Mine That Bird Coming To The Kentucky Derby Museum

Mine That Bird Coming To The Kentucky Derby Museum

2009 Kentucky Derby winner Mine That Bird is ponied on the track at Santa Anita Park the week of the 2008 Breeders’ Cup.

Author: Lindsay Griffin

The Kentucky Derby is a racing tradition that has been going on every year since 1875, meaning that there are precisely 149 previous iterations of the race.

Every running has its own story: its own characters, its own plots, its own tragedy, its own triumphs. Every year, at some point, someone turns to another and says “This is the greatest Kentucky Derby ever run!”

And still, there are some stories that stick out more than others. There are some winners whose histories make them more sympathetic, and whose charisma makes their mark more lasting.

One of those was 2009 Kentucky Derby winner Mine That Bird, a plucky little gelding who became one of the longest-priced winners in Derby history- and who is coming to the Kentucky Derby Museum this year as a part of the 2024 Legends Series With Maker’s Mark.

Who Is Mine That Bird?

Mine That Bird’s career is a study in ups and downs.

Although the gelding, who is by Belmont Stakes winner Birdstone and out of the Smart Strike mare Mining My Own, was bred in Kentucky, he raced for almost all of his two-year-old season at Woodbine, a track in Toronto, Canada.

He won a maiden claiming race in his second start and then was put in stakes company. He did well, winning the listed Silver Deputy and Swynford Stakes before taking the Grade III Grey Stakes. A trip to Southern California for the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile did not pay off- Mine That Bird finished twelfth- but he was still named the Sovereign Award Champion Two-Year-Old Male (Canada’s equivalent of the Eclipse Awards). Therefore he continued being a good option for anyone using a horse racing bonus by TwinSpires.com.

In the spring of 2009, Mine That Bird was transferred to trainer Chip Woolley and brought to the United States. He was somewhat successful, picking up a second-place finish in the Borderland Derby and a fourth in the Sunland Derby (both listed).

Odds Favoring Mine That Bird

Nowadays, that race record would not gain a horse enough points to qualify for the Kentucky Derby; however, at the time, the points system was still several years away. Instead, qualifications for the Kentucky Derby were based on earnings in graded stakes races, regardless of whether those races are typically considered Kentucky Derby prep races. Mine That Bird’s performance in the aforementioned Grey Stakes gave him enough earnings to qualify for the Run for the Roses, in spite of the fact that his current form did not look to be competitive when compared to the rest of the entrants.

However, there were a few strokes of luck that proved favorable for Mine That Bird. First was the fact that there was a ton of early speed in the race. This meant that the frontrunners were likely to speed up the pace and tire themselves out, setting up for a deep closer- such as Mine That Bird. Secondly, Mine That Bird had gained the services of Calvin Borel, a jockey who was especially skilled at guiding closers along the rail to victory. He had done exactly that two years prior with Street Sense.

Join in the Dance, one of only two horses in the race whose odds were longer than that of Mine That Bird, broke fast and led for the first mile of the race, holding off Regal Ransom with Papa Clem and Pioneerofthe Nile just behind. By the time the field entered the stretch, Borel had expertly guided Mine That Bird along the rail to the front, and they widened from there, eventually winning by 6 3/4 lengths, the largest margin of victory in nearly six decades.

Unfortunately for Mine That Bird, that proved to be his last victory. He ran well in the Preakness and the Belmont, finishing second and third, but after another third in the Grade III West Virginia Derby, his form tailed off badly and he failed to hit the board in his six remaining career starts.

As a gelding, Mine That Bird would not be able to provide stallion services and was thus instead retired to work as a ranch horse with co-owner Mark Allen. Although Allen sold his Double Eagle Ranch in New Mexico, he and Mine That Bird still work together daily at HV Ranch in Texas.

What Is The Exhibit?

Mine That Bird’s exhibit will be a feature of the last night of the event, which is dedicated to the longest shots to win the Kentucky Derby. Artifacts connected to other famous longshots, such as 1913 91-1 winner Donerail and 2022 80-1 victor Rich Strike, will be on display, and some of them will be auctioned off, with proceeds benefiting the Kentucky Derby Museum as well as the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.

The evening, which will take place on March 27th from 5:00 until 8:00, will also feature Mine That Bird in the Museum Stable. Guests will be able to see Mine That Bird during the stable’s showcase. He will remain at the stable until mid-April.