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Oct 23, 2009

Sons of Birdstone headed for Breeders' Cup Classic

By: By Don Agriss, Horse Racing Editor


Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - Birdstone is best known for his 2004 upset victory over Smarty Jones in the Belmont Stakes. However, this year the one- time longshot has made a name for himself as the sire of the top two three- year-old males of 2009.

Two of his sons, Mine That Bird and Summer Bird, won two of the three Triple Crown races and will meet for the third time in the $5 million Breeders' Cup Classic on Saturday, November 7 at Santa Anita Park.

In their first meeting Mine That Bird shocked the racing world as a 50-1 longshot by winning the Kentucky Derby. Summer Bird finished sixth in the race. Five weeks later Summer Bird turned the tables on his half-brother by winning the Belmont Stakes with Mine That Bird finishing third.

Since their meeting at Belmont Park the three-year-olds have had very different experiences. Mine That Bird has not won since the Run for the Roses, failing in the West Virginia Derby and Goodwood Stakes.

"We were disappointed with his race in the Goodwood Stakes (sixth, beaten about four lengths)," said Mine That Bird's trainer Chip Woolley, "but now that I've had a chance to sleep on it and talk things over with the owners, we're going to the Breeders Cup Classic."

Summer Bird was second to Rachel Alexandra, something his brother knows about, in the Haskell and then won the Travers and Jockey Club Gold Cup.

"He hasn't surprised me," Summer Bird's trainer Tim Ice said. "He's matured as he's gone along, and he's come out of every race good."

Both thoroughbreds have been at Santa Anita for a while now, working out on the track's artificial surface.

"With the Goodwood in him, and the added distance, it's really going to help him, and there's definitely going to be pace in the Classic," Woolley said.

Mine That Bird galloped two miles Sunday morning and was scheduled to work a half-mile Monday morning at Santa Anita.

Summer Bird took to the track Saturday morning. Regular rider Kent Desormeaux is set to come in from Kentucky to work the colt on Sunday.

"Kent will be in to work him, and we'll try to see if we can't get a work set up in between the races," Ice said.

Summer Bird, who did not race as a two-year-old, has four wins from eight starts with earnings of $2,023,040 for owners Kalarikkal and Vilasini Jayaraman.

Owned by Mark Allen and Dr. Leonard Blach, Mine That Bird has earned nearly $1.9 million this year with the one win in seven starts. In his two-year career he has won five times in 13 starts for almost $2.2 million.

Trainer John Shirreffs announced on Saturday that no decision has been made on Zenyatta's Breeders' Cup race. The winner of last year's Ladies' Classic is being considered for both the $2 million race for fillies and mares and the 1 1/4 mile Classic versus males.

"We're in no hurry," Shirreffs said Saturday.



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