt drastically and cause a big difference in their performance!They know when they win,they know when they lose.Working for a hall of fame trainer,we are always told even if they lose,praise them,tell them good job,they can sense if you are displeased with them.they still know they did not win,but if they feel loved,they will not lose their confidence they will try harder next time because they want to please you and make you happy!You can look at MTB and he looks sad and defeated,even in the post parade.Horses also get very attached to people who they feel close to,as I'm sure he and Chuck after being together traveling cross country,they were very bonded,and he felt safe with Chuck.Also it takes some horses much longer to get accustomed to new surroundings,strangers and climates.And the magic needs to be there between horse and jockey,or at least the jockey needs to pretend it is.I agree the poor little guy needs a new jockey and a good friend like Chuck,to spend some extra time just making him feel he is still very special and a great horse that got it done and he will do it again.LOL MTB!

12 Aug 2010 8:01 PM

Mine That Bird is with a good experienced trainer D. Wayne Lukas who is well able to pull off another major upset with him in a Grade one race in due course.  Many of those who were shocked in Kentucky Derby 2009 will be shocked again.  Ten furlongs is his best distance on dirt especially but not necessarily if it rains.  Just be patient folks.  This gelding is just a plain little horse in brown wrapping (Steve Haskin's description) that has the ability to come good when people least expect.  His triple crown performances showed that he belongs with Grade one competition but he needs to be very fit, relaxed, chasing a strong pace in a ten furlongs million dollars race on dirt.  When last did that happen ...and when next?  Watch for those factors to line up and you too'll be flying.  

12 Aug 2010 8:03 PM
Nancy J.

I grew up in Alamagordo,NM.  Mine That Bird was training in northern

New Mexico, approximately 36 hours

prior to the Derby. I suspect he had

a really high red cell count due to

less oxygen at what, 5,900 feet above

     sea level?  He comes down to a lower

level and burns up the track.  Heck

look at our Olympians training in

Colorado Springs, CO.  Look at

Kenyans training on Mt. Kilanmangaro.  I think Kentucky, Maryland, New York, and Florida breds should train out West for the

altitude! Bring them back East and

blow everyone away! Reduced red cell count and status post throat

surgery combination may be hindering the great little horse.

12 Aug 2010 8:03 PM

Missed you, Jason?  Did you get to the Jersey Shore?

MTB looked fabulous in the paddock;  I think his problem is that, whatever the level of competition, MTB needs a fast pace up front to set up his closing finish. The grass race was merely  to get the cobwebs out.

I don't think the Whitney set up for his style of running, and that he won't be successful unless someone softens up the horses on/near the lead.  A fast pace is the only scenario for a MTB win.

12 Aug 2010 8:22 PM
Jason Shandler

Thanks to those that asked. Had a nice time in Cape May. Glad to be back at work too.

I hope they dont throw MTB in against Quality Road in the Woodward.

12 Aug 2010 8:34 PM
Forbidden Apple

I agree, maybe it's time to regroup and send this horse back to Mr. Wooley. Lukas has no more magic in his hat and this was simply an inferior horse last weekend.

BLAME was a horse that I mentioned earlier this spring that had a chance to knockout Quality Road. All of you chalk eating Pletcher groupies got run over by the Blame train. Next stop Belmont Park! The most impressive part of it for me was the easy hand ride that he was under.

I also liked the way Tranquil Manner finished up yesterday. He could easily step up and run back  in the Woodward.

12 Aug 2010 8:41 PM
Paula Higgins

ITA with the red blood cell s carrying more oxygen..... It's a fact that holds true for many ahtletes training at higher altitudes. I also think they absolutely need to change jockeys and I was not happy they changed from Wooley. I totally agree that horses feel more than we think they do and if they are unhappy, they won't run well. Which is why John Sherriffs works overtime to keep a certain mare as happy as she can be. I would pick Grade 2 races and see how he does. He is training well, so it isn't that he can't do it. He has the ability to run well, the key is to push the right buttons.

12 Aug 2010 9:01 PM

Hardly a fluke winner. The ONLY horse to run and hit the boards in all three TC races. The ONLY horse to come within a gnats hair of taking down Rachel when she was in her prime.

There is NO WAY this horse was a fluke.

Did the TC series last year finish him? Could be. But even if it did, he's accomplished a heck of a lot more than most horses do in their lifetimes and he deserves respect for that.I guess he's not "pretty" enough for many fans.

I don't care if he never wins again, he's done enough.

My only concern is for his safety when he is no longer in training. Far too many thoroughbreds, even great champions, come to a bad end, abused and neglected, when they leave the track.

12 Aug 2010 9:09 PM


Good post.  MTB deserves you kind of respect.

12 Aug 2010 9:29 PM

I think it must be tough to be Jamie Theriot, a top race-rider with a black cloud over his head that he can't seem to escape.

He won the Hopeful last year on Dublin - thought he had him a "Derby Horse" - then taken off him and had to watch as Dublin got one terrible trip after another on the TC trail.

He rides Blame beautifully through his earlier races, only to be taken off in favor of Gomez for the big races this year.

Jamie's still getting some nice horses now & then for small stables (like Secret Gypsy last weekend); but he's been shut out of the best.

Last summer, at Saratoga, JT took Mine That Bird out for all his works and it sure looked like they bonded.  Make them a team and maybe we'll see a breakthrough for both.

just a thought...

12 Aug 2010 9:35 PM

Jason,  this is a very good article, and you have had many comments on this one.  Great Job.

MTB is a new horse in a new barn. He was off for a long time as you mentioned. It certainly as you and others have said start him out slowly in allowance races, let D Wayne see what hes got in a race horse, and build him back up!  I do not know if a jockey change is the key or not.  If D Wayne lets Calvin ride him like he did before. But if he wants him closer to the pace then yes change the jock.  The horse does not like SA Synthetic obviously.  Why after the Goodwoood couldnt they figure that out?  Duh, MTB said I do not like it!  Its hot on my pitties!  Woodbine is cooler and not the same synthetic as SA. It burns many horses frogs. Plastic holds the heat in as we all know!

Hopefully the owners will see these comments or perhaps someone will post them on Calvins facebook and he can show the owners.  Because alot of folks are wondering why the change from Chip. Yes you can say more exposure to the east coast.  Also too why the first start back on grass?  Hes a gelding not going anywhere so lets regroup with him and get him to a good confidence level before any more grade 1's.

12 Aug 2010 9:36 PM
Forbidden Apple

Macho Again was much closer to beating Rachel last year, must be you forgot about the 2009 Woodward.

But it's 2010 and Blame is brilliant right now, his powerful finish reminds me of Cigar.

12 Aug 2010 9:39 PM
Robin from Maryland

MTB was a good two year old, and very lucky in the Derby.  I think his best races are behind him.  Let him be before he gets hurt, especially with Lukas!  He is no match for the girls.  Queen Z and RA would be cooling out before MTB ever crosses the line.

12 Aug 2010 9:39 PM

Ok, for those of you patting yourself on the back for stating MTB's Derby winner was a fluke...

Lets think about this...

Definition for Fluke:

-A lucky or improbable occurrence, with the implication that the occurrence could not be repeated.

Lucky? maybe.

Improbable? Sure, he was 50-1 and I still can't believe he went off that low.

Could not be repeated? On an off track, fast fractions up front, laying well off the pace. Hey, you can repeat that race over and over again it will come out the same.

The only people who can be proud of themselves are those that bet on him in the derby. Calling it a fluke afterward is meaningless. Just be pleased you are saving your money at the windows, right?

I am entirely confused by the direction D.W. Lukas is taking with him? Having said that, if he goes on to win, lets say, the BC Classic, we will not care how his year started. Of course, I better get at least 50-1 for that. At least...

12 Aug 2010 9:42 PM
Fuzzy Corgi

Owners ALWAYS have the right to send their horses to the trainer of their choice, even if the previous trainer created a world beater. Who knows what went on between Chip and the owners. That being said, I felt like I was kicked in the stomach when I read that MTB was sent to Lukas. I just hope that Lukas doesn't break MTB down (mentally and/or physically) like he has so many others. I will continue to root for the gritty little gelding but I will never be a fan of DW Lukas.

12 Aug 2010 9:49 PM
Kit J


I thought he was in training at Sunland Park and not Farmington?

I read about this last year, someone who knew about the clinical information said short term training at heights is not beneficial and it takes longer than that to have any benefit. I know when we come from the lowlands to the high country it takes me a while to get used to it.

His trailer trip took what 21 hours, with a stopover at Lone Star. Why would they go to Farmington and then that route? Plus I swore I read he arrived at Churchill Downs 3 weeks before the race, anybody know the real story?

12 Aug 2010 9:49 PM

Mike Relva - It's one thing to know it and another to do it!  LOL!  I've been dragged in myself!

12 Aug 2010 10:01 PM

Why are we talking about MTB winning ANY Graded Stakes race?  The odds of that happening are the same as Zenyatta EVER beating a male on dirt.  ZERO.

12 Aug 2010 10:06 PM

Jason- you are right on. This gutsy gelding is not running with confidence right now. It would be questionable if he could beat the likes of Blame and Quality Road on his best day. But I believe the drop would do a world of good. Let him run against the opt. claimers and see what he can there. He's a nice horse a derby hero and he will be remembered as just that. But I believe like many he has some good races ahead of him but lets see it at the right spot.

12 Aug 2010 10:25 PM

Kit J- Doesn't matter who covered the race it's still a high profile race and Lukas wants to be in them no matter what. MTB clearly had no business being in that race. Maybe later in the year but not now.

12 Aug 2010 10:42 PM
Mary in VT

Yes ... Mine That Bird has been winless since the Derby, but it's not like he didn't show up in the Preakness or the Belmont. ITM in all three Classics is how I would put it. That little gelding was used hard early on in the year. He didn't have to do anything else to prove his mettle to me.

If not for Rachel Alexandra, Mine That Bird would have added the second leg of the Triple Crown to his Derby which would have put him in some pretty good company. Remember, few horses came back the same after Rachel got done with them. Mine That Bird and Summer Bird are the only two I can think of.

I'm not sure he doesn't have a legit excuse since his surgury. Some horses just don't come back the same. But you're right, for whatever reason, he doesn't appear to belong in a GI these days. I would like him to see the inside of a winner's circle, and I don't care what level it happens to be at.

I agree that his first two starts this year were bone head decisions, but it may or may not be Lukas. Who knows? Maybe the owners won't take no for an answer. It's too easy to point fingers on the outside looking' in.

I still belive in this horse. I can't explain it. I just do.

12 Aug 2010 10:59 PM

Bring MTB to Woodbine and let him run again on the track where he was Canada's Champion 2 yo and let him get his groove back there. There are several stakes races that he could run in over the poly and it'd be familiar again. Whether not horses remember ..... I would love to see him run at Woodbine again.

12 Aug 2010 11:05 PM
an ole rail bird

i am a mine that bird & chip wooley fan. but i say ; give the horse back to chip,& let him say when & where to run . put p. val on him with a brand new whip. tell p. val to put somethimg on him that you cant wash off, with a water hose. that is what would have been done , in the racing days of old.3 cheers for chip.

12 Aug 2010 11:09 PM

MTB is a wonderful horse who rocked our world with a magnificent Derby win.  He got a rotten ride by M. Smith in the Preakness and a worse ride in the Belmont.  In other words, he was GREAT in those Grade 1s.  Get him back to Chip for several reasons, not the least of which is the bond they had. MTB WANTED to run for Chip.  Come on conncetions, get with it!

12 Aug 2010 11:25 PM
Mike Relva


What were you crowing about last week,QR "the best horse from the past twenty or thirty yrs"? QR is a great horse,but he's a MILER like I've thought. That's right,IGNORE THE MANY TIMES YOU'RE WRONG and deflect it all on Zenyatta! You have a very weak memory when you stated last year that Zenyatta winning the 09 Classic was as likely as being hit by lightning and winning the lotto. Remember that? No,of course not!

12 Aug 2010 11:32 PM

I remember another horse who was transferred to Lucas' barn. Her name is Azeri. Tomorrow, along with Point Given she will be inducted into the Hall of Fame. If you know how things turned out for the beautiful mare, you probably understand why he would not be my choice as a trainer.

12 Aug 2010 11:33 PM

Lukas should have Monmouth Park create a $400,000 custom made ungraded race for Mine That Bird to regain his glory. It worked for his rival Rachel Alexandra.

13 Aug 2010 12:18 AM

It breaks my heart what the owners of Mine That Bird are doing with the little horse.  They apparently only see him as an investment - who cares what happens to the horse! Any fool can see that they are placing him in humilating races with a trainer that has a track record of running horses into the ground.  Either let him go to the Kentucky Horse Park of Old Friends or give him back to Mr. Wooley.  Give him a different jockey (I would never had let Borel ride him after his decision last year) get in some races that does not have Zenyatta, Blame or Quality Road in them and let the little fellow get his confidence up.  If this is not done soon I am afraid we are going to see a sad end to a gutsy little fellow who deserves a trainer like Zenyatta has. He should never have raced in the BC last year because one could see he was tired.  THIS IS CLASSIC MISMANAGEMENT BY PEOPLE WHO DO NOT CARE ABOUT MTB.

13 Aug 2010 12:27 AM

Its been a long time since I saw a "top class" horse get managed on "the big stage" as poorly as MTB has been managed since his move to Lukas' barn.  Im hesitant to say all of this, because he is a Hall of Fame trainer, but MTB seems to have been terribly mis-managed, at least to his choice of races.  He came to Lukas dead-fit; Lukas even said as much.  He was training well...he was looking for a race...if he had just held out a little longer, or rather started his campaign a bit sooner, in a softer spot, we'd be talking about how great MTB was in a bang-up Whitney, and how the Fall races are still wide-open, with MTB in the mix.  But to run the horse on grass just "because he needs a race", and then to throw him in the DEEP, DEEP END of the pool coming off that dull performance, just makes no sense.  There was a grade III a Monmouth, on 30 July going a mile and sixteenth (maybe a week later - the name of race escapes me)...I figured, months ago, that Lukas was going to bring him back there, and then shoot for the Woodward...didnt couldnt manage this horse much worse.  

Yes, he needs a real soft spot.  In fact, he's one bad race away from being permanently off the Breeders Cup consideration, I would think.  If he gets dropped into an allowance somewhere, he will have plenty of company -- no one is going to get scared away.  I'd bring him back to Churchill, and regroup from there.  Train and race there when the horse is right.  Stay there for the BC Cup, if he rates going there.

13 Aug 2010 12:56 AM

Zookeeper - they sold her to the Japanese! Geez! WHAT does a horse have to do to be assured a forever home with someone who could darn well afford it?

Draynay, Zenyatta's margin of victory is much larger on dirt than synthetics.Just FYI - the great ones run on anything, EVEN plastic (ahem!), and don't whine about the surface...

13 Aug 2010 1:39 AM

I sincerely hope the owners of MTB read every part of this blog.  Obviously, those of us who are not clowning around care very much about the little horse who could.

MTB needs to go back to Chip, period.

MTB is not a happy horse.

13 Aug 2010 2:45 AM

Run MTB in the slop and you would see him put in another winning effort. He fairly skipped over the Derby course and I think you would see that again on a muddy track.

13 Aug 2010 3:10 AM

The odds of 9-1 was a real shocker.  I was expecting 18-1.  

13 Aug 2010 5:21 AM

Take him away from D Wayne and get him a new jockey. I wouldnt give a horse to DWL if he was the last trainer on earth. Giving MTB to him was pretty stupid in the first place and the owners are just getting their karma. They should have never taken him away from Wooley. At least he could get him to hit the board in the remaining TC events. DW cant get this horse to win unless he drops him to an allowance race or lower. Look what he has won with in Saratoga. Biggest drops ever!! Fire the trainer now and give MTB to someone who actually cares about horses safety and health.

13 Aug 2010 6:07 AM

Zookeeper, I think Lucas did a great job with an older mare that came back from what is often a career ending injury.

Azeri had been "retired" because of a soft tissue injury. After a long layoff she won her first start back, her third (3rd) Apple Blossom...she had 3 Grade 1 wins that year (including her famous stretch duel with Sightseek), and second in two more Grade 1's.

Was she the same as the year before? Not quite. Was it the trainer's fault? No. I think Azeri's great will to win overcame some physical stuff that last year, the same as her getting up for second in the BBD when she injured herself. ♥

13 Aug 2010 7:41 AM

Draynay and The Naysayers:

I say we are going to  have a whole lotta "Zenyatta Crow" that is going to be eaten after November 6th,  

Mary in VT:

Yes, I agree about MTB,  He won the derby, came in second in the Preakness, and third in the Belmont.   I say, It don't get any better than that 1.2.3.  That was great in itself.   He has done enough,  let him run in smaller races.  Lets have some heart.  He is smaller than most horses , I think that is a hinderance for him.

13 Aug 2010 8:16 AM

Once a Derby winner, ALWAYS a Derby winner!  That having been said, I would offer this:  He is 'lost' in the Lucas barn. It is plain to see that, simply by virtue of the move, he is not respected.  Wooley is indeed a better trainer for MTB.  I would also concur that a different jockey should be chosen for him.  God Speed, the Kentucky Derby Winner-The Little Gelding That Could.

Concerning AZERI, Hall of Fame inductee, or not, I am afraid for her  safety and well-being, now that she has been sent to Japan.  She is likely to be a "star" for a couple of breeding seasons, then she will be relegated to "stock" status, as her glory fades. Like CHARISMATIC and WAR EMBLEM, not being accessible to scrutiny and/or visits by their American fans, I fear that, all of them, AZERI included, will slip off the radar, and perhaps (as many still do) suffer the same eventual fate as FERDINAND and his last foal, poor little SHUTTLE GIRL.  I wish they would bring them all back.

Every one of them, MTB included, deserves better.

13 Aug 2010 8:33 AM

Thank you so much for this article. I have been waiting. I am a huge fan of MTB. He brought me such joy, during the TC season. My husband died suddenly 6 months earlier, and his grit, heart and determination totally and completely won my heart!

I love this horse.

I agree with Mike and Ida - good posts.

Please do not disparage this amazing horse. The sport, and his fans do not need this. Something is wrong. The trainer, the race choices, the surgery, etc, but I do wish his connections would start making choices that suited him, not them. He does need a win.

But not at a cost to his health.

And whoever is calling him a fluke needs to rewatcth the KD. During the last 1/4 mile, he ran 23 4/5, the fastest time since Secretariat!

He ran 3 gutsy, amazing races. Enough!

Thank God for such an amazing horse, regardless of what he does in the future.

13 Aug 2010 8:45 AM

I know it is a long shot.... but it would mean a lot to see a horse like MTB run out at our local track, Northlands Park. He could easily beat up on anything we have here.... it would give our track fav Salt Flat Speed some competiton! That would be his confidence builder! It's a long shot, though. But Northlands has seeing many champions over the years; Raylene, Edenwold, Shillelagh Slew, Monashee, etc. It would be amazing for this die hard fan to see a Derby winner in the flesh on somewhere other than two inch pixels!!! On the wrong side of the border! And Northlands obviously not as established.. its two best racing days is the Alberta Fall Classic and next week's Canadian Derby.... which I believe is the only graded one. Let's see MTB in Edmonton!!!! He could run these horses off their feet!

13 Aug 2010 9:18 AM

Not to change subject, but on last note about the Canadian Derby.... the STAR power that is here this year! Prince of Wales stakes winner Golden Moka, Distorted Dave (who was on the TC Trail in the US) and former Toronto runner Gold Medallion. And of course our star, No Hesitation....

It would top it off to see a horse like MTB race here.

13 Aug 2010 9:22 AM


13 Aug 2010 9:49 AM

MTB has never been the same horse since his throat surgery!Questionable decision to take him away from Chip!! Lucas???

13 Aug 2010 10:00 AM

YOU HIT THE NAIL ON THE HEAD! Right about everything you said.

13 Aug 2010 10:06 AM


13 Aug 2010 10:24 AM
Barbara W

Who of us can ever forget Chip handing out roses from the Derby blanket to the crowd after MTB's win? What class. He and MTB deserve to be together again.

Some people may have money, but they don't have what it takes to do right by the horse. As former U. of TX football coach Darrell Royal once famously said, "You dance with who brung ya.!"

13 Aug 2010 10:25 AM
Kit J

Zookeeper, whatever happens to a horse AFTER they retire is the decision of the owner isn't it?

13 Aug 2010 11:10 AM


You are so right. MTB is an awesome horse. He may not be great in the terms of Zenyatta, but he is more than useful. I agree with a lot of people. Give him back to Chip. The horse has lost his heart. He has been put with a trainer that just doesn't fit him. I love MTB. Even before the Derby and I love the underdog as much as greatness. An allowance race is not a bad place. He can come back up just like a lot of them. Put him in a race he can win. I wish I was rich, I would love to have the horse. He may just be fed up with the track as well. He has the speed look at his works even with WDL. He has the ability. I just think he needs to find his heart. MTB FOREVER!!!

13 Aug 2010 11:14 AM

This is such a GREAT blog! I didn't realize there were so many people out there, who felt about MTB like I do. He is a very special horse, one who comes along every so often, with an amazing story. I don't care if he ever wins another race, as he is still my favorite racehorse. We all need to keep good tabs on him in the future, in case the connections dump him. We can't let that happen.

I will never forget that dangerous, gutsy, perfect ride in the Derby. It brings me to tears.

13 Aug 2010 11:20 AM


13 Aug 2010 11:21 AM

Two Points.

ONE: Jason, I agree with your main premise.  They should have started the little brown horse in an allowance race after all that time off and some lack of success at the end of last season.  What's wrong with allowances?  Didn't horses like Citation usually start their seasons in allowances in the olden days? (I think even Draynay can't diss Citation!)  Conclusion: I don't like what they're doing with the little brown horse.  Doesn't mean, though, that he won't get back to the highest level after a little confidence boosting.

TWO: maybe I'm reading this in the wrong way but please be very, very sure that the days of shipping any old American horse to "Canada" and having that horse trounce every Cdn horse in every race are long gone.  In fact, the Woodbine horses are doing extremely nicely "down south".  So if the people who are advocating the shipping of MTB to Woodbine are presuming he will find it easier up here, they're wrong.  If what you meant was that he would be back in more familiar surroundings, that might also not be so certain, since the last time he ran at Woodbine was in 2008.

(And completely off topic: Jason, have you heard anything about Golden Moka going in the Travers?  He was pretty impressive in the Prince of Wales)

13 Aug 2010 11:26 AM

Mike, I dare the connections for Zenyatta to put her in the Classic. It will never happen.  If she runs she will be exposed for what she is. A California poly horse.  She couldn't beat a male on dirt once in her entire career and you STILL think she will in November? Too funny.

13 Aug 2010 11:28 AM
Zen's Auntie

Speaking of Class. I kinda wish RA was still "dancing with who brung her" Hal is all class.

I will say that moving Bloodstock around is good for the genepool. Although I do share your concerns too. I hope that a champion like Azeri would get a forever home (but that of course requres HUMANS to do the right thing) where ever she is when she is pensioned as a brood mare - they can ship her back to me I'll pick her up in Seattle and she can live at the ranch.  

Ok on the subject of Poly and switching to turf and also ran's can someone explain the entry of Spring Style in the J.C. Maybee stakes to me? Please - a trainers angle on what Cecil is thingking Im just curious.

I think its Wasted Tears race to lose she has been SO good this year -  My heart wants Lilly Fa Pootz for Hollendorfer.  What do you all think?

Old Maytag is at it again although he is right if you read how he worded it, I do think MTB has a shot at winning a graded stakes race he needs to be found the right grade 2 or 3 spot.  Zenyatta WILL beat males (1st beats 2nd , 2nd beats 3rd) on the dirt - if she wont beat males your saying she will run dead last in the classic? Please, now your just bing silly.

13 Aug 2010 11:45 AM

I thought the addition of "cleats" for the Breeder's Cup classic in order to handle the synthetics was grasping at straws.  

The drop in class seemed to help RA get back to her winning ways.  

Sidney's Candy next start in this weekend on turf.  Let's see if he can snap out of it.

13 Aug 2010 12:18 PM
Mike Relva


No,what's "too funny" is when you stated about fifty times Zenyatta wouldn't win another race this year,remember?

13 Aug 2010 12:32 PM

Whirlaway, you said it best, MTB's just not that good.  Now I will disagree with you in this regard: he is VERY good under his ideal conditions, the Classic distance in the slop.  But without those conditions, as a graded stakes horse, he's so-so.  He might win a GII/III race if there's a wicked pace duel in front of him, or even clunk up from behind for a small placing in a GI.  But without such a pace setup, he probably gets a minor share at best in a GII/III and is out of the money in a GI.  He might do a little better than that on Poly at Woodbine.

Absolutely give him back to Chip.  And Calvin fits him like a glove. I don't understand those on this blog who are trashing him for being disloyal and riding Rachel in the Preakness.  This wasn't a LeBron James situation where the athlete jumped to another team for more money.  Calvin was already the regular rider for Mine That Bird AND Rachel Alexandra.  In fact, he had been on Rachel longer, and he had to pick one. Which of the two would you pick?

13 Aug 2010 12:39 PM

I've enjoyed watching the best horses run in the last couple of years: Zenyatta, Rachel, QR, Blame, Summer Bird, Rail Trip, etc.  My favorite without a doubt is MTB, not even close. The way he won the KD, the promise he showed, the heart and determination, it really touched me.  MTB has an amazing following for good reason. I enjoyed reading Amy's comments, I couldn't agree more.  Horse racing needs MTB.  I will follow his career forever, win or lose.

13 Aug 2010 12:41 PM
Mike Relva


1 Should never have run in the BC

2 Is obviously in the wrong barn

3 Needs a trainer thst will be patient and place him in smaller races to give him confidence.

13 Aug 2010 12:41 PM
Judy G ~ California

First of all, I see the "The Poster Child of Negative Remarks" is still among us LOL. I'm beginning to feel sorry for him ~ NOT!:-)

Anyway, getting to the IMPORTANT topic ~ I saw a picture of MTB ~ he looks like a Quarter Horse!! I agree with some posters ~ he probably could use a change in jockey and running style (not so far back). I love him, still, and wish him the best! Repeat ~ Derby Winner (can't take THAT away from him!)

Attn: Negative posters ~ don't forget the great JOHN HENRY took a while to reach his prime. MTB could give a rats what you think!

13 Aug 2010 12:53 PM

Zookeeper, I didn't know Azeri has wound up in Japan.  Why, why why???????  What were her owners thinking?  

Amy, how can we keep tabs on MTB if he slips under the radar?  The owners probably won't care but oh how I wish we could express how the public feels about this great Kentucky Derby Winner.

13 Aug 2010 12:56 PM

I think Mine that bird and SuperSaver are one in the same.

13 Aug 2010 1:12 PM

Thanks for a great, informative blog! Along with many others, I hope that MTB's owners read this. Does anyone know of a stakes horse that was switched from their one trainer, moved to another, and then switched back to their original? Of course, it happens with claimers, but just wondering about higher level horses. I know that Chip wasn't his original first trainer because of his prior ownership change. Just wish that he would go back to Chip and his former groom/exercise rider Charlie Figuera who seemed to care for him very much.

13 Aug 2010 1:15 PM

zookeper said, "As far as the jockey is concerned, I don't know how people determine that MTB doesn't like Borel and vice versa. On what do you base your assertion? If MTB didn't like or trust Calvin, do you think he would have listened to him and squeezed through at the rail the way he did in the KD? If Calvin didn't think much of the horse, would he have asked him to do it?"

i can't speak for anyone else, but for me, i base my opinion on the types of things that calvin has said about mine that bird--"damning with faint praise" comes to mind;  plus, he ditched him in the preakness.

regarding calvin's ky derby trip, calvin tries that maneuver with every horse he rides at churchill, i don't think it is based on his faith in the horse, but on his faith in himself. the first time calvin rode mine that bird, in the ky derby, it is unlikely calvin had any feelings about the him at all other than relief, since he was scrambling to find a mount that derby.

regarding mine that bird, he looks like he doesn't like calvin to me--he seems upset around and uneasy him and under him, in a way he did not around and under joe talamoe and jamie theriot last year. and as others have pointed out, mine that bird looks like a sad horse in the post parades. but if you look at pictures of him in the stable, he seems very happy--which makes me think it is not d. wayne lucas, but borel.

stretchrun said, "Calvin has nothing against MTB--he calls him Little Birdie Man,

works him out in the mornings and posts pictures of him on his Facebook page. I'm pretty sure he wouldn't go to that effort if he hated him as Papillon suggests."

i said he appears to disdain mine that bird, not that he appears to hate him. disdain and hate are not the synonyms.

i didn't see any pictures or posts about mine that bird on his facebook, but maybe you have to be logged in or something.

anyway, calvin seems to be a very emotional fellow, who wears his heart his sleeve. he refers to racheal as his angel and his special filly, and after winning the derby on super saver he said he was going to win the triple crown on super saver, but when talking about mine that bird he says disdainful things, "i rode him like he was good horse."

i am not disparaging calvin. i just think that he and mine that bird are not a good fit, and am worried that if something doesn't change, mine that bird might end up a steak being sliced and diced in some restaurant in japan.

i agree fully with whoever mentioned jamie theriot as a good fit jockey-wise. i saw them together too last year (jamie and mine that bird) and they did really seem to have a close bound. julien leproux might be good too. mike smith wasn't a bad fit per se, but he road tiny little mine that bird, like he was zenyatta, the giantess.

i'm just really glad jason gave mine that bird's many, many fans a way of showing it, this sort of thing will ensure that no matter how he races, he will be ok once he stops. and at this point that is all i care about.

13 Aug 2010 1:16 PM

Kit J,

I know, I know... but what happened to Azeri after she was taken away from Laura, the whole saga and everybody associated with it, is all lumped up together in my mind in a very negative way.

I'm aware of how irrational I am, but on the subject of Azeri, logic has no place for me... only emotions and very sad ones at that.

13 Aug 2010 1:50 PM

After thinking that maybe I was the only person left that loved MTB and still believed in him, it has done my heart good to see how many fans this horse truly has. MTB is an incredible horse and just needs a little bit of help in finding his way to the winners circle again. I’m puzzled by the decisions that have been made for this horse. Decisions that have set MTB up for failure instead of success. Let me say first I think MTB needs a new jock. Calvin is a nice guy, the jockey of choice at CD and with Rachel but he is not a good fit anymore for this horse. First change would be to place MTB in a lower grade race with a new jockey and see what comes of it. After that, change up the trainer. I’ve always been neutral regarding DWL but he may not be a good fit either for this horse. I was sad to see MTB taken away from Chip and thought it was a mistake but was willing to give DWL a chance. So far, the outcome hasn’t been good.  You could see MTB and Chip adored one another.

I just hope all involved will do right by this wonderful horse. MTB has a lot of talent just waiting to be tapped into again. Start from square one and build him back up to success. MTB has lost heart. I could see that in the Whitney. It was like he didn’t even try but it also didn’t help that Calvin holds him WAY too far back time and time again but MTB needs a longer race with a fast pace to really make his move.

Everytime I re-watch his KY Derby run I literally get tears in my eyes. I fell in love with MTB at that moment and haven’t stopped following him since. He is my absolute favorite horse and I truly hope we will have many more years with him to see his greatness.

And just a sidenote for Draynay, I wish you would just shut your trap and go back to the dumpster you crawled out of.

13 Aug 2010 1:57 PM
Diane J

@ Draynay - how can you make the following statement about Zenyatta with a straight face: "She couldn't beat a male on dirt once in her entire career and you STILL think she will in November" - she can't beat one if she hasn't been given the chance yet!  Just wait till November...

13 Aug 2010 2:26 PM

Special congrats to Point Given on his entrance to the Hall of Fame.  One of my all time favorites.  Should have been the 12 th triple crown winner.

13 Aug 2010 2:40 PM
Judy G ~ California

TO Mike Relva: The person you are having rebuttals with about Zen (who shall remain NAMELESS) is pathetic. He does his usual "15 minutes of fame" tactics on any forum he can ~ YAWN.

I also like that several peeps acknowledged the fact BTB hit the board in the Triple Crown 1-2-3 (just heels (hoofs) behind Rachel in the Preakness! Gutsy little horse!!

13 Aug 2010 2:48 PM

On a side note it was nice to see the California based horses inducted into the hall of fame (Best Pal what a monster!).  

Take a look at Azeri's 4 year old HOY campaign.  No boys on the schedule and certainly no demands that she repeat a Breeders Cup Classic. (How many horse have actually repeated a classic?)  

2x Lady's Secret winner

2x Clement L Hirsch winner

2x Vanity winner

3x Apple Blossom winner

Sounds pretty familiar.

13 Aug 2010 2:50 PM
Mike Relva


Don't say never,Draynay has dissed Secretariat and Ruffian last yr before he scurried off the RA bandwagon.

13 Aug 2010 3:07 PM

I think Leroy's Dynameaux is the most logical over Sidney's Candy in this weekend's La Jolla Turf Handicap (Gr. 2).  Ran a 1:40 and chage at 1 1/16 over the Hollywood Turf course after Macias set some quick splits (sound familiar Sidney?) and his daddy Leroidesanimaux also loved that Hollywood course setting the track record at 1:38.45.  Seems like a tall task for the Santa Anita Derby winner with his first attempt at sod.

13 Aug 2010 3:11 PM


I thought of you today when Best Pal was inducted into the Hall of Fame. From some of your comments, I know how much you loved that horse. You must be so happy!

I missed seeing this great gelding on the track but his name is legend here in California and now, all over the American racing world.

Bravo Best Pal!!!

13 Aug 2010 3:17 PM

Dray's most logical picks of the season came from the Cash Call Futurity a race ran on SYNTHETICS! or "fake polly crap" if you prefer.  He then promply throws Lucky under the bus for the Preakness.  Timing is everything in this game.  

13 Aug 2010 3:22 PM
Zen's Auntie

AAAaawwwe... I'm watching the "Jockeys" edition of the 2008 Breeders Cup Distaff When Z had 8 in a row going in.  

That Ginger Punch is a heck of a mare. I always liked her. in 2008 She won the Go for wand, (2nd year in a row) the Sunshine Millions the Ogden Phipps the Louisville and the Personal Ensign (one of the best Horse races ever I think) comming off her Breeders cup distaff win in 2007 I remember how much I wanted her to win the Beldame where she was 2nd in a neck bobber with cocoa beach who was 2nd in the Ladies BC that fall.

Does any one know if GP has a foal onthe ground or who she may be in foal too?

13 Aug 2010 3:25 PM
Mike Relva


Nice going,I liked the last sentence in your post. Wish he would go somewhere.

13 Aug 2010 3:25 PM
Zen's Auntie

Only 1 previous Clssic repeater is Tiz no win 2000 CD and 01 belmont I think Curlin and Pleasantly Perfect both tried but couldnt do it

13 Aug 2010 3:35 PM

Householder--The ONLY horse to win the Breeders Cup Classic twice is Tiznow. In 2000 and 2001. Zenyatta is the ONLY female to have won it. If she repeats, her win will be MONUMENTAL. If she doesn't and people hold it against her it will be their shame, not hers.

13 Aug 2010 3:44 PM


The whole debacle that landed Azeri in Japan is a very long and complicated story.

The gist of it is that a mighty struggle within the estate of her deceased breeder, Allen Paulson, ended up in a forced sale (for a mere fraction of her worth) in a declining market. A Japanese breeding farm bought her. I don't know the name but it is the farm that stood Sunday Silence. So, hopefully she is in good hands but it doesn't erase the fact that we have lost a national treasure in the process.

13 Aug 2010 4:04 PM

Zen's Auntie: Wikipedia (admittedly, not a perfect source, but still) says that she "will be bred soon" in 2009 to A P Indy.

Does Stronach still own her or has she been sold at auction yet?

13 Aug 2010 4:05 PM
Johnny Rube , Georgia USA

Mine that bird had his day ( thanks to a little racing luck !) and at this pace will be eligible for NW other than condition. Find a spot( OC?) where he belongs and stop trying to put him against the best, where he dont belong. I would imagine the connections probably looking towards the Classic @ Churchill Downs ,the surface where he won the derby, but lightening rarely strikes twice in the same place. Especially a smaller field with the likes of Zenyatta , First Dude , Fly Down, QR, Blane, Looking at Lucky ( horse of the year !)compete. As a owner I wish owned a horse like Mine that bird but as a fan he does not belong with the big guns. Congrats to Point Given ( one of many great horses never to win a derby) and others inducted in to the HOF today. May the horse be with you !

13 Aug 2010 4:06 PM
Fuzzy Corgi

Even if Zenyatta repeats as the BCC winner and stays undefeated there are certain people who will NEVER admit she is much more than a nice allowance horse because she ran mostly on CA 'fake' tracks. Of course the poly tracks outside of CA are legitimate. We must not try to confuse these 'certain people' with facts.

13 Aug 2010 4:07 PM

Fuzzy Corgi -

If Zenyatta wins the Classic again, yes, there are some people that STILL won't get it.  But they will be among the small minority of people that say they've been abducted by aliens or that our landing on the moon was a hoax or whatever.  There will always be a small minority of people on the very fringe.  But that's all they are - the very fringe.

13 Aug 2010 4:43 PM

Why has a MTB discussion become and Azeri Zenyatta discussion? This is about MTB and his stupid connections doing the worse things for him right now.

13 Aug 2010 4:47 PM

Mine That Bird NEEDS a drop in class, a new jockey, and a new trainer. He is a good horse, and he will be around for at least 2 more years. He is awesome.

13 Aug 2010 4:49 PM
Kathy Kimber

People need to quit beating up on Mine That Bird.  Lets give this horse a chance.  He ran three great races last year and he was exhausted after that.  His owners have gotten caught up in the hype of having a Derby winner.  I don't know why Wooley was replaced.  Maybe we'll never know.  A jockey change?  I don't know but I do know this is a little horse with a big heart.  Give him some confidence builders.  

   I would never put a Derby winner in a claiming race but there are races he would be suited for.  Funny Cide raced a long time and did very well.  After racing he had another career and did well there too.  Today he has a new career and people love him.

  Mind That Bird can have a successful racing life and come home safe and sound if his owners will give him the right opportunities. History will always remember that MTB and his jockey were the best on derby day.

  So please lets do something right for him.  You people that knock him are the same ones  who rag on Peppers Pride for not leaving New Mexico and for Zenyatta for not leaving California.  You need to give it all a break.

13 Aug 2010 5:22 PM
Robin from Maryland

To Fuzzycorgi, Lynhurst, and Sopiekea:  I couldn't agree more with you.  Get MTB away from DWL before he ruins him forever.  What are his owners thinking?

13 Aug 2010 5:55 PM
Pam S.


I found your 1:16 post supporting a jockey change for MTB to be very thoughtful and interesting.  You must be very observant.

13 Aug 2010 5:56 PM


I'm afraid I'm the one guilty of bringing Azeri into the conversation. It happened by word association: switch in trainer, like what happened to MTB this year.

Also, the fact that she was inducted into the HOF today may be considered worth mentioning.

A certain person, always brings up Zenyatta. Some of us do not always succeed in refraining from responding to his offensive comments.

If you've come to this forum for a while, you may have noticed that we often stray outside of the current topic. But the majority of the posts have been about Mine That Bird, his trainers, his jockey, his races etc...

I, for one, would like to know what else you have to say on the subject beside the terse comment you posted at 4:47PM. You sound like you need to get something off your chest or have you done it already?  :)

13 Aug 2010 6:02 PM
Kit J

Zookeeper, nothing happened to her. She won the Apple Blossom again and them Mr. Paulson decided he wanted to run the last horse his Dad had in the BC Classic. She didn't win, but until Zenyatta no female was able to do it. Shows JUST how amazing Zenyatta's victory was no matter WHAT surface.

Then with the bickering and fighting going on over the estate, well THAT'S when it fell apart from what I read.

Also I talked to a friend of mine who owns a ranch down by the Double Eagle. Lots of people own multiple ranches in Colorado, Az, TX and NM. Anyway they know ALL the parties involved. Apparently Charlie Figuera was sent  to 'accompany' Chip and MTB due to him being on crutches, plus....

They also said Chip may have come to the ranch once while MTB was there, but Charlie travelled with him to Kentucky in May of this year and spent a lot of time with him. So much for the 'close connection' with Chip. When did Chip get him originally? February 09?

They also said according to one close relative of the owners, they were changing trainers PERIOD and had numerous under consideration probably any of which SOMEONE on here would not have liked.

Chip was Mark's trainer, that seems pretty clear from what his reaction was.

I guess it's just me but I don't see these comments that the owners 'owe' us an explanation or us telling them what to do with their horses. Maybe I'm stubborn but I darn sure wouldn't want someone telling me how to run my life. Especially from afar.

But then again I'm very happy with my life and don't see the need to try and run these owners stables.

13 Aug 2010 6:19 PM

Lori - I can just feel your love for MTB.  My sentiments entirely.

Something is definately wrong with MTB, the spirit is gone (for now), but I can't help thinking there is something still inside him that has yet to emerge, and I would love to see it. Does someone have to fire the owners, trainer, or jockey?  If it were up to me I would do it in a heartbeat just to see that spirit reemerge. I just hope we don't hear one day that he has been retired without a chance to see the real MTB comeback like he did in the last quarter mile in the KD.

13 Aug 2010 6:20 PM


Dublin is in Ireland isn't it?

13 Aug 2010 6:33 PM
Shelby's Best Pal

I agree with you completely.  It seemed like trainer ego to me to run him in the Whitney.  It was like throwing a non-swimmer into the deep end of a pool.  D. Wayne loves the limelight but even I know this was poor decision-making.

13 Aug 2010 6:39 PM
kelso fan

Great article and some really super responses by MTB fans.   I've said (and granted I am less than credible based on my knowledge!) but give the horse a new jockey (I love the idea of CHantal Sutherland trying him again after all their success) and give him a trainer who understands when a horse needs a confidence builder.   Remember when Baffert dropped Captain Steve into the Iowa Derby after running in Grade 1 races because "he needed to build his confidence" - he won and then went on to Dubai.  Let him get a win or a placing under his belt and see what happens.  And he had a great 2 year old year and looked super through the Triple Crown ( and for the writer who thought the field was so bad - what does that say about RA and we know that's not true).  An allowance race on a surface he likes with a jockey who will ride him a bit differently and we may see some flashes of the old MTB.

13 Aug 2010 6:42 PM
Kit J

See, just what I was talking about Mike985. FIRE the OWNERS?????

People wake up, you have NO vested interest in ANY of these horses except as a FAN, no say so and no input. Talk about overstepping your boundaries.

13 Aug 2010 6:45 PM

The allowance race on a surface he loves at Churchill didn't fill. I doubt an allowance race on a dirt surface with him in it will fill.

Give him a break, along with the owners and Wayne. He was off a long long time with only jogs and easy gallops. He was wiped out and the owners should have put their foot down after his throat surgery and not just nixing the Travers.

Though I do believe there was some disagreement even at that point.

13 Aug 2010 6:54 PM


What was wrong with Calvin saying he rode MTB like he was a good horse? That's basically saying he rode him like he thought he had a good shot at winning. That is good. A jockey going into a race with negative feelings about the horse or the race will almost certainly lose. I'm not saying you'll win if you have confidence, but TB's are very in tune to a human's emotions and if they feel your confident they become confident. Most other jockies would've probably ridden him like he was a 50-1 shot. Calvin rode him like he was a winner. Personally I don't get what is wrong or disdainful about that statement.

With RA he used to work her constently and was on her in the end of 08 and the entire 09. He knew her inside and out, I'm not surprised that he maybe felt more for a horse he knew like the back of his hand than one he just picked up for the Derby.

Remember, he also said a lot of nice things about MTB.

13 Aug 2010 8:01 PM
Paula Higgins

Lori, your post made me smile ear to ear. I love the little guy too and always root for him. I think as everyone has said, get a new jockey and if it were me, I would send him back to Chip Wooley. Make this horse a happy horse, and he will do well again.

13 Aug 2010 8:26 PM

Give the Bird credit for his derby win!  He ran well at 3 last year.  Put him back with Chip Wooley and put him in some races he can compete in for a while.  He may not be any more a failure than many; stallions are retired at 3 often before they play out!  What is Lucas doing with Dublin?  He should be running better than he is also!  Backtalk is another one that fizzled out at 3!  He was a star at 2.  It seems that some of these horses need a change in trainers!


13 Aug 2010 8:46 PM

Off topic, but Jason, I'm guessing you're happy Interactif made a return to the winner's circle. You were never off him.

13 Aug 2010 8:47 PM
Jason Shandler

Not sure what is going with Dublin. Havent heard a peep.

Tiznow: I was happy to see Interactif win. He is always right there, nice to see him finally get it done.

13 Aug 2010 8:52 PM

I think this Draynaysayer character is obsessed with Zenyatta or something. No matter what the subject matter he has to throw in a few slings at her like she's an ex girlfriend or something. Sure does spend a lot of time thinking about a horse he supposidly can't stand. Hope that MTB somehow eventually finds his way to a good retirement home like Old Friends or the Kentucky Horse Park. He deserves that. LONG LIVE THE QUEEN!

13 Aug 2010 9:00 PM
Karen in Indiana

Kit J, last year before the Breeders Cup when they had the webcam on MTB, I checked in on him almost every day. Got to know his schedule and saw who came and went. Ate lunch with him most days - I'm Eastern time & he was Pacific, so I'd eat lunch at my desk and watch him eating his. His demeanor was so different from the Derby - he would weave and paw and just looked very tense. He didn't nap much. He was also pretty scrappy if any horse got too close to his food. Charlie was the one I saw with him the most and it looked like he was o.k. with Charlie doing anything he wanted with him.

13 Aug 2010 9:06 PM

I've loved MTB since his derby - I watch it over and over again and never tire of seeing that gutsy, spectacular run.  That was heart and that was also talent.  He is a superb little guy and it has just brought me to tears to read how many people love him.  And that is an important part of his gift.  What I can't figure out is why he can't land with connections who love him as so many fans love him.  I am not a trainer and won't even try to second guess a trainer's decisions; but... MTB has been training wonderfully - what is happening in his races.  I may not be a trainer but I have worked with Thoroughbreds, as well as other breeds of horses.  They are just as individual and different as human beings.  Just as easily hurt, discouraged, disappointed and in need of encouragement.  MTB needs a win and he needs someone to notice what he needs, someone who cares.  It's a shame that every horse can't have what Zenyatta has.  I think you wrote a very insightful article, Jason, and so many posters have hit the nail on the head.  We love Mine That Bird - please get him on the right track.  I believe he still has many wins in him; someone needs to help him find himself again.

13 Aug 2010 9:10 PM

IMO, Wayne should not be blamed and neither should Calvin. Calvin rode him like he always has, dropping him way back then getting him to make another run. MTB litterally was plopped into D. Wayne's lap, and I wouldn't be surprised if the owners were the ones who told him get MTB ready for the Whitney. He had been off for months, and like a certain other horse, he had lost weight. It takes one heck of a horse to come back and win in the competition he's been thrown too and with the way he's been handled.

I agree he should not have been taken from Chip, that annoyed me. Those two had been together through so much. How fickle owners can be when they are not winning grade ones. W/o Chip getting MTB to peak and Calvin's ride, they wouldn't even have a grade one winner.

13 Aug 2010 9:30 PM

Yep get rid of all the trainers and replace them with the people on here. LLLLLLOLLLLLLLLLLLLL

13 Aug 2010 9:34 PM


I am not sure how one would keep tabs on MTB, or any horse, but I must say, that I am impressed with the knowledge on this blogsite. It would not surprise me, if someone on here could do the necessary detective work, to find a horse, or connections, or info.

I am more knowledgeable of the dog world, as I breed and show dogs, and the network, both here and in Europe is quite amazing. People can find a lot of information out about the status of a dog. Of course, if an owner chooses to be secretive, then it does become difficult.

I live far from racing, in northern Maine, but MTB could come and live out his days with me any time. I would be honored. Something about him won my heart.

13 Aug 2010 9:46 PM
Golden Gate

I agree that he should have Chip back as his trainer. Nothing against Lucas but Chip should have him back.

Also I am wondering how high humidity affects horses that have been raised in more arid climates. Maybe he needs to go west (NM) for awhile and just ship to other high humidity places now and then in cooler months.

The number of active sweat glands  in horses and humans are created while young. The number of sweat glands is consistent but how many active ones are set early on.

This is why for the first 2 years make sure your kids run around and sweat a lot. The japanese found this out when studying heat tolerance in northern and southern island children. There are some studies on horses too and there should be more.

13 Aug 2010 9:47 PM

Jason, I don't want to stir up any Zenyatta debate.  However, if you haven't read John Pricci's article on from yesterday, you should.  It pretty much sums up how I feel, and how I'm sure many others feel, about her 2010 campaign.

13 Aug 2010 9:49 PM
Golden Gate

Also I know Mine That Bird raced in Canada and was the best 2 yr old ...but look at where and when he raced and the various humidities and temperatures. It is interesting to see.

13 Aug 2010 9:55 PM

Jason, are you a little stunned to see so many people stepping out of the shadows to proclaim themselves members of the Mine That Bird fan club? You, the very same blogger who has never had a kind word to say about him, wrote a very insightful article and opened the floodgates!

I've found this blog very entertaining ... while at the same time, it restores my faith in humanity.  We don't kick our heroes when they're down, and this little Bird is obviously a hero to so many of us!  

Whether this outpouring is the result you intended or not, I thank you.  Good job!

And I'm glad you had a good, refreshing vacation, too! :-)

<i>signed, another Mine That Bird lover.</i>

13 Aug 2010 9:56 PM
Jason Shandler

2:24: I read the Pricci blog. It was 100% accurate. John is one of the most knowledgeable writers and handicappers in the sport. I value his opinion.

Sherpa: I did not expect all the compliments I got from this one. All I was trying to do was say the horse was a fluke Derby winner and this was the unexpected result. JK people :)

Also, Amy, since youre a dog breeder, please tell the uneducated people on here what I already know--that Chesapeake Bay Retrievers are the smartest, best looking dogs in the world.

13 Aug 2010 10:07 PM

ZK : I too was a little mad when Azeri was taken away from Laura.  I thought that Laura did a great job with her and for her to lose Azeri must've been heartwrenching.  My point about DWL was that he is a trainer that has won too many races to mention, he has trained champions over and over again.  For someone to question his training skills is beyond me.  Trainers do go on slump.  Baffert became famous for his training of 2 yr olds and bringing them to TC and winning in his best years.  Up until this year, he hadn't had a real TC contender in the past years but no one questions his ability to train colts.  

I don't know what kind of person DWL is, but I think any blogger or "owner" on here to spew such negative comments towards an accomplished trainer seems petty, like an angry little kid because they weren't given any attention.

Householder : Thank you for posting that information about Azeri not having to race the boys a lot and no one questioning it.  I seriously believe that people who question Zenyatta are closet zenyatta fans.  They love her to death.  In fact, when she wins the Classic, you can bet the farm that Draynay will talk about her for years acting like he never hated her :)  LOL

sherpa : good last post, I agree and was totally surprised at Jason's "kindness" towards MTB when in previous blogs, he has always associated MTB with the word fluke.

13 Aug 2010 10:35 PM

TerriV - Thank you for your insightful comments on MTB.  He has the talent, but it is temporarily buried away somewhere.  He needs to run a few lesser races and be surrounded by the right handlers.  I want to see him run at least a few more years and reemerge as a top horse.

13 Aug 2010 10:50 PM

2:24 / Jason and to this Pricci guy :  I know you three and the rest of the zen naysayers will ignore this as you have ignored it many many many times.  Several bloggers have stated this but it seems that you choose to ignore it and focused on the fact that they changed plans.

Here it goes....last year when the plan to unretire Zenyatta was put in place after the Moss' learned they will not win the HOTY, they wanted to race the horse that did win the HOTY.  That was the plan, and that meant they would have to go east to race her because JJ will cry if he had to fly out west to race Zenyatta.  The Moss' agreed to his whine that Zenyatta will have to fly out to her to race her, after all she's the HOTY.  When JJ backed out because well, Rachel wasn't Rachel anymore, Team Z was left with trying to figure out what else to do this year now that Zenyatta is fit again and ready to race.  The fact that are NO competition in the east coast worth running against, there's NO reason to stay in the east coast (and yes, they probably disregarded the east coast fans) but they have to think about the horse.  And Kay has posted several billion times, Zenyatta didn't take too well travelling back from Oaklawn.  Something that may have only started this year since she's 6 yrs old.  So they decided to take it easy on her and let her race the toughest races in her division as the path to the BC Classic this year.

Is that so hard to understand ?  It seems it is because to the three of you, Zenyatta should only race against the boys because Rachel did it last year.  And please, PLEASE don't say "oh she can race anyone here in the east coast, as long as she travels here"  because if she did travel, the race will be filled with...according to you "allowance horses" and then it would be the same lame and tiresome complaints again.

Jason: You wrote a blog once about Rachel's path to the Classic and how stupid it was and how disappointed you were, but that was it, you have not had any complaints about her.  When it comes to Zenyatta, you have all the time in the world to comment how bad she is being managed.  Why is that ?  Shouldn't Rachel be running only against the boys this year since she has set that bar last year ?  She is after all the reigning HOTY.  Shouldn't you be complaining about her instead of Zenyatta ?  YOU VOTED FOR HER, doesn't it insult you that the horse you voted for HOTY is running in ungraded stakes this year ??  

At least admit that you have that bias towards ANY HORSE when it comes to Zenyatta.  I don't think it's really her campaign, I think you get mad because there are so many fans and trainers and owners that recognizes her abilities.  You have complimented other horses winning G2 and G3 regardless of how they win the race but when it comes to Zenyatta, you have never ever complimented any of her wins.

13 Aug 2010 11:13 PM
Barbara W

Sorry to be off-topic, Jason, but I have to agree with you about dogs. We love our Chessie. He is beautiful, loyal, and knows when to pick a fight and when not to.

This blog has restored my faith in the fans. There was (is) something heartwarming about MTB that won't let go of many of us. Wishing him long, healthy life with many successful races in the future.

13 Aug 2010 11:19 PM

2:24 and Jason -

I read the Pricci blog after you called it out.  That should create fireworks.

As much as I love Zenyatta, I feel similarly, although I would never root for her to lose.

I think his last paragraph sums up my frustration.

That said, so they've campaigned her like last year.  I'm adjusting.  I think she can pull off the win in the Classic.  I just hope all the greats show up there, cause beating a less than stellar field won't shut up her most vocal detractors.

13 Aug 2010 11:36 PM
Judy G ~ California

LORI ~ I also agree with your last sentence directed at "nameless".

I wonder if he was around when the amazing John Henry was racing... in John's early years nobody had much hope. But, JH is still the richest money earner for our lovable geldings! :-)

I have faith in MTB (btw I see I made a typo in my previous post!) Sorry, Birdie!

14 Aug 2010 12:16 AM


Nothing short of defeating Man O'War, Secretariat, Citation and Ghostzapper (add any other great horse you want) all at the same time, would shut these people up. Since we can't bring them back and line them all up in the starting gate, I guess we better accept the fact that NOTHING will be enough. And you know what... when we've all turned to dust and Zenyatta is talked about in the racing history books, NOBODY will remember what the naysayers had to say or how often they said it.

14 Aug 2010 1:07 AM

There's nothing wrong with dropping into an allowance race even if you are a Derby winner. I remember when I was in high school I fell in love with Strike the Gold because his running style was so exciting. He ran in allowance races to open up both his 4 year old and five year old campaigns and he lost his 4 year old debut. Maybe MTB should be turned over to Zito since he and Strike the Gold have similiar running styles and Nick is alot more patient than Lukas. Strike the Gold only had 6 career wins but he earned over $3,000,000 because Nick ran him in allowance races (which he only won once in four starts) and minor stakes to set him up for huge efforts in grade 1 company. Lukas is a no name trainer hese days.The fact he won the trining title at Turfay's inaugural meet on polytrack show the kind of stock he has these days. Look at whathe did to Azeri. So my point is he will continue to run MTB at the top level hoping he eventually gets a grade 1 win or he'll run him into the ground like he did with so many of his 3 year olds in the mid 1990's. You can probably count on one hand how many of his Classic winners ran at 4.

14 Aug 2010 1:28 AM

Jay Jay,

After the Apple Blossom, there was some support for what you're saying.  There really wasn't anybody back east worth Zenyatta shipping for.  And as for Rachel Alexandra, after Zenyatta shipped once, she didn't owe it to Rachel or anyone back east to ship again to face her.

But that was then and this is now. And except for Quality Road, who will be freshening after three tough G1 races in New York, every other major horse is expected to be running at Belmont Park on Saturday October 2.  This will include G1-winning colt Blame. Multiple G1-winning colt Lookin At Lucky (if he doesn't go in the Woodward), G1-winning mare Life At Ten. Multiple G1-winning fillies Blind Luck and Devil May Care. Plus Rachel Alexandra and Rail Trip who could join the HOY contenders with G1 wins by then, though they'll have to prove it in Saratoga.  So even if Rachel tanks in the Personal Ensign and proves your point that she's not the same anymore, there's plenty of other competition now.

And yeah, as long as Zenyatta wins the BC Classic, she doesn't need any of them, that's true - she should be an automatic HOY choice.  And she reportedly loved training at Churchill. But there's been a ton of rain in the Southeast this year.  Races seem to be washing off the turf in Louisiana every other day.  And Zenyatta isn't built for the slop - her connections must agree, the one time she faced running on it, they took her back home.

The problem with Zenyatta running in the Zenyatta Stakes is that will mean that likely the best thing on her 2010 resume is a victory over a G2 winner, St. Trinians. Sorry, that's all she was this year - she got her head handed to her versus Macho Again-level males.  In fact, she's won one graded stake for her entire career. And nobody great is likely to ship out West this late in the year to face her on synthetics in a year when the BC is on dirt.

There are no career achievement awards in sports.  The Yankees won the World Series last year?  Great!  But lose to the Rays this year and they're also-rans. What have you done for me lately?

If Zenyatta loses the Classic or goes in the Ladies Classic because of the weather forecast or whatever reason, she'll get a handful of HOY votes if that, as the BC Classic winner takes home the big trophy in a landslide (unless there's another Arcangues lurking somewhere). But clobber some G1 winners in New York, and it might be a different story.  I still think that if she had just beat males one time in 2008, it didn't even need to be in the Classic, she would have been HOY over Curlin.

For her own sake and not for anybody else's, Zenyatta should run in one of the New York races on October 2.

14 Aug 2010 3:56 AM


Yes, Chesapeakes are marvelous.

My breed is Newfoundland, a dog from which the Chessies come from.

Getting back to horses, I also found this blog refreshing, in that while there was some bashing, for the most part, positive remarks prevailed.

I admire any racehorse on the track, but those with the "it" factor, are so special, that we must remember they are still animals, not machines.


14 Aug 2010 7:04 AM

Ummmmm, I thought this blog was MTB? Why the heck and how the heck did RA and Zen get brought into this?

14 Aug 2010 7:17 AM


Those CBR, I can't spell out the name, sorry, are b-e-a-utiful. Though, I tend to like the siberian huskey better, lol. They may not be as smart, but they are pretty.

14 Aug 2010 7:19 AM

Jayjay:  you referring to John Pricci as "this Pricci guy" is both telling and laughable.  

14 Aug 2010 8:10 AM
Gary at Rough Creek

Kit J,

Let me try to explain something to you.  Largely because of the year that Mine That Bird and Summer Bird had in 2009, the average sales price for Birdstone's yearling colts at public auction just about doubled - increasing to over $110,000.

Any of us with little Birdstone colts running around sure do have a vested interest in how his runners perform at the track!  That's not over-stepping, that's just the reality of the business.  

I'm sad that Mine That Bird isn't performing well - first and foremost - because I'm a huge fan of his.  But to the extent that MTB's current poor performance influences the market's perception of Birdstone colts, that also affects me...directly.

Summer Bird unfortunately got hurt and the decision was made to retire him.  I have no problem with that.  We were hoping for a big 2010 for MTB, and we've been treated to...well...what we are all writing about.  It's a real shame, and we hope they get him happy and figured out, for several reasons.    

14 Aug 2010 8:23 AM

Regarding MTB.  That boy is all heart.  However, Friesan Fire, I Want Revenge, and MTB were all injured last year and came back later than usual.  Couldn't it be that all 3 now remember how vulnerable they really are, and have some fear when entering a track.  Horses just don't forget.

Dogs...Smartest dog I ever owned...Shepherd/Husky cross, who at 115 pounds, believed he was a lap dog...knew how to get attention, steal a sandwich, and use tools.  Also knew which toys were his, and always knew where each was hidden...and he also knew how to exact revenge if he thought he was being ignored.    

Californian Azeri, as I recall, ran at Oaklawn x3, Saratoga, and Keeneland.  She certainly deserves to be in the HOF.  Will Zen and RA be in the Hall of Fame doubts, believe it.

14 Aug 2010 9:26 AM
Mickey Burleson

TO WHOM IT MAY CONCERN:       I did not read all of the comments and some of them were smart, some of them were stupid.......some of them don't belong in and/or on this venue......As mine probably doesn't, because some of you will read it and it will go completely over/under/around and through your head.......

Since 1950, the last half-mile of the Kentucky Derby was run the fastest by two horses.......Since 1950, the last 1/4 mile of the Kentucky Derby was run under 22 flat, only twice......These half-mile and quarter-mile times in the Kentucky Derby were run by the same two horses.......Mine That Bird and Secrtetariat.............Mine That Bird is no Secretariat but I will remind you, Mine That Bird ran his Kentucky Derby in the slop!!!......Mine That Bird is no fluke.......He has been mismanaged since he came from Canada and it will continue to be that way as long as D. Wayne Lucas is his Trainer.............Mine That Bird needs a Bobby Frankel, Charlie Whittingham or John Shirrefs......D. Wayne became famous and very good at training young fillies and absolutely one of the best.......His record there, speaks for itself, but, he has always been hard on Racehorses and he always will be......He has no business training older, REAL HARDKNOCKING RACEHORSES!!!.......

I, for one, of many, hope it's not over for Mine That Bird, because he is probably the only Horse On The Planet that can give Zenyatta a run for her money at a mile and a quarter.......And now, you have another subject......ZENYATTA.......She has never been and never will be the kind of horse who wins off by many lengths simply because that's not her running style......She runs just exactly like she wants to, winning by only as much as it takes to get there......She knows where the Finish Line is and she knows what she's out there for and she loves the competition, when there is some.......You have a prediction coming from me......There's an old saying, "Anything can happen in a Horserace".......So, having said that, I realize that I am going out on a limb, here, but I'm 68 years old, and when I was a kid and a young man, I rode in lots of match races and I've watched many Horseraces.............I predict that ZENYATTA will run the NEW AMERICAN Record to 20 Wins without losing and quite possibly to 21 Wins without losing, which would tie Ribot's International Record.......She will retire undefeated and will also win the 2010 Breeders' Cup Classic, again, if she runs in it.............Thanks for reading, Mickey Burleson, World's Champion #1 HORSERACING FAN!!!

14 Aug 2010 10:12 AM
Mike Relva


You are mostly correct here. It's amazing that RA's connections almost always get a free pass. Last yr, they could have left out the Woodward and raced her in the Breeders' against Zenyatta. I didn't hear anyone complain cause she wasn't entered. Maybe I'm missing something,but isn't the BC an important race,also? Zenyatta could race on rooftops and some on this blog  would NEVER acknowledge what a truly gifted horse she really is. JAYJAY take comfort in knowing many experts,including world class trainers' appreciate  how truly great she really is and label her as a once in a lifetime.

14 Aug 2010 10:15 AM
Mike Relva


I'll bet six months ago you never thought RA would be now into the middle of Aug. WITHOUT a Grade1 this year

14 Aug 2010 10:19 AM

jayjay - in defense of Jason, he has stated on more than one occasion that he did NOT vote for RA for HotY. He didn't vote. Steve Haskin didn't vote, either, taking a stand that a vote FOR one was a vote AGAINST the other and he couldn't  reconcile that.  There was a campaign by many turf writers to allow a split vote, but that failed.  

Having read every article I can find on the subject, I conclude that the biggest impediment to Z's racing in the East is the fact that her trainer doesn't have a stable in the east, staffed with people he can entrust with maintaining her special "routine." JS is very much a hands-on trainer. He can't leave his barn for a protracted period to stay with Z when he has other horses active in the Del Mar meet.  It's a matter of what's practical for all the connections (including Mike Smith, who works her).

We have a West-coast trainer with West-coast owners who support Cali racing with their West-coast runners.  Just ONE happens to be a spectacular mare in her final season whom everybody in the world wants to see.  We also have West-coast stallion trainers/owners who are begging Zen's trainer and owner not to run her in their most prestigious stakes for prospective Studs.

What is more important to Cali racing: a mare who can at best produce one foal per year, or a Stallion who can potentially bring million$ per year to a troubled breeding industry?  If you support Cali racing, it's a no-brainer.

There's another tidbit I recall from an article a few months ago.  Shirreffs did call Saratoga to check on stable accommodations.  HE WAS TOLD HE HAD TO APPLY ONLINE. Now, if YOU had the Superstar of the sport and were inquiring about a stall for her, how would you feel about that response? Saratoga blew it.

In conclusion: Long Live Mine That Bird!

14 Aug 2010 10:40 AM
kathleen o

jayjay, well said, but it will be ignored, as always.

Might I add that Shirreffs is her trainer, he has one barn, not several as do Pletcher or Asmussen, etc., and the Mosses will not change trainers to race in the east as Rail Trip's owners did.  It seems the argument should be that if JJ could expect Zen to travel to meet up with the HOTY, then all you east coast people need a reality check because Zen is now the leading contender for HOTY and you need to travel to her.  

BTW, IMO the east coast owners and trainers are afraid of the synthetic tracks because they're more difficult to race on.  Zen won by her biggest margins in the AB, ON DIRT

14 Aug 2010 10:56 AM

Mine That Bird, he don't get no respect and never did. What a shame. How can you call a horse that that ran 2nd & 3rd in the Preakness & Belmont and a Derby win a fluke? People were just ticked off their favorite didn't win the Derby & ruined many Triple Crown speculations.

Gee, I wonder how he came in 2nd in the Preakness to a rested Rachel Alexandra? That was cerainly not a fluke.

He was exhausted by the BCC on a  surface he did not like. I'd say he was exhausted before that too. Mishandled yes, but not a fluke. What a waste of a good horse they all have made. This really ticks me off! He ran his heart out & deserved more. I don't care if they switch him to dressage or hunter jumper. Find a trainer, jockey & a field that works. If all else fails send the boy to Old Friends where his fans can visit and express their affection for him and he will finally get some respect.

BTW Draynay you have been strangely quiet since Quality Road was beaten. You must have been too busy eating crow sandwiches. I see you are back in top form now.

14 Aug 2010 12:13 PM
Jason Shandler

A "rested Rachel Alexandra?" Yeah, that one extra day she had must have made the difference. If the facts dont support your claims, making things up is always a good way to go I guess.

14 Aug 2010 12:15 PM


While I agree coming in second in the Preakness was no fluke, tell me how one day is rested compared to the whole entire field? She ran a monster race in the Oaks, just the day before the Derby, so essentially she had the same amount of rest as MTB. Had it been another week or two, then there would be some validity, but one day, after nearly setting a stakes record? That one day is not going to make the difference. I also believe MTB only had three races coming into the Preakness, while RA had one more. MTB had the benefit of a fast pace in that race, never really going wide  until they were already in the stretch. His momentum may have been stopped slightly, as he did alter course, but with the benefit of RA being pushed through a solid pace, being gunned from the 13 hole, and being floated 5 or 6 wide on the first turn, you would think he had would've been able to run her down

I'm not saying he's a fluke, far from it IMO. It think he is a very nice horse. But out of all the things that happened in that race, the only things that leaned against him was the altering course and th 5lbs he gave to RA. Other than that everything was equal or in his advantage rather than RA's.

14 Aug 2010 12:40 PM

Jay Shandler, I didn't expect you to be such a SA to my post about RA being rested! I was referring to her not running in the Derby. Calling me a liar? I do admit to getting a little confused sometimes but not that. I really liked your article but what are you taking about here? I was responding to Draynay dissing MTB in the Preakness for losing to RA. Surely you are not turning into a pot stirrer.

14 Aug 2010 12:40 PM

Ok, is Voldemort on this blog or something? He who shall remain nameless? Really people, please, I'm sure he (Draynay) knows your talking about him. Can we please stop acting like we are in Harry Potter.

14 Aug 2010 12:46 PM

Trading Places, thanks for the explanation. I'd did not remember the Oaks. No coffee yet & I admit being confused at times. I was thinking of the training strategy to run the Derby & skip the Preakness for an advantage in the Belmont. Some trainers do skip the Derby also. The point I was trying to make was that running 2nd in the Preakness to RA is no reason to disrespect MTB.

14 Aug 2010 12:55 PM

Zookeeper -

I guess you're right.  I said in an earlier post that there will always be the hardcore "fringe" that wouldn't be convinced, but I think that when Zenyatta trounces Quality Road and Blame ON DIRT, MOST of Zenyatta's detractors will hush up.  I'm just worried that weather or something else might prevent Zen or QR and Blame from running in the Classic.  I'm saying a prayer now...

You say that when we've all turned to dust no one will remember what the fringe is saying.  And that's true!  I guess I don't want to have to wait until we've all turned to dust!  LOL!  I'd like some peace in my later years!

14 Aug 2010 2:06 PM

Sherpa wrote:

"What is more important to Cali racing:  a mare who can at best produce one foal per year, or a Stallion who can potentially bring million$ per year to a troubled breeding industry?  If you support Cali racing, it's a no-brainer."

I find this very interesting.  Are you suggesting that Cali trainers/breeders don't want Zenyatta beating Cali boys in Cali stakes races?  Or are Cali trainers/breeders saying they don't want Zenyatta in the Breeders' Cup Classic???

When I first read your comment I thought you meant the BC Classic, but surely that's not the case.

In any case, don't you think Zenyatta has done a great deal for Cali racing overall?

14 Aug 2010 2:39 PM

ruffianruns - I realized after posting my comment that I had not completed the thought with clarity: I meant to answer those who criticize Zenyatta for failing to run in the HGC, Pacific Classic or other of the biggest Cali grade-one stakes races where the winning Horse adds greatly to his resume'.  I often read quotes by trainers imploring her connections not to enter her in those races.

I doubt anyone tried to discourage her from the BCC last year nor will they this year.  

14 Aug 2010 2:53 PM
Jack Russell

Yep i wish they'd drop MTB in class.  He won't know it's an allowance race.  

I'm really posting to jump into the dog debate.  I'm a certified dog trainer, started training in 1979.  In my experience

Jack Russell terriers are the smartest breed (tho not the best looking).

Among other things, Jack Russell's will routinely figure out how to open doors and gates using the knob or latch, ring the doorbell to get in if the door's locked, and my personal favorite = they'll alert you when their automatic feeders are ALMOST empty.  They're the only dogs I've seen that understand the "almost empty" concept.  

They'll figure out these and many other handy "tricks" all on their own.  With training they'll quickly learn complex tricks/feats that most dogs struggle to grasp.  It's why they're so often used in TV and movies.

For reference, Jack Russell's weren't studied in Stanley Coren's breed intelligence survey so their absence from his widely published "smartest dogs" list is meaningless.  Chesapeakes are #27 on that list, tied with Yorkies.  

14 Aug 2010 3:30 PM
Jason Shandler

Jack Russell's are very smart. I know someone that had one. I respect your opinion and I agree that the guy's intelligence study is bogus. He has Lab's ranked ahead of Chessies on the list. Anyone that has been around the two dogs knows that Chessies are much, much smarter. Lab's are fun, friendly dogs but not very bright. And for the guy to have Yorkies, one of the dumbest (and most annoying) dogs around, tied with Chessies is absurd. Chessies are brilliant.

14 Aug 2010 4:24 PM

Speaking of dogs.  Give me the Boxer.  My type of dog,   I have one.........

14 Aug 2010 5:20 PM

I have an aussi mix. Very smart and ornery dog. We don't give him a chance to get into too much, since he doesn't live in the house, but he does know ways to get out of his kennel. In his old one, just a regular flip peice, he did the old nose trick. So we switch his kennel with our other dog, whose kennel had a more complicated latch. Well, for the longest time, we would not completely latch the gate when we were outside, but would leave the kennel door behind the latch with the latch down, so he couldn't push the door open. Well, one day he gets up on his hind paws, hooks both front paws through the little daimond shaped openings on the kennel door, and backs right up, opening the door with him. Maybe I've just been around some average dogs in the past, but I had never seen a dog go to that length to open a kennel door.

14 Aug 2010 5:20 PM

No one has paid any attention!! MTB had THROAT SURGERY!! He's obviously not the same horse!

14 Aug 2010 5:25 PM

Didn't MTB end his fall 09 campaign with surgery and (trying to remember) maybe another ailment? Maybe another race is what he needs. Why not the Woodward. If he's fit. I'd argue he can still run G1/2s. He finished 1-2-3 in the Triple Crown--an amazing acomplishment.

14 Aug 2010 5:44 PM

MTB has had a very hard time since  the TC races.  Both his training and his selection of faces and jockey seem to be off.  I think he needed more time off after TC and throat surgery. When will his owners learn? Does MTB have to write him a note?

14 Aug 2010 5:48 PM

It's unbelievable that MTB's owners would showcase him in a post parade in New Mexico while he's getting focused for a Fall campain !! He's not a pet he's a Ky. Derby winner! Lucas's management of MTB is all about his ego!!

14 Aug 2010 6:16 PM
Mike Relva


I agree! It should be about the horse,but like someone said on this blog,Lucas has always trained horses' hard. He needs to check his ego and DO WHAT'S BEST FOR MTB,so far he's not! He should be in Zito's barn.

14 Aug 2010 6:30 PM

Speaking of dogs...

Belgian Malinois. The funniest dog there is. They act before they think, they can work all day and they bite like alligators! (Well, maybe not everybody appreciate the biting part, but training protection is my game!)

14 Aug 2010 6:54 PM

On Rachel - yes, she only had one more days rest, but she was never supposed to run in a race Preakness weekend. They were going to wait for the Acorn, hence her training her to be bumped up again when she was entered into the Preakness. Generally campaigns are mapped out months ahead of time, doing this kind of switch usually doesn't work.

Dogs - we have a Belgian malinois mix, they're tough dogs, he was very high energy as a puppy and started to eat the house before we upped his exercise to 3 hours at the dog park every day. The pure ones are apparently even tougher. Now he has a shoulder injury so he's much quieter.

Our other dog is a Black Russian terrier. They're incredible, wonderful, thinking, sweet dogs - as long as you don't threaten their owners. Ours is a 140 lb male, very agile, goofy boy. Dog aggression is the major potential issue with them, a lot because they play rough and other dogs tend to be afraid of their size. They also tend to be "cop" dogs and tell other dogs they shouldn't misbehave.

We've also had giant schnauzers but that breed has almost been totally ruined in the US. Best dog I ever had - half shepherd, half Scottish deerhound. Protective, sweet, gorgeous (looked like a black wolf), and funny.

14 Aug 2010 8:21 PM

Just asking, who said it was Wayne that decided to make the Whitney MTB's goal? I see all this blame shoved on the trainer and the jockey, and why? Do people think Wayne stole MTB? Well, if that's the case, you're wrong. The owners decided to move him to Wayne's barn, they chose to have MTB taken suddenly from Chip, it wasn't like Wayne conspired with them behind Chips back in an attempt to destroy him.

Remember, these are the same owners who decided to deal around with other owners and trainers, to enter some extra horses in the Preakness, so it would fill, and RA couldn't be entered. They chose to run him back on a surface they knew he hated at the end of the year, even after he finished a dull sixth over that surface that same year. Something tells me it was not Chip's idea to do all of that.

Who's to say they weren't doing the same thing in this instance? IMO they have proved to not really care about the horses welfare, they've proven they don't mind playing dirty, and yet they somehow escape any blame here. I don't get it.

14 Aug 2010 8:33 PM
Kit J

We have two Border Collies, the #1 most intelligent dog on the lists.

We have an Australian cattle dog, #10.

We have a small mixed breed dog, very very intelligent but stubborn. She's so smart she has us at her beck and call. Funny about her she knows what words mean!

14 Aug 2010 8:37 PM

sherpa - Thanks for the clarification.  I was hoping you meant big Cali races.  I can't imagine that these quotes by trainers begging off a Zenyatta challenge will help their boys at stud either!  I think it's funny.  But I guess most people won't remember that, they'll just remember the win.

Jason - I used to have a Labrador RECLINER and I thought she was pretty smart.  She liked Reclining, instead of retrieving.  I take it that you have a Chessie?  What's s/he like, besides brilliant?  I've always thought their fuzzy, wrinkly coats were really pretty, but I don't know much about them otherwise.  Now, I have two twin sister cats from a stray that had her babies in my aunt's basement.  They're a handful!  One is big, dumb, goofy, and sweet and the smaller one is so smart she scares me.

Neat hearing about the different dogs.

14 Aug 2010 9:17 PM
Kat San

Trading Places, agree with most of your post. However Mark Allen was self admittedly the mastermind behind that. Who is his best buddy? Chip.

Who stepped in and talked to him and told him not to enter the other horse, which belonged to Mark alone? Dr Blach the other owner and also Mark's Dad.

Who flew back to Saratoga and made the decision that the horse would NOT run in the Travers after his surgery? The owners, Dr Blach the DVM made the decision.

Who wanted Wayne Lukas as the trainer after a decision was made to give the horse to someone else several months ago and different trainers were considered? Dr Blach who knows Wayne very well. Hard on his horses? Maybe when he was up and coming and trying to silence all the naysayers, now he just doesn't give a t*rd.

Who is one of the most respected members of the racing community for over 40 years in New Mexico? Dr Blach.

They planned fewer races for MTB, they had him off for 7 months and were hoping he'd come back to form and aimed him at races they felt he belongs in with being a top 3 finisher in all three Triple Crown races, being fitter and gaining back some of the weight he lost, plus filling out as most 4 year olds do.

Just like Rachel and most of the other horses that stay in training past age 3. We see it so rarely in the 'big time' that it's hard for some people to accept it.

14 Aug 2010 9:30 PM

Holy Cr*p!!  Did you see Sidney's Candy win the La Jolla?!  THAT was un-be-lievable!!  

14 Aug 2010 9:34 PM
Jason Shandler

Ruffian: Chessies are more laid back than Labs, not as hyper. Not as outgoing with strangers and other dogs. More reserved, but love to have fun with their owners. They are the best swimming dogs in the world. Mine is not truly happy unless she is in water. Lives for it. Not overly-affectionate dogs, more independent. They make the most remarkable eye contact with humans. She can read my emotions just by my facial expressions. She understands over a hundred words. Just very intelligent. Easy to train.

14 Aug 2010 9:38 PM

If we're talking dogs, I currently have a retired racing Greyhound (she ran in Florida and Oregon)and she is the dumbest dog I've ever owned.  Very sweet.  But dumb as a rock.

I've had many Salukis over the years.  Wonderful breed but very independent and they can be a little spaztic.

I have had and currently have a Cardigan Welsh Corgi.  Extremely intelligent, wonderful dogs.

And my best dog of all time: Doxie/Am Staff Terrier mix.  I just lost him at age 14 and we'll never ever forget him :-)

14 Aug 2010 9:41 PM
Jason Shandler

I would love to get a Bernese Mountain Dog or German Short-Haired Pointer next.

14 Aug 2010 9:43 PM

sherpa : I'm quite sure that Jason has said in the past that he did vote for Rachel, maybe he can clear it up.  I do believe that Shaskin didn't vote because he wanted to both to be co-winners as he has stated in one of his blogs.  He admitted that both should've won the HOTY awards last year.

2:24 : Telling in what sense ?  That I don't know anything about him ?  The only "telling" about this guy is that you agree with him, as well as Jason does (but it was pretty obvious with Jason).  You on the other hand, claim to like Zenyatta and root for her yet you agree with this Pricci guy who is "deliciously" wishing for her to lose the Zenyatta stakes.  Yeah, I agree with you, it's telling.  I've seen a lot of Zenyatta "fans" like you blog on here.

14 Aug 2010 9:51 PM

Jason, I just read the article that was referred to by John Pricci and he is so right:

To quote:  "I cannot forget how excited I was to hear that Zenyatta would race again at 6; a clear challenge against all odds. She would be shared with all of racing’s fans and the rest of America, too, not just those in her own backyard. Finally, a win for racing. Instead, we got 2009 all over again.

"  As a sports fan and lover of this greatest game played outdoors, I can no longer root for Zenyatta’s human connections and, by extension, their mare to win #19. They had a chance to perhaps make a small difference but instead placed greater emphasis on their own local celebrity and “the streak.”"  

Z could have made a remarkable statement of racing greatness if she had been allowed to campaign in a manner such as, say, Cigar, who raced on the West Coast, Chicago, East Coast, and Dubai.  As it is now, her ardent fans must defend her handlers in writing and on the blogs,and make excuses for her regional campaign because she has not been given an opportunity to state her own unique greatness on the track.  Noone feels the need to have a blog to defend Secretariat or Cigar-- the horses were given campaigns that spoke for themselves.

P.S., dude your next dog should be a Basset!

14 Aug 2010 9:57 PM

Berners are GREAT dogs!!  But they have a dreadfully short lifespan: 7-10 years usually.  Prone to a number of major health issues unfortunately.  

14 Aug 2010 9:58 PM

While dogs are added to this Mine That Bird blog, let me tell you I have one of the biggest, baddest, boldest Dobes there is.  My doberman, Rommel is a winner!

14 Aug 2010 10:20 PM

I hope that MTB can find himself again soon..... I have no doubt that he's still in there somewhere. The race might also have had something to do with the fact that... correct me if I am wrong ,  but was that not his first start back this year? If so, he should be given a little bit of a break.... give him another race and he should be good to go.

On a question, does anyone happen to know what became of the following horses who haven't had VS workouts for sometime

> Dagnabit

> Blackberry Road

> Precious Passion

> Gone Astray

> Game Face

> Russell Road

> Everyday Heroes, and

> Misremembered?

Thanks all!

On the subjects of dogs, I have a Border Collie who is now 10 and one that is 8 and they are the smartest things I have ever had (including smarter than me, which I am not upset by considering I trained them both from scratch)..... I am hooked on the Borders for life now!

14 Aug 2010 10:42 PM
Gary at Rough Creek

Kat San,

Getting away from "my favorite dog" stories and back to you think that MTB is "fitter" now then when he was running last year?  On what do you base that opinion?

Many horses these days are run with too much weight on them.  Look at photos of great race horses from the past, and you will immediately see what I mean.  MTB has too much weight on him.

Don't get me wrong...everyone plus Chip said he had given his all by the end of last year's campaign, and he needed a good rest and to get built back up.  I think they went a little too far in the other direction!  It's not only losses that come while racing with too much's injuries too.  I fear for the horse.

At this point in the career of this horse and his new trainer, I really think another change of trainers is in order.  

14 Aug 2010 10:46 PM

Jayjay:  telling in a sense that someone like you, who writes with the fervor of one who purports to love this sport, does not know who John Pricci is.  He has been around for quite awhile and is a fairly well known name amongst horse racing writers.

I am a fan of Zenyatta.  I think she is fantastic.  I am also a fan of horse racing and have been since I repeatedly listened to a record about Secretariat as a kid and since I went to Belmont with my family to see Seattle Slew win the Triple Crown when I was four.  As a fan of the game, I am expressing my disappointment in Zenyatta's campaign this year.  Many others, far more esteemed and important than me, have expressed similar disappointment.  I have never disparaged the horse, nor have I ever rooted against her.  I don't think expressing my disappointment makes me any less of a fan of Zenyatta.  I can understand why people, including Mr. Pricci, are having a harder time rooting for her because they feel cheated by her connections.  I previously wrote that it would be much easier to root for a horse like Blame because of his connections.

Sorry if something I said offended you.

14 Aug 2010 10:47 PM

Runfast159 :  Haven't you seen his blogs ?  You should've had an idea what you were getting in to when you took on that Drayhound.  I do agree with everything you said about this Drayhound and I'll take your word for it that he is sweet, but maybe only when he's not blogging. :)

LOW : I never said that Zen will be in contention for the HOTY, that's actually impossible.  Only horses east of mississippi are eligible for that "award."

14 Aug 2010 10:49 PM

Runfast 159-Sidney's Candy rocked the La Jolla!  Looked absolutely at home on the turf.

14 Aug 2010 10:53 PM
Mike Relva


If you don;t wanna cheer for Zenyatta,don't. I've been on the bandwagon for 3yrs,so if you wanna blame the horse,who hasn't done anything but stayed in winning form for her entire career and the connections for doing what's right,who cares!As for Mr. Pricci,let's see what he has to say if Zenyatta wins the BC. lol Can you say spin control?

14 Aug 2010 10:55 PM

Thanks Jason for the report on your dog.  She sounds wonderful.  Interesting about the eye contact.  It sounds like you've had her since she was a baby or for a very long time.  Doesn't their coat repel water kinda like a ducks feathers?  I thought I'd heard that.

14 Aug 2010 10:58 PM

This dog talk is getting to me.

Exactly 1 year ago, I had to send me 18yo Aussie mix across the bridge. She was a dog-pound dog and the smartest, sweetest companion ever.  After she developed diabetes at 13, my life revolved around her twice-daily insulin injections.  

God, I miss that dog, my best friend.

14 Aug 2010 11:04 PM

Hey, since there are plenty of us MTB fans that only want the best for him, lets pool our money and buy him. Then we can get together and decide where to run him, who to ride him, and who to train him. When it is time to retire him where to keep him. This could be fun. It takes forever to get to the end of this blog and most are MTB fans so lets just go for it and do it. We could call it the Blog Stable and none of us want him on anything but dirt. We could put J. Rose on him. Have Chip train him and if we all get on his nerves he will just load him on the trailer and drive him anywhere that is as far away from all of us as he can. I really think something like this would do some of us some good to fully understand to problems the owners, and other connections face on a daily basis. My best to the Bird and may his year improve.

14 Aug 2010 11:18 PM

Jason, I've got to disagree with you on the intelligence of Labs.  There's a reason why the #1 breed used by guide dog schools is the Labrador Retriever.  Most of the guide dog puppies I've raised have been quite intelligent - the second smartest one (so far) was Cleone, from whom I take my blog name.  She has been a working guide since 2004.  LOL!  (Yeah, I'm feeling a little wistful, as my most recent puppy went back for training yesterday, and since I'm taking a break, I didn't get a new pup.)  

As far as MTB goes - I adore the little guy.  He's all heart, and I love that in a race horse.  I hope he gets his mojo back soon, and I do agree that maybe the way to accomplish that is to drop him down in class a step or two and let him get his confidence back.  

14 Aug 2010 11:22 PM
Barbara W

Since the MTB blog has literally gone to the dogs, I have to confess that I have probably the world's only Chessie who refuses to go into the water. Well, he's not pure Chessie, but he definitely has some retriever as well. So that's a double dose of water-loving. He marches to his own drummer.

We just rescued 3 female border collie/shelties that I'm trying to find homes for. Any takers? they have had their well-puppy exams.  (Draynay not considered as a possible candidate. I do have my standards).

Back to MTB--does anyone know what the plans are for him next? I'm almost afraid to ask.

14 Aug 2010 11:27 PM
Bob Bright

MTB is surrounded by a cadre of professional dolts. Owners, trainer and jockey,

14 Aug 2010 11:29 PM
Karen in Indiana

Runfast159, I had a Saluki, too. she would get so excited when I came home that she'd bounce up and down in the air. She'd jump so high, her feet would be over the fence. It never once occurred to her that if she jumped forward a little, she could clear the fence. Sweet as could be though. My current dog is half Lab, half pit bull. She has the best characters of both breeds, wouldn't trade her for anything.

14 Aug 2010 11:40 PM
Ted from LA

I have a lab/St. Bernard mix.  He is the smartest dog I have ever seen.  He not only licks his own genitals, but can also find his own dog dish most days.

Zenyatta will win her next race and the Breeders' Cup Classic.  She is the next best thing to a Triple Crown winner for our sport... and we need it... desperately.

15 Aug 2010 12:06 AM

With the way SC shot out of the starting gate and flew up the stretch,  You would have sworn someone shot him out of a damn cannon.    Congrats to SC,  "You have found the ground your hooves belong on".....

15 Aug 2010 12:08 AM

Karen - your first comment on the thread says it all.

I am still, and always will be a huge MTB fan.  I just love the horse.

That said, reality is reality, and I agree with this article - the horse really needs to be in the right company for where he is right now.  He had a very good 2 year old campaign, a good TC campaign so he is more than capable of improving his form over the period of any race season.

And I agree that they really, really need to change his style in the race. As a 4 year old (or older) he cannot afford to stay that far back at any point in the race.  His competition has improved also.

15 Aug 2010 12:17 AM
Ted from LA


I am going to go to step out of character for a brief moment, and tell you I am sorry for your loss.  The last dog we had was a "practice for parenting dog."  We figured if we could keep her alive, we could have kids.  We succeeded at both, but what a sad day it was to put her down after 14 years of raising kids together. ...  Since you've committed to carrying my sh*t around Churchill Downs on May 7th, I just wanted you to know I can relate.

15 Aug 2010 12:17 AM

I love Mine That Bird!  He is a terrific little horse, and I hate to see him attacked, just as I hate to see Zen or RA attacked.  A fluke, not in my opinion.  There is no such thing as a Kentucky Derby Winner being a fluke.  He won the most important race!  MTB isn't the trainer nor the jockey.  Must every blog here turn into an attack on one wonderful horse or another wonderful horse?  I'd love to see MTB race and win, whatever the race, and then continue racing. He deserves better than more or less being called a has been after a triple crown season.

15 Aug 2010 12:19 AM
Golden Gate

I havew a racing question?

Why are there only weiner dog races at tracks for attraction. I know they are funny to watch run but there are some others that would be quite a sight.

1) Bassett hound races

2) Chihuahua races

3) Chinese crested races

15 Aug 2010 12:58 AM

Zookeeper, thanks for the info on Azeri.  I hope she can get back to the U.S. someday.

Amy, it was great just to know how you feel about MTB.

Let's all keep following his life and continue to speak up.

Thanks Jason.

15 Aug 2010 2:28 AM

I have 4 mini pins, a coonhound, a //doberman pinscher, a beagle hound, 2 horses, too many wild deer, possums, rabbits and a partridge in a pear tree. Who cares?

Doesn't anybody have anything interesting to say about horses?

I'll throw one out there: Completely excluding RA & Zenyatta from the BCC race, what horse would  win or who would be the top three?

Or: As Kat San mentioned we seldom see older horses still in training and really are not familiar with how things can go. If you read about the great hores of the past who had long racing careers compared today, they had ups and downs, sometimes in the same year. Some have entire bad years but came back to race and finished up in a respectful way. Some like Citation who was out for an entire year at age 4 with an osslet and came back at 5 and had some wins though not like his remarkable 2 & 3 yr old seasons. He is just one example of many such horses. And before anyone gets carried away, I am not saying MTB is of the same quality of Citation. He is just the horse that comes to mind. Anybody have any comments on this topic?

I read that Better Than Honour had a filly in May by Street Cry and was in foal again by him. Is this true & anybody know anything about how the foal is doing?

15 Aug 2010 3:20 AM

I love MTB. I hope the owners do what is best for him. He is a working class hero!

15 Aug 2010 7:39 AM
Barbara W

Love your idea, Chris! Let's pool our money and buy MTB ourselves!

15 Aug 2010 8:29 AM

Just retire Mind That Bird and let him live the life of Riley at the Kentucky Horse Park. Where his fans can visit him. He will be in good company with Funny Cide and Cigar.

15 Aug 2010 8:54 AM

he might of actually had some type of chance in the classic last year but he was 8 lengths even further behind Zenyatta wat was up with that?!?! He made up about 20 lengths in the classic in the stretch he mightve been able to beat Zen had he been 8 lengths in front of her instead of behind her but he does need a confidence booster and someone needs to beat Calvin and tell him how to ride MTB and Rachel-had he not had Rachel 5 wide in all her starts this year she probably wouldve had ALOT more left in the tank then she did-anyone agree?

15 Aug 2010 9:33 AM
k sweatman

I've been saying for sometime now that Mine that bird has been poorly managed. He was amazing in the derby, how anyone can consider that beautifully orchestrated run a fluke is beyond me. The gelding went on to place in both of the final 2 legs of the triple crown. He was so close in the Preakness. By the time he ran in the Virginia derby, he was tired. He didn't like the pro-ride and Borel made that clear to Woolley, none the less, Bird had to run his final 2 races of 2009 on a surface he wasn't comfortable on. Someone didn't listen, and it costed Mine that Bird 2 more losses. From November until May of this year the gelding was inactive and had put on about 200 pounds. Then his life was turned upside down when he was shipped off to a new home with strange people. His first race in 8 monthes is on turf, of all things. Then, the grand finale, a run in the Whitney against the top rated horses in the country. It was Mine that Birds' first run on dirt in a year. It's an understatement to say this horse has had rotten management. Obviously, the decisions being made are not for the good of the horse. I'm a big fan of Mine that Bird, and I will continue to defend him. The younger generation doesn't seem to grasp the importance of the Kentucky Derby, and it's rich history. This "fluke" issue is very disturbing to me. You can't discredit the derby without disrespecting the  sport in its' entirety. Only 136 horses have won the roses, they all won fairly, and earned their place in history. There is no such thing as a  Kentucky Derby fluke, the idea of such is utter nonsense. Mine that Bird will forever be remembered as a derby winner, no one will ever be able to take that away from him, even if he never wins another race. May 2nd 2009 was his day to shine, and the 135th run for the roses will always belong to Mine that Bird.

15 Aug 2010 9:38 AM

I agree with you wholeheartedly JayJay-I used to cheer for Z until the Rachel-Zenyatta thing came up-its the same year after year with Zenyatta-she doesnt have much of a fight agaisnt Rachel-Borel said Rachel had nothing left in the tank by the time of the stretch in her first 2 starts this year-yet she still tried her heart and soul to win-whereas Zenyatta in her last 2 starts has had a full tank coming into the stretch-and has won by a neck or a head-her last start she got in a battle with a nobody thats half the size of her and still barely won by a head when she was battling from the top of the stretch

15 Aug 2010 9:44 AM
The Tamed Beast

MTB for sure needs to drop in class they went "off the deep end" and drowned it is sad that the owners took this horse away from Chip!

On Z If she came to New York just what type of Mares would participate??? The AB group? yes they are a stellar bunch of mares  Why should she travel to face even weaker mares than she is currently running with?If you think for a moment that any of the top mares would go there if she came well all I can say is the cool aide is better than I thought !

Same type of thing go's on iin dog shows If a Top dog is entered in any given show many of the upper teir dogs travel elsewhere to avaiod him until the big hurrah at the end of the year !  As far a Chessies they are a cool dog But Aussies rule the day :-)

15 Aug 2010 9:45 AM

On current form- 35000 N1Y

15 Aug 2010 10:14 AM

Makfi comes back from illness to dominate Goldikova and Paco Boy.  I'm glad Marek-Head is having a great year.  Always loved her as a trainer.  Sister and brother 1 and 2 as trainers of Makfi and Goldikova.  Paco Boy proved he belonged finishing just behind Goldikova.

15 Aug 2010 10:16 AM

sorry- Marek-Head doesn't train Makfi- my mistake.  The ground was a little soft for Goldikova probably, but no taking anything away from the winner who was also an impressive winner of the 2000 .

15 Aug 2010 10:27 AM

Sometimes a horse needs to see an old familiar face to perk up. Maybe the scenery in Kentucky reminded him of Woodbine in some fashion. I would like to see a feel good story by reuniting him with Chantal Sutherland and see if he perks. Hey it couldn't hurt, he hasn't been in the money with anyone else lately.

15 Aug 2010 10:44 AM
Dr Drunkinbum

You can't really blame Calvin for the way he rode Mine That Bird in The Belmont since he had a wedgie. And that has been confirmed. That is also the race where Mine That Bird lost faith in Calvin. Sometimes a horse and jockey are no longer the right fit and a change is in order. How about Rosario??  I still hope that Mine That Bird can make it into the starting gate for The Classic at CD at 50-1. My dog had a terrible nightmare last night. I asked him what was wrong when he woke up from it, and he said something about seeing Ted from LA licking his own genitals. I told him to shut up that I didn't want to hear anymore of the sordid details. He went back to sleep with no further nightmares the rest of the night.

15 Aug 2010 10:51 AM

Everyone who says MTB "had his day" makes me chuckle...I'm sure they are all fans of John they never would have been his fans in real many did he lose in a row? 9...10? plus he never scored big at all in his 2 & 3 year-old year...

Now I'm NOT saying in any way, shape or form that MTB is a John Henry...just that I'm willing for him, especially as a gelding, to race a little furthur in his career before I call a 16-5-2-2, 2 1/4 million dollar Derby winner, 2 year-old champion a "fluke"...

15 Aug 2010 11:35 AM

What's so nice about all these comments is that so many people actually care for this horse.  Maybe the powers that be will read all that has been written.  

15 Aug 2010 11:38 AM
Ted from LA

Your dog is a liar.  I am not that flexible.

Jason, your next article needs to be on the Arlington Million and the Beverly D.  Who's going?  Cubs and The Million... it doesn't get any better than that.

15 Aug 2010 11:39 AM
casual racing fan

I love watching horses race. It really gets the blood pumping! However, I have never wagered a dime on it. I love watching it just for the excitement. However, I have noticed how some people have managed to throw RA's name in a conversation no matter what the discussion is about. What is that all about? I don't get it. How can someone be a racing fan and hate a horse so much? Just my observation.

15 Aug 2010 12:03 PM

Hi Jason - Welcome back and thank you for the thoughtful article about Mine That Bird and how he has been handled since going to DWL barn.  I don't think any of his connections (the entire entourage) have the interest in doing what is best for him!  He needs new owners who really care about him, to go back to Woolley or another exemplary trainer who thinks of the horse and his needs first, and a new jockey that he can bond with.  He needs his confidence built up and the schedule he is on is just not doing it.  Also, I still think he has an issue in his throat since the epiglottis operation and no one is really checking him out carefully.  If he can't breathe right, he can't run at his best.

He might not be a Secretariat or Cigar, but he is a fine horse. Size does not matter here - need I mention Seabisuit and War Admiral (who was actually an inch smaller than Seabiscuit), or Jazil!

Many of us love him and want to see him be successful again!

15 Aug 2010 12:06 PM

This horse is simply not what people think he is. Just because a horse wins the derby doesn't mean they're great. Remember, Gato Del Sol, Giacomo, Sunny's Halo, Sea Hero, Li'l E Tee, etc...Sometimes horses are like people---they just get lucky.  It's time to retire him--he'll never be able to compete at that level again.

15 Aug 2010 12:08 PM

Thank you to those that commented on my earlier post :) I've loved alot of horses along the way and keep tabs on a few of the current ones racing but there is something about MTB that I feel totally connected to in my heart and soul. I always tend to root for the underdogs because there have been times in my life I felt like one too. I agree with whoever said we should pool our money and buy MTB. Yeah, I know it's a fantasy but can you imagine that? At the very least we should form a posse and go out to New Mexico and picket in front of Mark Allen and Dr. Blach's place until they hear us out and start doing the right thing for MTB. Seriously. Also, I would love to see a MTB fan website created. He's got a couple of Facebook pages but it's not really active as no one posts there on a regular basis. We fans need a forum where we can regularly chat and keep up with his current events. No naysayers allowed there, just his true fans.

I want to personally thank each of you that love MTB and have genuine concern for him. Outside of Z and RA's fans (which I am a fan of both), I have never seen such outpouring of love and dedication like MTB fans. The ones who will stick by him through thick and thin. If MTB only knew and could understand how much he was truly loved.

Also, thanks Jason for writing this article on MTB. You finally gave his fans a forum to express what we're all feeling for him. I'm sure that wasn't what you had intended but thanks anyway :)

15 Aug 2010 12:10 PM

Turn him out, let him rest.  He's

entitled.  Keep him sound and happy, he's got alot of races ahead of him if he's allowed to refresh and re-energize.

15 Aug 2010 12:19 PM
Dr Drunkinbum

k sweatman

   Fantastic post. You're right-"disturbing and utter nonsense is correct." He destroyed the field in The Derby, then came close in the next two Triple Crown races. Your analysis of his career since then is correct.

15 Aug 2010 12:50 PM
Ted from LA

Going to the races and not betting is like going to a 5 star restaurant and not eating.  You might still have fun, but I prefer to eat.

15 Aug 2010 1:15 PM
Bob Bright

Speaking of dolts and dogs. The first dolt who needs to go in the MTB camp is the jockey. Dogs-

Many times top Iditarod sled dog racers will start the Iditarod with their dogs being a little heavy. 3 to 5 pounds which is significant on a 50b dog. Why, there are several reasons but the extra weight slows the team down at the start of the race. The first third of the race is very rough and real fast is dangerous. When the weight drops to ideal, its'time to go racing.

A human world class distance runner with an ideal weight of 130lbs who gains 10lbs in any form is no longer world class.

MTB's HOF trainer mentioned the horse had gained weight in his care. He looked heavy in the Whitney. Maybe the HOF trainer should inquire what the horse weighed on Derby day. MTB is a smallish, light framed horse and doesn't need need to be carrying any unneeded luggage.

MTB's downward slide started when the owners ducked the Travers for a parade in New Mexico. If the parade had been at 12000 ft instead of 5000 ft it may have helped.

A dolt is a dolt except when they have the enhanced ego option and then they do really stupid things.

15 Aug 2010 1:15 PM

I think MTB and Zenyatta should race to find out who really is the slowest horse in training.  85 Beyer vs. 85 Beyer.  It can be billed as "Who is the fastest of the slowest?"

15 Aug 2010 1:33 PM

Goldikova better bring her running shoes in the BC Mile, because Sidney's Candy will take some catching.

How scary are the Sadler three year-olds?  He also has star half-brother Twirling Candy and both colts have sharp wins on dirt and turf.

15 Aug 2010 1:34 PM

If the Bird drops in class and still doesn't fire, his owners should retire him from racing.  They've made a slew of money off of him already, so why take any more chances?

But, if he's still structurally sound and physically fit, perhaps they should consider an alternate career.  Polo, jumping, or something.  Sound ex-racers are excellent sport horses.  With the abundance of TBs (especially geldings) meeting their demise via slaughter, the retraining and rehoming of ex-racers can't be promoted enough.  The Bird could be the poster-child for this.

15 Aug 2010 1:42 PM
kathleen o

As this was turned into a pet thread, I have a border collie, 3 Barbados sheep (to keep the border collie busy and to prevent him from herding the), 4 Arabian horses.  Add two cats and you can understand why I work two jobs.

15 Aug 2010 1:43 PM

If you didn't know the meaning of "running an opponent into the ground", watching the La Jolla yesterday should have erased any questions on that topic. That's what Sydney's Candy did to poor Macias who had to be vanned off because he was THAT exhausted!!! Macias is no slouch but SC taught him a thing or two about setting a suicidal pace along a speed horse who can carry his speed beyond a mile.

Although I admired SC's beauty and talent, I was never a big fan of his...Well! let me tell you, I have been converted. I tend to like stalkers and closers better than front-runners but watching SC do what he did at DM was simply astonishing!

After the debacle at the Derby and his narrow loss at HP to Skipshot coupled with the fact that he was unproven on the turf, I certainly didn't expect this kind of performance in the La Jolla. Can he repeat it? It will be fun to watch and see.

15 Aug 2010 1:46 PM

I am of the opinion that Mark Allen & Dr. Blach see themselves as horsemen & because of that probably interfered with Chip's managing MTB's career. I know they are both horsemen. I am a horsewoman, too. But, that does NOT mean I know how to train a racehorse. I'm thinking M. Allen & Dr. Blach think they know more than they actually do about training a horse for racing, at its best. They probably left Chip alone to do his thing until MTB won the Kentucky Derby. Then, it probably became a scenerio similar to having 3 mayors all trying to run a town all at the same time. I met Chip & MTB last summer @ Saratoga. My son & I spent 3 hrs. with them. Chip & MTB had an amazing relationship. It was clear that MTB was happy & relaxed. He completely trusted Chip & MTB had Chip's undivided attention at all time. I have only seen MTB on TVG this year. He seems almost depressed. He does not have the same demeanor at all. He's probably not getting the same attention he had gotten used to in DW Lukas's barn. He very possibly does not like his new surroundings. Doesn't J. Sherrifs work 24/7 to insure that Zenyatta is completely happy & content? A happy horse will give his all. A depressed horse will go thru the humans do when they are depressed.

I would love to see Martin Garcia on MTB. From what I have seen (on TVG) & read about him, he is a very smart & great rider. He is also humble & gives his all with every ride he has. I don't know much about picking jockeys but Martin just strikes me as a good fit for MTB.

MTB is an awesome horse. His Kentucky Derby win was the most thrilling race I have ever seen. I am in awe every time I watch it. It was nothing short of spectacular. Then, he followed that up with a fabulous Preakness & almost got past RA.He followed that with a 3rd in the Belmont. Each & every year, we hear about how grueling the TC is on the horses. How many other 3 yr. olds ran in all 3 TC races last year or this year?? He is the only one AND placed 1st, 2nd or 3rd in all of them. I think those who call him a fluke need to pull out a dictionary & look up the word since they obviously don't have the correct meaning. The word fluke does not belong in the same sentence as MTB's name.

Jason, you mentioned German Shorthaired Pointer dogs. Well, I am here to tell you they are just about the coolest dog ever. I have owned 7 of them over the past 25 yrs. Once I had my 1st German Shorthaired Pointer, I was sold for life. They have the greatest personality! I can't tell you how often people meet any of my dogs & want to buy them from me. LOL!! Most people  don't know what breed they are, but fall in love with the breed when they meet any of them. It is a good thing that they are relatively rare in the US. That pretty much insures that they are not overbred & are very healthy. I have told many people over the years, that German Shorthaired Pointers are the best dog to have around children, hands down.

I'll tell you one story about one of my dogs. She, Dutchess, came to us as an 7 month old puppy. She had belonged to a manager of a hunting lodge near us who got fired. He had nowhere to bring her as he also lost his home when he lost his job. So, Dutchess came to our house. Well, lo & behold, she was pregnant. Since it was winter (in NY), we set up a cozy place in the house for her to have her puppies. We were very nervous since my son Morgan was a very curious & active 2 yr. old. A very young dog having puppies & a 2 yr. old is not a good mix & has the potential to be disasterous. Dutchess had her 3 puppies & I grew eyes in the back of my head to make sure Morgan didn't interfere with her & her pups. When the pups were 4 or 5 days old, I turned my back for a second & when I turned around, Morgan was in the box with Dutchess & the pups. He had one pup in his hands. I almost died of a heart attack. But...Dutchess never growled or snarled. She stayed perfectly calm. She gave me a look like, "Can you help me here??" What a fantastic dog! They are all smart & very athletic. They do need a lot of exercise every day. They truly are my absolute favorite breed. If you have any questions about the breed don't hesitate to ask.

I'm sorry that I went on & on about my German Shorthaired Pointers. But, I had to tell you how great they are.


15 Aug 2010 1:47 PM

Ted from LA:   You are a hoot!!! lol...

15 Aug 2010 1:51 PM
Nona Yaron

He's burnt out.  He needs another job.  He wants to be a barrel horse.  I'll buy him and make him one, with my connections, and will sign a contract stipulating that he is never to run as a racehorse again.

15 Aug 2010 1:55 PM
Danny from UK

Sir Percy - won the Epsom Derby and never won another race

Imperial Commander - won the Cheltenham Gold cup and hasn't won since

Crowded House - won the Racing Post Trophy and never won again

Mon Mome - Won the Grand National and hasn't won since

I could go on and on. MTB was the best 3 year old at the time, not the best horse. I can't see him ever winning a G1 again - as for the Breeders Cup, I wouldn't even enter him. I can think of at least 10 horses on BOTH sides of the Atlantic that would pulverise him.

On another note, a horse called Silver Colors, trained by J Noseda (Awesome Act) runs in a maiden at 3.00 GMT at Kempton. Its her third run, and her first on an artificial suface. That should definitely suit her better than turf, considering her dam was Winning Colors (Kentucky Derby winner). Worth a bet.

Finally any horse racing fan has to watch this:

Harbinger - King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Stakes 2010 (type into youtube)

I can honestly say this is MUCH MUCH MUCH more impresive than anything any American horse has done this year. I don't think Sea the Stars, Zenyatta, Rachel Alexandra or any other horse could have lived with him that day. If you haven't seen it, you seriously need to.  

15 Aug 2010 2:21 PM
Ted from LA

Hopefully the story coming out of Chicago Saturday is Dick Duchossois winning the race named after his deceased wife Beverly.

15 Aug 2010 2:24 PM

K sweatman, I totally agree with you about the fluke Derby thing. It sums up why it irritates me so to hear it. Good point, if monster RA had not been at the Preakness he would have been The male contender for the Triple Crown. Nobody ever looks at it that way. He was 2 yr old HOY in Canada before he was bought & brought to NM. Maybe they should get that trainer. Just a thought.

Rachelfan, you are certainly entitled to your opinion on the Rachel-Borel issue, but you are really off base with this "Rachel ran her heart & soul out" while a rested Z only won by a head or neck against horses smaller than her stuff. As if what? Z is less of a horse? Doesn't run with all her heart & soul? Z is a big lazy bully? Good grief.

Zenyatta has that come from behind running style. If you watched some of her 18 wins and cheered for her, I think you would recognize that fact and possibly appreciate it & how difficult it is to continue to win with that running style. That's one of the reasons Z is so much fun to watch, her heart stopping finishes. Mike Smith says if she gets too far ahead she thinks the race is over and is prone to posing for the crowd.

Bringing RA into the conversation on MTB is pertinent because he ran against her. This is not dissing her. Why can't her name be mentioned without some RA fan getting their feelings hurt? Why did you have to bring Z into this? I get really tired of that same old junk, building one up by putting the other down unfairly, dragging this topic into another discussion again. I can talk all day about what a great horse RA is all day without attacking Z and the same the other way around.

RA has had a rough year (not her fault!) and I feel badly about that because I appreciate the great horse that she is. But you & all the other RA fans (to whom this applies) need to get over bashing Z as a way of making you feel better about RA's rough year. As I mentioned in a previous post this happens in horse racing for a variety of reasons & should not diminish RAs greatness or reputation in history.

Now I have got this out of my system. I won't bring up this RA/Z turmoil again, at least in this blog or unless I am forced to do so to keep from gagging and choking on my own vomit. :)

15 Aug 2010 2:37 PM
Paula Higgins

Sherpa, sorry about your loss. If you haven't already done it, think about going to the pound and getting another bundle of fur. That will help fill the hole in your heart. Lot's of dogs from the gulf area have been shipped north to shelters and need homes.

Know what you mean about the Insulin shots. We give our 12 1/2yr old schnauzer heavy duty heart medication twice a day. Our lives revolve around him and his medication schedule. But I wouldn't trade him for anything. He's worth it and then some.

15 Aug 2010 2:38 PM

Lavafan - Thanks for your comment on Rachel's appearance in the Preakness.  Even though it's obvious to me now, I hadn't really thought about the bump up in her training in order to make such a quick turnaround.  To me that only adds to her amazing year and what a toll it took on her.

sherpa - Anniversaries can be really hard.  They are for me.  I imagine with your dog's illness and the injections the bond between you only grew closer.  I'm so sorry for your loss.  I still grieve over my 18 year old companion cat that I had to put down on Christmas Eve 2005.  She was the best.

Ted from LA - Thanks for stepping out of character.

I am touched by all the love and concern for MTB and all the stories about dogs.

15 Aug 2010 3:03 PM

I would love to see you all get off your computers and try training Race horses for once. Its the most difficult percentage wise job in the world. If a CEO had a percentage of 20 percent he would be fired, but a race horse trainer with a career of 20 percent is a Hall of Famer. As for MTB being A strickly Dirt horse, Have you all already forgot about being 2YO champion in Canada on a Poly?! As for change in Running style, Anyone with that type of running style is at the Mercy of the Pace and distance. Only one intellegent person here pointed out the fact in the Fire Cracker, He was the same number of lengths back at a mile as in the derby. And in the Whitney, Other than Zenyatta who could be a true dead closer and close with PEDISTRAIN fractions like that?! And last but not least for you Idiots that say he needs another jockey? Watch all of his races, The best performances of his career were with calvin. Everyone else was too close to pace, went to the engine too soon and had no results. Calvin is a true horseman and he is Patient, but yet a very agressive rider when it comes down to running.  Mine that Bird Will win a Stake By the end of the year.

15 Aug 2010 3:04 PM

Casual racing fan:  Everyone on these blogs hates either (1) Zen, or (2) RA, or simply because they can think of no one else at the moment, MTB.  Seems to be a fact of life here and not something to be proud of.

15 Aug 2010 3:36 PM

Footlick - Thanks for responding on the previous blog.  I just saw it.  Also, I can't believe Goldikova lost!  It must have been the soft footing.  That's what I'm telling myself, although Makfi could be developing into a monster.  I SO want her to win her third BC Mile.  Looks like they might meet again in the Moulin.  Paco Boy STILL can't get to her.  Do you know the weights they were carrying?  I can't find it on Racing Post.

15 Aug 2010 4:07 PM

Recommendation to all participating in this blog who are Zenyatta and MTB fans: Ignore Draynay...he is a naysayer (no pun intended) and has nothing to add to the discussion except hostile inane remarks about Zenyatta and MTB that are senseless and redundant.  His mission is to incite, upset, and provoke Zenyatta and MTB fans with his attempt at "provocative" remarks such as: "I dare Zenyatta's connections to enter her in the Classic." Her "connections" have repeatedly stated their intentions to run her in the Classic which you are aware of unless you are illiterate and can't read.  Who really cares what you think about Zenyatta or MTB?  Zenyatta will go on winning and MTB will make a come back or will retire happily to a horse farm. Enough said! Let it go.

15 Aug 2010 5:33 PM

Destin, a good percentage of us believe a jockey change may be in order. It may make a difference, or maybe not. I can respect anyone's opinion when it's put out there respectfully. Calling people idiots for having that opinion is not very respectful unless you are directing it at Draynay. Then we're forgiving of it :) It's okay to disagree with people without putting them down. By the way, reading your last paragraph, I would swear you were really Calvin writing that.

15 Aug 2010 5:53 PM
Paula Higgins

Sharon, there are quite a few of us who love both Zenny and Rachel. Which is why I am glad they haven't met up. I hate to see either of them lose. I didn't like seeing Quality Road lose either. MTB has a special place in my heart because he has heart and he is an underdog who fought like hell in the Preakness to keep up with Rachel. In my world, no horse would lose:). Most importantly, I have a good day if no horse gets hurt. That is the bottom line for me. I am a believer that all dogs, cats and horses go to heaven in the end.

15 Aug 2010 5:58 PM
Paula Higgins

Stunned that Goldikova lost. She is greased lightening at the shorter distances. Maybe she needs a rest.

15 Aug 2010 6:00 PM

ZARKAVA:  you stated that a Belgian Malinois is the funniest dog.  If by that you mean funny/nuts or funny/bizarre, I have to agree.  My almost 11-year-old never met a garden-tool he didn't attack on sight, be it rake, shovel, broom, water-spurting hose... you get the idea.  On the otherhand,  he loves all kitty-cats, and they seem to know that he is their protector against all things evil.

I'm so glad Sidney's Candy proved his detractors wrong.  I have heard it said that he can only win when he has things all his own way on an easy lead... WRONG.  And, I hope Baffert's Macias, whom I like very much and have seen several times, lives to race another day.  Baffert did say Macias is one-dimensional, and mentioned that he would be in trouble if the CANDY RIDE challenges him for the lead;  he was talking about Twirling Candy in the Oceanside.  As a fan, I actually feel robbed that the matchup between Lookin at Lucky, who was trapped on the rail, and Sidney's Candy did not materialize in the Santa Anita Derby.  Now THAT would have been interesting.

About MTB, a jockey change is needed only because the magic is gone.  And, I never liked the trainer change.  AND, yes, MTB has gotten fat, which is very dangerous for a racehorse IMO.

FOOTLICK:  interesting about Black Mamba.  I thought she was sold to an entity in Japan and, after one miserable race there, would become a broodmare.  I wish her well in Australia.

FELLOW BLOGGERS :  we should pool our money and buy a CANDY RIDE to race...

15 Aug 2010 6:12 PM

ruffianruns- Paco Boy carried 130, Goldikova caried 127.  They are both 5 yr olds.  Makfi is a 3 yr old and he carried 123.  Paco Boy's jockey said that his horse didn't stay the mile under the testing conditions.  Freddie Head, trainer of Goldikova, said simply that they were beaten by a better horse.  Makfi's people were elated as he has also won the 2000.  He was compromised by illness in the St James, but is obviously back in form.  And before you think he is just a soft turf specialist, he beat Dick Turpin and Canford Cliffs on good to fast ground decisively in the 2000.  He is genuine.  Goldikova hit the front and had every opportunity to widen, but she couldn't.  Paco Boy headed her but she battled back to finish in front of him.  But Makfi was in another league today and outfinished them easily.

15 Aug 2010 6:13 PM

Dray- you are absolutely tiresome and incredibly boring.

15 Aug 2010 6:14 PM
Barbara W

I love Lori's adea about a MTB website. Some of you who are not technologically illiterate like I am would do us a favor to start it up. Just be sure you let us all know how to find it.

15 Aug 2010 6:49 PM
Mike Relva


You don't know that for a fact.

15 Aug 2010 6:55 PM
Judy G ~ California

How the heck did this blog go from MINE THAT BIRD to other topics?

Kathleen posted 15 Aug 5:33 p.m.: I understand this "person" is all over the forums. Unfortunately, I work with a negative person just like this. They complain that the sun comes up in the East and they complain that it sets in the West. Lose-lose situation...

Thank, God, he doesn't own ANY of our amazing TB racehorses :-)

15 Aug 2010 7:55 PM

JayJay - Ferdinand won HOTY without racing outside of CA, but there was a lot of debate whether it should be given to a horse that never left their home state. Sky Beauty was consistently denied based on only winning in NY - so it has nothing to do with where you race, only that you have to travel and win.

Forget Rachel (much as I love her), Zenyatta's campaign is a disgrace compared to Cigar. Her record should not be mentioned in the same sentence as his 16-races, which was set in unrestricted races all over the world. She might have been able to win 18 in a row with a campaign like Cigar, but we'll never know. Instead, you get a horse that's popular inside racing rather than one that's known by the general public, like Cigar was. Cigar's name was announced on airplanes, that's how popular he was. I was at Del Mar for his attempt at the record, and people were swarming to see him work. Zenyatta has not caught the imagination of the general public, I think because of her connections and the lack of competition.

I thought Zenyatta should have gotten HOTY 2 years ago, but last year, Rachel clearly had the better campaign. The promise was made to take Zenyatta out of her natural element this year, but that hasn't happened. Rachel ran against colts 3 times last year, Zenyatta hasn't even run against them once this year. I am hoping a good honest "ordinary" horse like Blame takes HOTY if Rachel can't do it (and she likely doesn't have time, even if everything goes right, I think she has a nagging injury actually). I could care less how pretty Zenyatta is and how much personality she has - she still needs to be challenged in tough races to be an all-time great.

The best mare currently running in Goldikova, by far.

15 Aug 2010 7:59 PM

Even though he was disappointed with the result, trainer Freddie Head confirmed that Goldikova remained on target for the Breeders’ Cup. “We were beaten by a better horse on the day-no excuses,” he said.

Give all the credit to Goldikova's connections, they're a class act.  They consistently enter her to compete against the best horses in Europe and the world.  They don't alter their plans because the turf came up soft. They understand that losing to top G1 horses doesn't detract from her reputation.  Their goal is to win championships and they know that racing against the best competition even under adverse weather conditions she dislikes will toughen her up for the day the championship is on the line.

15 Aug 2010 8:15 PM

Thank you for the kind comments Ted, Paula & ruffianruns.  Mostly, I accept what was inevitable; but reading all the dog posts made me miss my girl so much.  We walked a long time together. I'm blessed to have had her in my life for so many years! :-)

15 Aug 2010 9:41 PM

Absolutely, Borel has given MTB TERRIBLE rides and must be replaced, NOW. The horse needs a very soft and compassionate rider, not a beater, I'd go for a female.  I think Birdie still has some racign in  him, just need to find the key.

15 Aug 2010 9:57 PM

The fact that both MRD and RA are having a tough 4 yr old year, says volumes about "management". The more I read, and watch them, the more respect I have for John Sheriffs. He has raised training to an art form.

I was listening to commentary about "Wasted Tears" who just won in a photo, her 9th race, due in great part to the careful, and patient handling of her by her trainer, from a very small barn.

I really like the idea of a MTB fan club. Let's do it. If I were more computer literate, I would help start it. I would love to keep track of him.

My Newfs, while not the sharpest knives in the drawer, will save you, if you get into trouble in the water. They are one of three "recognized" life-saving breeds, along with Saint Bernards (which I have several as well), and Portugese Water dogs.

They are also complete loves, kind of like a quarter horse.

THANKS Jason for this fantastic blog!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

15 Aug 2010 9:58 PM
doctor j

Lukas has been mismanaging horses for a decade and continues to live off his rep. Why people continue to send their stock to him is beyond me when there are scores of better trainers available. On any given race day a typical Lukas starter is less than 100% fit, usually placed in a race that it cannot win, and prime for becoming sour before its time.  They don't look good in the paddock. Pay attention folks.

15 Aug 2010 10:05 PM

Funny how MTB finished on the board in all 3 Triple Crown races and people still don't respect him.  Just like Zenyatta runs in "slow motion" and has a track record at Del Mar and tied a track record at Hollywood Park.  I guess it's a good thing she doesn't have to run at normal speed.  She would totally embarrass everyone.

15 Aug 2010 10:18 PM

Thanks for saying this, Jason.  I agree with all of it.  I really like this horse (no matter where he runs) and would love to see him in a spot that suits him.

16 Aug 2010 6:39 AM

SC reminds me of Lawyer Ron, especially LR's 3 year-old year when he did not want to rate at all...

SC was my #1 Derby pick, I'm happy to see him blister the track ♥

We have produced several generations of police/drug/bomb/search & rescue dogs so I can say unequivically that Germ Sheps rule! Number one working dog in the world as well as the number one companion dog in the world. Some breeds are superior in one aspect, like Bloodhounds in tracking, but GSD's are the most versatile overall in trainability, handler tolerance, tracking ability, courage, discernment, intelligent disobedience and loyalty. ♥

16 Aug 2010 7:48 AM

MTB Alert: he worked out this morning, Aug. 16th, 5 furlongs in 1:00.40

He certainly has good workouts!!

Love MTB!!!

16 Aug 2010 9:09 AM
Joe Mc

I have to agree w/ most of what you've said here.  That little horse had no business running in the BCC last year...he was exhausted.  Up in saratoga last summer he looked like a horse that just needed vacation.  And the whole trainer change couldn't have helped him much, where he was the big horse in the barn to just another horse to Lucas.  And why Lucas?  But I think a jockey change, like J Rose or even R Dominguez would suit him so much better.  I'm not bad mouthing C Borel at all, but the magic just isn't there anymore.  And find a quiet little allowance race that he can go out and remember what winning is all about.  

16 Aug 2010 10:09 AM

helsbelles- I thought so too.  But something must have happened.  I think the longer races there will suit her well.

16 Aug 2010 11:48 AM

Nice "Hawkster-like" performance by Sidney's Candy in setting the course record at Del Mar.  He now owns 2 track records there. I would like to see this one push Quality Road around a one mile oval a bit.  

How honest is Lilly Fa Pootz?  Another blue collar effort by the Hollendorfer gal in the Mabee.  After the Osunitas and Mabee, I doubt one will catch her at 12-1 again.  

16 Aug 2010 12:23 PM
Criminal Type

I didnt think the 07 Preakness was such a bad field. In my opinion only three were real throw aways, CP West, Flying First Class & Mint Slewlep. However the field also included Curlin, Who's resume speaks for itself. Circular Quay earned 1.5 million. Hard Spun ran his heart out in every race he was ever in, and won the King's Bishop & 2.7 million along the way. Street Sense won 4.3 million in his career, including a Breeders Cup Juvenile, Kentucky Derby  & Jim Dandy & Travers. King of the Roxy (a 8000 yearling) won a respectable 600K on the track and Xchanger won 775K. There were 4 exceptional horses in that field and 3 who did well enough. Maybe it wasn't the best field at the time, since most of these horse's accumulated their winnings after this race, but I wouldn't call it weak.

16 Aug 2010 12:23 PM

Whatever wrote: This horse is simply not what people think he is. Just because a horse wins the derby doesn't mean they're great. Remember, Gato Del Sol, Giacomo, Sunny's Halo, Sea Hero, Li'l E Tee, etc...Sometimes horses are like people---they just get lucky.  It's time to retire him--he'll never be able to compete at that level again.

What are you trying to say about the horses listed? Of course they weren't great. Many Derby winners are not great. Great should be reserved for a special few. But, they all were useful, very good racehorses.

Gato Del Sol: Won Del Mar Futurity at 2. 2nd in the Bluegrass at 3, won Derby, 2nd in Belmont, injured in Travers. At four won 2 of 9. At 5, 2nd in Shoemaker Mile, won Caballero Handicap.

Giacomo: 2nd in Hollywood Futurity, 2nd in San Felipe, third in the Preakness. At 4, won San Diego H., 3rd in the Goodwood, 4th in the BCC.

Sunny's Halo: won 7 of 11 at 2, including Colin, Grey, Coronation and Swynford stakes. At 3 won Rebel, Ark Derby, Derby, and Super Derby. retired with ankle problems

Sea Hero: winner of Champagne, Derby and Travers.

L'il E Tee: won Jim Beam, 2nd Arkansas Derby, surgery after Belmont. At 4, won Razorback Handicap, 2nd in Oaklawn Handicap. 13 starts, 7 wins.

None of these horses had a career to dismiss. We should all be so lucky.

16 Aug 2010 12:48 PM

Footlick - Thanks for the weights.  I read about the connections' comments, and I'm impressed that Head didn't mention the soft going.  I think he's just being super-gracious!  I can make ALL KINDS of excuses for her!  The soft going, the two week turn around, the weight, maybe she had a sore throat... ;-)  But I'm just being a baby.  I like Makfi and he was the better horse, but I just don't think he can beat her again.  Maybe I'm delusional.  Wasn't this time way SLOWER than her time last year?  I also realize that Makfi beat CC and DT and was sick for the St. James.  Hmmm.  So who do you think is the best miler?  I was impressed that Goldikova fought back to finish ahead of Paco Boy - does Hannon have a stable full of top horses or what?  And what do you think about Harbinger's King George and his retirement?  It's so sad that he can't continue.  I was looking forward to seeing whether or not he could maintain that monster form.  I also want to see if Workforce can step it up again.

And now it looks like I might Sidney's Candy to worry about! But I really can't imagine him in the BC Mile.

And I still love Mine That Bird and like Amy and others have said:  he does have good workouts.

16 Aug 2010 1:15 PM

helsbelles 15 Aug 2010 6:12 PM

Yes, funny/bizarre was what I meant. =)

First time I´ve heard of one attacking garden tools though, he he. One thing´s for sure, you never get bored living with a "mal"!

16 Aug 2010 1:38 PM

Zen's Auntie.  Did you get some money down on Lilly Fa Pootz?  

16 Aug 2010 1:45 PM
Billy's Empire

Amy, Tidal Pool is working great too. See where that got her with Lukas lately? 9th place

Doctor J, be careful. You may get attacked for speaking the truth. DWL had two horses get scratched from a race last week b/c the vet would not let them run.

I had a white german sheppard/lab mix. Dog was so smart, I tied a sock to the bottom of my refrigerator handle so she could open the door and get me beers. She would go into the fridge, grab a can of beer, and bring it to me without puncturing the can. She also could walk on the monkey bars on a swing set, go down a slide on her bottom, and was the most amazing frisbee dog I have ever seen. She easily had a 5 foot vertical jump, and she could surf at the beach. What a dog she was.

16 Aug 2010 2:01 PM

Wasted Tears, a gazelle of a mare, delighted all of us in the Mabee. So composed, so professional, so determined to win, even at a distance unfamiliar to her. Sometimes, the best things DO come in small packages, as it did in last year's Kentucky Derby.

Lilly Fa Pootz (of the humorous name) gave it her all but came up short in one of the most exciting finishes of the weekend. Jerry Hollendorfer must be very proud of his mare who was stepping up in  Graded Stakes company for the first time. After the cruel loss of Tuscan Evening, there was no shame in losing (in a head bob) to a mare that was racking up her 7th victory in a row.

You just HAVE to love them all: big, small and every size in between!

16 Aug 2010 2:35 PM

Very proud of Sidney's Candy in the La Jolla.  I'm glad Sadler went that route.  

After the Swaps, I was convinced that Sidney's Candy A) Was best at middle distances and was not a classic type and B) that he was best on turf and turf-like synthetic tracks like Pro-Ride or Polytrack(rather than Cushion Track).

In his 3 Pro-Ride stakes wins at SA, SC had his ears pricked and was comfortable out on the lead.  On dirt, muddy dirt, in the Derby, his ears were pinned back and he stopped on a dime after a mile.  In the Swaps on Cushion Track, SC ran somewhere in-between, looking ok but never looking completely comfortable and his ears were pinned back most of the race.

In the La Jolla, even though he was challenged through blistering fractions, SC looked relaxed, and had his ears up almost the entire way.  And when asked for run in the stretch, he found the extra gear he had demonstrated on Pro-Ride.

SC has much left to prove, but he is a very exciting propsect for the BC Mile(turf).  Does anyone else see a little bit of Lure in him?  Like SC, Lure was a good maintrack horse, winning a graded stakes before becoming a superstar on turf.

16 Aug 2010 4:09 PM

Thanks for the info Amy :) I just looked it up and it seems he worked a BULLET five furlongs. He's worked a few bullets here lately. Those sure aren't fractions of a horse that can't run!!

16 Aug 2010 4:22 PM
kathleen o

Seems to me that Zen's Beyers are higher than the IQ of a certain un-named 'nay' sayer.

16 Aug 2010 4:39 PM
Pedigree Shelly

        I'm curious to know how Dublin is doing these days ? I really think after the Derby , he should have skipped the Preakness and pointed towards the Belmont ! He is a plodder and the Preakness is more for speed type horses ! Anyways that is old news! I think Dublin is another horse who should take a step down in class ! He's a nice colt but , he is not ready for horses like LAL ,Trappe Shot etc !

16 Aug 2010 5:54 PM
Mike Relva


Obviously your attitude reflects the"what have you done for me lately" concept. Question,has RA ran in any Grade 1 races or won any this year. I don't have a problem with connections taking it easy on her this year,but don't ignore the fact by slamming Zenyatta! It's not her and connections' fault that NO GRADE 1 HORSES' WANTED TO TAKE HER ON IN A.BLOSSOM! She was there,get a reality check!

16 Aug 2010 6:54 PM

ruffianruns- I just wanted to point out that Makfi's only loss was because of an illness.  I think Makfi is a very high-class miler s is Goldikova.  Makfi is more at home on soft turf, I think, but Goldikova and Paco Boy were both ahead of him and he easily defeated them.  Mr Hannon is not afraid of her with Paco Boy.  I don't believe that Makfi's connections will duck her either.  But we will see.  Most analysts said that the ground hampered her acceleration, but she had every opportunity of winning.  Her connections were right to not make the ground an issue since she defeated Byword on soft ground in her first start this year.   She and Paco Boy just got outrun.  Hannon has to run Canford Cliffs agaoinst both of them again at some point to validate his standing, since he is 1-1 with Makfi and has never challenged Goldikopva.

16 Aug 2010 7:41 PM

I'm very excited by this Devil May Care vs. Blind Luck matchup.  Blind Luck is taking the fight right into the eastern corner of the playground.  Pretty aggressive campaign by the little filly.  

16 Aug 2010 8:07 PM

kathleen o!

Her LOWEST Beyers!  LOL!

16 Aug 2010 8:27 PM

I'm really glad Wasted Tears pulled it off.  She's really ventured far and wide this year.  Part of me was rooting for Jerry and Lilly Fa Pootz too.  I can't get over that heartbreak.

Kantharos is lookin' scary good.

I am so looking forward to the Alabama!  And Zookeeper, isn't your horse running Saturday, too?

Footlick - I got it.  Should be interesting to see how things turn out.

16 Aug 2010 8:40 PM

I've long been partial to Gotta Have Her.  It sure looked like she could've won the Mabee, but she just wouldn't go through the hole at the rail for Mike Smith.  It was so unlike her.  Perhaps she'd have done it for her "boyfriend" Tyler, who knows?

Wasted Tears is a super nice filly and I'm sure Lilly has a bright future, so I'm not unhappy with the result.  Just a little mystified by GHH, who has always run with such courage.

Any thoughts on that, GunBow?

16 Aug 2010 9:49 PM

Not to be rude but it's easy to tell that an overwhelming majority of the posters aren't in the racehorse business.

---- Allowance races just don't fill now-a-days with Derby winners trying to draw in. Lukas or the owners will not run him in anything less than a graded stakes this year.

---- I think a horse is allowed an excuse first few times out after an 8 month layoff.

---- How the heck can any of you tell the horse is sad or dislikes Calvin?

---- Azeri won 3 grade 1s following a serious injury after being turned over to Lukas. She won the same amount the previous year with De Seroux.

---- Lukas has no problems with women, a majority of his employees and excercise riders are females. He regularly rode Barton, Fox, etc in the 90s. It just so happens there aren't many top female jocks riding at Oaklawn/Churchill/Saratoga in the last few years.

---- Lukas may not be right for him as I too think he may be out of touch with things but I still have respect for him, and the owners may do what the wish, as MTB does

belong to them, whether he parades in front of Mexican bush track or runs in the Arc.

---- I think peoe read to much into things.

---- And for my opinion: MTB was an accomished, champion 2yo and classic winning 3yo. Rarely do horses carry that type of form 3 years running, except the great ones. He's only 4 but he's zig sagged the continent to run in the best of races and is now under a demanding trainer. I think we'll see 2 good races out of him, may not be winning ones, but a couple good efforts before he's done. Lukas can squeeze the juice out of a 10 year old raisin.  

16 Aug 2010 10:14 PM
Pedigree Shelly

           Thinking back over the Haskell in which LAL won so impressively only makes me wonder , where does the runner up Trappe Shot belong ? If you read my comments you can tell I've been high on TS for awhile but, Should he take on the Travers ? The Haskell was Trappe Shot's first graded stakes race and what a great race for him to run 2nd to the best 3yr old in the country ! I'd say let's give Trappe Shot A chance in the Travers :)

16 Aug 2010 10:53 PM

LOL Lavafan :

"  Zenyatta has not caught the imagination of the general public, I think because of her connections and the lack of competition. "

I don't know if you're new to this blog but if you go back to anything Jason or Steve Haskin or that Pricci guy wrote that has a mention of Zenyatta, you'll see how popular the blogs are.  You find other blogs out there with Zenyatta mentioned and you'll see how popular she is.  That's not to say she's only popular with the blogs, people fly all over who wants to see her.  I don't know how you can even compare Cigar's popularity to Zenyatta, he was mentioned in a plane ride, can you tell me how long they are mentioning Cigar for ?  How do you know Zenyatta was never mentioned in a plane ?

It's a stupid argument comparing the two horses' popularity, and Cigar may have raced in unrestricted races all over the world but not all his races were against the toughest horses. He raced in races where he dominated even before the gate opened.  The "tough" horses avoided him like a plague because he was too much for them.  Just like other horses avoids Zenyatta because she's too much for them.

Zenyatta is well known around the world, if your argument is that Cigar is more popular than her, then I'm happy for you.  The fact of the matter is, she has more consecutive wins than Cigar, she now has equaled Eclipse's record.  She will probably break that record in the Zenyatta stakes but even if she didn't, no one can take that Eclipse matching record away from her, no matter how you slice it.  It's in the record books so argue away. LOL

16 Aug 2010 10:56 PM
Paula Higgins

Sherpa, I am right there with you. It's a very heartbreaking loss when you lose a dog. For my husband and I they are like our kids since we don't have any of the human kind. I know just how you feel.

Kantharos is going to be an interesting 3 year old. Talented out the whazoo.

Happy about Sidney's Candy. Quite a race that one. Still can't believe Goldy lost.

16 Aug 2010 11:39 PM

LAVAFAN did you cut and paste that post? It sounds exactly like at least a thousand posted on here before. Yawn. It still doesn'r fly.

17 Aug 2010 6:05 AM
Criminal Type

Regarding MTB's size, I know I've said this before, but if you watch the 09 Breeders cup Classic, when MTC and Zenyatta are running together at the back of the field, the size difference is incredible. He's a nice horse, but I agree, He got lucky in the Derby. I also agree that it seems likely the owners are unrealistic in their horses ability. What's a trainer to do when the owner says run him here. If D Wayne is looking to recapture the glory of 80's and 90's,and I don't think he is, MTB isn't going to do it for him.

Doesn't it seem like we have a lot of filly's and mare's who are producing more exiciting racing then the colt's? Maybe it's just me, but wow, look at them, Blind Luck, Proviso, Devil May Care, Forever Together, Rachel, Zenyatta, Shared Account, Champagne D'oro. I know im leaving a lot out, but you get my drift. I know there are good colts out there, but it seems like the ladies are generating a lot more excitement.

Kathleen O, Very Funny, but surely Neigh's IQ is not triple digits.

17 Aug 2010 10:19 AM

I'm boring Footlick ?  You people are funny.  Only Zenyatta fans can watch her plod along and barely beat horses that are just allowance winners and claim she is wonderful.  She runs on a surface few will run on get over it who cares?  Her speed figures LACK ANY SPEED.  WAKE UP. You people are making yourselves look bad.  Zenyatta is a joke and if she ever steps on dirt vs. males she will be exposed for what she really is.

17 Aug 2010 10:24 AM

Did Draynay say something? I didn't think so. Carry on good people.

17 Aug 2010 11:15 AM

Right Billy, no trainer has had ANY vet scratches at the meet besides Wayne. Plus who was the other horse? One vet scratch at the gate that I remember anyway, the horse was back working and fine a couple days later. I guess it burns you up that he also won 2 races within that week, so whip out the negatory.

Clinton, you are one of the few with any objectivity.

Wayne knows he's at the end of his career, but he still knows how to train a horse. Can he or anyone else compete with the barn of Todd Pletcher or even Asmussen? I don't know, ask Derek Ryan or better yet the various racing commissions.

You guys keep asking about where a horse of his is? Well where are 80% of the horses nominated to the TC? I don't see you writing about Todd having horses that have broke down or Odysseus dying, I guess we know where all of them are.

I take exception to the fact that someone says his horses don't look good. What paddock have you been looking at?

So according to you guys he should quit training? I guess Zito should too, he's 0 fer at Saratoga.

I think some of you have watched a few too many episodes of Jersey Shore or Real Housewives, you think it's the way real people behave. Gossiping and spreading rumors and innuendo about people that you never even met except maybe in passing.

Another thing, don't believe a word Billy tells you about inside information. I wonder if you people realize that you're crossing the line between opinion and something else?

17 Aug 2010 11:53 AM

Zookeeper, please let us know when Runflatout is scheduled to start next. I want to follow him and I bet several others here do, too.

17 Aug 2010 1:43 PM
Judy G ~ California

#1 and #5 - hum, not to shabby LOL

17 Aug 2010 2:51 PM

I think Mine That Bird will come back to win the Woodward. Blame won't be there and Quality Road doesn't always win. Lookin at Lucky will be the main competition if he runs.

17 Aug 2010 2:54 PM

ruffianruns & CV,

As soon as I know for sure, I will share the info with you guys. Thanks for asking!

17 Aug 2010 2:59 PM
Billy's Empire

I could care less, win, lose, scratch, does not matter. I am glad he won a few races. Now after 9 more in his stable run last, he may have another winner with that 11% percentage.

On another note,

Rip Van Winkle is pointing towards the BC

Twice over is also pointing toward the BC

so we have



Quality Road


Twice Over

Rip Van Winkle

Lookin at Lucky

Super Saver

Rail Trip

First Dude

Mine that Bird

I Want Revenge

all pointing to the Classic.

That is 12 out of the 14 horses eligible to even be in the gate that day. What a RACE!!!

17 Aug 2010 4:38 PM

They are looking for a graceful exit for Zenyatta.  No way are they showing up to the Classic with her massive 84 BSF.  A 139 mile?  I can't stop laughing.

17 Aug 2010 4:50 PM
Mike Relva


You should be laughing at yourself,you're a joke!

17 Aug 2010 4:54 PM

Sure Billy, you're a fraud and every word you write proves it. What's your % stud?

But remember what I said about stepping over the line, you're way over it. You seem to have a lot of time on your hands to run others down, mosey on over and look into blog laws.

17 Aug 2010 5:18 PM

Draynay : You're not only boring, you got nothing new to say, no new horse to jump on and the same old no winners picked.  LOL

17 Aug 2010 9:39 PM
Mike Relva


Didn't Andrew Beyer state last year Zenyatta had no shot of winning last yrs. Classic? He said she's too slow. Remember that? lol lol

17 Aug 2010 11:02 PM


I was going to respond to your comments, but you're saying what you say explains you perfectly.  As Lori said, carry on people.

18 Aug 2010 10:14 AM


I think Rail Trip will be smoking something in the Woodward as in a Quality Road stoogie.

18 Aug 2010 11:27 AM

Thanks for writing about Mine that Bird.  I don't think his owner did him any favour sending him to Lucas, I will never be able to forget Prairie Bayou.  Unimaginable decision to put him in a 14 horse turf race???? And then running him in the Whitney...?? are these people on crack?  I don't think his race in the Derby was a fluke; he almost got to Rachael in the Preakness, but he was a very tired and used horse by Breeders Cup Time.  Allow/Opclaiming is where he should be; he needs confidence and time.  Frankly the way he is being managed the future looks very bleak.

18 Aug 2010 3:43 PM
Kit J

Liz what does Prairie Bayou have to do with anything? Are we going to say any horse  coming back will have the same fate of every horse that ever broke down? Why bother to run them?????

I often wonder about people who say they don't like a horse being sent to a trainer, yet can't even spell the name right. I don't think there's too much credibility.

A horseman that I know pointed out an interesting story in the Saratogian, an interview with Mr. Lukas, it talked about the special treatment MTB is getting, his roomy stall his friends who are stabled where he can see and visit them and Mr.Lukas' take on whether they can get MTB back to where he was.

In effect he said some horses have their 5 minutes of fame and some manage to come back and be handicap horses. He told the owners if they want their horse to be considered a top handicap horse, which is what their goal is, he'll have to re-prove himself.  

Maybe some of you should read it. I'm not too sure even he knows why Woolley had the horse taken away but they apparently were going to give him to someone else regardless.

Here's the article I hope it's okay if I put the address here?

18 Aug 2010 4:02 PM

Draynay, I think one thing you're overlooking is that in Zenyatta's one and only try at 1 1/4, the distance she was born to run IMO, her Beyer went through the roof vs her figures at shorter distances.  I believe she'll be quite formidable going that distance on dirt in the BC.  

In fact, I think she has a bigger chance of losing if her connections send her in the Ladies Classic in another misguided attempt to maintain the perfect record.  Because I think Rachel's going in the Classic and that could potentially leave Life At Ten on a lonely lead, though we'll need to see who enters.  And if LAT is allowed to lope alone on the front end setting glacial fractions, it's possible that Zenyatta could fall too far behind to catch up.

18 Aug 2010 4:47 PM

Perfectly put, Paula, my feelings exactly.

18 Aug 2010 10:56 PM

Curious as to others thoughts about Lucas putting blinkers on MTB....???

19 Aug 2010 9:17 PM
Dr Drunkinbum

There's going to be a lot of mouths shutting up when Mine That Bird wins another big race. Are you going to have the class to come back on and admit the error of your ways? He's just waiting for better odds so that his fans can get another big score. His win will be at 12-1 or higher in a Graded Stakes, probably 20-1 or higher. You have been warned. Expect an amazing performance in one of his next three races.

20 Aug 2010 10:06 AM
Jason Shandler

Dr. D: Wake me up when that happens.

20 Aug 2010 10:27 AM
Dr Drunkinbum


   Maybe I am dreaming. I do realize that MTB doesn't have the dominating talent of a Rachel, Zenyatta, Quality Road or Blame but I still feel he is capable of winning a big race. Most stakes horses don't win a lot of races but pop up once in awhile with a nice Grade One win at good odds. I'd like to erase the fluke label that some have given him because it isn't fair. His Triple Crown races were tremendous. A fluke is a chance happening, an accident,an accidentally successful stroke as in billiards when a ball bounces funny and goes in. His Derby win was not an accident. He annihilated them. Your article was excellent. I have no argument with it but you have called him a fluke in the past. Both of the races this year he has been in, he should not have been in. He should have started with a dirt allowance and worked his way up, however at this point I would run him in The Jockey Club because it is his preferred distance, and hope that he gets enough out of it, and places high enough to move on to The Classic. If he didn't run well in The Jockey Club then I would not go to The Classic, but I would find an allowance race, or an ungraded stakes at 1 1/8 somewhere. You can't blame us for being fans of the little fella and of the amazing story of MTB and Chip Woolley in  last year's Triple Crown. No, he isn't a world beater but he's still a talented and loveable horse. To me he looks good, and in his mind he's a champion. I just hope that he can go out and prove it, at least one more time. And yes, I do have a feeling that he will sprout wings again, and soon. Whether it is logic based or an unreasonable fantasy remains to be seen but no matter what happens I would never agree that his Derby win deserves the title of fluke. It was a magical moment that deserves a special place in the minds of race fans to be celebrated, not degraded.

20 Aug 2010 11:20 AM
Jason Shandler

Dr. D: if you like the horse, that's great. More power to you. But to keep running him in these G1 races against QR and Blame is insanity and ashame. The fluke label is debatable. Fact is, he hasnt won a race since the Derby. 0-for-7. No getting around that.

20 Aug 2010 11:32 AM

Yes Jason, but have you ever had a horse who finished 1-2-3 in the Triple Crown races and was closing like a freight train on the filly that you and others were saying was possibly the best 3 year old filly ever?

I think if you owned this horse you'd be singing a different song.  I can see people who've never owned a horse dissing him for not winning but being on the board and earning over 2 million dollars, but a former horse owner?

Sorry if I think that sounds a little bit strange.

Why because horse owners know how hard it is just to make in the business now days. Every horse doesn't have to be a winner the fact is there is only one winner in every race. But to finish in the money and get a piece of the purse is great.

So according to you the drop of Rachel Alexandra into allowance company was perfectly okay. Not according to what I read on your blogs.

As for the blinkers? Calvin thinks they'll help, MTB seems to be losing focus a little, his mind wandering and he's not getting into the races like he needs to. Can't get that far behind against these handicap horses.

Okay, as for Dublin?  He had a chip removed from his ankle. He may be back at the end of this year or more likely next year. Depending on what the exam shows later this month.

All anybody had to do was ask Wayne.

20 Aug 2010 12:19 PM
Jason Shandler

Interesting Will, your writing style looks a lot like Tim G's use to. I think "Tim G" might have even written some of this same stuff in previous posts. Hmmm...

You're not going to change my mind Tim, I mean, Will.. I dont think MTB was ever that good. I dont care about 2nds and 3rds. Give me wins. He won one race over an off track with a jockey who owns CD. He hit lighting in a bottle in one race. Did he run well in the Preakness? No doubt. But RA had so much going against her that day--13 post, set a fast pace, etc. MTB had the perfect race setup.

He doesnt belong in G1s right now and was mismanaged from the start of the season. Anyone can see it.

20 Aug 2010 12:39 PM

Dr Drunkinbum

You're wasting your time trying to get through to some of these guys.  MTB will no doubt shut their mouths up when he does what Zen does.....WIN.

20 Aug 2010 12:51 PM

Dr D, Will and Laz... my take on trying to defend MTB against the naysayers? They are programmed in their minds to NOT like him no matter what he has done or what he may do in the future. He could win every race going forward and they will still diss him for whatever reason(s). Wins are great but not every horse can or will win every race (okay Z being the exception). You also have to factor in total career earnings and with a gelding, that really is all you have. You don't have a stud prospect so it's all about how long can the horse race and how much money can they earn from racing. Look at MTB's career earnings. If you were his owner, would you be saying he's not that good as you were putting that money in your bank account? They paid $400K and he has made over 2 million. If that's a fluke who isn't very good, I want a fluke!!

20 Aug 2010 1:57 PM
fluke or no fluke that's the question


draynay....ooooops I mean Jason has a blind eye for two horses and MTB is one of them. What you say makes good sense but you aren't going to reason with someone so closed minded about one horse in particular.

20 Aug 2010 2:01 PM


I think you're right. Will sounds just like Tim G.

20 Aug 2010 7:16 PM
Judy Loves Mine That Bird (California)

Jason! MINE THAT BIRD showed up for all three races in the Triple Crown! And you don't like 1-2-3...

Lori, I don't know you, but I love ya!

A big shout out to those who "believe" in MTB. John Henry (mentioned again!) would think your negative minds are unforgiving. I ditto that sentiment.

Let's see if Jason posts this comment, since he didn't post one of my others...I know why, too!

p.s. Quite frankly, I don't know how anyone could diss any horse. You get out on the track and give your life!! You rant and rave as if you're talking about a car that's a lemon. I feel SORRY for you!

20 Aug 2010 7:16 PM

So if the connections of RA or Zenyatta look for a soft spot to chase a win it is a travesty according to Shandler but it is fine for the connections of MTB?

21 Aug 2010 5:04 PM

The naysayers should realize, that horses like MTB are the ones that captivate the public, from infants to those in their 90's! He was an underdog, and Americans love underdogs. Look at Seabiscuit. He was washed up at 3, couldn't even win a claiming race. Yet, his accomplished have been written about, made into movies, and he has become an American legend. MTB has the same aura about him.

The racing industry NEEDS heroes, as it struggles to survive.

Instead of constantly dissing these race horses, how about focusing on the positives, instead of the negatives?? MTB and the amazing story around him, gave the industry a big jolt of popularity.

23 Aug 2010 11:31 AM
k sweatman

In response to "maybe this horse just isn't what people think he is" referring to Mine that Bird ofcoarse, allow me to say this, I saw MTB close the final quarter mile of the derby like a freight train. His time in that quarter mile was matched only by the great Secretariat. He ran most of the race blinded and choking on mud slop. I don't need to think about that, I saw it with my own eyes. It took something special for the little gelding to pull that off. Maybe Mine that Birds' problem now is between his ears, maybe he CAN do it and just don't want to. I don't have the answer to that question. All I know is the Kentucky Derby winner showed us what he could do, and maybe someday, when he's the longest shot on the board, he'll show us again, just for the hell of it.

25 Aug 2010 9:35 AM

Amy, I agree about the aura around MTB. There is a presence about this horse that draws people in. Did you all catch his latest work? UNBELIEVABLE! This horse proves time again he can outrun lightning....he most definitely has the ability. I see it was not Borel on him but Maragh. Lukas said it doesn't mean Calvin is off of him but I suspicion a change is coming.

25 Aug 2010 10:57 AM


I lost my aussie/spca mix this past

may due to old age, tumors,and other illness. 13+ yrs.

I had to put the lock on the OUTSIDE of my 6' woodfence to keep her in the yard. Kelly was smart and very clever. Grace my standard

poodle rules! Age 12.5 and still the funniet girl (not a dog.)

Go Rachel, but if Zeny decides to run for president; I will vote for


25 Aug 2010 1:58 PM




25 Aug 2010 3:38 PM


Yes, I am still learning about the horses. I stand corrected. I read this in the book about him.

I may be a novice, but we are important to the industry. Plus, the charisma MTB has, is amazing. Most people I know, mostly dog show people, don't have a clue about racing, but know MTB!

Again, I submit, MTB is very important to racing, as is Zen and RA.

26 Aug 2010 7:35 AM

Lori, did MTB work w/ blinkers on?  I wonder what difference these will make for him getting back into his races--mentally.  He certainly has the talent...

27 Aug 2010 9:34 AM

Casa, yes he did work with blinkers on and I believe Lukas said he will be wearing them in the Woodward. It will be interesting to see if they make a difference. I remember when Tim Ice used blinkers for the first time on Summer Bird for the Belmont last year and he went on to win that race plus the Travers and the JCGC. Also didn't do too shabby in the BCC. Hopefully it will make a difference for MTB also.

27 Aug 2010 2:08 PM
Lupe Aranda

THANK YOU AMY FOR STANDING UP FOR MINE THAT BIRD!!! YOUR STATEMENT IS ABSOLUTELY CORRECT! It is one of the saddest things that I see:when an athlete is at his highest he is PRAISED, when an athlete is not at his highest he is DISREGARDED...what sad people we humans can be sometimes! MINE THAT BIRD WILL ALWAYS BE AN AWESOME RACE HORSE TO ME, he does not have to keep on proving it to me!

Just a Horse Lover

27 Aug 2010 8:01 PM

I saw that someone else posted on another site a thought that merits re-posting: it seems MTB's "problems" started after he underwent throat surgery last fall....merely coincidence, or something more?

I think it is interesting that many people are throwing Rachel Alexandra under the bus for not running in Grade I races this year, and here the suggestion is that last year's Kentucky Derby winner should be pointed toward an optional claimer. Really, where IS the bar set? Of course, the common thread is that both graduated from 3-yr old to upper class competition. Just goes to show how difficult that transition really can be.

29 Aug 2010 12:36 AM

Okay I read a lot of throw out the synthetics and he didn't do well his two year old year stalking and whatever.  Well if he staked his two year old year I say he did well.  He WON his first four starts which, and I could be wrong, he was stalking in and, I know this for a fact, on SYNTHETICS and was the top two year old in Canada.  He rounded into his three year old career so so then was incredible for the triple crown and did well one race after. Then he kinda went down hill had surgery and hasn't really come back into form.  I don't think you can count out synthetics for him because of his two year old year but seriously maybe he's just done.  I mean a solid two year old career and solid three year old career often spells no four year old career at all.  And well possibly he just peaked yearly and now he's just, well, done.  I hope we see him do well later on and seriously I think they should run him ungraded and just see.  I don't think it would hurt his reputation and I know people will say well Rachel's connections and Zenyatta's connections are disproved of for that but really they should do what's best for the horse not what fans think.  You run a horse where they can win and if thats a G1 then great if not well to bad but there isn't a lot of real material on MTB so let his new trainer play with him and see what fits him best and decide what to do.  Maybe he'll find something great and maybe he'll end up dropping in class till he is retired but you know let them run him where they want and let them see what they have then and only then will we know where we truly stand on how MTB is and will be.

01 Sep 2010 5:53 PM

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