AND THAT’S WHY THEY CALL IT RACING!
Dave Cotey was hoarse, it was hard to understand him on the phone.
Talking to Thoroughblog last night, Cotey was celebrating with friends and family. His Dominion Bloodstock, well known in Ontario for years for buying young horses and selling them, had just hit the home run of all home runs.
MINE THAT BIRD, an awkward yearling by Belmont Stakes winner Birdstone from the Mining mare Mining My Business, had roared up the muddy but very preferred rail path at Churchill Downs Saturday at 6:30 p.m. And won the Kentucky Derby by the biggest margin since Assault decades ago.
The horse paid $103 to win.
It will become a legendary story now – Cotey and his ownership partners Derek Ball and Hugh Galbreath won a bunch of stakes with the gelding last year at Woodbine.
He was named champion 2 yo in Canada even if he was Kentucky bred.
Cotey sold the gelding before the awards – before the Breeders’ Cup even. “It was either me take him to the Breeders’ Cup or stop on him and then, really, what is there to run him in here? He’s not Canadian bred and he’s a gelding with no residual value.”
So Cotey asked for $400,000, he got it, but from obscure folks zillions of miles away, one who is very particular about the name of their farm.
Mark Allen’s Double Eagle Ranch (not Farm!) and Leonard Blach’s Buena Suerte Equine farm — both based in Roswell, N.M – and their trainer Chip Wooley, contacted Cotey, wanted a racehorse and Cotey sold him.
The gelding went out to California for the Breeders’ Cup, was blow out, and then rested for 2009.
Incidentally, Canadian jockey Chantal Sutherland, the regular rider of the horse, apparently almost had a chance to ride him yesterday in the Derby until the magical CALVIN BOREL came available. So, despite a modest run in the Sunland Derby this spring, a long van ride from New Mexico to Kentucky with his trainer-with the broken leg-from-motorcycle-accident behind the wheel, Mine That Bird made the field of 18 others look average at best. Only PIONEEROF THE NILE looked decent enough.
Others – Hold Me Back for instance, had bizarre journeys in which he roared up the rail a la the winner, but he did so from early backstretch to the quarter-pole. By then, he was out of gas.
Not all that gracious it seems. Trainer Wooley who was curt in a pre-race interview walking on his crutches, was just as much so after the race…
“They’ll know me now, won’t they?” Woolley said. “It’s wonderful. This is a feeling like I’ve never had before.”
“I didn’t have any real feeling we could win. But I knew we’d be more competitive than people gave us credit for. Now, maybe somebody will talk about something other than our trip here.”
But at Woodbine, the celebrations will continue today – certainly as Cotey makes his rounds in the morning and in the afternoon when he attends his regular post for the races with his friends around him.
A down-to-earth person and shrewd horseman, Cotey has provided people with fun racehorses to play with and riding horses when he realizes they won’t be able to race.
Oh yes, and a Kentucky Derby winner.
$9,500 a MAGIC NUMBER
• Dave Cotey paid $9,500 for Mine That Bird. JEFF BEGG could not get $9,500 for EL BRUJO.
The blocky gelding, by Candy Ride, won his 2nd straight stakes race of the season yesterday at Woodbine in the Queenston and further solidified his position as the Queen’s Plate favorite (on the grounds, Square Eddie is lurking somewhere).
It was not the same win by El Brujo in the Queenston at 7 furlongs as it was in the 6 furlong Achievement but he won and posted an 81 Beyer Figure.
Patrick Husbands, who now rides the homebred gelding, was scared out of the gate. He had no horse. The horse had been eager and rank in the Achievement. Yesterday, lethargic.
Meanwhile, Jim McAleney had rated SHUT IT DOWN incredibly – that colt crawled through the first 2 furlongs in 23 4/5 with a big wind at his back.
Husbands had to ask El Brujo early, he joined Shut It down on the turn and then edged away.
“He had to use him up before he wanted to” said owner Jeff Begg after the race. “We are happy that he relaxed however, now that he has to start stretching out in distance.”
SHUT IT DOWN ran well in his season debut to be 2nd and ACTIVE DUTY ran a decent race to be an even third.