Derby's All Mine
Written by Alan Porter 1 | May 04, 2009 |
Squeezed back as the field left the stalls
and way off the pace early on, Mine That Bird -- under a rail-skimming
ride from Calvin Borel -- ran past a rubber-legged field in the stretch to take
a muddy renewal of the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) by 6 3/4 lengths.
The $9,500 yearling -- the least expensive in
the race -- Mine That Bird was Canada's 2008 champion 2-year-old, the first winner of that honor to take the Derby since Sunny's Halo in 1983.
Although his pedigree is not especially fashionable, it's actually full of classic
influences. In his male line we have Derby winners Unbridled and Grindstone; and Mine That Bird's sire Birdstone (TrueNicks,SRO),
who upset Smarty Jones (TrueNicks,SRO)
to capture the Belmont Stakes (gr. I). Grindstone's own
dam, Buzz My Bell, is by Drone (also broodmare sire of Kentucky Derby winner
Charismatic), and his second dam is by Derby winner Chateaugay.
When we look at Mine That Bird's dam, the unraced Mining My Own, we
see that she is by Smart Strike (TrueNicks,SRO)
out of a mare by Vice Regent, a cross that has
previously produced Canadian Oaks victress Eye of the Sphynx, and is very
similar to the cross that produced Curlin (by Smart Strike out of a mare by
Vice Regent's son Deputy Minister).
The Vice Regent mare in question here, Aspenelle, didn't
win a stakes, but was second in Canadian Oaks. Aspenelle is half-sister to
Joy's Countess, the dam of the Prairie Gold Juvenile Stakes winner and Kentucky Breeders' Cup (gr. III) third Blackjack
Boy. Mine That Bird's third dam, Little to Do, won the Seaway Stakes and Selene
Stakes. The most recent top-class
horse to emerge from this female line was Ambassador of Luck, heroine of the
1983 renewal of the Maskette Stakes (gr. I). She was out of a half-sister to
Marge's Request, the fifth dam of Mine That Bird.
Mine That Bird (who was TrueNicks rated
A++ prior to his Derby win), is a member of the first crop of
Birdstone, who in addition to his Belmont Stakes victory, also won the
Champagne Stakes (gr. I) at 2, and the Travers (gr. I) at 3. In December, we first
drew attention to the promising -- but generally unheralded -- start Birdstone was making: Freshmen Unbridled.
Mine That Bird is one of four stakes winners from
Birdstone's first crop, the others including Summer Bird, who finished sixth in
the Derby. He's also responsible for Kentucky Oaks (gr. I) runner-up Stone
Legacy (out of a mare by Gulch, and like Mine That Bird a Birdstone/Mr.
In addition to the fact that Mine That Bird's sire and broodmare sire are
from the Mr. Prospector line, both his sire and his dam are out of mares by
sons of Northern Dancer, so he's the product of parallel Mr.
Prospector/Northern Dancer crosses.
From an historic perspective, it's also
interestng that he also has Kentucky Derby winner Swaps (grandsire of Grindstone's second dam) combined with two
crosses of his sister Track Medal (both in Mining My Own's dam), and three
crosses of champion Nashua, the horse Swaps surprised in the 1955 Run for the