Thursday, August 20, 2009

Welcome Back Bird

Mine That Bird underwent successful surgery to repair an entrapped epiglottis in the Ruffian Equine Medical Center down by Belmont Park on Tuesday morning; he was back in his stall at Saratoga Tuesday night. The procedure itself, said Dr. Patricia Hogan, takes about 12 seconds, the hard part is getting the horse under anesthesia and waking him up again, which took about 45 minutes or so. "He was a total gentleman," she told us.

Waiting in the conference room with trainer Chip Woolley, exercise rider George Smith and Zak McDonald was like being in the waiting room at a hospital for people. Nervous and bored at the same time, they pass the time watching YouTube videos: The Amazing Skidboot, Louisiana Sinkhole Drains Entire Lake, Twin Baby Boys Laughing at Each Other, Amazing Holes Around the Earth, Charlie Bit Me, and, of course, the overhead replay of the Kentucky Derby.

"Right there," says Woolley, watching as Mine That Bird squeezes through a rapidly diminshing hole on the rail, "is where my whole life changed."

Woolley glances at his watch, murmuring to himself, "He should be up by now," and sure enough here comes Dr. Hogan with the great news that everything went smooth as silk. Downstairs in this amazing facility, Mine That Bird is back in his stall, hungry, and, like any human patient, anxious to get home. And, after the trio partakes of another excellent meal at King Umberto's, he's on his way!


  1. Nice to see a real Hands-On trainer -- seems a rarity these days.

  2. I LOVE Mine That Bird- such a great personality and a true racehorse. It's a pity that he (and Chip) don't get the respect commensurate to their talents. I hope that Mine That Bird stays sound throughout a long career and that he can convert his critics into admirers by winning some major upcoming stakes, starting with the Travers.