Sunday, May 3, 2009

LONGSHOT WINS DERBY, PREVIOUS WINNER TAKES GOLD CUP

Trainer Bennie Woolley Jr. hitched Mine That Bird to the back of his pickup and drove to the Kentucky Derby from New Mexico. With an inspired ride on the rail from Calvin Borel, it all added up to one of the greatest upsets in 135 years of America’s most famous horse race.

“Those cowboys,” Bob Baffert trainer of runner-up Pioneerof The Nile said, “they came with a good horse.”

Mine That Bird went off at 50-1 odds Saturday, but that was only one measure of how little attention he garnered before pulling away in the stretch to score a 6 3/4 -length victory at Churchill Downs, the second-biggest stunner in Derby history. The margin was the largest since Assault won by eight lengths in 1946.

Just a few days ago, we said Mine That Bird didn't belong in the race as the road to the Kentucky Derby does not go through New Mexico...Doh!

For complete results, click here.

Meanwhile, back in ACC country in Ol’ Virginny…

On paper, yesterday's $75,000 84th Virginia Gold Cup looked to be between two horses -- the 2007 winner Salmo and the 2008 winner Bubble Economy.

Out on the Great Meadow race course, the timber classic played out as anticipated as Salmo jumped beautifully and had enough left to hold off defending champion Bubble Economy down the stretch.

Salmo also won the race in 2007 when trained by Jack Fisher and ridden by Chip Miller. The 13-year-old son of Northern Baby gave owner Irv Naylor his third victory in the timber stakes. Erin Go Bragh was third.

Salmo was bred in Virginia by Sara and Bruce Collette of Pageland Farm in Casanova, VA. Coincidentally, the Collette's farm is next door to Spring Hill Farm where top three-year-old and injury Kentucky Derby contender Quality Road was born.

Irv Naylor owns the Gold Cup winner who is trained by Desmond Fogarty and who was ridden to victory by Darren Nagle.

For complete results of all the Gold Cup races, click here.

(Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images and Douglas Lees)

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