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Jun 19, 2009

Triple Crown horses prepping for summer

By: By Don Agriss, Horse Racing Editor

Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - The three winners of this year's Triple Crown races are each taking completely different paths this summer. The ultimate goal for each thoroughbred, however, is the Breeders' Cup World Championship at Santa Anita in November.

Leading filly Rachel Alexandra, the Preakness Stakes champ, went to the track early Monday morning for a six-furlong workout. Regular exercise rider Dominic Terry was in the saddle as the three-year-old covered the six-furlongs in 1:12. Trained by Steve Asmussen, Rachel Alexandra galloped out seven-furlongs in 1:24 4/5 under temporary lights.

While her next start has not been solidified, the Mother Goose Stakes at Belmont Park on Saturday, June 27 is a possibility.

Kentucky Derby winner Mine That Bird is set to make his next start in the $750,000 West Virginia Derby at Mountaineer Park in Chester, WV on Saturday, August 1.

"The West Virginia Derby fits our schedule the best," said trainer Chip Woolley, "and that's the main thing, From there we will go to the Travers with the ultimate goal being the Breeders' Cup Classic."

The $1 million Travers Stakes at Saratoga will be run on Saturday, August 29.

"The Breeders' Cup is 10 weeks after the Travers," Woolley said. "He does not need an out on the Pro-Ride. He has been on the artificial and he won four in a row over the synthetic last year at Woodbine. I'd like to fly him in there two or three weeks before and have two breezes over the track, but we can sneak a race in there if we need it."

Woolley said that Mine That Bird would resume full training next Sunday.

"That way he would have had two full weeks off," Woolley said. "We may stay here (Churchill) all the way (before the West Virginia Derby) and then go straight up to Saratoga."

Belmont Stakes winner Summer Bird will prep for the Travers with a start in the $1 million Haskell Invitational at Monmouth Park on Sunday, August 2.

Expected to face Summer Bird in the Haskell is Musket Man, third in both the Kentucky Derby and Preakness. Musket Man is based at the New Jersey track and could be the sentimental favorite for that reason.

Trainer Derek Ryan has not completely ruled out getting a race into the Illinois Derby champ if he can find a suitable spot before the 1 1/8 mile Haskell.

Belmont Stakes runner-up Dunkirk continues to recuperate in his stall from last weeks surgery. The surgery, performed at the Ruffian Equine Medical Center by Dr. Patricia Hogan, inserted a screw in a non-displaced condylar fracture in the colt's left rear cannon bone.

The new Ruffian Equine Medical Center is across the street from Belmont Park.

Second in the Florida Derby in the spring, Dunkirk will complete his recovery at Ashford Stud in Lexington, KY.

"We anticipate a full recovery and a return to racing later this fall," noted trainer Todd Pletcher.

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