After Borel was on board Mine That Bird yesterday for his half-mile workout yesterday, it comes as no surprise that the team that won the Kentucky Derby is back together for the Belmont Stakes.
According to an article in the Blood Horse, Borel: “We’re Going to Win” Belmont, MTB is full of energy and is not showing any ill effects from his intensive race schedule,
“After trying the Derby and (Preakness) they don’t come back bouncing like that,” Borel said. “That don’t happen too often. They come back a little tired. He’s bouncing right now. He’s a happy camper right now. He’s just getting better. Winning the Derby and the way he run the last time, he’s got more confidence. He will love the distance.”
Borel said he believes one reason the Derby and Preakness did not take much out of Mine That Bird is his patented late running style. “They might go a mile and a half, but he is going to gallop the first mile and only run the last three-eighths (of a mile).”
According to the Bird’s trainer, Chip Wooly, his gelding will stay to train at Churchill Downs until June 3rd, when he will be flown to New York. Apparently, one of the questions in the air is whether MTB will like the footing of the track at Belmont Park, but Woolley doesn’t see any benefits of training the gelding over the unique Belmont surface.
“My horse gets over the ground really easy… he just kind of bounces over the top of it,” Woolley said. “I really don’t have too much concern about it. If he doesn’t like it, he doesn’t like it. Training him on it isn’t going to make him like it any better. It would just give him more time to hate it worse. I don’t believe in going up there and training and believing it’s going to improve his chances.”
There are currently 10 horses entered in the Belmont (the maximum field size is 14). Pundits predict that the pace of the race will be slower, especially in the beginning. How that will impact MTB’s running style remains to be seen. Certainly, Borel will have a tougher time sneaking through on the rail and the announcer won’t be caught off guard. But as Calvin Borel puts it, how the race will unfold is hard to predict.
“When the gates break (open), I will read the race and will go from there. If we haven’t got much speed, we will liable to be close. If we’ve got speed, we will stay back. He’s got a good turn of foot.”
The only thing he’s sure about is where Mine That Bird will be at the finish: in front!