04/23/2010 12:00AM

Mine That Bird still with Woolley, at least for now


LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Trainer Chip Woolley, who won the Kentucky Derby last year with Mine That Bird, was a visitor at Churchill Downs on Friday morning amid speculation that Mine That Bird could soon be transferred to another trainer, perhaps D. Wayne Lukas.

"I've heard the rumors, too, but nobody has said anything to me," Woolley said.

Co-owners Mark Allen and Dr. Leonard Blach, contacted separately this week, both said, "Right now, there's been no change," but did not deny the rumors.

Woolley said Mine That Bird was currently training at Allen's ranch in New Mexico. Mine That Bird, a gelding, has not run since the Breeders' Cup Classic in November.

"He's been jogging," Woolley said. "He's gained a lot of weight. By the time of the Breeders' Cup, the year had taken a toll. He was drawn and used."

Woolley said he was in town for the reopening of the Kentucky Derby Museum, which was flooded last fall. He said he would stay through the running of the Derby next weekend. He had his familiar black hat, but his ever-present crutches, needed after he badly fractured a leg last year in a motorcycle accident, were gone.

"I've been off them for a while now," Wooley said. "This is the first time I've walked the backside here without them. It feels good."

- additional reporting by Mike Welsch