Kentucky Derby winner Mine That Bird has been unwittingly snared in two horsey love triangles. I caught him by phone at Churchill Downs, where he’s been stabled since placing third in the Belmont. His Triple Crown hopes had been dashed in the Preakness when his jockey, Calvin Borel, ditched him to ride Rachel Alexandra to a narrow victory.
Adele: Thanks for talking to me, Mine. Congratulations on the Derby. Sorry about the other 2 races, though. The Preakness was a squeaker, but what happened at Belmont when you had Borel back? Did you throw that race to spite him, as some (me) have speculated?
Mine: Adele, since betting’s involved, I have no comment, but let us say that we horses think little of jockeys who play us to win a Triple Crown for themselves. It’s supposed to be a horse honor.
A: That brings up your latest dilemma. Calvin Borel rode Rachel last Saturday to win the Mother Goose Stakes, and now he’s been dropped as your jockey in future races because he won’t commit to you through the Breeders’ Cup in November.
M: Me and Borel made a good team while it lasted, but the race is won by the horse, not the jockey. That guy let his head get turned by a fast filly. As far as I’m concerned, he can have her.
A: And now they’re trying to get Mike Smith, your jockey in the Preakness, to commit, but he’s hedging because he wants to ride Zenyatta, the mare he rode to win the Vanity Handicap last Saturday.
M: Zenyatta’s a freak with a thing for fat jockeys. She lets Smith pig out between races and still wins. Personally, I hope they find me a Munchkin jockey. They stay light without all the heaving.
A: I understand you’re running in the West Virginia Derby on August 1, at Saratoga on August 29, and maybe one more before the Breeders’ Cup at Santa Anita on November 7. That’s a pretty heavy schedule.
M: Hey, that’s what I do, baby. Horses run.
A: Rachel Alexandra’s owners are saying she probably won’t run in the Breeders’ Cup because it’s artificial turf.
M: That’s their call. Me, I got no problem. That’s what hooves are for. But I’ll tell ya, win or lose, any race without Borel and that filly is a good race for me.
A: Good luck with your next jockey, Mine, whoever he is.
M: Don’t worry, Adele. Loyal fans like you, I don’t want to disappoint. No matter who’s on my back, I promise I’ll give it my best shot.