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Mine That Bird to have minor surgery
Associated Press
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Published: 8/17/2009 2:42 PM

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SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. -- Kentucky Derby winner Mine That Bird will have minor throat surgery Tuesday, and his trainer still hopes the horse can run in the Travers Stakes in less than two weeks.

The operation Tuesday is to clear a breathing passage. Trainer Chip Woolley said the problem was discovered Monday after Mine That Bird returned from a workout at Saratoga Race Course.

The 3-year-old gelding will be taken to the Ruffian Equine Medical Center near Belmont Park for the procedure.

"The doctors think -- there are no guarantees -- but the doctors think he'll be good for Travers," Woolley said. "It will be somewhat day to day. We will not run him if he's not 100 percent."

Mine That Bird won the Derby at 50-1 odds, then finished second to filly Rachel Alexandra in the Preakness and third behind Summer Bird in the Belmont Stakes. He was third in the West Virginia Derby in his most recent start.

The throat problem -- an entrapped epiglottis -- can interfere with a horse's breathing. It was detected during a routine examination shortly after Mine That Bird worked five furlongs in 1:03.83.

Rachel Alexandra, winner over males in the Haskell Invitational in her most recent start, worked five furlongs in 1:00.37 at Saratoga on Monday and is also under consideration for the Travers, as is her stablemate, Jim Dandy Stakes winner Kensei.

An announcement on Rachel Alexandra's next race is expected this week. Principal owner Jess Jackson and trainer Steve Asmussen have several options at Saratoga. They include Saturday's Alabama Stakes, which is restricted to 3-year-old fillies, the Aug. 30 Personal Ensign Stakes for fillies and mares and the Sept. 5 Woodward Stakes, which would pit her against older males.