Mine Boggling

After hearing nothing from his "dates" all year but "Don't call me, I'll call you," one of racing's most desirable leading men, who keeps getting dumped like yesterday's trash, should have put an ad in the classifieds:

"Millionaire sports hero with terrific personality who loves to travel and has been on the cover of Sports Illustrated seeks long-term relationship with anyone under 5' 8" and 115-120 pounds who enjoys a good thrill ride and knows how to stay out of trouble. Rewards are limitless. Please direct all responses to Chip Woolley, care of Churchill Downs Racetrack."

So desperate has Mine That Bird been for some kind of commitment, he keeps going back to dates who have already dumped him. Calvin Borel, who ditched him in the Preakness for his favorite gal even after winning the Kentucky Derby on him, was taken back, and then ditched him again after one date for a horse who'd never even won a stakes. Mike Smith, who nearly won the Preakness on him, deserted him in the Belmont Stakes in order to ride a horse (who would finish fourth) in the Charlie Whittingham Handicap on the grass. Now, Smith has been taken back to ride him in two races, even with the knowledge he will dump him again in the Breeders' Cup Classic should his favorite gal run.

The poor guy even had a suitor desert him after only about a half an hour when a top rider's agent realized he had already committed his jockey to ride a filly in the Diana Stakes the same day as the West Virginia Derby. That makes three gals to whom he's had to play second stringer.

So, who will ride Mine That Bird in the BC Classic? Well, it has been reported that none other than Calvin Borel could very well be showing up at his door with flowers and candy yet again for another potential one night stand. Would it come as a surprise if Mine That Bird starts developing an inferiority complex or at the very least begins to feel like a cheap date?  

In case no one has noticed, Mine That Bird is one helluva horse, and the jocks should be lined up outside his door like the nannies in "Mary Poppins."

There have been few horses who have run three stronger races in the Triple Crown. Had Mine That Bird gone through the three races in normal fashion, like having the same rider for all three, he would have had a great chance to become racing's 12th Triple Crown winner. Even with the rider changes, a rough trip in the Preakness, and being asked to do way too much in the Belmont, he still turned in three exceptional performances.

And has any trainer shown the patience Chip Woolley has? Has any trainer had to put up with what he has in obtaining and keeping a rider...for a horse who turned in one of the most dominating Kentucky Derby wins in history?

As for Mine That Bird, when was the last time we saw a horse as easy-going, accommodating, and professional? He's the little horse that could, much like Afleet Alex. He gets on a van, he gets off a van; he works exactly the way he's supposed to every time; his gallops are a thing of beauty to watch; he gives 100% every race, whether it's on dirt or synthetic; and he'll stand in front of a horde of photographers for 20 minutes without the slightest fuss if you ask him. In fact, that's exactly what he did immediately after arriving at Pimlico following a 12-hour van ride from Louisville. And how many horses spend the morning of the Belmont Stakes licking their trainer's hand nonstop for 10 minutes?

He's been adopted by Canucks, cowboys, and Kentuckians. He's about to be embraced by Mountaineers, and after scaling the Appalachians, he could add the Adirondacks and the San Gabriels before the year is out.

From the time he sold as a yearling to the time he was sold privately as a 2-year-old, his value multiplied 40 times, and has multiplied at least another 10 times since.

This horse should have jockeys fighting over him like jealous suitors. And guess what? Any jockey who does win him over likely will reap the rewards for several years to come. If he stays healthy, there won't be any farewell parties for a quite some time. Come on, guys, we've got a Trigger looking for his Roy Rogers, a Silver looking for his Lone Ranger, a Champion looking for his Gene Autry. Enough of this already; just hop aboard, stay put, and enjoy the ride.


Leave a Comment:

Ted from LA

I tell you, he doesn't get any respect.  I don't either.  Last night I was making love to my wife and nothing was happening, so I said, "What's the matter, can't you think of anyone either?"

07 Jul 2009 3:26 PM

I agree. It is a shame that a horse that has done so much already, and has the potential to do so much more, is having so much trouble getting a commitment  from a rider.

07 Jul 2009 3:31 PM
TouchStone Farms

It's evident that chip hasn't had a lot of good horses, or maybe even another good horse. It is because of this lack of stable depth that the jocks are playing him like a violin. I would have dumped them all a long time ago and been pro-active via discussions with the jock who rode him as a two year old champion - obtained a long term agreement, and watched them scramble and laughed. They clearly don't deserve the opportunity to ride a colt of this caliber now or in any of the many classic races that may be in his future as a four & a five year old! Yes even big shots need a tuning in once in a while...hey Mike & Calvin your good jocks, but remember your only as good as the horses you ride.    

07 Jul 2009 3:55 PM

It is just so mind boggling. I read one reporter state that the reason Mine That Bird can not keep a jockey is the owners and trainer only have one horse. WELLLLLL lets see what the one horse has done for the jockeys that have ridden him so far. Calvin Borel has won more money off him in two (2) races than he has off his gal in six (6). Mike Smith won more money from him in one (1) race, than he has from his gal in two (2).  You are talking about a horse that is scheduled to ride in almost seven million dollars worth of races in his next three races, maybe more, if they run him in another race before the Classic which they are considering, and disagree with me if you want, he has a good chance of winning them. There are some racing stables that don't have all their horses combine running in races with that much money up for a jockey to win. I don't know, I am not a mathematical genius but maybe if the reason behind not wanting to ride him is he is only one horse, somebody, maybe should set down and add it up. I say welcome back Mike Smith, and to Chip Wooley, you are a nice guy, but enough already of letting Calvin Borel treat your horse like a back up plan. PLEASE do not let him back on your horse.

07 Jul 2009 3:58 PM

Somewhere in Saudi Arabia or Dubai, I saw camels racing with little robot riders instead of humans.  

Any chance of getting one of them things for MTB?

(and would you still have to pay a robot 10%?)

07 Jul 2009 3:59 PM

Amen Steve. This horse deserves a lot more respect than what he's been getting. If I was 20 years younger and 20 Ibs lighter, I'd offer to ride him. Lol....

07 Jul 2009 4:07 PM

Not to take anything away from Mine that Bird's personality or work ethic on the track but personally the 'luster' of winning the Kentucky Derby has been lost on me as a racing fan in the past decade.

Just for a quick comparison I went back to check when was the last time a KD winner also won the Breeders Cup Classic.  I had to go back to Unbridled in 1990.

The Derby, with all it's pomp and history will always be the Derby but it seems to me that the race itself has become little more than a calvery charge, where it's not necessarily the 'best' horse who gets to the wire but the 'luckiest' horse who gets there first.

The horse who doesn't end up beaten up at the start (ah la Fresian Fire) the horse who doesn't get trapped on the rail, taken 8 wide, bumped and battered in between 19 other horses.  Borel gave Mine that Bird a hell of a lucky ride and yes that little horse's racing guts took him through that hole on the fence but still, how else might the Derby have played out if it was 14 horses instead of 20?

He ran strong in the Preakness and the Belmont and maybe in the latter half of the season he'll really come into his own and prove me and other skeptics wrong.  I have nothing against the horse I just feel that hanging an expectation of immediate respect around his neck, just because he was the luckiest runner of 20 on the first day in May is a bit much.

07 Jul 2009 4:07 PM
Jock Agent

You guys don't understand.  Chip Wooley is a one horse stable.  Why would any top jock commit to a one horse stable guy through the biggest races of the year when you could be putting in jeopardy potential LONG TERM LUCRATIVE commitments.  You just can't tick the people off that give you the business day in and day out.....

07 Jul 2009 4:12 PM
Dave the Draynay Fan

There's a reason for that, because he is a fluke who has only won one race this year.

07 Jul 2009 4:20 PM

Absolutely, Steve!  So well said.  This is one wonderful horse and while there may have been good reasons for all the jockey shuffling, it just breaks my heart for Mine That Bird to be treated as an afterthought.  He might well have been a Triple Crown winner if he'd had a steady jock who loved him and worked with him.  A great ride is a partnership between the horse and the jockey.  Mine That Bird is all you described and more - he wins the hearts of all who watch him run (except apparently the jockeys!!)  And I for one hope he blows all these next race wide open just like he did the Kentucky Derby.  Like I've said in blogs before, I have lots of friends who aren't diehard fans and they have watched Mine That Bird's Kentucky Derby over and over just for the huge thrill of it all.  Me, I think of him as I saw him at the Stakes barn at Pimlico.  Just as calm, steady and self-possessed as if he were standing in his own field grazing.  What a horse!!!

07 Jul 2009 4:24 PM
Bill W

Jock Agent hit the nail on the head. Good Luck to MTB! He is great for racing.

07 Jul 2009 4:30 PM

What a great article! Poor MTB he is such a sweetie.

I made the mistake of jumping off of him after he finished last in the BCJ. Before his disappointing finish I thought this is the one...the future Kentucky Derby winner.

I really liked him coming into the derby and loved his works...but a 4th at Sunland?

I even got another chance at picking him up...kinda scary weird how it happened.

I was driving to work at 5am Kentucky Derby morning and was deep in thought. I asked who's going to win today? Common show me a sign. I looked up at the sky and then a real sign caught my attention off to my right. It was an exit ramp sign that said 8th street with a bird perched on it. I started laughing and said your joking right. MTB is breaking from post 8. I love the horse but no way...impossible! I see this sign every darn day anyways.

Wish I would have listened to the sign.

07 Jul 2009 4:33 PM

If it were me I'd ride Russell Baze on this horse.  Russell is a patient rider who is second only to Garrett Gomez in his ability to get a horse to finish.  If you allow someone to walk over you then guess what they will.  And that is exactly what is happening to Chip Wooley.  I remember when the Kentucky Derby winner got the upmost respect.  But I guess if you don't demand respect then you'll never get it.  

07 Jul 2009 4:38 PM
Karen in Texas

Steve---You stated his (MTB's) case perfectly! It seems to me that Mike Smith is willing to work with Mine That Bird's situation as much as he is able, given his original commitment to Zenyatta. I had read that Calvin would not even be allowed to exercise him at all from this point forward. Would they really let him back on for the BC? Chip Woolley has indeed shown patience, probably born of his sincere intention and commitment to do what is best for his little horse. I hope the jockey situation is resolved permanently and soon.

07 Jul 2009 4:47 PM

A fluke??? No horse that runs his butt off like that while the supposed better horses are paddling furiously upstream can be called a fluke. His better days are still ahead of him.

07 Jul 2009 4:54 PM
War Admiral

Jock Agent, I think the point you need to be contemplating is what Lecylue said.  I for one am dog-tired of seeing jocks and their agents treat this good little horse like a cheap claimer.  They better hope their long-term rides stay sound, no?

07 Jul 2009 4:57 PM
Mike Relva


No,it's you that doesn't understand what a special horse he truly is!

07 Jul 2009 4:57 PM
Steve Haskin

We're not talking about Garrett Gomez or John Velazquez or Kent Desormeaux who have leading stable commitments. Calvin Borel has had a total of 9 Breeders' Cup mounts in his life and none last year. Why wouldnt you want to ride one of the favorites in the BC Classic? Do you know how many jockeys were banging John Servis' and Tim Ritchey's door down to ride Smarty Jones and Afleet Alex? Once you have won the Ky. Derby on a horse, the vast majority of trainers are not going to expect you to desert him to ride their horse. Do you think John Shirreffs was going to fire Smith if he rode Mine That Bird in the Belmont instead of Madeo? Smith had already dumped Madeo this year to ride Stardom Bound in the Ashland Stakes.

07 Jul 2009 5:01 PM

I agree with Jock Agent.  You also have to consider that if the business side of the industry has their way he will be retired after this year or sooner.  The jocks are looking for their in with the next Derby starter and with trainers that get more respect and have more to offer.  

No matter who the jockey is the way the jockeys have been defecting I would have raised a stink and made them respect me and my horse or get lost...

I personally am still on the wall about Mine That Bird but I love his grit and the twinkle in his eye.

07 Jul 2009 5:03 PM
Karen in Texas

snow---Exactly how should Chip Woolley go about "demanding respect"? It is imperative that he secure a jockey! How can he "force" resolution on such a situation? His grace under pressure approach has certainly earned his respect from me and probably many, many others!

07 Jul 2009 5:15 PM


You are absolutely right.  I dont understand why Chip Wooley continues to go with the same guys.  He should call guys like Bejarano, Prado, Castellano, Dominguez.  Bejarano is one of the top 3 jocks in the nation, he doesnt even get a call.  Burn me once shame on you. Burn me twice, shame on me.

07 Jul 2009 5:18 PM

Hey Pharlap, he's a gelding.  Unless there's some very special plastic surgery available that we don't know about, he won't be retired this year or next for stud (thank god!) and he could be the next Kelso or Forego.  Riders are short-sighted if they forget this and they're also short-sighted if they ignore his guts and heart.

I say: bring back Chantal Sutherland!

07 Jul 2009 5:20 PM

I have a question that no one has answered so far.... How come Chantal Sutherland, who rode him in his starts in Canada, didn't get the opportunity to ride him again(in the Sunland Derby,Kentucky Derby,Preakness & Belmont)?

07 Jul 2009 5:20 PM

That a boy Steve! You tell them.  

07 Jul 2009 5:22 PM
Loyalty Before The Current It Horse

I would love to have Calvin and Bird be an inseperable team- but not at the expense of Rachel Alexandra.  And not at the expense of Calvin's loyalty to Ian Wilkes, who was riding him and sticking with him when offered the services of other top jocks around Derby time- BEFORE the Bird blossomed into this great little horse.  Mike Smith also has loyalty to his big stable and big horse- Zenyatta - wouldn't separate them for the good of the Bird.  Somewhere there is a jockey for this horse who will stick with him through thick and thin.  (Jerry Bailey should come out of retirement!!!)

07 Jul 2009 5:24 PM
Brian A.

I agree with you on all points.  It almost seems sometimes like the poor guy has been forgotten yet again!

And Steve, on a side note here, I don't appreciate Ted from LA's comment, lets keeps things clean please, that was very unessasary!

07 Jul 2009 5:36 PM
Bill Willer

How about Jeremy Rose? I'll bet you if he had been on MTB in the Belmont, he would have timed the Bird's move much better...as he did with Afleet Alex. Note also how in both the Preakness and the Belmont, Rose took Afleet Alex to the rail promptly from the start. It would seem that Rose has the riding style and discipline that would lend itself well to Mine That Bird.

Mine That Bird is the real deal. He ran each leg of the Triple Crown well. The Belmont ride was bad (I love Borel, but...that ride reminded me of Smarty Jones in 2004. Maybe he was rank, but I think Wooley was just being really classy by not calling out the quality of the ride more. Kudos to him. He's as great a discovery this year as MTB is.) but MTB ran as well as could have been asked.

I'm not buying the one horse stable shtick. Wooley is a known entity now. He'll get some horses. But you know what? That is beside the point. If I'm a jock, I want to be on a winning horse - that is what is going to get me mounts. If I'm associated with winners, I'm going to get the call. And like Mr. Haskin states: The jocks can all off a mount for an owner they work regularly with. Mike Smith COULD have asked off of what's his face, and Jerry Moss would have probably thought "Hey, that's cool. After all, He won the Derby, for pete's sake."  Moss strikes me as a reasonable character, who appreciates the history of the sport - and it's making. If it was the Breeders' Cup with Zenyatta, then I can see there being an issue there, but for that race...probably not an issue.

I'll be driving up to WV on August 1st, you can be sure. And if Mike Smith is not on MTB, then I sure hope Jeremy Rose is!

07 Jul 2009 5:39 PM

Anyone know if there's a reason they're not trying to get Chantal Sutherland back up on him (or have they and I've just missed that news)?  She's a great jock and rode him to his 2 year old champ award so she obviously understands the horse.  

I'm surprised they haven't found a solid jock for him, but I can see why both Calvin and Mike have turned it down as a solid commitment.  Mike has a long history riding for the Mosses.  I wouldn't give that up for one horse either.  Calvin is in love with Rachel, obviously, but he's also got commitments to certain stables that he has to honor so he doesn't risk his position with them.  It's solid business decisions going on here for these two jocks.  Why can't they find someone else?

07 Jul 2009 5:41 PM

I love MTB and keep hoping he will get a jockey who is committed to HIM first.  He deserves it.

A horse who won the Derby, placed in the Preakness and finished 3rd in the Belmont is NOT a fluke.

07 Jul 2009 5:52 PM

Let Jamie Theriot ride him.

I don't get it either, Smith says he's the real deal and one of the best he's ever been on, what's the problem?

PS Steve, we've adopted him way up here in the Granite State, too!

07 Jul 2009 6:10 PM

I'd like to see Rosie Napravnik on him. I think they'd be two peas in a pod.

Pharlap, I don't think you have to worry about Mine That Bird being rushed off to the breeding shed at the end of the year. :)

07 Jul 2009 6:35 PM

Steve, now you're condemning jockeys for having on-going and pre-existing relationships and being unwilling to throw these aside for a horse who has one a single stakes race this year?

Sorry, but his trainer, demanding his colt get first call through the breeders' cup from the world's best jockeys was asking too much.

Wooley wins one stakes race ever, and thinks he's got the world-beater.  Sadly, its not the case.

07 Jul 2009 6:37 PM

Jock's Agent hit the nail on the head.

IF Mine that Bird is a great horse (he's yet to prove that), it will show no matter who is on his back.  If, however, he proves to be yet another Derby winner who becomes an also-ran when the rest of his generation matures to his level, then the Jock who burns his bridges is screwed.

If you've followed horse racing very long, you know the latter is FAR more likely.

Most of the top jocks have lucrative commitments with trainers/owners with stables full of horses with MTB's potential.  Why throw all those chances away for a single shot?

"Truly special horse"?  MTB won one stakes race this year.  One.

Rachel won twice that many in May alone.  

07 Jul 2009 6:44 PM

So glad someone finally wrote about this - especially since it's Steve!

I've been stewing over it for days and have no one to discuss it with.

MTB's connections may have a one-horse stable, but what a horse he is!  I love that little Bird and want him to have a rider who loves him, too. I had been thinking of Julien Leparoux before the "accidental" announcement appeared here at BH last weekend and was very disappointed when that turned out to be premature.  Mike Smith is great but I want a *commitment* darnit!

So Jamie Theriot worked MTB this morning - a really good work - and loved him.  Is Theriot in complete disgrace over the Arlington accident?  Should he get the mount for the BC if Smith is otherwise occupied?

07 Jul 2009 6:50 PM

Get Chantel, she knows him and would commit to him. I don't like Mike Smith that much

07 Jul 2009 6:59 PM
Greg J.

   How true, Is is amazing the lack of respect Mine That Bird Gets!  I am glad Mike Smith is back on board, albeit for only a couple of races, At least it is a minor commitment.  I would have gone with his original rider(After Constant Montpellier), Chantal Sutherland, Maybe there is more to the story with her and Mine That Bird's Connections then we know, Her agent called after the Derby and never heard back from them.  She is one hell of a jockey, She is tearing up the track at Woodbine, and the National Exposure of being on Mine That Bird would be great for her already good career.  Another aspect of the story is that she is Mike Smith's Girlfriend, And she has said of Smith riding him, "“I’d rather have Mike ride him than any other jockey.”  So maybe after Smith she will get the chance to ride him thoughout his career, I would certainly like to see it play out like that!

     To everyone who keeps saying Mine That Bird is a fluke, It really is getting old, If Mr. Haskin says that the Kentucky Derby Winner, Mine That Bird is "One helluva horse", Well, I will take his opinion over anyone who calls him a fluke, You people are just making yourself look clueless and showing your complete lack of knowledge in the sport of Horse Racing...

Kudos Mr. Haskin...

07 Jul 2009 7:01 PM

Personally if MTB was my horse, I wouldn't even have given Calvin a 2nd chance on him...period !!!  

You wanna leave my Derby Winner ???   For Real ???...OK...But, just know that when you do your leaving for good.   Don't come crawling back to me later !!!

Why is it that they feel the need to have another so-called Top Jock anyways ???  

If I had trouble finding someone else to commit to him, i'd go back to where I came from and offer a local jock a shot at the Bigs.

They sure as H*LL couldn't do any worse on him than what Calvin already did in the Belmont !!!

They'd actually Appreciate the chance AND they'd work their tail off to boot.  

They wouldn't be living it up on the late show talk circuit making false Guarantees.   And not wanting to ride in any races before the main event.

07 Jul 2009 7:08 PM
Jenet Vlotaros

It shouldn't matter how many good horses you have.  Mine that bird and his connections deserve respect for recognizing a great little horse.  He keeps doing his job along with his trainer; it would be nice if the Jockeys would step up and do theirs too, so Mine that Bird can earn the acclaim he deserves. You wonder why their begging for new horse owners!!

07 Jul 2009 7:08 PM
rolo from ky


07 Jul 2009 7:22 PM

MTB is a great little running machine with a big heart great connections what else could the jocks want? Some people never know how lucky they are or could be! Some would kill for this chance in a lifetime.

07 Jul 2009 7:24 PM
rolo from ky

agree about others jock  have connections and why should they lose several mounts for one mount on a good horse. NOT GREAT.

07 Jul 2009 7:24 PM

I understood Calvin Borel choosing Rachel Alexandra-he had histroy with her and she is an amazing filly....but his last decision boggled my mind a bit!  I would love to have seen him pair up with MTB for the rest of the year!

07 Jul 2009 7:40 PM
Ida Lee

MTB is one special horse. What a beautiful and talented animal he is. It makes me so angry that he has had so much trouble keeping a jockey. But, I believe it is the Trainer's job to find the perfect jockey for his Star. If his Trainer doesn't demand respect for his horse, who will? I read somewhere that if you dropped one of Michael Matz's horses to ride another one, he would never use you again. MTB deserves a trainer like that. And he also deserves a jockey like Calvin Borel is when he's with Rachel. Calvin can't see straight when he's with this incredible Filly. He's all over her, petting and kissing her. Just loving her up. That's the jockey MTB needs. To bad, Calvin already found his equine soul mate. P.S. I agree with everyone above who thinks Chantal would be perfect for MTB.

07 Jul 2009 7:53 PM

Karen in Texas,

You demand respect by not allowing Borel or Smith to ride your horse again.  There are plenty of other Jockeys out there who would love the opportunity to commit to this horse thru the Breeder's Cup-which is what the connections state that they want.  You state "His (Wooley) grace under pressure..."  The only thing his grace under pressure has gotten him is to be treated like a "step-child" when you're the one wearing the glass slipper (i.e. the Kentucky derby Winner!).

07 Jul 2009 7:55 PM

Let's give credit where credit is due-Borel gave MTB a ride in the derby that no other jock could have(or would have) and Smith gave a solid performance in the Preakness. The Belmont...well that's tough for alot of reasons.  MTB is a handy tough horse who deserves a permanent rider. Not sure the best is being done by the horse with different jocks...but he seems talented enough even tho'

07 Jul 2009 9:25 PM

A great point Steve, but perhaps as a thought, there are some pretty good 3 year coming back from injury in the fall and that may have played a part. Most noteably Quality Road, Dunkirk, I Want Revenge, The Pamplemousse, Square Eddie, and even Stardom Bound to name a few. I am not sure the whens and ifs of these scenarios but jocks can be pretty fickled. We also have Well Armed in the older horse division, Commentator, Einstein and I am sure there are many more good horses not mentioned that will need a rider. Maybe folks feel Mine That Bird is on the downside, who knows. Nevertheless the little guy is a good little 3 year old and deserves respect.

07 Jul 2009 9:29 PM

Isn't it strange, jockeys are always hoping for the one big horse. Yet when they find him, they get off of him in quest of the multiple rides promised by many horses. Only one horse will get you into history book of legends, many horses will just place you in among many stories.

It would have been interesting if the connections of Mine That Bird had been able to connect with Shane Sellers.

Sellers would have a horse that would have reintroduced his return to racing in a big way. The "Bird" would be benefit of his experience, talent, and his desire/need for the "big horse".

All the future days that Mine The Bird is healthy and sound, every other future and present classic stake winner is going to have to face him on the track. He will be the yardstick of years to come by who we measure against when determining the greatness of other horses. The Jockey that gets on him, and stays on him for all those future years, will be blessed. The Jockey(s) that choose to ride another horse over him, will not want that decision remembered, not even by themselves.

So, here is hoping that the Bird finds his steady rider, Sellers, or someone, just that they know, they were blessed.      

07 Jul 2009 9:46 PM

Napravnik or Rose would fit him like a glove.  They also wouldn't have to worry about being dumped again.

07 Jul 2009 9:46 PM


Hello! Another gelding, John Henry! He had what - 13 riders in his career? He got "no respect" either.

The Rubins, Ron McAnally and his staff, laughed all the way to the bank! :-)

I love Mine That Bird, and always will.

07 Jul 2009 10:29 PM

Whoops! Mr. Haskin ~ forget to mention ~ I LOVE your observations and comments!

07 Jul 2009 10:31 PM
Karen in Texas

snow--- Steve used the word "patience" in his commentary. I agree that patience is what Woolley and the owners have shown. They did make what they described as a "pre-emptive strike" when announcing the removal of Calvin as MTB's rider. Until that time, he was apparently the jockey they wanted on their horse; not plenty of other jockeys. Throughout this process they showed both patience and respect to Calvin. It is not possible, in my opinion, for them to "demand" respect from him.

07 Jul 2009 10:41 PM

Thanks for the great article about Mine That Bird. You are so right, jockeys should be banging on his door in droves.

I think it's been a great first half year of racing, and Mine That Bird deserves much of the credit. He energized the sport with his Kentucky Derby romp, then became the first equine cover boy for "Sports Illustrated" in five years. His performances in the Preakness and Belmont Stakes were also ones to be proud of.

Let's get a rider with solid credentials, ready to make a long term commitment to this wonderful, little horse, who deserves nothing less.

08 Jul 2009 12:16 AM

Karen in Texas,

You're missing my point...I do appreciate the dialogue however.

08 Jul 2009 1:08 AM

my understanding was and is that borel honours his earlier commitment to Rachel Alexandra and smith to moss stables. that`s what i call loyal.

08 Jul 2009 1:45 AM

Steve -you are sooo right(as usual)!MTB is so sweet I could probably ride him and he would run his best. And I totally agree that CB need not come calling again.The Kent D angle is interesting for me because if he partnered with MTB and was sincere about it I might be able to begin to respect and even like him again.

08 Jul 2009 2:52 AM
John Boudreau

GREAT Article>>> In Borel and Smith

's Situation They Are Sitting on Possibly the Two Best HORSES in the Country>>>Being a Former Jock Agent If I Had ANY other Rider>>I'd be on Chip W.like a Cheap Suit!!!This Horse is a Stone Cold RUNNER>>And He WILL Prove it >> GOOD LUCK Chip W. and MTB

08 Jul 2009 7:03 AM

CRob87, the jocks at Sunland wouldn't ride MTB the way Woolley wanted, remember? His one run was always way too early, and he'd still be trying his heart out but not able to hold on. (2 and 4)

I like Rosie, I think she fits MTB, she's as daring and bold as he is. I really don't think Chantal fits him. I think he ran better than she rode.

Jeremy Rose is OK as long as he keeps his whip off MTB's face...oh yeah, this isn't a 25K claimer, so he'll behave.

Jamie Theriot will have his demons with him for a long time, he did his punishment, and his personal punishment, well, I think the grief he lives with must be awful. I think he's a great fit for this horse.

08 Jul 2009 8:27 AM

Lmaris, how can you be an "also ran" when your record is: 11-5-2-1, you won the Kentucky Derby, were Canadian champion two-year-old colt and have multiple Graded/Non-Graded Stakes wins, many more placings, including multiple GR1's, and already earned over 2 million early in his racing career.

You wouldn't give your eye teeth to own a race horse who has accomplished this in only 1 1/2 years of racing with his whole future ahead of him?

08 Jul 2009 8:40 AM

Mike Smith could probably stay on MTB next year since this is Zenyatta's last year. but he needs a committwed jock now.I love MTB and hope they don't run him to death and they take care of him. Why don't Jackson have Robby Albarado ride Rachael, they are probably still pissed at him over Curlin's loss in the BC.

08 Jul 2009 8:44 AM

I couldn't understand why Wooley held out for Borel in the Belmont.Maybe it has to do with MTB's personality and running style. I recently found out from someone who has been on the horse that he is a fearless competitor, will run through a hint of a hole opening up and will bump his way to win. To me that's what you want in a racehorse but not all jockeys want to ride a horse like that. Borel (I'm not a fan) appears to be fearless and is a good match in that respect. So Wooley really knows his horse. I read 3 quotes from Borel before the Belmont that he knew "a Plodder" would win the race, so he wasn't mentally riding for a win. I believe that MTB knew the right way to go in the Belmont, not Borel and so they disagreed. Perhaps Borel's passion for Rachel Alexandra got in the way. I think E.T. Baird would be a perfect fit. He's ridden some rockets and he's won at Mountaineer.

08 Jul 2009 9:03 AM
Soldier Course

Thank you very much, Steve. All of this needed to be said. I am glad that you waited for a month after the Triple Crown season was over, in order to give this issue some time to season. It is interesting that both you and Cot Campbell have now said that Mine That Bird would have been our 12th Triple Crown winner if the jockey situation had been different.  

My heart has gone out to Mine That Bird from the moment that Calvin Borel patronized him during the spot with Donna Brothers immediately after the Kentucky Derby. Borel yacked about Carl Nafzger and Rachel Alexandra before finally giving Mine That Bird a dismissive pat and saying, "I can't knock him". The horse just won the Kentucky Derby, and that's what you say?

I lost all respect for Borel at that moment. If I had been Chip Woolley, I would have lost all trust in him, as well. I would have assumed that this guy would be looking out for Number One every step of the way, no matter what.  

Given the time pressures and developments that were beyond his control, Chip Woolley did the best he could about the jockey situation for the Preakness and the Belmont. He didn't have much choice.

If I were Chip, I would call Marylou Whitney and ask for her advice and assistance about securing a loyal jockey for Mine That Bird. Ms. Whitney surely has a vested interest in seeing that Birdstone's son gets every best advantage, without having to bow and scrape. She is very gracious and would be glad to show Chip the way. And Ms. Whitney does not have to worry about how to "demand respect". She commands it.  

08 Jul 2009 9:10 AM
Majella from Ireland

Brilliant article I love the rider wanted classifield! I wish Smith could commit to MTB for the BC Classic because he gave him an amazing ride in the Preakness. Borel rode him excellently also but he hasn't showed the horse much respect.

08 Jul 2009 9:22 AM

I hate to say it but I think the 'cowboys' from NM just aren't that into having a woman ride their awesome little horse...just a feeling I have, although it would be GREAT media if she was able to get back on MTB. I am a woman, I always cheer on the women riders, I love that women have taken the long, hard road into the men's world of racing, but likely CS will never ride for the owners of MTB. Too bad....she fits him.

08 Jul 2009 9:27 AM
Soldier Course


Love your story about the highway sign.

I have been going to the Kentucky Derby since 2005. Before that year I had a ritual on Derby day. I was usually out running errands before the race coverage. On my way home, when I would get to the last stop sign, I would say a Hail Mary for my chosen horse. In 2004 I forgot to do this, drove on home, and was unloading groceries when I remembered. I ran out to my car and returned to the stop sign, even making sure I was facing in the right direction. Then and there I said a Hail Mary for Smarty Jones.

Ted from LA: Please.

08 Jul 2009 9:28 AM

Thank you, Mr Haskins - Had just finished the BH article about Ron Valenta's La Canada Stables and Jack Carava passing on buying MTB because they, at the time, didn't think he had the speed numbers to fit So Cal racing.

In reading the PPs of many prior to the Derby, I noticed several had improved, at one time or another, drastically between certain races.  Jumps from the 70s to the 90s were common for those well bred types.  However, were the Woodbine numbers skewed?  More than one punter tied them, with the BC loss at SA, and, the wrong headed feeling that Sunland was chump change for a track, into rejecting MTB.

Yes, jocks do commit to larger stables, but, sometimes jocks make mistakes in selecting horses.  Pincay only rode Roving Boy once, dumped him, only to see RB win the Eclipse.  Pincay, McCarron, Shoe, and other top names all passed on Snow Chief which allowed the newcomer Solis to pick up the mount.  How many punters have been burned by looking at a form and saying "Hmmm, so and so is switching mounts, hmmm"?

08 Jul 2009 9:39 AM

Woolley needs to dump these snob jockeys that won't commit and find someone who appreciates the horse's talent. I thought being a jockey was all about getting on the best horse, not how many horses a trainer has for them to ride. MTB is a top horse that should stick around a while. Jocks should be climbing all over each other to get on him. What's the problem?!

08 Jul 2009 9:52 AM

I love you, Mine That Bird.  I would ride you myself, but I'm too tall.

Wish you'd get some respect.

Hugs, Carrots, & Kisses from me.

08 Jul 2009 9:57 AM

Yes, I forgot he was a gelding for a moment but come on, how many geldings are staying on to run after their three year old season (especially after running/winning triple corwn races)? If you dare say Funnycide I'll only laugh because look what he did after the derby...

Has it really not occured to anyone that the reason Chantel she might not get the ride is because she is a woman?  His trainer strikes me as one of the type that I have worked around here in Texas.

08 Jul 2009 9:59 AM

Wonderful article, Steve!  I couldn't agree with you more.  Mine That Bird just has a special something about him that draws me to him and I look forward to watching him race for many years to come as I believe he will prove himself to be one of the best.  No, he can't be compared to the greats like John Henry or Kelso or Forego, yet, but in my opinion the possibility is there and it's fun to watch the horse's career develop.  Knowing he won't be rushing off the breed, I'm hoping we have many years of hearing his story play out.

08 Jul 2009 10:19 AM
patti d

steve, you and i are on the same wavelength!  i was planning on emailing you today regarding the disrespect being shown to mine that bird, and here is your article!!  i only hope that mr. wooley finds a deserving jockey to ride this wonderful horse and that mine that bird keeps winning so all his detractors will just go away!

08 Jul 2009 10:36 AM

Ah, female jocks - Can we bury the canard that they are not strong enough to handle two turns?  Have heard that many a time, not only in the stands at various tracks, but, in Vegas sports books. Let us place that in the lock box with "Blacks can't play QB".

How often I have seen someone such as Joy Scott work a horse into contention, only to see a "Name Jock" take over and ruin the odds.  Joy, once, won on a horse which paid over 100 bucks.  The punters proclaimed at SA "They let her win".  Funny thing was she came back 10 days later on the same mount and paid $80 and change. Saw Rae Schubert taken off a mount after winning at Longacres, so that the new trainer, Ron Glatt, could put Gary Boulanger up.  Odds went into the ground.  The mare French and English still ran the same.

Top jocks often receive too much credit.  Someone supra mentioned John Henry.  In his last race at the Meadowlands, McCarron was aboard.  JH was far back and, seemingly, out of it, when, JH decided to run.  He rolled in the stretch and won.  McCarron said he was only a passenger and had little to do with it.  John Henry knew when and where he wanted to run.  Yes, even Joy Scott could have won on him.  Joy could win on many others, as well.

08 Jul 2009 10:48 AM

Pharlap - Lava Man ran until he was seven - a gelding that won 5.2 million.

John Henry ran until he was nine -a gelding that won over 6 million

Perfect Drift ran until he was eight - a gelding that won nearly 5 million.

The great Forego, Kelso, all geldings, need I go on.

I know you are going say none of them won the Derby. Well, right you are, but what has that got to do with Mine That Bird running until he is seven or eight, and in today's times he could end up winning more than 10 million.  

(Also, Funny Side won the Preakness after the Derby by 10 plus lenghts, so it was not like he never won again, so don't knock Funny Cide to try to make a point.)        

08 Jul 2009 10:49 AM
Soldier Course


Well, I'll say Funny Cide. And yes indeed, look at what he did after the Derby. He won the Preakness, the Jockey Club Gold Cup, his final race at Finger Lakes, and hundreds of thousands of hearts in America. And you don't get offered a permanent home in the Hall of Champions at the Kentucky Horse Park if you're a flash in the pan.  

08 Jul 2009 10:50 AM

Do you guys not get it. The reasons most top jocks can't commit to MTB right now is because they already have other top mounts they have committed to. Borel has RA, and he knows that she will potentially be racing the colts, so why ditch a potential superstar who is unbeaten this season has set two stakes records, and won the Preakness, and wins everything else being geared down. Mike Smith has Zenyatta, why would he dump his unbeaten mare for a horse who has won once all season. Smith said he was one of the bravest horses he's been on not the best, that would be Zenyatta. Gomez also has horses like POTN who will soon return to the races. Other jocks will also be gunning for horses like QR, who was the pre Derby favorite, and has lost only one race, which was a second. Warriors Reward ran huge despite a nasty start, to close and get third. Summer Bird is also a horse that looks to be on the improve. Jocks are going to look at what can make money short term and now. Most of these colts won't be around next year, while MTB will be, he'll be around for years, meaning the jocks can take their time before going to him. Also many of these jocks have other connections that they have close relations with, Wooley is relaltively new to the big time. Why would a jock risk his already established relations with a top trainer who gets top horses with a guy who you hardly know? Wooley has one good horses, bigger trainers have scores of them, they may not be grade one but they might be stakes matirial. With Wooley it's MTB or nothing pretty much, and personally i'd go with 20 stakes horses that are good at that level, than just one grade one horse who seems to need a perfect trip to actually win.

08 Jul 2009 10:55 AM

 Hey Chip, call Arlington Park and talk to F Jara or hot newcomer D Sanchez.

08 Jul 2009 11:02 AM

Pharlap: He's a GELDING.  It appears he's sound.  It appears he likes to run.  It appears he's a good little horse (I put the "appears" in there only to cut off Dray's usual rant-- but I believe he IS good).  Why retire him at 3 (whether he won a triple crown race or not)?  

What else would he do?  After thinking about that, I've come up with the following:

1.  stand-in for some of the Budweiser horses in the commercials -- he's got the heart if not the size

2.  cutting horse -- fits with trainer's and owners' backrounds.  Although he might keep overshooting the cows (steers?) because he's so fast

3.  stable pony -- although it's probably really hard to be a humble stable pony when you're trotting around wearing a blanket of roses

The only reason, usually, for 3YO retirement of classic winners is to make more bucks breeding. MTB can't.  Therefore, as long as he's sound and willing, why would you think they'd stop him?  Which means, even if you only think in terms of purses and earnings, jockeys are being short-sighted in  not committing to him.

And don't you dare diss Funnycide.  He WON the Kentucky Derby and he made his sire.  He also did a lot for the game just by running the way he did.  

08 Jul 2009 11:03 AM

Thank you, Mr. Haskin, for so eloquently putting into words what so many of us have been thinking. Calvin's attitude of "I'll ride your horse if I'm not busy" is not how a Kentucky Derby winner should ever be treated. His behavior since the Kentucky Derby has damaged his reputation a great deal. Many excused him riding RA in the Preakness, but then to turn his back again, to MTB, because by riding Ian Wilkes' horse in a potentially conflicting race could gain him more future horses with a larger barn is disgraceful. Even if a jockey only looked at it from a business point of view, riding MTB has already proven to be financially lucrative. Out of all the horses who ran in the Triple Crown races, he is the ONLY horse to have placed 1st, 2nd or 3rd in all three races. That alone proves he is a very consistent. He is the top 3 yr. old male racehorse in the country. The added bonus is Mine That Bird is a gelding. He has the potential of racing for a lot longer than any of the other colts he is competing against. What 3 yr. old, male or female, has earned more than Mine That Bird so far in their 3 yr. old season? I haven't researched it, but I would venture to say that Mine That Bird is the top earning 3 yr. old.

Chip Woolley has shown himself to be a credit to the racing industry. His behavior is without blemish & his relationship with Mine That Bird shows he is true horseman. Mine That Bird is an exceptional horse & Chip Woolley is an exceptional human being & trainer. Any jockey with half his wits about him should be begging to be Mine That Bird's regular rider. What a fantastic team that jockey would be becoming a part of. Besides that, who is to say that Chip Woolley's barn will stay the size it is now? If I were an owner, I'd be thrilled  to have him train my horse. I would be very happy to know that my trainer had such a relationship with my horse that my horse would stand licking his hand for 10 minutes. As a horse owner, I know that for any horse to behave like that, he is truly a happy & content horse, well cared for & given a lot of attention. To have a trainer who has such a relationship with a horse & has the ability to train & bring out the best in a horse as Chip Woolley has is where any owner  should want their horses to be. Chip Woolley has a calmness & integrity that speaks volumes. He will not be a "one horse barn" for long. He deserves all the success in the world. Both he & Mine That Bird are a fantastic team. May they have success together for a long, long time.


08 Jul 2009 11:39 AM

LDP:  I could not agree more with many top jocks being committed to some of our 3 year olds coming back from injury as I stated earlier in this blog. It may be too early to say but MTB reminds me more of Funny Cide then he does of John Henry, Kelso, or Forego. Those 3 geldings were just freaky good. I could be wrong but I think he may be a little on the downside right now. The Triple Crown is pretty grueling and he ran his heart out in those races. They say that the "cream always rises to the top" and I think we will see a different horizon when our top 3 year olds come back. Wait till Quality Road, and I Want Revenge get their groove back on.

The best news of the week for me is seeing Dutow get suspended. I think he is bad for the sport and he got what he deserved. I am sure I will get some flak over this, but he is a cheater..............

08 Jul 2009 11:49 AM
Soldier Course


Thank you for reminding pharlap and all of us what Funny Cide's run did for his sire, Distorted Humor. As I said on a previous thread, before Funny Cide came along, his dad was known as Distorted Who?mor.

And let's not forget The Yellow School Bus. This clever idea soon became a symbol for a more inclusive winner's circle. The message is "This can be anybody's dream come true."

And it certainly caught on. In just a few years, we've had Team Smarty, Cash is King with Afleet Alex, and the Cowboys with Mine That Bird.

I have always admired the way that Funny Cide's owners turned their penny-wise circumstances into such a big advantage with the yellow school bus. At the time that it happened, I don't think any of them realized what an inspiration that bus would become. It was rented out of honest need.

Every year when I'm watching the Preakness on TV, I think of Funny Cide when the field reaches the far turn. You can see yellow school buses lined up just beyond the back fence at Pimlico. I think of them as sentries sent by a prior victor, sending everyone safely home. They were sure there for Afleet Alex.  

08 Jul 2009 11:52 AM
John C

I think there are a lot of sides to this situation. Personally, I understand Borel taking off in the Preakness for Rachel, because he not only had history with her but legitimately felt he was the best horse he's ever ridden, and if her Preakness didn't prove that, her Mother Goose sure did. And I understand them giving him the ride back in the Belmont, because he performed so well with the colt in the Derby. And while his ride may or may not have cost the colt the race (yes he moved too early, but the horse was very amped before the race and it may have been more his own doing), it's fair to say he'll learn from the experience and keeping him on the horse wouldn't be a bad decision. The only thing I don't understand, as far as the whole triple crown saga, is Smith's decision to take off for Madeo - I agree with what many of the people here have said - there is no way in  hell Shirreffs or Moss would be miffed about Smith, who has won the Derby for them and ridden the best horse they've ever owned to most of her victories, taking off a middling G2 quality turf horse to ride the Derby winner, and I'm frankly baffled as to why he didn't.

All that said, I think people aren't focusing enough on the more short-term reasoning behind Calvin's decision to commit to Warrior's Reward - I don't think it's about Wilkes' stable so much as the fact that there's a very real possibility of Rachel running in the Travers, and Borel doesn't want to have to jump off of Mine That Bird AGAIN in favor of the filly. I think he'd feel better jumping off Wilkes' horse, with the  understanding between them that he has ridden and will ride many of Wilkes' horses to important victories.

In regards to Chantal Sutherland - OF COURSE the reason she hasn't even been considered for the mount is because she's a woman. Remember what Mark Allen tried to pull between the Derby and the Preakness? Do any of you really think this class act would have an enlightened view of gender-equality  in the sport? If anyone is unconvinced about how the southern, oil-pushing "Good Ol' Boys" feel about women, go watch an episode of Dallas.

08 Jul 2009 11:54 AM

Great article Steve. You are always right on.  

I guess Mike will be free to ride the Little Big Hoss next year. Hopefully that is the plan. But if Chip isn't going to wait to find a steady love for his boy, he should take a look at Monmouth's jockey colony. There are alot of great veterans there who would love to get the ride of their lives....  Stewart, Chuck just to name a couple. You can't go wrong and you could do alot worse.

Best of luck Chip, whoever you choose, you and your horse are all class.

08 Jul 2009 12:09 PM

Thank you ,Steve, for this piece on Mine That Bird. This horse has channeled the spirits of Kelso and Exterminator to possibly become one of the great geldings of the 21st century. Long may he be sound and happy!

Regarding this issue with jockeys, I wish a young jockey with patience and potential would find their way to Chip Wooley, and be given the chance of a lifetime.

As far as those stating Wooley's lack of a large stable as hinderence to whether a jockey would be willing to commit, He just started training TB's so given time, he will have a "big stable". Hanging around at Churchill cant be hurting him in picking up some more horses.

08 Jul 2009 12:46 PM

Pharlap, not many TC winning Geldings run after winning because hardly any geldings have won any of those races!!

Only 2 Preakness winners in last 85 years, Funny Cide, and Prairie Bayou, who broke down and was euthanized in the Belmont.

Only one Belmont winner, Creme Fraiche, who had a spectacular career.

Derby winners: Funny Cide, Clyde Van Dusen raced until 7, Exterminator raced forever...still running if I remember correctly ;-)plua a couple more I can't remember...

Well known Geldings running after 3 year-old season:

Currently running: Well Armed, Better Talk Now, Fabulous Strike, Delightful Kiss, Dry Martini, Bribon, Researcher, Soldier's Dancer, Georgie Boy

Recently:  Evening Attire, Lava Man, The Tinman, With Anticipation, DaHoss,

08 Jul 2009 12:59 PM

To the top jocks it is a business decision plain and simple. There is no loyalty. It's on to the next opportunity and in this case being a trainer on a minor circuit,with a small stable, is a problem. Mike Smith is a great rider but his"always go wide" style is a real hinderance to MTB. CW needs to find a patient rider that is not afraid to stay on the rail,save ground and stay in tight quarters.

08 Jul 2009 1:09 PM

You hit this protruding nail on the head!

08 Jul 2009 1:13 PM

I would like to add that alot of owners would move the horse for precisely this reason. CW is lucky to have a loyal owner because this will probably cost them some wins down the road.

08 Jul 2009 1:32 PM

Chantel Sutherland is the original jilted party in this soap opera.  Mine That Bird got in to the Kentucky Derby entirely as a result of the earnings won by Chantel riding the two year old in Canada;  but guess what, well dear now that we're in the Derby we won't be needing your services anymore, it's time to upgrade.  It's analogous to a wife who works to get her husband through medical school only to be dumped once he becomes a doctor for a younger, better model.  So, it would be hypocritical of Woolley et al to complain (which they haven't) about loyalty.  What goes around, comes around?

08 Jul 2009 1:33 PM

I forgot retirement plan #4: being a star at the Kentucky Horse Park after having won a very competative Breeders' Classic, having beaten Zenyatta, Rachel Alexandra and Stardom Bound (isn't she ever going to come back?, Einstein and Sea the Stars (although the latter, just by a nose -- but he'll make the better sire in the future) (lol)

(we can always dream, eh?)

08 Jul 2009 1:37 PM

Great article Steve.

To command respect, one has to have some DIGNITY.

Wooley lost my reaspect when he allowed CB back on MTB at the Belmont.

Borel lost my respect for his super

oveconfident attitude prior to the Belmont and for his poor judgement during the race.

Chantal might not be a bad idea.

08 Jul 2009 1:58 PM

At first, I thought this was hypothetical breeding, and I was going to point out a major problem for MtB, then I read more carefully.

I think part of the issue is that MtB didn't go for many of the classic races or even allowances at familiar American tracks before the Derby. First he's in Canada, then he's in NM knocking hoofs with the Quarters. Some people might find that weird.

08 Jul 2009 2:46 PM

Have you all forgotten about Commentator...Nick Zito's gelding....he is 7 or 8, and he is a running champ.

08 Jul 2009 3:04 PM
Steve Haskin

All those critical of Woolley for not using Chantal Sutherland, he did use her in the Breeders' Cup on a $400,000 purchase and the horse finished last. No fault of Chantal's. But do we know for a fact that she even wanted to go to Sunland Park to ride the horse? I dont know if she did or not, but it's hard to knock Woolley until you know for sure she did. Once in Kentucky, Woolley was looking for a top local rider. Once he won the Derby, can you blame him for wanting only a leading rider on the horse? This happens all the time. At some point, I wouldnt mind seeing Chantal on him for at least one race. If they're still a good fit, it would make for a great story and make MTB even more popular.

As for the Preakness, I dont knock Borel for riding Rachel. I  was kind of surprised he took off MTB to ride Warrior's Reward. I cant imagine Ian Wilkes would hold it against him if he stuck with his Kentucky Derby winner rather than a horse who had never won a stakes.

Same with Shirreffs and Mike Smith. If Shirreffs didnt hold it against Smith jumping off Madeo to ride Stardom Bound in the Ashland, do you really think he'd hold it against him if he rode MTB -- the favorite -- in the Belmont Stakes?

Most trainers dont expect a rider to go off a Ky. Derby winner and a Belmont Stakes favorite.

08 Jul 2009 3:09 PM
Golden Gate


I think Calvin Borel and Mike smith didn't do anything wrong. I think they were just following through with commitments they ha made earlier.

That said I would like to see Robby Albarado ride him in BC

08 Jul 2009 3:12 PM

Only one problem with the Chantal theory.

She NEVER rode for the new owners, plus they TOTALLY changed MTB's running style and from what I saw of CS in SoCal, her style is somewhat different. Not bad, but just different.

I'm sure Doc will just keep going the same way he always has. He's been a fixture in NM racing for decades and isn't the kind of guy that most there picture losing his head over this. The guy has stood some of the greatest QH's of all time at Buena Suerte. Even when Allen went temporarily wacko, Doc brought him back to earth.

Not sure what's up with Calvin, but really, he was available to ride MTB for the Derby after winning it just 2 years before, THAT is something that makes you wonder.

The ONLY trainer that rides Calvin Almost ALL the time is Cecil.

Even Ian uses other riders.

I just see RA running this year out, JJ seeing how the breeding market is then Calvin won't ride for Asmussen et al again. All the horses Steve runs and Calvin doesn't ever ride for him as far as I know???

As far as Chip? He understood the first time with RA, that was a mount that Calvin loves. Mike? He wouldn't take off a horse for the Moss' for anything. HE DOES always ride for them. He rode MTB probably because of his connection to Doc, who has been in Roswell forever, Mikey's hometown and someone MS has known since he was a little kid.

Chip confers with the owners (read that as Doc). Like he said, the first time was somewhat understandable, the second time NOT acceptable.

Really though, trainers and owners switch up all the time just bad business sense for a jock to do it.

Never get too big for your britches, can we say Fernando Jara or Shane Sellers?

08 Jul 2009 3:26 PM
Jock Agent

I'm sure Jock's out there want to ride MTB.  They just don't want to commit for a 3 race commitment all the way to the BC.  Its' not the issue of jockeys not wanting to ride the horse....committing for 3 races is the issue.  Take someone you all mentioned like Prado, Bejarano, or Castellano.  Why would they commit to 3 races with MTB...the WV Derby, Travers, and BC.  There is lots of time between the Travers and BC where they will be getting on Gr 1 type horses for their regular connections.  Horses that they will potentially want to CHOOSE from and make what they think will be a decision to WIN the BC.  MTB is a nice horse, but its not like he is a world beater, once in a lifetime type....at least yet.  

08 Jul 2009 3:57 PM
Jock Agent

How did Chip Wooley put Chantal Sutherland on MTB in the Breeder's Cup if Dick Mandella trained him for that race?  IS there a reason Wooley's name wasn't the trainer in the program.  I am almost positive Mandella saddled the horse, so Wooley couldn't have given Chantal the call....

08 Jul 2009 3:59 PM

Personally, I think it is all dollars and numbers of horses in the stable to bring in future dollars.  I have zero respect for Borel or Smith.  They both stood up a Derby Winner to go for the big trainers/owners with big bucks.  It saddens me and greatly diminishes my love of the sport. A Derby Winner stood up, boggles my mind.  And I do not believe the earlier commitment stuff.  They could certainly have gotten out of said "earlier commitments".

08 Jul 2009 4:02 PM
Steve Haskin

First off, Mine That Bird did race for the new owner in the BC. The horse ran in Dick Mandella's name, because he was training him out there and saddled him, but it was Chip Woolley who went to Canada to spend several days observing the horse prior to the sale and finalized the deal. He just turned him over to Mandella because it was his track, but all decisions were made by the new owners and Woolley.

Warrior's Reward was an "earlier" commitment? What do you mean by earlier?

I am not singling out any particular jockey. The point of the column was to say jockeys keep taking off this horse for whatever reason. That is a fact. And it's also unusual for a Ky. Derby winner.

08 Jul 2009 4:19 PM

For starters, I don't think that MTB was a "fluke" ... nor do I think he is "great".  Out of 11 starts he has cracked a 100 Beyer fig twice.  

He's a solid horse, but is somewhat limited in that in my opinion he needs to close from fairly deep ... and therefore relies largely to a solid pace and a good ride threading through traffic.  

He caught a break by not facing several of the bigger threats in the Derby (IWR, QR) and then very poor trips from others like Dunkirk and injury to Desert Party.  

And then in the Preakness don't think he faced the greatest of fields aside from Rachel.  

And then he just flat out got beat in the Belmont.  Period.  

Maybe these jocks just feel like with his limited running style, when he faces older horses and some of the better 3 YOs later on he won't fare that well.  

Also, I don't buy that with 1 jock he wins the Triple Crown.  He doesn't win the Derby without Borel ... cause (a) Calvin is the only one that would threaded that hole, and (b) he was the first one to discover his true running style.  

Without Borel riding that Derby, MTB might still be trying to front run and never getting close to it and already back at Sunland and forgotten.

And Borel rode him in the Belmont and he didn't win.  So, to me cause he doesn't win the Derby without Borel, and doesn't win the Belmont with him no way to logically say he wins the TC with the same jockey.  

I also don't blame Borel for getting off him to ride Rachel ... he's clearly in love with Rachel. Not riding him for Warriors Reward puzzles me.  Can't explain that one.  

I don't blame Smith for riding a Moss horse for him.  For one, Smith is in a pretty cushy spot getting horses from them and is making tons of money and winning out west.  I don't think he's that keen on flying east to ride anymore, partly cause he's got it so sweet out there.  

MTB, does deserve a full time jockey ... but ultimately that falls entirely on the owners rather than the jocks.  The owners hire the jocks, not the other way around.  I'm sure they can find someone that will commit to riding him 1st call regardless.  It might not be an A flight jock, but someone good.  Someone patient and unafraid of traffic would be the ideal jockey.

I think every jockey knows that if they take off a horse there is always a possibility they never ride that horse again.  They know that is a chance, so I think they have valid reasons for them personally when they choose not to ride MTB.  

The owners ultimately have to decide who they want to ride.    

I would recommend Alan Garcia, Leparoux or Bejarano as good fits ... if any of them would commit.  

08 Jul 2009 4:30 PM

Mike Smith did state that it was important to Madeo's future career as a stud to get a Grade 1.  Should we not take him at his word?  I do remember that he pulled Madeo up early in the San Fernando Stakes, with what turned out to be no injury at all.  It is possible that Mike Smith feels a greater sense of connection to the horse and owners/trainer, rather than just going for the money.  I mean, how much money does a person really need?  At a certain point it becomes about principles.

08 Jul 2009 4:52 PM
Jock Agent

But when you say "Jockeys keep taking off this horse for whatever reason"...the reasons are logical and explainable.  Calvin has Rachel, who he has a vested interest in and who proved to be the better horse.  Mike Smith only took off of him for one race, but then committed for 2.  

Sharon- So how can you say you have "zero respect for Borel or Smith".  I respect any jock who puts their life on the line daily for our enjoyment.  You obviously do not "know" the business.  

Steve, thanks for clearing up the MTB BC owner/trainer situation.  I knew Chip Wooley picked the horse out and everything, but if I picked out one in Canada for 400k I sure as hell would want to saddle him in the BC!  

08 Jul 2009 4:53 PM

Did I miss something here?  Where was there a factual piece of news that reveals MTB's owners or trainer to have something against female jockeys?  Unless there is some proof regarding the innuendos about MTB's connections being good ole boys who'll never hire a woman there have been some statements here that are just the spouting of ugly stereotypes.  If you don't know something is true, don't start rumors that someone else could mistake for truth.

Steve, do you know if there have been any jock's agents who have contacted Chip W about riding MTB?

08 Jul 2009 5:15 PM

Whoa! MtBFan(Still): "...First he's in Canada....?

Up here we got that electricity thing and houses not made out of snow and we even have Woodbine Race Track, where MTB ran as a 2YO.  And Woodbine has hosted the Breeders' Cup and other events involving really international horses (and not only from the US, which, apparently is the centre of the horse racing universe -- although it also appears that you don't include New Mexico as part of that universe).

Good horses (I agree, Crafton, not "great" -- we'll have to wait and see how he does over time) come from all sorts of regions -- even California, right?

And Steve, I agree wholeheartedly with the last sentence of your 3:09 post: who'd expect a jockey to come off a Kentucky Derby winner?  That's the main issue here.  I would really be pleased if MTB stopped being the subject of musical chairs and just started going steady with someone.

08 Jul 2009 5:17 PM

I was talking about geldings that have done big things in this modern era of the almighty dollar.  

Great horses like Kelso didn't run in a time where the racing industry was almost strictly a business like it has become these days:(  

MTB definately has more to prove before we can say he is a truely great horse.  He has shown amazing potential but lets see how he fairs through the rest of this year and if he runs next year (yes, I remembered he's a gelding) but with a wild card like his trainer who knows what he has in store for him...

08 Jul 2009 5:28 PM
Cowboy Bobtangobell

Right on Steve.  Calvin, I am sick of hearing about him.  As previously noted by many there are alot of good jocks. MTB took Calvin for a ride in the Derby. All he did was steer. When Calvin tried to ride him they finished third. He is such a neat horse and I hope he hangs aroud for along time. It is hard to root for a horse who runs 6 races and retires. Horse racing really needs Mine That Bird.

08 Jul 2009 5:38 PM

Right Steve, forgot about the BC, most forgettable, wasn't it?

Chip wasn't the trainer, will have my friend ask Doc next time she sees him, maybe a licensing issue?

As for the Jock Agent? You're right, a lot on here don't know the business.

But, a lot of trainers I know CAN and DO get multi race commitments from the jocks. MTB has put a tidy little sum in those guys pockets and their agents. Which, by the way? I can tell you aren't a 'real' jocks agent because they all do one thing, which I personally hate by the way. THEY all say I when talking about the Jock riding the horse. So being a

'real' Jock Agent you would have said 'I' or we and for YOUR enjoyment not OUR.

As far as Calvin figuring out MTB's true running style Crafton?

No that was Chip who figured that out. He was LOOKING for a patient rider when he got to the Derby, that's why he sought out Calvin who once again was 'strangely' still available.

08 Jul 2009 6:49 PM
Fire Slam

It is unusual for a jock to take off a Derby winner to ride another horse.

But please understand, RA is a very unusual horse. No one could have predicted a filly like her would come a long, or that C-Bo would happen to steal the Derby at 50-1 and have to choose.

How many times can anyone on here recall a jock who won the Oaks on a filly that very well could have won the triple crown, and had to choose between his KY Derby Colt, or his Oaks Filly? I don't think ever, and doubt we will see it again.

Taking off of MB for Warriors Reward does baffle me though.

08 Jul 2009 7:20 PM

If it all went down with Borel waiting to "play the field" a little then the hell with him.  MTB connections were too cool with him during the triple crown.  Rafael Bejarano would fit this horse perfect, he would have been my first choice.  

08 Jul 2009 7:45 PM
Ted from LA

For all you Puritans upset at the first post, it is a Rodney Dangerfield bit from long ago.  If it makes you feel any better (it does me), it didn't really happen.

08 Jul 2009 8:13 PM
Jim F

Stupid is as studid does! Wooley never should have put Borel back on the horse. The blatant disrespect that Borel showed to the horse and to the game by taking off the Derby winner should not have been rewarded. Now, they get a two race commitment from Smith. Are the connections really this stupid, begging for another situation come September. They should have gotten someone that would commit through the Breeders Cup. Wht not Chantel?

Great job Steve! Love reading and listening on Byk's show.  

08 Jul 2009 8:59 PM

Calvin Borel must think he is Bill Shoemaker or Eddie Arcaro. talk about tripping over yourself. How about Victor Espinosa or Russell Baze, both would be good fits for MTB.

08 Jul 2009 9:08 PM
Shawn P

Fire Slam, That's the WHOLE point, that Calvin took off him for Ian's horse. Not that he took off for Rachel.

Yes Calvin rides for Ian, but I think that has more to do with Carl than with Ian himself.

Guess we'll see when Carl retires completely.

A lot of these jocks have long term relationships, but more than one of those have gone pfffft in a blink of the eye even after YEARS of riding these guys.

Brad, agree on the Jock Agent.  Here is a sampling of what Hissam said "he had nothing but good things to say about Woolley and Mine That Bird owners Mark Allen and Leonard Blach.

"I wish they would have WAITED until after Saturday to find out what (Warrior's Reward) runs like up there, because (Wilkes) does have a 70-horse outfit that 'I'VE' been riding for for five or six years, he said.  But we really appreciate everything they've done for us, especially all this waiting and all the turmoil they've been through. Thank God we were their choice to win the Kentucky Derby for them. They're all class acts."

Now how presumptuous is it for them to expect Wooley to wait until after WR stumbled and ran 3rd on Saturday? How would that affect the relationship with Ian to take off WR if he didn't run that well, plus add the whole thing may be a moot point if Rachel runs in the Travers?

I'm glad Chip said enough is enough.

p.s. If any of you guys have ever seen Jerry Hissam you'd laugh your head off at him saying "I've been riding"

08 Jul 2009 9:30 PM
Jock Agent

Jim F-  You obviously don't understand the game either.  Hmmmm...take off a 50-1 shot Derby winner you have ridden once in your life, OR ride the horse you think is the best you ever sat on...the one you have been waiting a lifetime for?  If you pick the 50-1 shot Derby horse you are completely fooling yourself.....

08 Jul 2009 9:32 PM
Shawn P

I really think the whole point of Steve's story wasn't that Boo took off of MTB for RA, but that he wouldn't commit due to a ride on a non stakes winner, then his 'agent' had the audacity to say he wishes Chip would've waited to see how that colt ran.

To me Mike doesn't fit MTB as well, but there is at LEAST a relationship there between him and Dr Blach.

JOCK AGENT? Sure, and I'm a Hall of Fame Trainer (not). But at least I'm IN the GAME and know several HOF Trainers and jocks and several JOCK AGENTS.

08 Jul 2009 9:46 PM
Dr. John


Great article on Mine That Bird!  If Calvin doesn't ride the next trip, my recommendation would be Russell Baze, or Edgar Prado.  MTB is definitely very talented, and the racing season is far from over!

08 Jul 2009 9:56 PM

I perfectly understand the whys and wherefores of CB & MS taking off the Bird; but it is time for CW to find a good rider who will be as loyal to MTB as Calvin is to Rachel and Mike is to Zenyatta/the Mosses.

I want someone who will be available for his works as well as races; someone who will walk the track on race morning to check for potholes; someone who can still ride in the undercards but always be there for his main mount whenever or wherever he's running.

That isn't too much to ask to give for such a fine horse.  Mine That Bird deserves a relationship with his jockey, someone in tune with him and knows his every step or switch, and lets him run his race.

08 Jul 2009 10:10 PM

Bradgm ... I would guess neither of us know for sure whether it was Borel or Wooley who figured out his correct running style.  

I say it's Borel because (a) I seem to recall Wooley commenting that while watching the Derby he was worried that MTB was that far back early on, which makes me think it was exactly intended, and (b) under Wooley he hadn't been placed that far back until Calvin rode him.  

08 Jul 2009 10:13 PM
Ted from LA

While I am coming clean, does anyone besides me find the Jason article on the Derby winners talking to each other completely unfunny?  I've read it 3 times and cannot come up with a "l", much less a "LOL."  I see it has a big following on his blog, but I don't understand.  Please tell me one funny line from the blog so I can understand.  Confused in LA (I'm not really from LA... and my name is not Ted)...

08 Jul 2009 10:32 PM
John T.

No jockey takes off a Kentucky Derby winner without good reason. Calvin Borel had a good reason a filly called Rachel Alexandra. Mike Smith had good reasons,loyalty to other commitments.

at Hollywood Park on the same day as the Belmont.Which brings us to the question why did Borel choose Warrior's Reward over Mine That Bird? It just might be he knows what we don't - the plans for Rachel for the rest of the season.

08 Jul 2009 10:35 PM
real jock agent of cb

dear steve when you write some these store I would think you would contact the person in control of the situation,like myself you have my number I have  talk to you in person before.the lost mtb was cause by a writer like you that do not contact the source. the writer may a statement that I had made a two race commit to Ian Wilkes which was no truth to it, but print it any way,the owner saw it got mad if you don't this is true call Ian, you have is number also cw ask this reporter not print the story because he knew the truth.

08 Jul 2009 10:37 PM

When Julian was named as rider earlier this week, there seemed to be an audible sigh of relief. Not because the question who was riding MTB was answered, but because it looked like the disrespect drama was over.

But it wasn't over and isn't yet. It is purely painful. Business or not, it is painful.

If racing wants to build up its base, it cannot afford to play "elites" and shun those outside the elite group. MTB has brought more fun and excitement to the sport nationally this year than we've seen in while. That alone should be valued by everyone because everyone wins with that good attention. he is another of those celebrity horses who is a good ambassador. (I loved the description of him licking his trainer's hand, Steve.)

08 Jul 2009 11:05 PM
Fire Slam


C-BO dont need to be like those folks. He is Calvin BO-RAIL, and is one of the best riders of all time, and still going.

Think its safe to say, he has not had the quality of rides as the shoe and EA. Not until recently.

Russel Baze don't belong in the same sentence as those folks. Unless hes on a heavy favorite at a cow track, hes done. Never seen him power up the rail and split a thread like C-BO, who has been doing it since he was 8 at the Bush tracks of our sweet home St. Martinville, LA.

I am from the same area, and my father grew up with Cecil Borel, and use to ride at the old Miles Park in Louisville, KY. Cajun riders rule, accept for Kent "sleepy" Dersmx.

08 Jul 2009 11:15 PM

MZ: I guess I wasn't clear. I think the 2 y/o Canadian champion was a great asset for MTB. However, a lot of American racegoers don't get it. My aunt (who goes to Arlington when she can) is learning about 'The Game' from me. :D After MTB won, I wrote about MTB and she asked how Canadian horses differed. I mostly wrote about track surfaces.

08 Jul 2009 11:24 PM


    I agree with every word you said, including Dutrow. The man comes off as an arrogant curse word, and does cheat. I think his list of suspensions and history of drugs being found in his horses' system are even longer than that of SA. The man needs to learn a lesson or have his license taken away.

08 Jul 2009 11:34 PM

Pharlap, I gave you a list of current and just retired geldings runing at the top levels:

Currently running: Well Armed, Better Talk Now, Fabulous Strike, Delightful Kiss, Dry Martini, Bribon, Researcher, Soldier's Dancer, Georgie Boy

Recently:  Evening Attire, Lava Man, The Tinman,

09 Jul 2009 7:09 AM

(after a long absence due to lightening strike here, where I am actually on an old computer at the moment that took 6 weeks to upgrade while my primary is at the shop...grrrr) I have to add that just maybe it all has to do with that nasty word 'AGENT', that I remember Borel alluding to when on Leno!! Are the agents involved possibly the culprits? Certainly any jockey would want to ride a potential winner for his share of the purse stake wouldn't he???  

09 Jul 2009 7:55 AM

It amazes me when others post that MTB's connections won't have Chantel S. ride MTB because she is a woman. Where did that come from? They have never given any such indication. So what they are from the South West. I am not, by the way. I am from NY. Has all other trainers used female jockeys except those from the South West? Hardly! I would venture to say that many, many trainers have never had a female jockey ride their horses & they are from all over the country & beyond. So why be critical of MTB's connections about it? Why even bring it up? Chantel rode MTB in Canada, that's true. But, she does not suit his new style of running, discovered by Chip Woolley after spending time with & training him. I have nothing against Chantel. But, in my opinion, she is not a top jockey. It sets my teeth on edge when I read that she should be "given a chance" & "give a girl a chance". Why? Because she is a woman? I want to see the best jockey for MTB on his back, male or female. Should MTB now be saddled with the responsibility of furthering female jockeys standing in the racing world??

By the way, I am a woman. I am all for us furthering ourselves within our individual careers. But, I want to move up because I merit it, not because I am a woman.


09 Jul 2009 9:07 AM

newsline2: great comment.  I think you have it exactly right.

Crafton: Everything I've read confirms that Chip W is the one who recognized MTB's running style and sought out the jockey he thought would have the patience for it.  Maybe CB had the Bird back a little further than expected early on, but the trip was designed by the trainer.  

09 Jul 2009 9:11 AM

Crafton: Chip Woolley did an interview with Jeanine Edwards on ESPN during the Belmont, and he showed her the tapes of Mine That Bird's races that he had studied since he got the horse. He saw that he was being moved too soon. He asked the rider at Sunland to lay back and make a final run. That is why he did not let him ride him in the Derby, because he did not do as instructed. He told Calvin how to ride Mine That Bird, Calvin did not just figure it out after riding Mine That Bird for the first time. He said he did not want Mine That Bird that far back, twenty lenghts, and that was the comment he made after the Derby, not that Calvin had figured it out for them. He did give Calvin credit for a great ride. I will put it this way, Calvin would not have won that race, if he DID NOT have a horse under him that was willing to run through a hole that was not there, and run the final distance in 12 seconds. I am not sure if you watch much horse racing, but I have never seen a horse that had his body stuck to the rail on a move like Mine That Bird showed in the Derby, and not lose his momentum, none the less keep going all the while changing leads twice, once to avoid the rail and the second time to pull away from the other horse. Calvin couldn't teach him that, he just had the talent and the ability to know what to do. If you ask me that little horse is on heck of a horse, and he is going to prove himself. I think there are a few jockeys, Calvin for one, who is going to regret what they did to him.  I don't care how great the jockeys are,and I do respect them, I wouldn't do what they do for a million dollars, but if they don't have the horse they are not going to win, and if they don't win, guess what, they don't make no money.  To think that the owners of Mine That Bird were going to keep playing the I will, Maybe I won't, well, I will if I have nothing better to do was just wrong! I think the only loser here is going to be Calvin.  I don't think he was invited on Leno or Letterman for Rachel, if you watched the show, they only asked him about Mine That Bird. It is just so sad. I don't know who was advising Calvin, but I sure would be mad at them right now if I were him. I know Rachel will always be his number one, but I think Mine That Bird was a pretty good number two don't you.  

09 Jul 2009 9:17 AM

OK MtBFan(Still), no sweat.  It just sounded funny to me and that's why I jumped on it.  Thx for talking to your aunt about horse racing - let's rope in any new fans we can (but don't get her started on the Zenyatta vs. Rachel arguments!)

09 Jul 2009 9:49 AM

And Ted (not) from LA (not): please give Jason a break.  He's under renewed stress now because Draynay is back.  I'd move into fantasy too if I was facing the re-newed constant "RA this" and "RA that" and "Big Brown...best" etc. (at least, until the next horse of the moment comes up and Dray switches allegiances).

09 Jul 2009 9:54 AM

Fire Slam,  Thanks for your comment about Russell Baze - Have seen him come into both the old Longacres and Emerald Downs to ride Mile Day.  In his prep rides, he ddidn't move up the local horses.  However, I have seen the great Eddie D and Pincay improve local nags, significantly.  Eddie D shocked a local trainer who had refused to allow his horse to run early.  Eddie, immediately, put him on the lead and never looked back.  Trainer was still uttering "But, but, but.." in the winner's circle.

And, to those Cajuns - I, first, became interested in racing just after Eddie D brought Ray Sibille from Chicago.  They both fit the So Cal racing, very well.  (Ray tore up the old Pomona bullring, then started catching Grade Is)  Few remember that Ray Sibille gave up his mount on Wild Again to ride out of town in a Grade I.  He recommended his brother-in-law to ride WA, so he stayed aboard in the first BC Classic.  Thus, it was Pat Day and not Ray aboard.  One of the saddest days in racing, was when Ray was on the lead in a Grade I at SA for fillies and mares.  His mount, High Haven, broke down, while another of his mounts for Frankel fell badly across her.  Both had to be destroyed.  Royal Heroine was badly cut in the race.  Two Grade I winners lost in a heartbeat.

But, yes, those Cajuns really do know how to ride and best of luck in training for Guidry.  However, I will never get the scene of a Cajun unblousing his pants at Balmoral, while a very tough steward looked on for the clink of the battery dropping.  CNN even showed the shot of the jock reaching into his pants galloping out.  Dang thing cost me a 7 to 1, as the mare was DQed.  It was the tip of the day in Vegas.

09 Jul 2009 9:55 AM

Crafton, everyone knows for sure it was the trainer who wanted to change tactics. These quotes are lifted from the countless media reports that followed the Derby:

"But he (Woolley) was hoping that with a change of tactics – taking back some eight to 10 lengths and making one run – the horse could close well enough to finish respectably and earn a trip to New York for the Belmont Stakes (gr. I)."

"All I asked him (Borel) was to lay the horse back and be patient," (Woolley) said. "He did that magically."

Woolley did not ask Borel to take back to last, but that happened only through circumstance:

"Mine That Bird got squeezed at the start and Borel, as is his custom, began to ease the colt to the rail..."

It definitely was Woolley's idea to take back.

09 Jul 2009 10:18 AM
Shawn P

"While I am coming clean, does anyone besides me find the Jason article on the Derby winners talking to each other completely unfunny?  I've read it 3 times and cannot come up with a "l", much less a "LOL."  I see it has a big following on his blog, but I don't understand.  Please tell me one funny line from the blog so I can understand.  Confused in LA (I'm not really from LA... and my name is not Ted)...

Ted from LA 08 Jul 2009 10:32 PM"

Boy you hit the nail on the head.

Tried to say so but we all know what happens..

Also the 'man crush' by so many for a certain poster? Who, on Steve's (the King of the BLOG by the way)blog, is a different person.

Although seems like a LOT of people on these blogs are 'different people'. Jerry? Maybe I'll ask one with 'your number' to call you up?

09 Jul 2009 10:33 AM

From The BH Talkin Horses: "Well, the first thing is – I’ll be the first to say – I didn’t really ever plan on him being quite as far off pace as he was in the Kentucky Derby. I had intended for him to be maybe 15-18 back, but not 25-30 back. That happened at the gates getting run over leaving there kind of caused part of that.

"from day 1, when we purchased this horse, I watched every replay that he had run in up in Canada, studied him very closely,........

In studying those races, I just felt like if you ever got him back and made one run instead of three or four mini runs, that it would serve the horse better and make him a better horse,..... I just kept watching that and thinking, and that’s what I intended to do at Sunland, and I just couldn’t get my rider what I was looking for."

Excerpts. Holds right in line with what he was saying before the Derby AT Churchill.

I know someone who has known Dr Blach for over 40+ years and trains in that same circuit as Chip. That was the story they heard as well, AT Sunland.

09 Jul 2009 10:54 AM

What a great article about a great little horse.  Absolutely true.  He actually reminds me of Seabiscuit; the other little brown horse that could, and did.  If I ever get the opportunity to meet this little guy, I sure want to tell him how great he is.  Hopefully he races in The Travers, because I'll be there. Show 'em how it's done MTB; you're quite a guy.  Hope there's some jockeys reading this story and feeling guilty.

09 Jul 2009 11:31 AM

Bradgm, really great to read those excerpts.  I think it sort of explains why Chip wanted to stay with Borel so badly.  He found that rider who did just what he was looking for (excepting the unavoidable squeeze that resulted in 25 instead of 18)  It must have been such a thrill, such a meshing with all he'd been looking for to watch that Derby run.  It has just taken him a long time to give up on Calvin.

09 Jul 2009 11:55 AM
Karen in Texas

TerriV---Exactly! (Your 11:55 A.M. post)

09 Jul 2009 12:25 PM
Pam S.

This is Steve Haskin's blog but I'm going to defend Jason's talk-to-the-animals blog:  

I imagine many serious handicappers find the anthromorphism of racehorses to be silly (and people who don't follow racing probably find it even sillier).  But some fans enjoy it.  I was drawn in to the sport by watching a feature on a Derby telecast about a foal growing up to be a racehorse, with the foal "narrating."  

I am a former journalist and sometimes write things for fun.  I recently penned an imaginary conversation between Rachel Alexandra and Stardom Bound (for my husband's eyes only) and I think it's pretty cute if I do say so.  In the 1970s someone wrote a book in the style of great horses telling their life stories ("Straight From the Horse's Mouth").  Kenny Mayne used to write imaginary horse conversations that appeared on the ESPN site.  

Is Jason's piece the funniest thing I've ever read?  No, but if you think it's "unfunny"

you probably don't appreciate the concept.  At the very least it's "cute" and "charming" to many horse fanciers.

09 Jul 2009 12:37 PM

If John Shirref and the Mosses run Zenyatta in the Classic, Mine That Bird will be looking for a new jockey AGAIN, right before a most important race. It is indeed mind boggling that MTB's connections are going to Mike Smith AGAIN. Maybe they are counting on Zenyatta running in the Distaff, which would free Mike to ride MTB. However, what if the Mosses enter another of their horses in the Classic?...

The whole thing gives me a headache!

So, I'll just wish the best to my favorite little gelding in the plain brown wrapping and trust that he will continue to thrill us for a long time, no matter who's on his back!

09 Jul 2009 12:37 PM
Karen in Texas

Not Ted Not from LA---Jason's current blog is not so much "funny" as it is "fun" in a creative, script-writing sort of way. He was not reporting or editorializing in the usual sense. (mz's take on it could also be accurate!)

09 Jul 2009 1:18 PM

probably C. Sutherland wont ride hime because she can't ride him right. You see all those Canadian races, where she made 3, 4 little moves and stayed close? She cant take him back, the one thing Chip Wooley noticed he needs.

09 Jul 2009 1:37 PM
Fire Slam

For those interested in where the top jocks come from, the following link will take you to a book about titled CAJUN RACING, it is awesome!


09 Jul 2009 1:40 PM

Sherpa, I like what you said;  MTB does deserve all those things.  Here's a solution to the jockey problem, although I know it won't be very palatable to some:  send MTB to a big time trainer.  That way he will be assigned a regular, top level jockey.  Otherwise, they will probably just have to be content with what they get.  Although, a lot of top horses don't always get their regular rider, for example this weekend Gio Ponti will not have Gomez aboard for the ManOWar stakes.  

I would imagine the conversation, as Woolley described to Borel the ride he wanted MTB to get in the Derby, went something like this:  "I got two words for you Calvin:  Street Sense."  Funny thing Calvin gave Warrior's Reward that identical patented CB ride to break his maiden at Gulfstream.

About never seeing a horse go through a hole like MTB did, watch the other little guy with a heart larger than his body, English Channel in the 07 Joe Hirsch Turf Classic with Johnny Velazquez aboard screaming to Eibar Coia as he threaded the needle:  "Don't come any closer man, you'll put me over the rail!"  


09 Jul 2009 2:15 PM
Shawn P

It's a phenomenon alright Fire Slam. However, seems like less and less are coming out of there now. The demise of the bush tracks and increased size of Americans may soon have very few jocks from the US.

South Americans are dominant now and the top jock is from France.

But, GoGo, Bailey, Smith, etc all got their start in New Mexico, I read an article about the bush tracks there still being pretty prevalent. Not sure about Texas, another place where a lot of jocks CAME from in past.

09 Jul 2009 2:46 PM

So sorry folks.  I get it ... Wooley figured out his style.  My bad.  

I had not seen all those quotes.  I assumed it was more Borel cause MTB hadn't run that way at Sunland under Wooley.  I see I was wrong.  

Lecylue ... yes, I have watched a ton of horse racing.  And I have seen horses slip up the rail like that many times.  Actually Borel did it on Miss Issella on June the 13th.  And she not only threaded the rail but got completely slammed into it hard.  

Of course Borel doesn't win that Derby without horse.  Horses win races.  Just like a great coach can't win without excellent players.  But I don't think MTB wins that Derby without Borel.  If he has to check and then go outside instead of hitting that rail hole then he loses so much momentum it probably kills his chances.

But like I said, while I think that MTB is a really "good" horse, I do not think he's "great".  He ran 3 good TC races ... and won 1 of them.  

I think he has already "proven" himself to be good.  Will he prove himself to be great?  I don't really think so.  I don't think he's as good as Rachel, Quality Road, Dunkirk, Summer Bird (nor as good as I Want Revenge, and maybe Charitable Man, have to wait to see how much he continues to improve). That's 5-6 horses in this crop I ultimately feel are better and would bet on before MTB if they face off.  

Now, of course he won't have to face Dunkirk or IWR cause of injuries.  And he may or may not face Rachel and Quality Road.  

To me, his success the rest of the year depends on who he faces out of those 5-6 horses and what kind of "trips" he gets in those races.  

To me is going to be like the turf horses.  Largely dependent on the trip.  Like when you see the same group of turf horses run against each other and often the trip will dictate who wins that particular day.  MTB is always gonna be a slave to the trip.      

And ultimately I think the nail on the head is that Wooley and crew know that Borel fits their horse the best of any jockey ... and because of that they have given him multiple chances to ride.  

Ultimately its on them to decide.  Do they want to (a) have Borel ride him whenever he can and sub others for him when he can't, or (b) pick someone that isn't as perfectly suited to ride him but will commit to every race.  

Again, its the owners that hire the jocks, and not the other way around.  

And I personally would choose option A above.  

09 Jul 2009 4:36 PM
Fire Slam

Shawn P---

Your right, less and less jocks are coming from that area now. I think it has to do with the different eras.

Bush tracks in Louisiana as they were then, are all but gone. I went to visit my grandmother in St. Martinville, LA and my father tried to show me some of the places he raced, and there are nothing but fields of sugar cane and tall grass.

It also seems the more recent cajun jocks have a better education as well. Its just a different era.

I really like Mike Smith. When he was part of the jock colony at Churchill Downs a few years ago, every time after a race, no matter win or lose, he was criticizing his ride. "I moved to soon, I didn't follow the horse to beat close enough, I asked him to change leads to soon." It was always something he did wrong. Never the horse. Him. Now thats humble.

J. Baily,Tyler Baze, Johnny V. KENT "Freaking" Dsmx,I have seen them all get off a horse after a race, and complain about the horse to the trainer. Hes a head case, he was running straight needs blinkers, or he wouldn't split horses. It was never their fault.

09 Jul 2009 6:32 PM
Fire Slam

Shawn P---

Your right, less and less jocks are coming from that area now. I think it has to do with the different eras.

Bush tracks in Louisiana as they were then, are all but gone. I went to visit my grandmother in St. Martinville, LA and my father tried to show me some of the places he raced, and there are nothing but fields of sugar cane and tall grass.

It also seems the more recent cajun jocks have a better education as well. Its just a different era.

I really like Mike Smith. When he was part of the jock colony at Churchill Downs a few years ago, every time after a race, no matter win or lose, he was criticizing his ride. "I moved to soon, I didn't follow the horse to beat close enough, I asked him to change leads to soon." It was always something he did wrong. Never the horse. Him. Now thats humble.

J. Baily,Tyler Baze, Johnny V. KENT "Freaking" Dsmx,I have seen them all get off a horse after a race, and complain about the horse to the trainer. Hes a head case, he was running straight needs blinkers, or he wouldn't split horses. It was never their fault.

09 Jul 2009 6:42 PM
Shawn P

I was thinking maybe only Joe Talamo, recently?

The others are getting up there in age. Robby and Kent are the youngest of that group, yes?

Shane Sellers did more to destroy his career than any of the rest of them besided Kent. Both have had some humbling, Kent got it once, seems to have forgotten it again. We'll see with Shane, he's pretty desperate now I guess.

Robby is humble, to me anyway and is also fairly articulate and seems to do more of his own thinking than Boo.

JB, he rode, could ride, would ride every horse different and better than any other rider if you listen to him.

Tyler is getting better I think. Rough patch humbled him a bit.

Johnny V? He's got to be doing something right or TAP would and could go anywhere else.

09 Jul 2009 8:42 PM
Mike Relva


As for yoyr comment,"alot on here that doesn't know the business". Does that make you an expert?

09 Jul 2009 10:29 PM

AMEN! I would dump borel and smith! I think both jockeys knew they screwed up and were afraid to be accountable, so let's blame the horse and their current schedules.  Both have bailed on previous horses in the past, however now they are loyal/committed jockeys?? I don't believe it at all. Borel screwed up the Belmont. Summer Bird did exactly what MTB usually does, Borel went too soon & screwed it up. Smith held up MTB a little too long in the Preakness, so MTB should of won this race. (both jockey errors) Although Smith hadn't had enough time with MTB prior to this race.  This horse most likely would of been the triple crown winner. one good reason we don't have a triple crown winner might be the jockeys (maybe we don't have the calibur of talent in the jockeys as in the past) People always blame the horses talent.  Look we have an excellent horse with great lineage & we can't keep a loyal talented jockey on him??  The world wants to know why people aren't into racing anymore??  Try looking at these jockeys..it's disgusting & frustrating.  We could of had a triple crown winner and these jockeys screw it up!!  I know these jockeys will pay for their choices.   To somethingroyal....in 1990 the Derby & BC winner is Unbridled... Great Grandfather to no other than.... Mine That Bird!!!  I am so proud of this horse & truly love him like no other!!!!! I check the internet daily for current info on him...because I am crazy about him...   *.*

Love ya little bird!!

Keep up the great work Steve!!

10 Jul 2009 5:27 AM
Fire Slam

I forgot about poor Joe Talamo. Hes pretty darn good. Hes young and will take a hole! Cant forget about Mark Guidry.

I like Shane Sellers. I know the staged walk out at Churchill Downs and him being very vocal was his doing. However, Churchill Downs Inc. is all for themselves. They have people in the corporate offices who dont really care about horse racing, they care about making themselves look good. Shane took a stand against them.

One thing that icks me though, is health insurance for jocks. They make $100 or so for every mount rode at Churchill Downs. Some ride 10 a day. Thats $1,000 a day without winning! I know there are expenses to pay out of that, but when you are a Calvin Borel, Kent Dsmx, Johnny V. or other top jock, your winning. Which means your making way more money.

Why cant you afford to pay a couple hundred a month for quality health insurance?

10 Jul 2009 9:28 AM

Mike, if you weren't always trying to bicker you'd have gotten the point of my comment.

Jock Agent was telling various people on here they 'don't know the business'. My point was that may be true, but his handle of 'Jock Agent' and acting as though HE does 'know' the business, struck me as odd since he definitely doesn't talk like any jock agent I ever met.

I DO know the business, know a LOT of trainers, including one you spoke of on another blog about being very astute, tuned in and someone who really DOES know what he's talking about. My point was that, whether JA thinks these others 'know' the business? It's all opinion. My other points? Taken straight from the horses mouth.

Please don't try and demean Steve's fine stories and blogs by turning it into a slamfest like goes on, on the other blog. THAT's why I rarely post there. Don't like to keep that type of company in real life let alone a cyber world.

10 Jul 2009 11:06 AM
Mike Relva


I don't disrespect Steve's blog,in fact the opposite. Maybe you should be lecturing others' also. Or maybe you should be taking some of your own advice!

10 Jul 2009 7:50 PM

No Mike, you tried to start a well I won't say it on here. But your comment to me came over a day later and was just an attempt at being incindiary.

Go back and re-read my whole comment. It said "As for the Jock Agent? You're right, a lot on here don't know the business.

Which, by the way? I can tell you aren't a 'real' jocks agent because they all do one thing, which I personally hate by the way. THEY all say I when talking about the Jock riding the horse. So being a 'real' Jock Agent you would have said 'I' or we and for YOUR enjoyment not OUR"

Okay MR, tell me what was so defamatory about that? It was a comment to someone who was repeatedly denegrating the opinions of others on here and claiming to be a jock agent. He called out a number of people and told them they don't know the business or what goes on. I pointed out he's probably correct in saying most DON'T know the business from the inside, but he doesn't seem to either.

I know you have issues with another poster, who I and others have defended. But you're barking up the wrong tree here.

Too many are holding slam blogging in high esteem, this ONE blog is a last bastion of discourse. There's another blog that's more appropriate for that other kind of stuff.

All I saw was you 'calling me out' no actual insight, input or topic related contribution.

11 Jul 2009 11:28 AM
Mike Relva


I've never pretended to be a jock agent,cause I'm not. Let's clear that up now! Also,for issues that I have w/someone that's cause this individual feels they know everything about everything. That's my opinion for which I'm entitled to. You have your opinion,I have mine! BTW on a blog few months ago I said to this individual they don't know everything. Their reply was,"how do you know that I don't"?  Enough said!

11 Jul 2009 3:43 PM
Shawn P

I'm not Bradgm, but Geez Mike. He wasn't TALKING to you! He was talking to the guy claiming to be a jock agent who was telling nearly everyone on this comment section that they didn't know the business "Jim F-  You obviously don't understand the game either.

Sharon-You obviously do not "know" the business."

THAT is WHAT BRADGM was referencing to, not that HE knew more than others. Get the chip off dude. I know you've battled a bunch on the other blog, go back there if you want to fight.

Fire Slam,

Hey on Joe Talamo? You think it was a mistake when he parted ways with his agent?  He sure seemed to get a little too self important for a while.

On the earnings? I think the big time earners can afford insurance, it's the guys who get a couple mounts a week who can't. Course the odds are more in their favor.

11 Jul 2009 6:42 PM
Mike Relva


Here's a newsflash! I have as much right to be on here as you or anyone else. He made the attack that I'm always fighting. If that's the case then it can be applied to about seventy percent of everyone that I've seen on these blogs. I'm not going anywhere!

11 Jul 2009 8:23 PM
Fire Slam

Shawn P--

I do think it was a mistake parting form  his agent. However, he seems to be rebounding well.

I never really thought about the smaller jocks, the ones who arent considered "elite." Shame on me.

But, your right, it is difficult for them to afford, as opposed to Johnny V. K. Dsmx, and others.

12 Jul 2009 3:09 PM
Shawn P

Mike, nobody said GO anywhere. But, you're tilting at windmills here.

First, he never said YOU were Jock Agent (unless you took it so personally for a reason?), second, HE was telling the guy that even though people may not know the business inside out, they have a right to their opinion and he seemed like someone 'pretending' to be an insider and telling others they don't know what they're talking about.

Now if that's what you 'fight against' fine, you're of a like mind.

Seems more to me that you're upset when someone who really DOES know the business, speaks?

12 Jul 2009 4:31 PM
Shawn P

FS, yes, when one of those 'little' guys gets hurt they just don't have anything to back them up. Really sad when anyone gets hurt, but think when you can't even have any back up to support your family. That's just even more sad and tragic.

But really isn't this deal about insurance the same thing that a lot of people talk about everywhere? Then the W/C in some states is killing the game. What a mess we have!

12 Jul 2009 4:35 PM

Oh Steve, so well said.  Mine That Bird is a marvelous, gutsy, horse.  I hope Chip Woolley gets some rich owners and commands the respect of the ditsy agents and jockeys who are running hither and thither.  

Mine That Bird will make history and a smart agent and jockey ought to be able to see that.

The Bird's the word!

14 Jul 2009 7:28 PM

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