Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Mine That Bird Changes Trainers

Wednesday came the news that horse trainer Chip Woolley was no longer the trainer for 2009 Kentucky Derby winner Mine That Bird.

Instead, the 4-year-old horse, who has been resting at the Double Eagle Ranch in Roswell, will now be in the hands of Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas.

It's got to be tough on Woolley, who trained Mine That Bird through a solid 2009 campaign, which included a second-place showing in the Preakness, a third-place showing in the Belmont and a second-place showing in the Borderland Derby.

Woolley worked hard to help develop Mine That Bird and helped bring a certain amount of respect to New Mexico racing. Without Woolley in Mine That Bird's corner anymore, the relationship to Sunland Park Racetrack and Casino loses some of its luster.

Lukas is a veteran trainer and knows how to get a horse ready to compete. Mine That Bird has been off since last November and he needed that break.

Will Mine That Bird improve under Lukas? Perhaps. But Woolley deserved a chance to train the horse as a four-year-old and beyond and he deserved a chance to show he can be as good a trainer as some of the elite in the business.

- Felix

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