Calvin Borel

Mine That Bird shocks at the Kentucky Derby

For people sick of news stories about mass layoffs, executive bonuses and plant closures, today’s Kentucky Derby was a nice little dose of revenge for the little guy, thanks to another little guy. Mine That Bird’s jockey, Calvin Borel, pulled off one of the ballsiest moves I’ve ever seen in any vehicle (let alone one that can think for itself) when he cut to the rail and squeezed the $9,500 horse past the leader and sprinted away from the field to win by 6 3/4 lengths.

That’s right, Mine The Bird cost his owner $9,500, and today he turned a horse race into a boat race. This was like an equine Usain Bolt in the 100 meters, only luckily Mine The Bird didn’t try to pound his own chest (a hooting and hollering Borel did that for him). In racing terms, winning the Kentucky Derby with a $9,500 horse is like winning the Daytona 500 with a Daihatsu Charade.

When the 50-1 shot crossed the finish line, the crowd was silent. Who could blame them? They spent hundreds of dollars on tickets, ridiculous head umbrellas and mint juleps, and there were probably about four people other than the ones directly involved with the horse to include Mine The Bird in any wager. Rich people mostly stick to their own kind, and Mine The Gold’s New Mexico trainer with the handlebar mustache and a broken leg from a motorcycle accident didn’t really seem to fit in.

Plus, NBC kept mentioning how Mine That Bird was driven to the Derby in (egads!) a trailer pulled by a pickup. I’m not an expert in horse racing, but how else are horses transported to races? In special horse planes? The MaddenCruiser? A mobile farm? Of course, NBC wasn’t really giving us that exciting of a broadcast anyway, as I laughed out loud when my buddy Mac texted me that “The Derby needs Nantz.” It’s true, the entire Triple Crown could use a little Nantz-a-tron, and I’d take Verne Lundquist over Tom Hammond as well. Oh well, the Kentucky Derby is more about the two minutes of race than the pomp and circumstance, and today Mine That Bird’s lower-middle-class success story was the best reprieve from Debbie Downer economy news stories in a while.

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