Derby winner's papers stolen, replaced in time for Belmont

Derby winner's papers stolen, replaced in time for Belmont

Jun 03, 2009
By staff
Louisville, Ky. -- A burglar stole the registration papers for Kentucky Derby winner Mine That Bird from his trainer's truck overnight Tuesday, but officials at Churchill Downs replaced them by afternoon, ensuring that the horse can compete in Saturday's $1 million Belmont Stakes.

Trainer Bennie (Chip) Woolley Jr. discovered his truck was burglarized outside the Louisville hotel where he was staying. The thief smashed a side window and made off with the registration papers and a global-positioning system, Woolley told police.

Mine That Bird, co-owned by veterinarian Leonard Blach of Roswell, N.M., will be in the No. 7 post position for Saturday's race in the 10-horse field, and is considered the 2-1 favorite.

Jockey Calvin Borel, who rode the 3-year-old gelding to victory in the Derby, will ride him again at Belmont. Borel guided the filly Rachel Alexandra to victory in the Preakness, so winning at Belmont would make him a personal triple-crown winner. Rachel Alexandra isn't entered at Belmont.

Blach, who owns a Thoroughbred breeding farm near Roswell, and his neighbor Mark Allen jointly own Mine That Bird, which overcame 50-1 odds to win the Derby. They paid $400,000 for the horse, last year's 2-year-old champion in Canada. It had brought only $9,500 at auction as a yearling. Blach owns or has an interest in other racehorses in New Mexico.

Mine That Bird's sire, Birdstone, beat Smarty Jones in the 2004 Belmont Stakes, and Birdstone's sire, Grindstone, won the 1996 Kentucky Derby.