It doesn't get much stranger than this: if it weren't for the botched trial of Ted Stevens, a different horse may have won the Kentucky Derby this weekend.

Mine That Bird, a longshot by all accounts, was the surprise Derby winner on Saturday. The horse is owned by Mark Allen, who is the son of Bill Allen, former CEO of the oil company Veco. Bill Allen was the lead government witness in the prosecution of former Sen. Ted Stevens. As part of his plea deal, Bill Allen secured immunity for his son, who Allen says bribed two state lawmakers (including, coincidentally, Stevens's son Ben Stevens, a state senator.)

If Mark Allen had been charged and convicted, he would have lost his license to purchase horses in New Mexico, where he bought Mine That Bird.

And that's not all. Here's the impossibly weird kicker:

Mine That Bird indirectly figured into one of the strangest events in the Stevens trial. After the jurors began deliberating, one of them, Marian Hinnant, suddenly skipped town. Initially she told the judge her father had died, but then admitted she had a ticket to see the Breeders Cup, a major thoroughbred stakes race Santa Anita Park near Los Angeles.


Mine That Bird, recently purchased by Allen and Blach, ran in the Breeders Cup Juvenile as two-year-old. In that race, Mine That Bird was true to form -- he was a 30-to-1 long shot and came in 12th.


Hinnant was replaced by an alternate, who later blogged about her experiences. Before the Stevens case was thrown out for prosecutorial errors, Stevens' defense cited Hinnant and the blogger as reasons a new trial was warranted.