MineThatBirdMay409.jpgOn the day after the stunning result at wacky Churchill Downs, camera crews followed trainer DAVE COTEY around Woodbine.

He was interviewed ad naseum and asked everything from why he picked MINE THAT BIRD out at auction to… did the new owners really try to give him back after the Breeders’ Cup?

It’s a feel-good story for horse racing – anything can happen and you don’t have to be rich to get a good horse (okay, so the gelding’s new owners are rich, see below).









• Check out the contenders for the Queen’s Plate and Woodbine Oaks on the bottom of the main page of THOROUGHBLOG…

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Thanks to regular contributors www.horse-races.net, Norm Files (see his photos at www.flckr.com) Sarah K. Andrew and Dave Landry for your support.



• “What happened was a perfect storm of situations that added up to give you a wacky result.” – Randy Moss talks to Andy Beyer

The speed figures took a beating in the Derby – Beyers, Ragozins, Thorograph, you name it.

MINE THAT BIRD was the slowest horse in the race by dozens of lengths, most wrote in publications that he had no business being in the race. Many think he won’t win another race of any account – unless it is in the mud. Purists of handicapping are befuddled while those who don’t believe in speed figures are laughing.

Andy Beyer tries to explain the win by Mine That Bird here (you may have to register for a free acount): 



BLOOD-HORSE Report: Mine That Bird Owner Tied to Scandal

An Alaska newspaper article claims a co-owner of the upset winner in the May 2 Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) has alleged ties to a public scandal involving state politicians and likely bought his share of Mine That Bird with $30 million he received from the separate sale of his family’s oil field services company.

The Anchorage Daily News has reported that Mine That Bird co-owner Mark Allen, in 2003, allegedly paid at least one bribe to an Alaska state representative in hopes of obtaining help with pending legislation for the family’s Veco Corp., but was never charged due to a plea bargain worked out by his father, Bill Allen. The elder Allen has since pleaded guilty to multiple federal counts of extortion, bribery, and conspiracy.

The Daily News said Mark Allen’s involvement in the alleged corruption was disclosed during his father’s testimony last October in a related trial of former U.S. Sen. Ted Stevens, and that prosecutors haven’t said whether they could have brought charges against the younger Allen.




Fury-ious Woodsmoke and Southdale wins big

• The WOODBINE OAKS and QUEEN’S PLATE pictures are getting interesting now. Both races are in June so there is no time to spare for horsepeople getting their horses ready.

WOODSMOKE just debuted in April, won and then won the Fury Stakes yesterday for Gus Schickedanz and trainer Mike Keogh. She’s learning fast, but she’s a bit raw and rough around the edges. Keogh commenetd about the filly’s front running score in the 7 furlong test yesterday – 1:22 3/5 equalled an 80 Beyer Figure.

SouthdaleMay409.jpg“We’re trying to make the Oaks. If she runs like that, it’s going to be (a problem),” offered Keogh. “I’d like to see her relax a bit more than she did today. Since she broke her maiden, she’s trained very tough in the morning. We thought she might do this today.”

Keogh said he was forced to wheel Woodsmoke into the Fury on short rest to stay on schedule for the 1 1/8-mile Oaks.

“I couldn’t get her to the races as a two-year-old. I have to do this to get there. That’s why she was running back so quick,” he explained.

Keogh said Woodsmoke’s next start could come in the 1 1/16-mile La Lorgnette on May 17.

Meanwhile, the most exciting horse at Woodbine could be SOUTHDALE, the gorgeous dark bay Street Cry colt owned and bred by Rod Ferguson.

Hyped up last year as a 2yo but unraced in the barn of Ian Black, the colt went to Florida with trainer Roger Attfield, raced once at Keeneland and was a good third. His Woodbine debut yesterday was everything it was supposed to be. The colt circled around maidens and drew off to win in 1:22 and he earned an 88 Beyer Figure. Ferguson was on hand to watch his beautiful colt win. The Queen’s Plate is the goal.


McAleneyMay409.jpgJIM MCALENEY – 2000 and counting 

• He waited until the last race of the weekend but Jim McAleney, who began Saturday with only 2 wins to 2,000 got it done in the last race yesterday – in interesting fashion.

McAleney’s mount, the well backed beginner WHISKEYONTHEROCKS, was up in the last jump to dead heat with TEMPESTA DI NEVE in the maiden claiming race. “It kind of epitomizes racing. That’s what racing is all about. There are no sure things or guarantees,” offered McAleney, after dismounting the Terry Jordan trainee. “It’s a wonderful milestone. The industry has treated me so great. I don’t think anybody could be more fortunate than I have. I’ve been around wonderful people and horses since I started.”

The British Columbia-born jockey entered 2009 with 1,990 career victories. “The next goal is to get to 3,000 faster than it took me to get to 2,000,” he said. “The next 1,000 is going to come a lot faster.”



New York Times horse racing blog prints this….