06/18/2009 11:00PM

Mine That Bird ready to resume serious work


LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Trainer Chip Woolley said he is planning to ship Mine That Bird out of Churchill Downs in mid-July for Mountaineer Park, where the 2009 Kentucky Derby winner will have two breezes leading up to his next scheduled start, the $750,000 West Virginia Derby on Aug. 1.

"Ideally, I'd like to breeze the colt twice over that track, so that means we'd have to leave out of here a couple weeks early," Woolley said.

Mine That Bird, who followed his 50-1 Derby triumph by running second in the May 16 Preakness and third in the June 6 Belmont Stakes, has been in light training in recent days at Churchill. Woolley said the gelding would return to a more serious training regimen Monday, when he will start galloping two miles daily.

The Grade 2 West Virginia Derby is run at 1 1/8 miles and will serve as a prep toward the $1 million Shadwell Travers, the main goal this summer for Mine That Bird. The 1 1/4-mile Travers is set for Aug. 29 at Saratoga.

Meanwhile, Woolley said he is considering leaving Churchill to spend a few days at home in New Mexico, where he has some 25 other horses in training at SunRay Park under the supervision of his older brother and assistant, Bill. Woolley has not been home since driving some 1,500 miles to Churchill nearly two weeks before the May 2 Derby. Except for his trips to the Preakness and Belmont, he has been living out of a hotel located just a mile or two from Churchill.

"Actually, the chances of me going home before we set out for West Virginia are pretty slim," he said, adding with a chuckle: "I don't want to go home and screw anything up. Things are going pretty good for us here and pretty good there, too."

Charlie Figueroa, the regular exercise rider for Mine That Bird, will be leaving Louisville for a few days at home in New Mexico next week, Woolley said. In his place, Rudy Gallegos will get on Mine That Bird in the mornings.

Woolley has been attending the races at Churchill on a regular basis, where he hangs out near a first-floor bar in close proximity to the winner's circle. Fans recognize him and flock to him on a steady basis, and he willingly poses for pictures or signs autographs.

"I'm really enjoying it," he said. "The people here know their racing."

Capt. Candyman Can set to breeze

Capt. Candyman Can is nearing his first workout since he captured the seven-furlong Matt Winn Stakes on May 16 at Churchill. Trainer Ian Wilkes said the 3-year-old gelding will breeze early this week as he gears back up for the Aug. 2 Amsterdam and Aug. 29 King's Bishop at Saratoga.

Capt. Candyman Can, a winner of four stakes from eight overall starts, was sent to the nearby Skylight Training Center shortly after the Winn "to give him a little break," Wilkes said. "He always gives me everything. We want him ready for the two races at Saratoga."

Byrne joins Churchill full time

Jill Byrne has been hired on a full-time basis by Churchill, where she has been most visible in her in-house television roles in recent years. Besides her television work, she also will become more heavily involved in providing video and print content for the track's websites.

Byrne also had been an on-air personality for TVG, working daily at the spring and fall meets at Keeneland. She will be giving up those duties. Instead, she will be switching over to make appearances on rival HRTV, in which Churchill has a financial interest.

War Eagle Lady wins third at meet

War Eagle Lady ($3.20) became the first three-time winner at the Churchill spring meet when she drew clear under Calvin Borel to win the Thursday feature, a $52,485 second-level allowance at seven furlongs. Jimmy Baker is the trainer of War Eagle Lady, a 4-year-old filly by War Chant.

Overall, War Eagle Lady is now 4 for 4 at Churchill and 0 for 5 elsewhere.

* Steve Asmussen has five and D. Wayne Lukas has four of the 23 fillies nominated to the $100,000 Debutante, the first of four stakes that close out the stakes schedule at the meet. The Grade 3 Debutante, to be run next Saturday, will be followed by the Bashford Manor Stakes on July 3, the Firecracker Handicap on July 4, and the Locust Grove Handicap on closing day, July 5.

* A major thunderstorm rumbled through Churchill late Thursday morning, knocking out power in the stable area for a couple of hours and soaking the turf course, forcing the two scheduled turf races to be moved to the main track. As usual, numerous scratches resulted, with nine of 20 possible starters being declared from those two races.

* Turfway Park is now accepting stall applications for the fall meet (Sept. 9-Oct. 8). The deadline is July 25.