08/25/2009 11:00PM

Mine That Bird uncertain for Travers

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Barbara D. Livingston
Mine That Bird, with Jamie Theriot aboard, works five furlongs in 1:01.83 on Tuesday.

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. - After exhibiting confidence for a week that Kentucky Derby winner Mine That Bird would be able to make Saturday's $1 million Shadwell Travers Stakes, the connections of the Kentucky Derby winning gelding appeared to be wavering Tuesday.

Mine That Bird worked a solid five furlongs in 1:01.83 and a subsequent endoscopic examination of the gelding's throat showed no inflammation, but owner Mark Allen and trainer Chip Woolley said they would wait until entry time before making a final decision on whether to run in the Travers.

Entries were to be taken and post positions drawn on Wednesday morning in the Saratoga paddock.

"We want to be careful with him and make sure we don't do something that would be detrimental to him down the road," Woolley said Tuesday morning. "He's got to come first."

Woolley said that a follow-up endoscopic examination would be performed on Mine That Bird on Wednesday.

"If we irritated his throat today - and we'll look at it in the morning - if it looks bad we ain't gonna run," Woolley said. "If it's not irritated in the morning you got to feel like he's doing okay. It's just that simple."

On Aug. 18, Mine That Bird underwent throat surgery to repair an entrapped epiglottis. He missed two days of training, jogged two days, and galloped two days leading up to Tuesday's work.

With jockey Jamie Theriot up, Mine That Bird worked five furlongs, breaking off at the half-mile pole and working a furlong past the wire. He continued to gallop out six furlongs in 1:14.95. He went his final three furlongs in 36.38 seconds, while being asked by Theriot to finish.

"We wanted to see how he responded past the wire and that's what we were looking for," Woolley said. "He bounced right into it, he dropped and gave another go. He looked pretty sharp."

Immediately following the work, Dr. James Hunt performed an endoscopic examination that was clean.

"Doc was happy,'' Woolley said.

While Woolley and Hunt have been happy with how things have progressed for Mine That Bird following surgery, Allen still seemed to have concerns.

"We'll look at him [Wednesday] morning," Allen said. "If there's any doubt at all we won't run."

Asked if he had any doubts on Tuesday, Allen replied, "Tell you more in the morning."

If he doesn't run in the Travers, Mine That Bird would most likely make his next start in the Goodwood Stakes at Santa Anita on Oct. 10. Mine That Bird is expected to leave Saratoga on Monday for Ruidoso Downs in New Mexico, where will lead the post parade for the $2 million All American Futurity, a Quarter Horse race, on Sept. 7. The connections of Mine That Bird are from New Mexico.

"It would be very disappointing to reach this point and have your horse really doing well and not be able make the race," Woolley said Tuesday afternoon during a national conference call. "We'll do what's best for him and not take a chance for any amount of money. So, we'll take care of him."

Hold Me Back works for Travers

Hold Me Back completed his preparation for the Travers with a five-furlong work in 1:00.71 on Tuesday morning on the Saratoga main track.

"He went off nicely. It's the first time he's worked over the main track," said his trainer, Bill Mott. "His training has been good. He's carrying good flesh. He looks good."

The Travers will be the third start on dirt for Hold Me Back, whose best races, including a victory in the Lane's End Stakes at Turfway Park in March, have been on synthetic surfaces. He was fifth in the Remsen Stakes last year, and 12th in the Kentucky Derby after making a mid-race move. In his only start since then, Hold Me Back was fifth in the Virginia Derby in his lone start on turf.

"He didn't have a great trip. The ground was softer than what he cares for," Mott said.

Julien Leparoux will ride Hold Me Back for the first time in the Travers. Kent Desormeaux, who has ridden Hold Me Back in his last four starts, is on Belmont Stakes winner Summer Bird.

- additional reporting by Jay Privman