There are stories that come out of nowhere to really captivate people. Mine that Bird was such as story. A long shot from parts unknown with no apparent shot of winning and driven to the race by an unknown trainer with a broken leg that no one ever heard of wins the biggest race in the world for owners no one ever heard of. Yeah, I know that is a crappy sentence, but it sums it up pretty well. You can’t write a better fairly tale.
You would think this would guarantee the trainer would get to train this one until he retires, correct? Wrong. Not quite as bad as Billy Turner losing a triple crown winner, but pretty damn close.
Even worse, the horse went to Wayne Lukas, who hasn’t set the world on fire in years. Lately, he would have trouble starting a fire with matches and a gallon of gas. But this isn’t meant as a knock on Lukas, he has had a great career and was once quite relevant. No, this is a knock on the owners. Watching the Whitney was just sad. The horse gave his all in the triple crown, and it would have been nice to see him retire after that. Of course, I can’t blame the connections for coming back, but it was pretty evident in the races that followed that the horse isn’t the same. His race on the grass as a comeback wasn’t horrible and I had hoped turf to dirt may have the horse sharp for the Whitney. Sadly, the DRF chart comment said it all:
MINE THAT BIRD was unhurried at the rear of the field while on the inside, saved ground on both turns and showed little
So now you have this great story, yes a fairy tale and the ending doesn’t seem to be what the horse deserved. I hope if the horse doesn’t come around, they will do the right thing and retire the horse. hey if he shows life fine, but otherwise, do the right thing.
Here is my perfect ending: Trainer Chip Woolley drives from New Mexico to Wayne Lukas’ barn at Saratoga. He picks the horse up and drives back to New Mexico where the horse runs in a stake named in his honor. The horse under Borel, sits off the pace, makes his patented run along the rail and gets up to win. The adoring New Mexico crowd salutes the deserving Mine That Bird and he rides off into the sunset. Trainer Woolley drives the horse to the Kentucky Horse Park where he retires. Now that is an ending this fairy tale deserves.