In fact, Mine That Bird, a 3-year-old gelding, went from worst to first, literally. Calvin Borel held him back, biding his time in last place until room opened along the rail, then passed passing horse after horse down the stretch. Mine That Bird won leading by 6 3/4 lengths, and became the second biggest longshot in Derby history, only Donerail in 1913 won at longer odds.
The field was missing one of the early favorites, I Want Revenge, who was scratched in the morning when a foot problem was discovered. Ironically, as I wrote on Friday, I Want Revenge had drawn the Kentucky Derby 2009 "bad luck" post position of 13. Yes, superstition wins again.
Pioneer of the Nile held off Musket Man for second. Mine That Bird became just the ninth gelding to win the Derby and just the second in the last 80 years. Funny Cide won in 2003. (Think of a gelding, if you don't know, as a neutered male dog).
Winning trainer Chip Woolley said of jockey Calvin Borel:
“Calvin did a super job. I just can’t say enough about the way things went for us. Calvin picks a spot, every thing fell together. We were really lucky to get (Mine That Bird) through there.”
For those who took the longshot bet on Calvin Borel and Mine That Bird, a $2 ticket paid off with $103.20. Mine That Bird was a big winner for its ownesrs as well; he was purchased as a yearling for only $9,500 and sold for $400,000 before the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile last year. Can Calvin Borel push him to another victory in the Preakness? We'll see.