10/06/2009 12:00AM

Mine That Bird takes step forward

Benoit & Associates
Mine That Bird works Tuesday at Santa Anita in his final tune-up before facing older horses in Saturday's Grade 1 Goodwood.

ARCADIA, Calif. - With his debut against older horses looming in Saturday's $350,000 Goodwood Stakes at Santa Anita, Kentucky Derby winner Mine That Bird worked five furlongs in 1:00.20 on Tuesday.

Unlike his first workout at Santa Anita on Sept. 29, five furlongs in 1:01.80, jockey Joe Talamo gave Mine That Bird a sterner test this time.

"He picked it up, which is what I wanted," trainer Chip Woolley said. "He looked sharper in the stretch. He finished the last eighth in [11.40 seconds].

"I'd like to have seen a little sharper work [last week], but I told Joe to be careful. I didn't want him to overdo it. I told him to step it up today."

Talamo worked Mine That Bird, although jockey Calvin Borel, who guided Mine that Bird to a 50-1 upset in the Kentucky Derby, has the mount in Saturday's Grade 1 Goodwood. Talamo said he was impressed by Mine That Bird's performance on Tuesday.

"He really gets over it with his stride," Talamo said.

The Goodwood will be Mine That Bird's first start since a third in the West Virginia Derby at Mountaineer Racetrack on Aug. 1. Mine That Bird is winless in three starts since the Kentucky Derby, including a troubled second behind Rachel Alexandra in the Preakness and a third in the Belmont Stakes behind Summer Bird. Since the Belmont, Summer Bird has won the Travers Stakes and the Jockey Club Gold Cup, his first start against older horses.

Woolley is hoping that Mine That Bird can make the successful transition from racing against 3-year-olds to facing older horses.

"If you're a top-level 3-year-old, you should fit well with them," he said.

The Goodwood, run over 1 1/8 miles, is expected to draw a field of nine, including Chocolate Candy, Colonel John, Gitano Hernando, Informed, Monzante, Parading, Richard's Kid, Tiago, and Tres Borrachos.

Richard's Kid, who won the Pacific Classic in a 24-1 upset on Sept. 6, worked a half-mile in 46.80 seconds on Tuesday, the fastest of 27 recorded works at the distance.

Trainer Bob Baffert does not have a jockey for Richard's Kid, who was ridden by Mike Smith in the Pacific Classic. Smith is booked to ride Tiago, the 2007 Goodwood winner, in Saturday's race.

Colonel John, a troubled fifth in the Pacific Classic, breezed five furlongs in 1:00.40 on Monday. Colonel John was beaten three lengths by Richard's Kid after running in traffic on the turn.

"What can you do?" trainer Eoin Harty said. "What's done is done."

Harty considers the Goodwood to be as difficult as any prep held for the Nov. 7 Breeders' Cup Classic.

"I don't see it getting any tougher around the country," he said.

Lethal Heat wheels back for Lady's Secret

Lethal Heat, who finished second to Bold Chieftain in the $200,000 California Cup Classic last Saturday, will make a quick turnaround for Saturday's $300,000 Lady's Secret Stakes, trainer Barry Abrams said.

Abrams envisions Lethal Heat being the lone front-runner in the Grade 1 Lady's Secret, which is run over 1 1/16 miles and is a leading prep for the Breeders' Cup Ladies' Classic here on Nov. 6.

"I'll enter her and see how the scenario looks," Abrams said. "She should be the only speed in the race."

Even if that solitary role develops, Abrams is a realist. Lethal Heat will be facing the unbeaten champion Zenyatta, who is seeking her 13th win, and the Grade 1 winners Cocoa Beach and Life Is Sweet.

"I'm going to be running for second," he said. "It's tough, but they all have the same style."