Mine That Bird, the smallish gelding that ran first and second under different jockeys in the Kentucky Derby and Preakness, could have a third different rider when he runs in the Belmont Stakes.
Mike Smith, who was aboard for Mine That Bird's second-place finish in the Preakness on Saturday, is unavailable for the Belmont. Because of a prior commitment, Smith will ride Madeo in the Grade I Whittingham Stakes at Hollywood Park on June 6 instead of Mine That Bird, ESPN reported Monday.
That could open the door for a return by Calvin Borel, who won the Kentucky Derby on the gelding as a 50-1 long shot but switched to filly Rachel Alexandra in the Preakness. The filly's connections have not determined whether their horse will run in the Belmont.
If Borel is unavailable, Mine That Bird's trainer, Chip Woolley Jr., will be looking for a third jockey.
On Sunday, Woolley said Smith would be his jockey for the Belmont in three weeks. But on Monday, Brad Pegram, the agent for Smith, told Woolley of the earlier commitment.
"We made this commitment to Madeo before the Preakness, before the filly was sold and Calvin took off Mine That Bird to ride the filly and we got a chance to ride Mine That Bird in the Preakness," Pegram told ESPN.
Jerry and Ann Moss own Madeo, John Shirreffs is the trainer, and Shirreffs' wife, Dottie, is racing manager for the Mosses. Smith has won major races on Giacomo and Zenyatta for Shirreffs in the past.
"Everybody is well aware of the relationship that Mike has with John and Dottie and the Mosses," Pegram said. "It's just too bad that these races are on the same day."
Before leaving Baltimore on Sunday, Steve Asmussen, the trainer for Rachel Alexandra, said he would report to co-owner Jess Jackson after he sees how the filly responds to the Preakness. But he said he had less urgency to run in the Belmont than he did with the Preakness because of her victory.
"I think the reason she ran in the Preakness was she was doing extremely well, and if you're doing extremely well, what are you waiting on?" Asmussen said.
Jackson said after the Preakness that he would like to run the filly in the Belmont but that the horse's recovery would dictate the decision.
TV: 5 p.m., chs. 2, 7
Post time: Approximately 6:27 p.m.