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The Kentucky Derby's real winner

May 5, 2009 | 12:03 pm

Birdstone wins a Florida race in 1994. Fifteen years later, he would get a vicarious win at Churchill Downs thanks to Mine That Bird.

Yes, Mine That Bird won Saturday's big race at Churchill Downs, and his owners and trainer took in about 90% of the $1.4-million winner's purse, with jockey Calvin Borel pulling in the rest. And, of course, any bettor who took the 50-to-1 long shot raked in some riches as well.

But, as a Bloomberg News story today correctly points out, the big winner was Marylou Whitney. She owns Mine That Bird's sire, Birdstone.

Mine That Bird is a gelding, meaning he has no value in breeding and his entire worth is in his winnings. But his dad? Birdstone's value, which was estimated at about $3 million before the race, might now be as high as $12 million, according to a bloodstock agent interviewed by Bloomberg.

Birdstone's stud fee, which had been $10,000, will double and perhaps even quadruple for the next breeding season, experts predicted. Plus, he should become an even more popular, uh, date.

Doesn't seem fair does it? The son does all the work and the father has all the fun and takes most of the money.

-- Mike Hiserman

Photo: Birdstone wins a Florida race in 1994. Fifteen years later, the horse received a vicarious win at Churchill Downs thanks to Mine That Bird. Credit: Bill Denver / Associated Press

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