May 5th, 2009
01:57 PM ET

Plea deal kept Derby winner's owner protected

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/US/05/02/kentucky.derby.scratch/art.2009.derby.gi.jpg caption="Calvin Borel atop Mind That Bird crosses the finish line to win the 135th running of the Kentucky Derby."]

Richard Mauer
The Anchorage Daily News

If it weren't for the plea deal that his dad made with federal prosecutors, Mark Allen might not have been in the winner's circle Saturday at the Kentucky Derby, celebrating the victory of his thoroughbred Mine That Bird and a $2 million purse.

Allen's father is former VECO chief executive Bill Allen, who pleaded guilty in 2007 to three counts related to his central role in the Alaska public corruption scandal. The father's plea won immunity from federal criminal charges for Mark Allen.

Mine That Bird, a 50-1 long shot, stunned the racing world when he came from behind and won the Derby. Mark Allen's Double Eagle Ranch of Roswell, N.M., along with a neighbor, Leonard Blach, purchased the gelding last year. The racing Web site BloodHorse.com said they paid $400,000 after the horse had initially sold for $9,500 as a yearling.


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