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Woolley bids farewell to Mine That Bird

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.

Because 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.

The 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.
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