The owners of Mine That Bird are undecided about the Preakness, which is not great news for event organizers who already are reporting disappointing ticket sales and sponsorship revenues. Maryland Jockey Club officials are hoping for some help from the excitement generated by Saturday's heart-stopping Kentucky Derby, and it sure would help if the Triple Crown is still in play in two weeks.
Personally, I hope the horse comes to Baltimore, but I understand the owners are looking out for the best interests of the surprise Derby winner and also have concerns about the potentially adverse speed-bias at Pimlico. Mine That Bird is bred more for the Belmont Stakes, but it can't build on the history it made Saturday without running in the Preakness.
I have selfish reasons for wanting Mine That Bird to run at Pimlico. I'll be hosting the early Preakness coverage from the jockey's terrace on WBAL (1090 AM) and jockey Calvin Borel was a live guest after his last Derby victory. He's a trip and I'm hoping to have him back on the program for as long as he wants to be on.
Some readers felt like I read too much into the testy behavior of Mine's trainer, Bennie "Chip" Woolley, moments after his great victory. They may be right that Woolley had just grown tired of talking about the long drive he made from New Mexico or the motorcycle accident that put him on crutches. Trouble is, his unlikely rise from rodeo cowboy to Kentucky Derby-winning trainer -- and the unusual route he took to get into contention for the Triple Crown -- will still be the story when he gets to Baltimore, if he ultimately decides to run Mine That Bird in the Preakness.