One of the many points of interest coming out of Mine That Bird’s victory in the Kentucky Derby is a welcome debunking of many myths and associated foolishness about bloodlines and breeding.
Once again, the old canard dosage received its due. Mine That Bird has a dosage index of 5.40 and surely was suffering from the inadequacies of stamina as he sliced past the competition to win the Kentucky classic. Already exposed as rare foolishness masquerading as a handicapping scheme by such earlier Kentucky Derby results as Strike the Gold and the dosage-busting exacta of Charismatic and Menifee, dosage is lovely exercise for those wanting to refresh their math skills.
Among the less arcane myths exploded by this year’s Kentucky Derby winner was the bias against May foals. Not yet chronologically 3-year-olds, they are supposed to be at a disadvantage against the older members of their crop. Well, if so, then don’t tell Mine That Bird. He was foaled on May 10.
Another “disadvantage” of May foals is that they are supposed to be smaller, and Mine That Bird is definitely a smallish to medium-sized horse, like his sire Birdstone, and paternal grandsire Grindstone. Size, however, did not prevent them from earning success in the classics, and it certainly did not prevent Mine That Bird from flying home over his competition. So perhaps we should conclude from these examples that being tall has nothing to do with anything other than being tall and that being fast is what it’s all about.
So far from being a disadvantage, Mine That Bird’s size was part of the reason he won the classic (along with tremendous stamina and gameness). When a reporter asked rider Calvin Borel how he got through a hole in the stretch that allowed the colt to maintain his momentum and surge on to victory, Borel said it was a small hole but that Mine That Bird was a small horse and shot right through.
Well done to them both.
Size, birth date, ear carriage, and other senseless things have little or nothing to do with what a horse becomes as an athlete. How the horse is managed and how it responds to the opportunities it is given make all that difference, and that boils down to character and guts.
The glory goes to those who have ’em.