Chip Woolley finally made “the walk.”
Almost 19 months after Woolley, with a broken right leg, drove Mine
That Bird from New Mexico to Louisville for his totally unexpected
victory at 50-1 in the Kentucky Derby, the trainer was back at Churchill
Downs on Sunday for the diminutive gelding's farewell ceremony.
Woolley was on crutches and the track was muddy, he was unable to
participate in the fabled walk that many trainers and owners make while
accompanying their Derby horses from the backside into the paddock for
America's favorite race. Now sound, Woolley walked alongside Mine That
Bird, co-owners Mark Allen and Dr. Leonard Blach and exercise rider
Charlie Figueroa as they brought the horse before the Downs crowd and
into the paddock, where fans cheered and lined up to get a glimpse.
irony was that Woolley no longer trains Mine That Bird. The gelding was
turned out at Allen's Double Eagle Ranch in Roswell, N.M., after he
finished 10th in the 2009 Breeders' Cup Classic at Santa Anita. When he
was ready to return to the track, the owners sent the horse to D.Wayne
Lukas at Churchill.