07/29/2010 12:33PM

Mine That Bird works a sharp six furlongs at Saratoga

Tom Keyser
Mine That Bird, shown training at Saratoga last week, is pointing for the Whitney.

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. - Trainer D. Wayne Lukas knows the task that awaits 2009 Kentucky Derby winner Mine That Bird in his next start is tall, so he’s doing everything in his power to have him up to it.

Toward that end, Lukas gave Mine That Bird another stiff, stamina-building workout Thursday morning at Saratoga. With regular rider Calvin Borel up, Mine That Bird went six furlongs in 1:12.40 over the Oklahoma training track. The move came nine days after Mine That Bird went a mile in 1:40.14.

Mine That Bird is scheduled to make his next start in the Grade 1, $750,000 Whitney Invitational Handicap on Aug. 7 against the likes of Quality Road and Blame.

“We’re going into the deep end of the pool, there are no soft spots for one this time of the year up here,” Lukas said. “The only thing we have to be concerned about is that we’re fit. Whatever ability he shows turning 4 here, it’s going to be up to him. At least we got to give him a chance to be fit and be sharp and go into the race in the best possible position. With that in mind we’ve given him some works that should put him in that spot if I know what I’m doing.”

In Thursday’s work, Mine That Bird broke off at the six-furlong marker and went his first eighth in 12.46 seconds. At the five-furlong pole he joined in, as planned, with stablemate Duca and the two went the next three furlongs in 35.66 seconds. Turning into the stretch, Borel threw a cross at Mine That Bird and, as he pulled away from his workmate, he went the final quarter in 24.28 seconds. He galloped out seven furlongs in 1:26.11.

“He wanted a pretty good stiff work and he should just be about ready to run now,” Borel said. “It was one of his best works this morning. The [gelding’s] getting better; I think he’s on the right track.”

Mine That Bird has made only one start this year, an eighth-place finish in the Firecracker Handicap on turf at Churchill Downs on July 4. He only ran in that race after an allowance race on dirt failed to fill.

In addition to Quality Road and Blame, others expected to accept invitations to the Whitney are Convocation, and Haynesfield. Hold Me Back and Musket Man are listed as possible by the racing office. Redding Colliery is doubtful, according to trainer Kiaran McLaughlin.
Jardim, a Brazilian-bred, is expected to be offered an invite when an alternate list is published Sunday.