Rave Reviews?

Alright, everyone who picked Mine That Bird to win the Kentucky Derby for a reason other than his name, number, silks color or Canadian background, raise your hand.


You and I both know we wouldn’t have touted Mine That Bird to our worst enemy.

He was a Polytrack horse, and a Canadian one at that. He got butchered in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile, finishing last by a mile. His only significant win was a Grade 3 at Woodbine – AT TWO. He couldn’t even muster up the athletic capabilities to hit the board in an ungraded stakes race at Sunland Park. Mine That Bird would have been a hard sell for a show wager in the Lone Star Derby, much less the highest-profile three-year old race in the world.

But here we are.

Looking through the sea of pre-race predictions, one would be hard-pressed to find anyone who put Mine That Bird in their top 15 out of the pre-scratch field of 20, much less in a spot of serious contention. I’ve seen more optimistic forecasts in a Chrysler exec’s stock portfolio. 

As a testament to just how out of left field this outcome was, I have compiled some of the more colorful predictions of Mine That Bird’s Derby chances from some of the biggest names and publications in Turf Writing. The results weren’t optimistic.

Because I’m a good sport, I’ll start with my own fearless prediction…

#8 – Mine That Bird
Made bank in Loonies
No graded starts in ’09
Avoid at all costs

Consider the foot firmly planted in the mouth.

Here is what the rest of the Turf Writing community had to say about the Kentucky Derby winner in their pre-race analysis. Just to keep it fair, I limited my search to professional writers and handicappers. These are the people who get paid for their opinions, so one would speculate they would be held in a higher regard. Just imagine seeing some of these clips in a stallion ad if Mine That Bird hadn’t been gelded.

“Save your money”
– Tom Pedulla, USA Today 

Best quality: “Photographs well”
– Jay Cronley, ESPN 

“Highest Beyer speed figure (81) isn’t even close to making him a contender. Has shown some speed in the past, but it probably won’t last for long.”
– Jason Shandler, Blood Horse

“Off career-best Beyers, he’s got about 23 lengths to make up. Hey, no problem.”
– Mike Watchmaker, Daily Racing Form

Fair odds: “399-1”
– Ed DeRosa, Thoroughbred Times

Odds to finish last: “7-1,” the lowest odds in the field. (By the way, actual last-place finisher Flying Private was set at 9-1)
– Bodog.com 

“We can’t see it, even with Calvin Borel in the irons.”
– BrisNet Editorial

“Too slow to be a factor.”
– Justin Dew, KentuckyDerby.com 

“Mind That Bird (sic) has simply run much too slow in all eight races to think that he can compete against this type of opposition.”
– “The Wizard,” BrisNet 

ESPN’s Jeremy Plonk listed Mine That Bird among his “Toss-outs,” but was more optimistic about his chances than most…

“Canada’s champion last year was last in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile and has not improved enough this spring to make you think he can cash a check Saturday. But he’s a hard-trying horse and probably will out-finish one or two horses that will surprise you.”

So what’s the moral of the story? Never underestimate the longshot? Nope. Be nice to everyone because you never know who is going to hit it big? ‘Fraid not. Never EVER give Calvin Borel a clean look at the rail? Tempting, but no.

The lesson here is the betting machines have an “all” button for a reason.


Filed under Triple Crown

7 responses to “Rave Reviews?

  1. I was so excited I cried my eyes out! I always pull for the underdogs, and how about that third place winner, Musket Man? His sire daddy will be proud!

    What happened to Friesian? I probably butchered the spelling, sorry.

    Anyway, it was a GREAT race to watch, and I was thrilled to see a newcomer WIN!!

    GO “Mine That Bird”!!

  2. The spouse picked him based on Borel alone – but that was only for our Derby party pool (and only because there wasn’t much left). It still meant we came out ahead!

  3. Piper

    Took the pool #2
    The god aligned it the race

  4. Piper

    i wonder what Chantel is thinking??

  5. mibredclaimer

    Even though he cost me a lot of money, I couldn’t help but get the butterflies during Calvin Borel’s trip back in front of the grandstand. That right there is what makes this sport great.

    As for Friesan Fire, the answer can be found here: http://www.thoroughbredtimes.com/racing-news/2009/May/03/Derby-over-at-the-start-for-favorite-Friesan-Fire.aspx

    Nice work! Guessing you didn’t quite get the 50-1 payout you would have gotten had you bet on him for real though, huh?

    I initially thought Sutherland should have gotten the mount just to give the race a little more drawing power, even if she didn’t have a prayer. Goes to show you how much I know.

    After the race, I’m sure she’s got to be wondering what could have been, but I don’t think any jockey on this planet would have won that race on that horse with that trip other than Borel.

    But could you imagine the media firestorm that would have erupted had Chantal pulled it off instead?

  6. Kisher

    Does anyone know why he is named Mine That Bird? Very strange name!

  7. mibredclaimer

    Mine That Bird’s dam is Mining My Own and his sire is Birdstone.

    My guess is they just combined the names of his parents to get Mine That Bird.

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