03/20/2009 12:00AM

Mine That Bird works for Sunland Derby


Mine That Bird, last year's champion 2-year-old of Canada and a close runner-up in last month's Borderland Derby here, will make his next start in the $800,000 Sunland Derby on March 29, according to trainer Chip Woolley.

"He's doing super," Woolley said from his Sunland Park barn Tuesday morning. "We just worked him five-eighths [1:01.80] and are real pleased. He has never been much of a work horse, more of a laid-back cruising type, but he looked sharp."

A gelded son of 2004 Belmont winner Birdstone, Mine That Bird's start in the Borderland was his first out since he was unplaced in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile at Santa Anita last October.

"He should be a little stronger, a little more fit," Woolley said. "We'll put one more soft breeze in him next Tuesday and he should be ready."

* The winner of the Borderland, Scorewithcater, is also expected back for the Sunland Derby. The Doug O'Neill charge drilled a half-mile over Hollywood Park's synthetic surface in 48.80 seconds on Sunday and will ship back to New Mexico next week. O'Neill saddled both the 2003 and 2005 winners of the WinStar Derby.

* Valid Stripes, a multiple stakes winner who had been under consideration for both the Sunland Park Derby and the $75,000 Sportsman's Paradise at his home track of Delta Downs on Friday night, has been committed to the Sunland race, said his trainer, Amos Laborde. Plans are to ship Valid Stripes to New Mexico on Sunday.

* First Moonflash, who set a world record of 18.735 seconds for 400 yards in the Grade 1 Championship at Sunland in December, now has the world mark for 350 yards as well.

Prominent throughout in last Sunday's Mesilla Valley Handicap, whose entrants' earnings totaled over $4 million, First Moonflash stopped the timer in 16.715.