05/31/2009 11:00PM

'Perfect' work for Mine That Bird

Reed Palmer Photography/Churchill Downs
Mine That Bird works Monday morning at Churchill Downs under jockey Calvin Borel. The gelding is scheduled to fly to Belmont Park on Wednesday afternoon.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Mine That Bird had what his trainer and jockey called a "perfect" final workout Monday morning for the Belmont Stakes, as the gelding breezed a half-mile in 50 seconds over a fast track at Churchill Downs.

Jockey Calvin Borel and trainer Chip Woolley both said Mine That Bird is as ready as can be for the Belmont, for which he will be a solid favorite when the 1 1/2-mile race is run Saturday for the 141st time at Belmont Park in Elmont, N.Y.

"We're going to win it, no questions asked," said Borel, who was aboard for the work. "I loved the way he went today. He really came bouncing off the track once we were done. That's what I love about him. He's just so happy."

Working at about 8:40 a.m. Eastern, shortly after the track reopened following the harrow break, Mine That Bird went in splits of 13.80, 26.60, and 38.40 before speeding from the eighth pole to the wire in 11.30 seconds. His five-furlong gallop-out time was a strong 1:02.20.

Mine That Bird, winner of the May 2 Kentucky Derby and runner-up in the May 16 Preakness, is one of 10 3-year-olds expected for the Belmont when entries are taken Wednesday morning.

Woolley, who watched from the six-furlong gap on the backstretch, said he was extremely pleased with what he saw. "I was just thinking last week that he's been training even better than he was going into the Derby," he said.

Woolley, who was booked on a commercial flight early Tuesday to New York, said the gelding would walk Tuesday, then gallop about 1 1/2 miles Wednesday morning at Churchill before leaving in the early afternoon on a charter flight to New York.

Earlier Monday, Preakness winner Rachel Alexandra also breezed at Churchill, going five furlongs in 1:01.60 with exercise rider Dominic Terry aboard. Withdrawn Friday from consideration for the Belmont by owner Jess Jackson, Rachel Alexandra is not being pointed to any race in particular, although the June 27 Mother Goose versus fillies at Belmont remains a possibility, said trainer Steve Asmussen, who oversaw the work.

"How long a break [Jackson] wants her to take will depend on his goals for her for the second half of the year," said Asmussen.