Three Eclipse Award Snubs Worth Noting

I know I said the Eclipse Award Picks blog would be my last for Breeders' Cup Chat, but after the Eclipse Award finalists were announced today I had to make note of a three things I found particularly interesting:

--Even though he has finalists and probable winners in two Eclipse Award categories (Informed Decision as Female Sprinter and Mixed Up as Steeplechaser) Jonathan Sheppard is not among the finalists for top trainer. How can that be?

--Another notable snub is Calvin Borel as Outstanding Jockey. Borel is not among the finalists even though he was the regular rider for the probable Horse of the Year and the rider of the 50-1 Kentucky Derby winner Mine That Bird. He rode winners in two legs of the Triple Crown but didn't make the top three? Interesting.

--Another snub, this one more predictable, is that Jess Jackson did not make the cut in the owner category. Jackson could be the owner of a Horse of the Year for the third consecutive year but not win an Eclipse Award in any of those years. Hmmm....

That's all I have for now. Now back to your Rachel vs. Zenyatta squabbling...


Leave a Comment:


Snubbing Calvin Borel is scandalous! What else does he have to do?? He had a very successful year, rode some great races, and he's not even considered in the top 3?? Who nominates for these awards??!! wow...

06 Jan 2010 2:45 PM

It's nice to see the CA bred Dancing in Silks included in the Sprint Division.  And what can one say about Gomez...he's won a lot of purse money this year in similar style as Borel (e.g. picking Pioneer of the Nile over Dunkirk)with a lot less press regarding his riding decisions.  Granted, Gomez was not getting off the Kentucky Derby winner either.

06 Jan 2010 2:48 PM

Jess Jackson really deserved to be in there together with Shirreffs.  So did Calvin borel.  I do not get this! What's wrong here? It does not make any sense to leave these accomplished people out! Well, I do not have a vote anyway  - but still know who deserves what.  And the rest of horse racing fans do too!

06 Jan 2010 2:54 PM

Is it all about Purse Money in who wins the Jockey category? If that is the only criteria...that is just sad.

I have to agree, Borel has had the biggest year on the national stage. Not taking anything away from the other nominees.

Off the track he has done many television, radio and editorial interviews furthering the sport. An ambassador role which we need.

He has gone above any beyond normal jockey duties of winning races. Of course, I am not sure the criteria for candidates.  If it is winningest, then I totally understand the noms.

06 Jan 2010 2:59 PM
Jason Shandler

Adam: There is no set criteria as far as who you can vote for, but many people do only look at earnings in the categories of jockey, trainer, and breeder. That, of course, is the lazy way to cast your vote. Not uncommon, unfortunately.

06 Jan 2010 3:03 PM

I would like to know who the people are that pick the Eclipse finalist. And who gets to vote in the finals ?

06 Jan 2010 3:15 PM
Sammi P

I could see why Jackson wouldn't be on the list (with the Rachel no BC thing) but other then that there is no reason for any of those three people to be off the list! However one way or another it will be an intresting outcome I can'/t wait to see!

06 Jan 2010 3:18 PM


I have to agree with you that these omissions are scandalous indeed.  What were they thinking?

06 Jan 2010 3:42 PM

Jason.  I have an idea.  Start charging people for their Zenyatta/Rachael bickering. :)

If people can't LOVE both of these EXTRODINARY horses then they have rocks in their heads!  


06 Jan 2010 4:19 PM

I love that Dancing in Silks made the final cut.  I would so love for Carla Gaines to have an Eclipse winner.  Maybe Zensational's connections need to be penalized for sending him to the breeding shed following his 3yo year (sorry Greg J, I know you love him).  And, Calvin is snubbed!  Yeah!  And even better, the wine-peddler is big-time snubbed.  Yeah!  John Shirreffs made the cut.  The Mosses made the cut... it's ALL GOOD for Team Zenyatta... The Horse of the Year!

06 Jan 2010 4:24 PM

Probably just a set up - they'll pick Sherriffs and the Mosses, but will go with Rachel for HOY.  That'll make them feel better about themselves.

06 Jan 2010 4:29 PM

Jason, I was just thinking the same thing about JJ...if it wasn't for him, Rachel would NEVER have run in ANY of the races he put her I do NOT get it, the man loves and knows horses and racing, he gives to charities very generously, he loves the sport enough to risk his horses in races they might not win and MOST OF ALL he keeps on racing them when he could easily retire them.

JS & Borel to not be included is just wrong and shows it's a popularity contest and nothing more...

06 Jan 2010 4:31 PM

Barry..... Hey I want to know the same thing.... JASON???????????????  

06 Jan 2010 4:34 PM
Jason Shandler

Barry: The Eclipse Awards are determined by members of the National Turf Writers Association, the DRF, and the NTRA.

06 Jan 2010 4:36 PM

Any jockey that feels the need to smash a horse like Borel did to Rachel Alexandra in the Woodward rightfully should not be nominated for outstanding jockey. Nor does Jess Jackson deserve outstanding owner for buying established Grade 1 winners year after year.

06 Jan 2010 4:42 PM
Greg J.

     Umm, I would think Calvin's recent doubling of his suspension has something to do with it?  Maybe a message about the frivolous appeal process?, Just a thought...

     Still holding out for Presious Passion to pull off the biggest upset over Gio Ponti in the Male Turf Award, Just kidding...

06 Jan 2010 4:45 PM

Does anyone think that Calvin is being snubbed because many are critical of his ride in the Belmont and his horse hopping?  I think he should have been included.but I'm just curious about what others think.

06 Jan 2010 4:50 PM

Wow, RA may get the HOTY, but her owner doesn't even make the list? or her jockey, am laughing.

06 Jan 2010 5:05 PM


I LOVE ITTTTTT.......What, Not the famous JJ the owner or the famous Jockey of RA, even concidered.

06 Jan 2010 5:18 PM
Pam S.

Trainer:  True that Sheppard has two Eclipse contenders, but so do each of the three nominated.  I thought at first Asmussen shouldn't have been there, but he did train Hot Dixie Chick too.

Jockey:  A lot of people know who Calvin is, but as we know, that's not a voting consideration.  I think he didn't make the cut because of the suspension, maybe horse-hopping, and no big wins away from Churchill (except on Rachel).  Rode the Derby winner and probable HOY, so you'd think he should be nominated, but who would you get rid of?

Owner:  Either you think Jackson is beyond reproach because he campaigned Rachel aggressively and raced Curlin an extra year, or you think his BC boycott and denigration of "plastic" tracks represented a step backward for the sport.  I guess Group "B" outvoted Group "A."

06 Jan 2010 5:57 PM
Mary W., Honolulu

Jose 93:

Re: JJ buying established Grade 1 winners...Hello!!!  The owners don't have to sell!!!  It's all abuot the money for them.  Not so for Mr. Jackson...It's all about the horses.....

As an afterthought, what a snub!!!!

06 Jan 2010 6:00 PM

The omission of Jonathan Sheppard's name from the trainer finalists is simply a travesty. Not only does he have two probably Eclipse winners in his stable, he had 16 graded stakes wins and 7 G1 wins this year (equaling Asmussen and 3 more than Pletcher). While obviously running a much smaller stable. Then there's his rehabilitation and brilliant management of Cloudy's Knight, who has become one of the great comeback stories in recent memory. And, oh, yeah, there's Just As Well too.


06 Jan 2010 6:23 PM

The Eclipse Award is for outstanding YEAR, Borel rode a horse in Rachel that Barrington Harvey could have won with, his Derby ride was fantastic, his Belmont ride stunk, the point being it is the YEAR they take into consideration, the other 3 compete in the top races all year long and didn't need a single horse to hang onto the coattails of, Gomez won 13 Grade 1, how many did Borel win without Rachel? If you want to give him an Eclipse for merit, so be it, but to pretend he had as good a year as the other 3 is laughable!!!

06 Jan 2010 6:39 PM
Mike Relva


Too bad about Mr. Jackson,right lol

06 Jan 2010 6:46 PM

Borel's absence is curious but why is Jackson  not being on the list surprise? He BOUGHT RA after she won a a slew of races including the KOAKs. Most people don't care for the buying greatness after it was established.

06 Jan 2010 6:47 PM

Seems reasonable to me not to nominate JJ.  He bought RA in mid-may and raced her only 4 times after that. Stonestreet is only on the 2009 Owners Leaders list (#26) because of RA's earnings: 4 Starts, 4 wins is his total.

Everyone thinks the Mosses are a one-horse show, but they are #7 on the 2009 list: 128 starts, 31 wins, 21 2nds & 24 3rds for a 59% WPS.

I do think the Jockey list is based more on winning$.  The 3 nominated are the top 3 on the Jockey Leader list. In that regard, it's no surprise that Calvin (#14) isn't nominated.  Note that Mike Smith (#11) isn't, either.  

06 Jan 2010 6:50 PM

I can see Jess not getting owner of year, since Dolphus Morrison owned rachel half the year.

06 Jan 2010 6:56 PM

Jason.  Is it a "popular" or one vote per each member, of each body, DRF, NTRA, NTWA, or an "electorial" majority of DRF and NTRA vs say minority from NTWA vote? (Like a split decision in boxing) I would hate to see another Gore V. Bush Supreme Court desicion being played out, or in this case RA v. Zenyatta, TVG, Breeder's Cup et al.  For some reason Lure comes to mind and I don't quite know why.  One of the factions voted Lure (DRF?) and the other 2 did not.

06 Jan 2010 6:56 PM

Curlin was bought after his maiden win...they developed him into the horse he is...

Rachel was bought as a filly races Gr 1 winner...they showcased her talents as a 'femme fatale' to the boys.

06 Jan 2010 7:03 PM
Larry Ensor

Leaving Mr.Sheppard off the short list just goes to show how shallow and irrelevant the Eclipse Award have become due to the voting process.  Mr. Sheppard trained the most likely Eclipse winner Informed Decision, last years Eclipse winner Informed Decision, 3rd in this years Breeders Cup fillies and Mare Turf only beaten a little over 2 lengths along with a number of other top graded stakes winners this year alone.  And to top that off he also trained the most likely Steeplechase Eclipse winner along with a number of other top Steeplechase stakes horses, both Timber and Hurdle. Most flat trainers would not even know how to spell Steeplechase let alone train one. The man is one of the most talented trainers of all times! And he does not have 100's of horse in his barn, nor the backing of numerous wealthy owners. I doubt if he has ever been fined let alone suspended for anything! It is outrageous and insulting!

06 Jan 2010 7:09 PM
Larry Ensor

Oppose, I meant to say last years winner Forever Together

06 Jan 2010 7:21 PM

Yes, to bad ain't it? LOL... I see the RA fans are probably speechless aren't they? or in a state of shock and dismay....Could reality be setting in....That is something Mike, The horse gets the nomination, but her owner and jockey don't....what does that tell you???? I know what it tells me.....

06 Jan 2010 7:26 PM

To leave Shepphard off this list is nothing short of embarrassing: a hall of fame trainer, a true gentleman and sportsman, who puts the health and welfare of his equine athletes at the fore, who doesn't take shortcuts like the gyps?  Good grief.  It's like the actors and film being nominated for Oscars with the director being left out.  I'm sure Jonathan doesn't care, but we fans sure do.

Shame on the process.

06 Jan 2010 8:00 PM

I suspect Mr. Sheppard, whom I admire and respect at least equally to John Shirreffs, was ignored because he is primarily a turf trainer.  The PTB, especially in the East, don't consider anything but the almighty DIRT to be true American racing.

Case in point: supreme sprinter California Flag.


06 Jan 2010 8:01 PM

That whip that CB was "smashing" Rachel with in the Woodward was one of those new soft/popper whips. . . . that was in the news.

06 Jan 2010 8:16 PM
Soldier Course

Now I'm in a better mood ...

06 Jan 2010 8:20 PM

I got my vote Jason for Gio Ponti for the Older Male award and the Male Turf award, I hope he gets both of them...

Presious Passion may be the tough one here to beat...for the Male Turf award...hmmmm

06 Jan 2010 8:21 PM

Jason, I feel for you man! having to go between both of these two hot debates you have here. You will be suffering with carpal tunnel syndrome for sure after this, and definitly on up to Jan. 18, I'm glad you're a young man..LOL..

06 Jan 2010 8:34 PM

Is there a criteria that would have eliminated Kauto Star as a finalist for the Steeplechase Eclipse? He just made history winning his fourth King George VI Chase.

06 Jan 2010 8:38 PM

CV- I like that!  He certainly is an amazing steeplechaser.  And didn't they run him on the flats in Hong Kong?  Or was that another chaser?  Whoever it was was running in one of the distance races there and I believe finished third.  But, alas Kauto Star didn't run in the US, did he?  That is a main criteria

06 Jan 2010 8:50 PM

Footlick: Question for ya?  Gio Ponti up for both Eclipse awards, Older Male and Male Turf Horse. Whats your odds on him getting both of these awards?

06 Jan 2010 8:56 PM
Paula Higgins

ITA Jason, unfortunate that these people were left out. They absolutely deserved to be nominated, no discussion. I think that they need to take a second look at the nominating process. The fact that Jess Jackson was left out is insane. Ditto Calvin Borel.

06 Jan 2010 9:10 PM

According to the Eclipse Committee, you cannot win an award three years in a row. That was why.

Just kidding, I think with heated HOY battle going on - I don't think the powers that be could stand the sight of Mr. Jackson's smirk if his horse so happens to win the HOY. Not at the expense of the great Zenyatta, not in California, not in front of the California audience, not three years in a row! No way, no how!

06 Jan 2010 9:11 PM

Soldier Course,

I hear you!

06 Jan 2010 9:31 PM

Carolyn- I think the odds are good.  I can't see them giving older male to any other horse.  He was the most successful and consistent older male in the country.  As far as turf- he was the best turf horse in the country and the only glitch that I can see is if they give it to Conduit again, like they did last year.  Time will tell.

06 Jan 2010 9:37 PM

It kinda looks like a set up to me.

Almost like they're already planning on naming Rachel HOTY and the Moss' as Eclipse Owners.

That way both J.J. and the Moss' each get an award.  

Sort of like a Political Compromise !!!

06 Jan 2010 9:57 PM

Calvin Borel should be in for outstanding jockey.  How in the world did he get left out?

06 Jan 2010 10:07 PM
Kasbah Bliss

Kasbah Bliss was the steeplechase horse who finished third in the Hong Kong Vase.

06 Jan 2010 11:06 PM

Jason, I have a question. Do voters have a vote for the top horse or do they place three selections? I just have a question that question before I respond.

06 Jan 2010 11:17 PM


Perhaps Calvin's ommission can be compared to your analogy regarding the Rachel/Zenyatta debate.....body of work as compared to a single race.  It's true that Calvin won several big races, but his Derby win was tarnished by his Belmont ride, and who wouldn't have won on Rachel.  The other jockies listed clearly had better over-all seasons......Jess Jackson, as much as I can take him or leave him, has brought much to the sport especially from a publicity sense.  This alone should have been a major factor in him being included......Regarding Jonathon Sheppard, he is a tremendous trainer who has never received the recognition he rightfully deserves.

06 Jan 2010 11:42 PM
Lisa Borel

Just wanted to thank everyone for their kind remarks about Calvin-

As for the not so kind remarks- everyone is entitled to their own opinions, and I respect that.

There are just two things I would like to say in Calvin's defense, and yes I am his wife and probably shouldn't even be involved in this conversation- but its cold outside and I have nothing better to do so here it goes!

Some of the comments, specifically the nasty one made by Jose- accusing Calvin of "excessive" use of the whip in the Woodward...

This is the one negative things about blogs- people can sit behind the anonymity of their computers and write the nastiest and most slanderous things, things I honestly doubt they would ever have the courage to say to someone's face.

Obviously you do not follow horse racing close enough to know that the new rules regarding whips mandate the use of the new cushion whips- they are extremely light weight- in fact they were designed to specifically not to sting the horses hind quarters- only to make a popping noise when the horse is struck. If he was using a normal whip, he would have hit her twice right handed, switched sticks, hit her once left handed, switched back to the right and hit her perhaps three or four more times- as you would see Calvin do in most of the races he used to ride with a conventional whip. Rachel is a high headed racehorse, you cannot hand ride her to push her nose down at the wire- so if a horse is charging from behind- you wont see Calvin putting his whip away to try to push her head down- it would compromise her momentum.

Calvin Borel is a horsemen, first and foremost. There are very few people, if any, who would argue with me on that fact. I take offense to anyone who accuses of him of abusing ANY horse.

Calvin would never ask Rachel for more than she could give him. He knows her like the back of his hand. He loves her, and would rather die than hurt her- so Jose- I know people like you will say whatever you want behind the safety of your computer without regard to anyone's feelings or without regard for the basic truth- but know that I sit here with tears in my eyes at the very suggestion that he would hurt her just to win a race- and Im in a rage over the absurdity of such a suggestion.

You don't know my husband.

You're not a jockey and you have no idea what riding a horse in a race is like, or the equipment involved- and until you do- you should keep your ignorance to yourself.

I take comfort in the fact that anyone whose opinion of Calvin really matters knows he would never mistreat any horse, ever, period.  

As for Calvin's appealing his suspension- he made a personal decision to not drop his appeal, and there were many factors behind that decision- one major one that we will hopefully see on the Derby trail this winter. The KHRC chose to use Calvin as an example, which is what it is.  

As for the Eclipse Award "snub"- all I can say is that Calvin already has the most coveted trophy in all of horse racing- he has two of them, actually- and he earned them the hard way- he went out there and rode two of the most amazing, thrilling, gutsy and perfect races you could ask of any jockey- and did it on the day that counts the most.

Those Derby trophies weren't given to him by voters- he earned them, and there is great satisfaction in that fact.

Yes, it would have been a great honor- and YES, Ramon, Julien and Garrett are most deserving- they are all amazing riders and have had an incredible year in their own right!

That being said, I do know that Calvin would not trade his year with Ramon's 300 NY wins, Julien's 3 Breeders Cups or Garrett's earnings title for anything in the world- and when I phoned him today to tell him he didn't get a nod he said- Oh good- I can ride Dry Fly for Mr. Lynn Whiting at Oaklawn (the same day as the awards in LA)

its not that he doesn't care or isn't disappointed, but what can you do?

The same is true of Mr. Jackson and Mr. Sheppard- if you believe they are deserving of an Eclipse award, does their lack of finalist standing diminish your opinion of their accomplishments? Simply step back and honor them in your own way. Think of your favorite movie? Perhaps it wasn't honored with an Oscar- but you cherish it just the same.

Go on youtube and watch any of Mr. Sheppard's amazing horses- or watch Rachel's historic victories- and appreciate the way Mr. Jackson chose to showcase her amazing talent while at the same time showing such excellent judgement in her management- or watch the Derby and watch Calvin ride a 50-1 like he was 1-9. Then put yourself in his shoes when he learned two days later he would be forced to part from that little perfect gelding who made his dream come true and gave him everything he had in winning the Derby- to give up his chance for Triple Crown immortality because he knew for sure that Rachel is a once in a lifetime horse- and then have to deal with the overwhelming pressure of making a choice that no jockey in history has ever made- because he believed in her so much. Then the feeling of elation when she overcame everything that played against her that day- her post, the surface- we watch it over and over again and the feeling of utter joy and elation is always the same! Only equalled by each of her succession of record setting races, culminating in the Woodward which emits emotions beyond description in words.

So yes, I'm bummed that a jockey could make those kinds of historical choices and amazing rides and be overlooked, but I find comfort in the fact that our Derby, Oaks, Preakness, Haskel, and Woodward trophies weren't awarded by vote- they are Calvin's by merit of Mr. Jackson's excellent judgement, Mr. Asmusen's fantastic conditioning,- and Calvin's ability to know Rachel so well, minimizing her few weaknesses and exploiting her strengths to get to the wire first- and no one can take those hard fought victories away or lessen their significance by denying him an award that is commonly awarded to the jockey on the basis of money earned. Quantity over quality, I dare say without in any way disrespecting our three excellent finalists.

Yes, Rachel carried Calvin through this year with the exception of a Churchill Downs leading rider title and.. Oh ya-racing's greatest prize also sitting on our mantel... thats quality over quantity- but thats just my opinion.

So life is still spectacular. Without an Eclipse, the sun manages to shine brightly! We consider ourselves unbelievably blessed and Im sure Mr. Jackson and Mr. Sheppard feel quite the same way.  

Best of luck to everyone in the upcoming year.

Thank you Jason for bringing this up for debate- lively discussion (minus the ignorant nastiness, all of you Jose's out there...) is the best way to generate interest in this great support we all love so much!

07 Jan 2010 12:36 AM

Oh, that's right. I completely forgot about the U.S. angle. Conduit and Goldikova were nominated but they ran over here too.

07 Jan 2010 12:39 AM

Although I am a fan of Rachel, I can understand why Calvin didn't make it since he hasn't done THAT great all year. I'm rooting for Julien to be honest. And for honor, I think Jackson should get an honorable mention. If RA had stayed with Morrison she'd have never done the things she's done this year.

07 Jan 2010 1:45 AM

What happened to Calvin is the same that happened to Serena Williams in the AP Poll for SPORTSMAN OF THE YEAR.  Serena was voted no. 1, but the fans booed the selection, saying Serena was a bad "role model" coz of her disciplinary violations, and questioned why AP gave her the award.

If you recall, Calvin too was recently suspended for a riding violation. I guess ECLIPSE do not want to do a repeat of the AP SOY Awards..  The AP SOY Awards, afterall, is a popularity contest.  Ironically, Zen was also awarded by the same AP Awards as no.2 SOY.

About the Horse of the Year, does NOBODY want MTB for HOY?  What about FLASHING for best 3 YO Filly?  Just for a change, you know..

07 Jan 2010 1:47 AM

GIO PONTI called.  He said he is so tired seeing his name mentioned in this blog, he is taking one month off...

It would have been nice if Borel was nominated, but I guess its just bad luck he got suspended BEFORE the ECLIPSE noms were out.  As for JJ, he isn't PHONY, and he doesn't have that BIG of an operation to be awarded OY.  He probably owns just a handful of horses, so there isn't much for anyone to vote him for..  In contrast, Moss owns about a hundred horses, so he gets the nom.  Also, Zenyatta MIGHT lose the HOY, so MOSS, the wonder Schlong, should atleast have the "consolation prize" of OY-- the ego of some Owners are astounding, to say the least..

07 Jan 2010 2:38 AM

..if Zen is not a sure bet for HOY, I guess at least Moss is a sure one for Owner of the Year.  Although, if you ask me, recognition for JESS JACKSON as Owner is long overdue.  He shud have had an Eclipse OY since last year, but he has been persistently "snubbed" for two years in a row!  My bet is that he has to increase the size of his operation.  ECLIPSE usually base nominations on EARNINGS, not much on anything else.

That's why Zen had a shot at HOY-- ONE RACE at the BC added a fat 3 mil to her earnings.  But that's about IT.  She has NO NOTEWORTHY performance in 2009 PRIOR to the BC, earning a paltry 630,000 for the effort.

Compare that to RACHEL, who, even without a BC win, earned 2mil for 2009 alone!  IF she did enter and win the BC, she would have OUT-EARNED her dad, MEDAGLIA D ORO, who had a lifetime earning of 5mil.!


07 Jan 2010 3:09 AM

I'm sort of not surprised at the omission of Calvin Borel.  He gained so much great media attention for himself, the horses he rode, and the sport of racing.  But at the Saratoga meet this summer, the only good mount he had was Rachel Alexandra.  The owners and trainers of good grade 1 horses were not hiring him, and I don't understand that except there had to be something else going on at Saratoga....maybe jealousy...I don't know.  He simply didn't make money on the long shots he rode there this year.  At Churchill, he and Leperoux tied for top spot.  As for Jess Jackson, we never would have had the opportunity to see Rachel run against the boys without his this snub seems extremely political and unfair.  As far as Jonathan Sheppard is concerned....besides his other winners, consider how well Cloudy's Knight has been doing.  Don't understand that omission at all.  The Eclipse awards appear to be tarnishing their own prestige by their choices.  Imagine my error to assume the turf writers might make fair judgements.

07 Jan 2010 6:21 AM


07 Jan 2010 6:29 AM

Phony JJ - What does it tell you??

07 Jan 2010 6:33 AM

As you probably guess from my handle here I am very unhappy about the snub to our own Cal Borel.  This year alone he won the Derby in a spectacular fashion on an extreme long-shot; he won the Kentucky Oaks and Preakness aboard RA.  And so on and so forth.

His achievements this year have been truly remarkable. A Hall of Fame year. And he doesn't get mentioned?

What's a Cajun boy gotta do?

07 Jan 2010 7:46 AM
Pam R

People need to get over being mad at Jess Jackson and accusing him of buying many top horses every year.  I was thrilled to death when I heard he had purchased RA, because I knew it meant we would get to see what she was really capable of.  The sport needs more owners like Jackson who not only keep top horses running past three, but is also willing to put super fillies up against the boys.  Too many owners only race their mares against the other mares to help protect their record (The Mosses  almost did this).  I do give credit to the Mosses for running Zenyatta at 5, but I do wish she had faced the males more.  (That is one of the reasons I'm pulling for RA for HOTY).  Having champions come back for another year and adding the battle of the sexes to racing, helps draw fans, and we all know the sport desperately needs that.

07 Jan 2010 9:19 AM
John Pricci


Could not have said it better. In fact, I voted as finalists for the three who were snubbed, Jackson for challenging history, Borel for a death-defying second Derby win and and Sheppard third for his outstanding work all season, Cloudy's Knight perhaps the most glittering example. Guess we were in the minority. Guess politics is not limited to politicians. Well done.

07 Jan 2010 9:44 AM
Billy's Empire

Sheppard is an awesome trainer, and should of been nominated for sure. When you can take an 8 year old horse that had not won his previous few races, and then turn him into a G1 winner at 9, that is amazing in itself, and that does not include the fact that he has two nominated. If I had a turf horse, Sheppard, Mott, or Clemente are going to be the trainers, no doubt.

PHONY JJ, here we go again, it is spelled considered.

I am glad that it makes you so happy that R/A's owner and jockey were not nominated. It just shows what little class you have. I am coming out with a new beverage this year, on the coat tails of Gatorade. It is called Haterade, and I think you, Relva and Carolyn Rogers are going to be on the label. I pay well for royalties, so no worries there.

07 Jan 2010 9:46 AM
Susan Kayne

And so we wonder why racing is such a hard sell!?!?!? How does one help it when the industry itself doesn't recognize it's best marketers. Oh -- wait a minute, it's not political. LOL. I do it because I love horses...they are easier to work with, less complicated and more forgiving.


07 Jan 2010 10:02 AM
Jason Shandler

RJPPDP: Voters select their top three choices in each category. That is how finalists are chosen. But the winner is taken only by the number of 1st place votes.

07 Jan 2010 10:05 AM
Jason Shandler

Lisa: Thanks for taking the time to respond. Anyone who knows Calin knows he is one of the hardest working riders out there and always puts horses first. The people who complained about his Woodward ride are way out of bounds.

You're right--an Eclipse Award pales in comparison to Calvin's two Derbys.

07 Jan 2010 10:12 AM

I agree completely with Pam, John and Billy's Empire.  Why is everyone hating these horses and their owners/trainers.  WHY WOULD YOU HATE A HORSE?  It just doesn't make any sense to me.  I fully believe that RA should win HOY for all of her accomplishments this year, it is HOY after all, not a lifetime achievement award or horse of the BC.  But I still love Zenyatta,  why?  because she's a beautiful horse!  It's stupid to hate her because I want another horse to win. As a matter of fact, all of this hating is stupid.  Come January 19 it's not going to make a difference in any of our lives so you're only making yourself look like you have no class!

07 Jan 2010 10:16 AM

i also believe mr jackson borel and mike smith were snubbed especially the two jockeys come on now if anyone deserves an eclipse award it's either mike smith or calvin borel both two true gentleman of the track and briliant jocks

07 Jan 2010 10:16 AM
Mary in VT

I doubt the omission of Jess Jackson in the owner category amounted to a blip on his radar screen. Jackson's goals seem to reach much higher and further afield for the entire industry than mere personal accolades. However, given Jackson's achievements, clearly the manner in which voters are chosen needs to be re-thought.

Jess Jackson is one of the few owners I do respect. He doesn't dither about worrying about how this or that decision might be received. After focusing razor sharp scrutiny and simple logic on an issue, he calls it; eight ball in the corner pocket. Just one example for which he will long be remembered was that lovely sound byte about the plastic racing surface at Santa Anita.

Very simply, there were no dirt races in the '08 or '09 Breeders' Cups. Every dirt horse that contested an '08 BC race on ProRide was knocked so far off their game that not a single dirt horse pulled off a win. Not one. Like Jackson, the owners that sent dirt horses there this year must have known they would be cannon fodder, but having much less courage of conviction, they succumbed to industry pressure to 'show up' anyway. If they didn't understand this, they simply weren't capable of the same degree of rational analysis as Jackson. Either way, they were lessor men.

I believe that Jackson withholding his superstar filly from the bogus '09 version of the Breeders' Cup did as much as the much quoted DRF statistics to focus the industry on the unsuitability of current synthetic surfaces for future Breeders' Cups. Keeping in mind that Jackson has a considerable vested interest in a financially healthy California, I doubt very much that he enjoyed sounding this particular bell. But he rang it anyway, elevating his passion for Thoroughbred racing above his vested interests. Bravo.

It was the thrill of a lifetime seeing Rachel Alexandra run at Monmouth and Saratoga. What is more, my family came with me to see her run at Saratoga. And it was their idea. Though I had been talking up a trip to Saratoga for many years with out success, for Rachel's go at history in the Woodward Stakes there was no holding them back. I am powerless to express my gratitude not just for the spectacle that filly delivered, but that she ignited a spark in my family that nothing else could.

I caught Mrs. Jackson's eye for a moment as she exited the winner's circle after giving an interview following Rachel's historic Woodward. I was powerless to raise my hand and wave. I was powerless to open my mouth to say thank you. Every cell in my body was so completely rearranged and so completely scrambled by what I had just witnessed that I was still doing all I could just to remain upright, so I stood there like a mute. I hope she knew. I hope she knew. With all my heart ... thank you.

07 Jan 2010 10:18 AM
mary glynn

I Loved Lisa Borel's post and I enjoy Calvin borel's rides. We all have certain people and horses that touch our hearts. I like Mike Smith and watched Jockey's faithfully when it was on cause i found him and the other guys facinating. They deserve every honor. Taking Nothing away from Rachel. I am a Zenyatta girl they both are awesome horses. Zenyatta just got me in the heart. May God bless all .

07 Jan 2010 10:23 AM

I cannot believe that Rachel Alexandra was not a unanimous choice for three-year-old filly and that Zenyatta was not a unanimous choice for older female. Give me a break voters! That sounds like sour grapes to me. There's no way that anyone who watched horse racing this year could have voted for another horse in those categories.

07 Jan 2010 10:23 AM

IMO, I feel they got the jockey finalists right. Nothing AGAINST Calvin, but who would you want to bump off the finalists to put him in? Dominguez won riding titles and set records at every NYRA track this year. Leparoux finished a solid year with three Breeders' Cup wins. Gomez was his usual consistent self in stakes races and also finished with a BC win and the earnings title. Calvin got lucky in the Derby and I think they could put me on Rachel and she would win ;) Other than that, I think he went something like 2-for-40 at Saratoga? Spotty like that the whole year. I give him props and I feel like he's done a lot for the sport this year, but when it comes down to rewarding excellence, the voters got it right. I'm pulling for Dominguez.

As for the trainer category, Sheppard got robbed. The finalists should have been Asmussen, Sheppard, Shirreffs - and the award should go to one of the latter two. With astronomically smaller stables, Sheppard and Shirreffs found just as much success as Asmussen. I'd rather reward a small, hands-on trainer who has a high percentage of success at the top levels than a trainer with horses he's never seen saddled by out-of-state assistants who dominates the leaderboard through sheer numbers. If the voters go for Asmussen on numbers alone, I'll be very disappointed. I'd also like to point out that he didn't have either of his Eclipse candidates the whole year - he took over Rachel in May and Kodiak in September.

07 Jan 2010 10:27 AM
Simply Majestic

I agree with Billy's Empire:

Very classy and insightful, Helsbells and Phony.

"Yeah!"...honestly?  I mean really?  That's what you came up with?  Are you both 12?

07 Jan 2010 10:46 AM

I can see those choices as being snubs. I don't think they would be among the top three in the voting though, and that's why they were left out.

Jess Jackson is probably the most laughable choice as a snub. Name another horse he owns besides Rachel Alexandra. How about naming a notable horse that he actually owned this past January. I applaud him for making those who can pick out and develop horses a lot of money, but that doesn't make him a top owner.

Calvin Borel deserves the ESPY, they seem to give it to whomever gets the most media attention. Eclipse Awards are a bit different, and I can't take anyone off that list for Borel. Sure nobody outside horse racing has ever heard of Julien Leparoux, but for those of us who do follow him are constantly impressed by his rides. I am very rarely impressed by a ride given by Borel, and that is the main factor I consider when determining the best jockey. I don't care if he had one or two big horses, or if he got some media attention, that's not what counts. Borel didn't even win a meet outright this year, he did tie Leparoux (who won the spring meet) at CD this fall with 24 more rides, but was a non-factor at Oaklawn. Plus, Leparoux put an exclamation point on his already excellent year by dominating the Breeders' Cup, and at a track he hardly rides at, unlike Gomez last year who benefited from a home-field advantage. I believe Calvin had a second. So really this wasn't a snub. I'm sure he's happy with his year, and I hope he keeps it up. However, he falls well short of being a finalist.

I agree with you on Jonathan Sheppard. Not only should he have been a finalist instead of Asmussen, he deserved to win the Eclipse Award. He had the most well-trained stable of horses in the country. Sheriffs had the most well-trained stable in California. Baffert might be fast on his way this year, so he may have been a finalist because of how hot he is right now.

07 Jan 2010 10:50 AM
Greg J.


     Correct me if I am wrong, But, Last year, In the Eclipse Voting, 242 out of 282 sent in their votes(86%), While this year, the Totals are 232/???, I don't know how many were elegible to send in their votes, But I would guess it would be the same as last year or higher?  Why would the votes sent in be lower this year?  One would think more would be sent in?  Curious what you think?  Also, Do you believe the TV people should have a vote?, Thanks...

07 Jan 2010 10:51 AM
Jason Shandler

Zevida: You don't understand the voting process. Everyone votes for 1st place, 2nd place, and 3rd place. Those three are then chosen as finalists. RA and Zenyatta may very well be unanimous choices, but they still have to have finalists in every category.

07 Jan 2010 10:53 AM

Earnings certainly play a major role in the decision on who gets the 'human' awards.  Bigger is definitely better.  Calvin is not considered a 'go to' jockey.  He almost had to beg to stay on Rachel. He mainly rides the KY circut and is not 'hooked up' with major trainers/owners that always use him and that will continue to hinder his chances.  I seem to recall that while Calvin was in NY Belmont S weekend, no one would use him even though his agent worked the back side trying to drum up business so he could get a ride or two in before the Bel S and the only ride he had was on MTB. So the fact he did not get nominated is really no surprise. I don't think that the suspension had anything to do with it as that news came out within a day or two of the nominations, which had already been decided I am sure before stewards handed out their decission.

The fact that JJ didn't get nominated is really no surprise either. Other than Rachel, what other top horse did he have this year?

Sheppard is one of the best and most underrated trainers out there. What he needs is a top 3YO colt that wins a TC race.  Reminds me of Frankel years ago, who was known for having quality older and turf horses until Empire Maker.

Seems to me a few years ago there was a breeder who bred and sold at auction several top quality GS horses who also didn't get nominated even though precentage wise they were the top Breeder in the nation.  Size and earnings are major factors and its a shame that the 'little guys' are always overlooked on the national stage and only recognized at the state level usually.  Statistics in the BH, DRF, TT and other publications that voters work for and/or read, list the top by earnings, so that is what stays in everyones mind all the time, so really is this a surprise?

07 Jan 2010 10:55 AM
Jason Shandler

Greg: Some people decided not to renew their memberships in the NTWA, for various reasons, including myself. That is why the number is lower this year. Also, some people just decide not to vote, for whatever reason.

I do think SOME TV analysts should have a vote. They watch more racing than any of us. The only tricky part about having them vote is that some are former jockeys and trainers, which can lead to some being biased. You really have to stay objective when you vote, which can be hard to do when you develop personal relationships with people over many years.

07 Jan 2010 11:00 AM

Jess Jackson: surprised me, but was somewhat expected.  He didn't play their game and take Rachel where it would increase revenues.   BUT, I'm QUITE sure he is laughing about it.  Such a blatent, "You didn't play in our sand box" snub was comical.

Calvin:  floored me, what else does he have to do?  Take Rachel around backwards?  The Derby, that is THE DERBY, the Preakness,and the Woodward.  I might add with the intelligence to know which horse to ride in each one. Let's see and the nominees are.... WHO?  That's not a snub that's an insult to the sport.  And for the record, Calvin did take the time to fly out for their sand box party.

07 Jan 2010 11:12 AM


I just don't get why people get upset that  Jess Jackson buys established horses.  That has been going on since horse racing began.  What's wrong with buying a proven horse?  There are several people each year looking for a KY derby candidate and offer to buy the good 3 year olds.  EVERY YEAR!

Ivarrone is one of them.  He bought I Want Revenge, does anyone remember that?  He also bought Big Brown when he burst on the scene.  I don't recall anyone saying anything about that.  The fact of the matter is, if you have enough money, most any horse is for sale.

I don't get that buying a good horse makes you a bad person.

07 Jan 2010 11:15 AM

It's all politics anyway. Politics is in everything in some way, shape or form, for better or for worse.

07 Jan 2010 11:17 AM

Thank you for your post, Ms. Borel.

It was eloquent and moving. You could not have explained better the feelings of joy & sadness in the roller-coaster ride that your husband's profession is.

Thank you for sharing your feelings with us.

07 Jan 2010 11:32 AM
Don in Massachusetts

I want to thank Lisa Borel for taking the time to comment on this blog.

I agree 100% with her on Calvin's accomplishments this year; and a Derby trophy is definitely more valuable than any political  Eclipse award.

Calvin is a great jockey who loves his horses, especially Rachel Alexandra, and he would never do anything to harm her.

Bravo, for standing up for Calvin, as many of us do!

07 Jan 2010 11:34 AM

Lisa Borel,

Fantastic post! I've read your other posts on Steve's blogs and think they were wonderful too.

Calvin has taken a lot of heat this year for sure.  He took off MTB to ride Rachel in the Preakness and there was a lot of bloggers upset there and some hated Rachel because she kept MTB from winning the TC.  Foolish idea!

If he were a TC winner, he would have won no matter who was in the race.  Calvin took the heat for that and lots more heat for the whipping at the Woodward.  People who are not in the industry and participate on these blogs are pretty amazing at there lashing out at people for whatever reason.  People are very quick to criticize jockeys for whatever reason but they should always think about how hard it is to make a snap decision while riding a 1100 pound animal with others around you.  As for the whipping, I know Calvin loves Rachel with all his heart.  You can see it each time he comes back to the winnes circle.  He can't pet her enough and I saw him jump off her after the Preakness and kiss her face!  He adores her and would do nothing to hurt her.  

You are spot on about some of these people.  It's an easy way to vent all the hatred they have inside them because they are miserable human beings to be able to hate people and horses the way they do.  One must really feel sorry for somebody who is so small-minded and miserable.  I hope their lives get better.

07 Jan 2010 11:49 AM
Pam S.

womanowar, regarding the humor of snubbing Jackson as owner:  There are those who believe Jackson's blatant snub of the BC was equally comical.  Was anything gained by his action?

Leaving Jackson off the noms allowed three more involved and deserving owners/breeders to be recognized.  

07 Jan 2010 12:02 PM
Mary in VT

Lisa ~

I had the privilege of personally seeing Calvin ride Rachel in the Haskell and the Woodward. It was the thrill of a lifetime, and I will never forget it as long I live.

Even beyond his Derby victories, Calvin has something so far superior to awards given by men because he is forever an integral part of the legendary career of Rachel Alexandra. When a filly finally came along that could smash through Ruffian's mark and even press the track record of Secretariat, he was the one trusted with her rides. His races on her were perfection in my book, and his love for her apparent. He kept her safe. He placed her just right per the post positions and running styles of the various fields. Calvin Borel is in a league all his own. A master.

If someone could write a book about just one of the noteworthy jockeys this year, Calvin's life and times and legend would make the best human interest story of all. I can't even imagine what he felt when he realized he had to make the unprecedented decision to step off the Derby winner. I can't even imagine what he felt when he re-wrote history again and again and again with a flesh and blood 3 year old filly. Wow. I wonder who will play Calvin when the inevitable movie comes out.

I am an Evangelist. As you might imagine, I don't get to the track that often. But Calvin and Rachel will never take a step with out my lifting them up to God for protection, for safety, for strength, for speed, and for courage.

May God richly bless, bless, and re-bless you and yours throughout this year, and straight into heaven.

07 Jan 2010 12:07 PM
Phony JJ

RA fans.

I feel good now. I'm singing. Well, at least if RA gets the award, she will be the only one of that trio who will recieve an award,and rightfully so. No one else will,(her connections)The members in her circle wont't. Hal Wiggins should get the credit for her training, no one else, Steve A. may, who knows, Right now, I won't say who will recieve the hoty, 50/50 both ways. I always said, I love the horse, not her connections or inner circle of misfits.

07 Jan 2010 12:10 PM

Que the banjo music please.

I have no problem with leaving Calvin Borel off the top 3. The only reason he stayed on RA was that he was the regular jockey from the beginning when she wasn't special at all. Once she started winning they left him on but he would have been replaced in a heartbeat had she been beaten once. They had no "excuse" to replace him since she kept winning. They could have put the corpse of Bill Shoemaker on RA and she would have won seeing as she was far superior to her competition outside of Macho Man who nearly ran her down.

The rest if his year was topped by a win in the Kty. Derby that surely bolstered his credentials but the balance of his resume aside from that falls short. A Ky. Derby win that probably only he could have produced and wins on a horse my  3 yr old grandaughter could have won on don't do enough to add up to an Eclipse.

07 Jan 2010 12:16 PM
Kellsboro Jack

If the voters had dug a bit deeper they would've seen that Calvin rode some exceedingly gutsy rides far away from the obvious of Rachel or MTB. His tactical white-knuckle ride on Miss Isella in the Louisville Distaff comes to mind, for example.

If it's any consolation at least Calvin added to his popularity, fattened his bank account, and enjoyed a cover on Sports Illustrated and a guest spot on the Tonight Show.

I'm still dumbfounded as to why Jonathan Sheppard was not seen by the voters as worthy of at least a finalist position for trainer. Someone above cited the perception he's a turf specialist. Well the same could be said of the late Bobby Frankel too.

Training a relatively smaller outfit but with high success on such a diverse mix of racing - steeplechase, dirt and flat turf - takes gobs of talent. He is getting the best out of older horses, castoffs, and yes big grade 1 runners too.

Steve's outfit is just so big that I view him as more of a solid manager who assembled a dependable crew of assistant trainers. Like a CEO his focus is more in keeping that structure working vs. being a hands on trainer save for a couple of high profile runners.

07 Jan 2010 12:25 PM

Lisa Borel, you are a class act and I love the way you defend your man.  Anyone can see how much Calvin loves Rachel and what a great team they are.  Mary in VT, you said it all, just like Andy Beyer did in his Washington Post story.  I think the number was 43 dirt horses and zero victories in these last two Breeder's Cups.  Looking forward to RA having another great yeat as reigning HOY and to getting a better job so I can afford to go see her in the 2010 Breeder's Cup when I hope she will become the second female to win the Classic.

07 Jan 2010 12:29 PM
Phony JJ

RA fans, by the way, this is a debate blog, not just a one sided blog like most of you want it. It's not just a Rachel only blog. It is for Zenyatta fans too. So quit picking on the Zenyatta fans just because your world got shattered yesterday on these finalist, and RA owner nor jockey was considered. Actually, RA done the job, Right?

07 Jan 2010 12:30 PM
Phony JJ

That is something though, Borel don't get the credit for his so-called great job he done with her. She done the work IMO, she didn't need him. Calvin's problem was he thought he was going to be a superstar by riding RA, Well, I guess he thought wrong with the Eclipse awards didn't he?  He done to much "Horse Hopping" all year, thats what happened to him...

07 Jan 2010 12:38 PM
Amber in WA

Well said Lisa!

07 Jan 2010 12:52 PM

Much happiness to Lisa and Calvin.  Thanks for your heartfelt post.  And I'm a Zenyatta fan and of course Mine that Bird.

07 Jan 2010 1:21 PM

Mrs. Borel, Thank you so much for responding to this blog. You have added a human touch to the life of a jockey who rides 1200 pound horses for a living. I admire Calvin very much and am always happy when he is in a race. He loves Rachel and all horses and that shows in the emotion that he never hides. He is inspirational. Wishing you both a safe and Happy New Year!

07 Jan 2010 1:25 PM

Mrs. Borel, you are a class act. Thank you for your comments. Calvin is a lucky man. Love that with the exception of one troll everyone is behaving a little better...

07 Jan 2010 1:41 PM
Billy's Empire

Phony JJ, Please stop. It is so hard to read your posts... Please just get the 5th grade grammar book out and learn when to use don't, does not, do, does, and so on. I beg you, please.

Second, this is not a 1 sided blog. Everyone is entitled to their opinion, BUT when you constantly try to put down R/A, her connections, and what she accomplished this year, the people that support Rachel and think in their opinion she is the HOY, will defend her, not matter if we can understand a thing you or Carolyn are trying to say.

Lisa, your post was great. Thanks for that. Calvin worked out a few of my families horses this year when we had Hal training for us, and he is a great horseman and jockey. God Bless you and your family, and may you have another outstanding year at the track.

07 Jan 2010 1:46 PM

SO UNFAIR to both Calvin and Jackson! Who are these people who sit in their ivory towers and pass judgment as to who is the best?!!

They must hold gruges against these two men, who have given the sport lots of thrills.

07 Jan 2010 1:53 PM
Rachel Fan

Has anyone heard of a horse named Kensei. Just wondering since Jess Jackson owned no other horse worth mentioning.   How about the Moss's what other horses do they own that was impressive this year.

07 Jan 2010 2:01 PM

Phony JJ,

Yeah, Rachel's jockey and owner didn't make it. But her breeder and trainer did. 2 for 2.

Why so much hate? I prefer Rachel, but I still greatly admire Zenyatta. They're BOTH amazing.

07 Jan 2010 2:11 PM
Rachel Fan

I think its sad that those who have no idea about the fundamentals of horse racing continue to spout off about Calvin's rides.  So he rides MTB perfectly in the Derby and wins, the horse was fit and peaking and he won, in the Belmont he was a totally different horse according to his trainer, he didnt settle the way he did at the Derby and Calvin didnt have a choice but to allow the horse to have his head down the back stretch, he knew how to ride the horse but when the horse doesnt want to cooperate the only choice is to hold them back which chokes off their air way, thats not what you want a horse to be doing in a Grade 1 race looking for wind.  In the Preakness and the Woodward the only races that Rachel was threatened in Steve Asmussen put together the plan for those races not Calvin, he rides the race he's advised to race, its that simple.  In both races there was no choice but to turn Rachel's motor on early, incredibly when you look at both he was able to throttle her down and get some :24 second 1/4 miles out of her, most jockeys can't do that and that is what allowed her to go on to win those races because of the jockey.  What is the other alternative, in the Preakness what would you have said if she had come out and in the first turn been 10 wide or possible in the 2nd or third tier of horses, everyone would have been all over Calvin.  In the Woodward I was there for that race and they were race riding in the worst possible way to beat Rachel, now what would happened if he hadnt turned on the motor and got her out of trouble, she would have run around that track bottled up the whole way, possibly clipping heels and tragedy. What would have been said then, that he was a bad rider, its like those that dont like Rachel nit pick anyone that has anything to do with her, and Like Lisa Said: "You're not jockey's" so stop trying to judge, the jockey goes out and rides as he's instructed and told to make changes as needed but only as needed.  A stalking Rachel is 6-10 lengths better than any other horse in America, an on the lead Rachel with the motor turned on is 2-5 lengths better than any other horse in America. Get over it people and let things be, stop the hating especially if you know nothing of racing fundamentals.

07 Jan 2010 2:11 PM

Lisa Borel,

You are a wonderful woman. Thank you for gracing us with your words on here. Calvin is a lucky man.


07 Jan 2010 2:14 PM

Calvin began riding Rachel in the Golden Rod (11/29/08).  In her previous FIVE starts, she was ridden by Brian Hernandez. . . Not only did she win the Golden Rod, but she has not been defeated since that race.  

A review of the aerial view of the 2009 Kentucky Derby will remind one that Calvin's victory ride was not luck, but (pardon the expression), balls to the wall.

Does the name Kensei ring a bell?  He won the Jim Dandy and was one of the favorites for the Travers. . . Jess Jackson, owner.

07 Jan 2010 2:20 PM

Simply Majestic:  No, I am not 12 years old.  Do I really need to apologize for expressing my pure happiness and exuberance over the list of finalists, after being bombarded for months by all the vileness heaped on the Zenyatta camp?  I've been miserable with the flu all week, and this news brought me great joy.  If you would like, I will sit down and write you a lengthy dissertation that will rival those of all the contemplative hand-wringing RA  Oh, and BTW, stop being disingenuous people.  Mr. Jackson is an egomaniac that needs the spotlight on him at all time, so to say that he is "laughing" over being overlooked for Owner OY, is pure malarkey.  Now, do I owe another apology for that bit of honesty?

07 Jan 2010 2:28 PM
Rebecca B

What a treat to see Mrs. Borel's comments! Congratulations by the way. I was thoroughly crushed when I read this article and found out that Calvin wasn't a finalist. Calvin Borel is the reason I watch horse racing. I love horses and I love watching Calvin ride. He seems such a kind and caring person.  Thanks Lisa, for making it alright that he didn't get nominated. I was taking it pretty hard, until I read your comments. He has you and he has Rachel,and he has so many fans. So I think he will be just fine!!!!

07 Jan 2010 2:33 PM
oldtime in VA

Here’s a statistical look at how the jockeys in question performed for the year:

C. Borel 853 mounts, $9.2m, ($10.8K per start),  29% in the exacta

J. Leparoux 1284 mounts, $18.6m, ($14.5K per start), 35% ITE

G. Gomez 960 mounts, $18.5m, ($19.3K per start), 39% ITE

R. Dominguez 1635 mounts, $18.3m, ($11.2K per start), 41% ITE

Excluding their top two money earners:

Borel earned $5.5K per start

Leparoux earned $12.5K per start

Gomez earned $16.9K per start

Dominguez earned $9.5K per start.

Leparoux won the jockey contest at the Breeders’ Cup; that ought to tell you something. Plus, he ended the year atop the $ earnings list. Each of them topped $18 million in earnings. Borel won half that.

Dominguez set records in NY for # of wins, and won riding titles at all three meets. 41% in the exacta is unbelievable for riding in the top circuits.

Each of the three nominee’s adjusted avg earnings per start is astronomical compared to Borel’s.

How did Borel do at Keeneland – Saratoga – Del Mar ?

The fact that he runs off the board 60% of the time is enough to keep him off the list, in my opinion (as a bettor).  I agree with one of the earlier comments that anyone could have won on Rachel A.

The ride he gave Mine That Bird in the Belmont cost that horse the race and probably 3YO male honors. His arrogance in not making the effort in advance to learn his way around that track was extremely offensive. He should have taken that whole week to ride there and get familiar with its unique configuration and biases.

I think the selection committee got the finalists right, in this case.

07 Jan 2010 2:33 PM

Hasn't Kensei been defeated?? How many times?

Also, JJ has Dashing Debbie, RA half sister.

07 Jan 2010 2:35 PM

Phony JJ - I have not heard one bad word about Zenyatta here, so stop the hating, it's childish.

Mrs. Borel - Thank you for your graceful response to some awful words that have been said, you and Calvin are a class act.

07 Jan 2010 2:36 PM

HEY!  PhonyJJ  

Am I seeing things?  I know I have been doing a lot of work on the pc but did I read that Jackson is NOT on the list or Calvin?  My Lord... I am going to hide under a rock.  

Greg J.  What is going on.  :)

07 Jan 2010 2:43 PM

Lisa Borel ....

WOW thank you so much for your imput.  I believe there are a lot of people on this blog that needed to read that.  As I have said all along, why bicker and fight over all of this.  This is a sport!  As for Calvin, his KD win on ♥Mind That Bird♥ was NOT luck.  HE knew what to do and how to do it.  I was so sick and tired of hearing the fluke nonsense that I stopped coming over here for awhile.  I still cannot believe though that he is not on the list.  As you said, it doesn't really matter.  

YOU know where you have been & what has been accomplished.  THAT is all that matters.  You are so right about hiding behind a pc and being mean to people.  It has happened to me more than you know.  Those people are the ones with the problems Lisa.  Not you or your husband.  I view it as low self esteem.  If you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all.  Sure I have had my moments but I have been bashed a lot and I know EXACTLY how you feel when you know in your heart what the real deal is.  :)

Many Blessings to you & a very safe and good year for your family... And yes Calivin loves Rachael....That is more than obvious.  

I hope that some of these naysayers can shut up and be nice.  OR do they know how?  I am really starting to wonder who we are dealing with. A bunch of teenagers that have been on this Earth for what 16 years?  Come on people.... BE NICE!!!!!!!!!!!!! :)

♥Zenyatta♥RA♥  BOTH are very good horses and this bickering is making me sick to my stomach.  

07 Jan 2010 3:01 PM

Also, I would like to add this.  You guys that bash people & horses & this and that have not a clue who is reading these blogs.  If you did?  You would spazz................. :)

07 Jan 2010 3:03 PM
Greg J.


     Kensei has had 9 starts, 4 Victories, 1 Second, 2 Thirds, With Earning's of $553,628.

Phony JJ,

     Your comments are very immature, If you are under twelve years of age, Then I offer my apology, If not, You should learn the word "Respect" and try to voice your opinion with that in mind.


     Hello, How are You?, Can't wait to see the final version of the Video...

07 Jan 2010 3:08 PM

Any points Calvin Borel may have earned for his ride in the Derby and for being the lucky auto-pilot aboard Rachel Alexandra were erased by his HORRIBLE ride in the Belmont, made worse by the fact that he thought he was too good to need a prep ride over the track. Jackson is also negated by his refusal to send Rachel to the Breeders Cup.

07 Jan 2010 3:18 PM

There is no "They" as in "they will give RA the HOY and the MOsses the Owners' Award."  It's not as if the voters are meeting about this and deciding how to handle the distribution of awards. Individuals have already cast their ballots and while many of the voters know each other and I'm sure, have conferred, there is no cabal planning to include or exclude anyone.

I do agree that Sheppard was a serious omission and I'd like to have seen Calvin as a finalist as well. Sure his ride in the Belmont was not the best but it's not like the 3 finalists were all flawless either.

I do agree about Jackson not being a finalist. H bought RA after her Oaks win and although he ran her where Morrison never would have and her season was flawless, he only campaigned RA for 1/2 of her 2009 campaign.

07 Jan 2010 3:26 PM
Lava Fan

Unfortunately, I'm with the group that thinks the snub of Jackson indicates Rachel will not get HOTY. I have no idea why the Mosses, nice as they may be, are nominated for the owner Eclipse. They own Zenyatta, yes, but their other "big" horse is Madeo. That's not enough, especially not with the easy and short campaign Zenyatta got. Jackson has Rachel, Hot Dixie Chick and Kensei, among others. The only reason I can think of for the omission is that Zenyatta will get Horse of the Year.

Same for Calvin Borel. He should have been nominated. He probably wouldn't win, since it does always seem to go to the top money earner.

BTW, where's Winstar??? They certainly deserve to be up for champion owner.

07 Jan 2010 3:28 PM

Rachel Fan- 6-10 lengths better than any horse in America?  And you are telling other people that they don't know racing fundamentals?

07 Jan 2010 3:38 PM
Rachel Fan

Hasn't Kensei been defeated?? How many times?

Also, JJ has Dashing Debbie, RA half sister.

carolyn 07 Jan 2010 2:35 PM

Carolyn please tell us what other horses the Moss's own and what their records are.  I'll wait, or should i provide you with some assistance.

07 Jan 2010 3:59 PM

Monica, I agree...JJ bought Rachel as an established Grade 1 winner, and thank goodness he did!

And as I've said over and over, he bought Curlin immediately after his maiden win based on POTENTIAL!

07 Jan 2010 4:11 PM

Wasn't Kensai the horse that was supposed to win the Travers and because he was so good that allowed Rachel, (that same Rachel that is 6-10 lengths better than any horse in America when stalking, and when on the lead with her motor turned on, is 2-5 lengths better than any horse in America) to contest the ultra tough Woodward.  Maybe if Jackson would have taken the tougher race, which of course they would have won, he would be one of the three finalists.

07 Jan 2010 4:12 PM

Greg J.  HI there.....  I woke up to a very beautiful day and came over here, had to pick myself up off the floor.  My God who the hell are these people?  

These are real live people folks..... Not just words on a screen.  People have feelings!!!Anyway.  I don't know if this is where I should put this but I am so angry right now that I am not thinking clearly LOL.  I made this vid 2 weeks ago for a really good friend to send to Edgar Prado.  

AND I am going to make one for Calvin/RA as well after I get done with the 63 horses LOL. Anyway.  Prado is not on the list but maybe some of you should watch this & see what jockies have to endure!

I love all of you... BE NICE!  :)  

07 Jan 2010 4:22 PM


BINGO you hit it right on the nose.  As you all know I love both of thses horses but prefer ♥Zenyatta♥.  OK big deal!  I do agree with you on the Travers though.  It is my belief that is what hurt him the most.  :)

♥Rachael♥Zenyatta♥  BOTH quality horses with their  own style!  

07 Jan 2010 4:30 PM


The 6 - 10 lengths better is when she is stalking.....When she is in the lead, with her motor turned on, she is 2 - 5 lengths better.......Wow, lookout Secretariat, lookout Ruffian, move over Man 'o War, there's a new sheriff in town.

07 Jan 2010 4:32 PM

Wow, some of the comments are OFF! First if J. Jackson didn't buy RA, she would have NEVER run against the boys, AND Maybe with the Large marges she was winning by Zenyatta wouldn't even by a side note next to her as RA was making some HUGE lengths ahead against her own kind, where her first owner would only race her.

Second, the morning rider worked with RA to make sure she didn't race all the time, but learned to "run" in the mornings and "race" in the afternoons.

Sorry folks - I think you should look at things from all sides. I still believe that RA did more in HER THREE YEAR OLD YEAR then most 3 year old filly's. AND PLEASE don't even try to compare her to Zenyatta's 3 year old year!!!!

07 Jan 2010 4:38 PM

I think money won is the deciding factor in the people awards for a lot of the voters, which is OK I guess, but I would like to see some awards for outstanding accomplishments. Maybe Mike Smith for his ride on Zenyatta in the Classic, Calvin Borel's ride in the Derby or even Joe Talamo's ride in the Wood. For trainer Jonathan Sheppards or Linda Rice for winning the title at Saratoga or Hal Wiggins for his work with Rachel. Mr. Jackson for running Rachel in the Preakness or the Mosses for running Zenyatta in the Classic.

07 Jan 2010 5:30 PM

"Rachel Fan" (why am I not surprised?) is questioning why the Mosses are finalists for Owners OY.  To me it is very obvious.  Their gutsy decision to risk Zenyatta's undefeated status,  which SAVED the Breeders' Cup, is huge.  Maybe you don't realize the risk they took because the GREAT Zenyatta pulled it off With ease...

07 Jan 2010 5:35 PM

Fabulous Strike's Beyer's are consistently in the hundred-and-teens....where is he on this list?Dancing in Silks wins ONE graded stakes (by a nose) and gets nominated? That's how powerful the Breeder's Cup is?!

07 Jan 2010 5:41 PM

They are in California!

Now who do you think they will vote for HOY?

I think Rachel and Calvin should be atop a 20 ft gold statue!

07 Jan 2010 5:44 PM
Man O' War

What's all the complaining about with Jess Jackson and the nomination for the Eclipse "Owner" award?

It's as simple as this:

Jess Jackson snubbed the Breeders Cup and the late John R. Gaines.

He deserves no nomination for an Eclipse "Owner" award. You don't snub John R. Gaines. I don't care who you are. No one is bigger that the "sport" itself.

Maybe future thoroughbred owners of a "Horse of the Year" candidate will learn from this and not make the same mistake Jess Jackson did.

07 Jan 2010 5:46 PM

I loved it when Rachel beat that speed ball Munnings!

07 Jan 2010 5:47 PM

I'll be so happy when the Breeder's Cup returns to Churchill this year. I don't understand why this one particular set of races has so much influence over these awards but I do understand that there are excellent horses who don't feel comfortable striding out on a synthetic surface. It's like getting straight A's all through high school and then being made to take the SAT underwater.....

07 Jan 2010 5:49 PM
Paula Higgins

Lisa, you tell Calvin I think he's great and that goes for you too. You're a good old girl for defending him (and a great job you did too by the way)and he's a darn fine jockey. People were thrilled for him when he won all those races. He has a ton of heart and it's out there for everyone to see. It would appear that he has married a woman with the same quality. As for the awards, who cares? That doesn't change the facts on the ground or the wins. His record speaks for him. Also, no one with a brain believes he would mistreat any horse. Geesh.

07 Jan 2010 6:00 PM

If you want to know, watch the Haskell!

Rachel did it in the slop.

Z never ran if the track was wet, ever!

And the Preakness win from the 13 gate was another of her history making run. I never knew the Eclips awards were fixed!

Everywhere she went Rachel had a target on her back.  Fortunately that's all they say.

Love you Calvin!  You are the greatest!

07 Jan 2010 6:17 PM

These snubs are what turns fans away from the sport of kings.  Jess Jackson was not nominated in retaliation to his trying to clean up the sport.  Had anyone else owner Curlin or RA, we would not see them run as 4 year olds.  Maybe the should create awards that are chosen by the fans and not those who choose the eclipse finalists, who are obvious not in touch with the general fan base.

07 Jan 2010 7:14 PM
Mike Relva


Well said! Just wanted to say that as much as I admire Calvin for his great skills,I admire him even more for how he carries himself. No doubt in my mind that he ALWAYS places RA or any horse he's riding first. He's a class act! Also,your point is taken regarding many of the "armchair quarterbacks" that has no clue to what racing entails,but thinking they know everything. Just a bunch of clowns!

07 Jan 2010 7:28 PM

carolyn - Rachel and Dashing Debby have the same sire.  In the horse world, horses are referred to as half siblings when they are out of the same mare, not when they have the same sire.

07 Jan 2010 7:40 PM


Not sure but it may have something to do with the Breeders Cup being the "World Championships" :)

07 Jan 2010 7:43 PM

Lisa Borel I have an older sister that is almost 73 years old and she loves Calvin.When he races she is going to root for him it does'nt matter if he is on her horse or not she'll say I'm sorry but I have to pull for Calvin.She thinks he has the greatest smile and love of his family. I have not told her he did not make the finales yet because she has been sick but I will soon. She loves him being a cajun and his voice.I also think he should be in the finales. So what us who love him know how good he is award or not! Thanks.

07 Jan 2010 7:45 PM
BoBo Bo Bo Bo

HA! Jackson caring more about the horse than winning and fame?!? You guys must be crazy. That man is in it for the thrill of the win, not for the love of the horse.

07 Jan 2010 8:00 PM


Let's just move all of these horses over LOL!

Sir Barton

Gallant Fox


War Admiral


Count Fleet




Seattle Slew




With Anticipation

The Tinman

Better Talk Now

Evening Attire

Kona Gold


Native Dancer

Awesome Again




Northern Dancer

Dr. Fagar


Dark Mirage


John Henry

Lava Man

Eight Belles


Rachel Alexandra


Easy Goer

Foolish Pleasure


Go For Wand

Holy Bull

Spectacular Bid

Victory Gallop


AP Indy

Winning Colors


Lady's Secret


Sunday Silence




Storm Cat

♥RA♥Zenyatta♥  BOTH beautiful gals & there really is no way to compare these two IMO.  It is like comparing oranges to apples.  Love them BOTH OK?    :)

07 Jan 2010 8:26 PM

You are so right Man O'War, You don't snub the Breeder's Cup races.

07 Jan 2010 8:50 PM
Lil Darlin

Lisa, if I thought you could see it I would give you a standing ovation.  That was awesome! Calvin seems so genuinely grateful when he wins a big one, I'm sure you are a very lucky woman to have him. Who needs the Eclipse...he appeared on Letterman AND Leno! Talk about an ambassador for the sport.

As for Jess, what can I say, no one likes a billionaire.  We have an "evil billionaire" in our little town who built an $80 million performing arts center, one of the very few shining spots in an otherwise perpetually depressed local economy. He started as a TV repairman, is self made, and peope who have never met him still hate him.  I guess being a jerk comes with the billionaire territory.

But seriously, Jess brought Rachel to places she never would have ventured under previous ownership and we the fans benefitted.  His filly got a spread in VOGUE! This industry needs exposure and he is doing his best to get it, whether it be through the campaigns of his horses or a little bit of synthetic controversy.

One last thing...if Curlin wasn't retired before completing a full four year old season, why would he retire Rachel as some believe is going to happen? Curlin is worth WAAAAYYYY more in the breeding shed.

07 Jan 2010 9:19 PM
Lil Darlin


Not exactly sure where the list originates, so forgive me if this is an ignorant statement, but shouldn't Ruffian be on the list(looks like a VIP guest list to me)?  And how about Busher?

Amazing what talent we have been fortunte enough to see, generation after generation.

07 Jan 2010 9:26 PM

To Lisa Borel,

After the Woodward, I was one of the people who came down on Calvin for whipping the horse too much. I had never seen him do that before and I was really dissapointed. I didn't know that he was using the new "kinder" whip and I engaged my keyboard before I knew the facts. New people to the horseracing experience are really turned off by excessive use of the whip, so are more seasoned fans. I'm one of them.

I loved Calvin's unabashed elation after winning the Derby on Street Sense and again (even more so) on Mine That Bird. I regret that I jumped to judgment after the Woodward. I think I have just learned a lesson.

Best to you and Calvin!

Louise Vertefeuille

Los Angeles, California

AKA Zookeeper

07 Jan 2010 9:55 PM

I think the problem is that Jess opens his mouth and makes enemies. I LIKE him because he saved Rachel from rading with the fillies, but he has insulted the Eclpise awards by saying how the Track Secretaries shouldn't be allowed to vote -- bad PR move! He is VERY opinionated and I think it has struck the wrong chord with people. I personally like him and agree with him on almost all his decisions regarding Rachel, but I wish he'd keep his pie-hole shut so as not to offend!

Also, Calvin Borel has a similar problem with PR. Every time he crosses the finish line, he waves his finger "number ONE". Not a very humble sportsman-like move. It could elicit annoyance from the competitors. I like him as well, but he needs to have more sportsmanship skills.

My Opinion.

07 Jan 2010 10:05 PM

Here's an article about the new whips.  Interesting quotes from the jocks.  Also it lists the whip rules of various racing countries.  Notice Japan and France- the two extremes.

I of course don't know how to add it so you can click on it.  Sorry

07 Jan 2010 10:32 PM

I think that it's quite a stretch to think that Jackson was snubbed. Simply put he was the high bidder on a proven Grade 1 winning filly, ran her 4 more times in 5 months and then picked up his ball and went home. It was a great ride and congrats to RA and her connections. It's just not Owner of the Year material.

07 Jan 2010 10:39 PM

Lil Darlin ....  

OMG I am so glad you posted that.:) I cannot BELIEVE That she is not on that list!!!!!!  I would have caught it cause I have her pics for the vid but thank you for bringing that to my attention.  Lord forgive me....

♥Angel Ruffian♥  

Never heard of Busher....OK now I am going back to my rock to get under it.  LOL Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm :)

07 Jan 2010 11:14 PM
CAl race fan

About snubs - what happened to

apprentice sensation Luis Saez -

he was winningest, percentage wide

apprentice and one of few who was

leading rider at a meet.

As for Mr Jackson - if his filly

loses horse of year, he has only

himself to blame.  Why did he duck

every chance to meet up with


07 Jan 2010 11:48 PM

Oh, and on a small world note about "half siblings", Kensei is a half sibling to Looking at Lucky (most likely 2 year old Eclipse Award winner).  They are both out of the Belong to Me mare, Private Feeling.  Kensei is by Mr. Greeley, Looking at Lucky is by Smart Strike (Curlin's sire).

08 Jan 2010 12:27 AM


08 Jan 2010 5:12 AM

Guys the BC snubbed the East Coast and all dirt horses by having the Cup contested at SA on a synthetic track for the second year in a row. There were plenty others who did not show to the Cup, Hot Dixie Chick, Fab Strike, Dublin, KK, and still more than that, so why are those owners not being viewed in the same evil way JJ is?

08 Jan 2010 6:10 AM

A little late to the party I know, but thought I'd just clear things up over our Champion Chaser KAUTO STAR.

Kauto Star has never raced on the flat.  He started his career in France in March 2003 before joining Champion Trainer Paul Nicholls here in the UK in late 2004.

He has raced 33 times, 10 times over hurdles and 23 times over fences.  He has won 20 races, finished second 7 times and third twice.  He has fallen twice in his career and unseated his rider only once.

His current earnings stand at £2,012,654 making him the first "jumps" horse to pass the £2million barrier.

At the age of ten he still has a good few years left in him and we are all looking forward to the Cheltenham Festival in March when he will defend his Gold Cup crown and try for his third win in the race, having finished second in 2007.

Obviously he is not eligible for an Eclipse Award, but he is a horse to be savoured nonetheless!

08 Jan 2010 6:24 AM

Lil Darlin, good post. I like JJ, he's a man who speaks like a man and doesn't apologize for being a man of his own convictions...he and his wife are extremely generous and Rachel and Curlin have helped a lot of charities...

It's the absolute right of an owner to "snub" any race you feel won't benefit the industry or your own horse...there are a significant number of other trainers/owners of national standing who won't bring their dirt horses to run on an artificial surface.

With the current talk in Cali, I wouldn't be surprised to see some tracks go back to dirt... that will be a definite * in the history books...

08 Jan 2010 7:19 AM

In closing, we all need to agree, this sports needs exposure and growth to survive.

Jess Jackson's bold decisions brought in new faces, fans and much needed support.  He had every right to rest Rachel, which was recommended by veterinarians, unpopular as it may be.  The man purchases great horses and allows us the gift of watching them race.  Where he chooses for them to race is his right as their owner.

Finally, Lisa Borel captured the emotion for the sport we read in Calvin's eyes.  That, dear Eclipse Award Committee is what brings tears to grown men, fills the seats, and defines horse racing.  

Calvin doesn't need your award.

He is one.

08 Jan 2010 8:49 AM

I would much more enjoy watching a filly race 14 times in 16 months, 8 of them in 7 months of one season, 5 of those Grade 1, 2 of those within 15 days of each other and THE Filly Classic and middle leg of Triple Crown races while changing barns and trainers in those 15 days, on 6 tracks on dirt and mud against males of all ages and then make a judgement call on those efforts, rather than belittle her for not going to one race.

08 Jan 2010 9:10 AM

Yesterday I started to think about what 2009 would have looked like had Jess Jackson not purchased Rachel Alexandra... and this is what I see:

Rachel Alexandra would not have raced against colts. She would have continued to destroy her fellow 3YO fillies but there would have always been a question mark over her record...

She wouldn't have received the kind of attention she did for being an outstanding filly beating up on other fillies. Her margins of victory would have received accolades in the racing world, but this year people who knew nothing about racing save for Barbaro asked me about the girl who showed the boys how to run. It was refreshing to be asked questions based on something postitive instead of a tragedy...

She would have raced in the Ladies Classic in Santa Anita, and so she would have raced against Zenyatta...

Because there would have been no reason for Queen Z to run in the Classic. Thinking back to how conservative Zenyatta's campaign was until the Breeder's Cup leads to me believe that Rachel's campaign, her media attention, and how people were naming her HOTY before the summer even ended, played some kind of role in the decision to let Zenyatta loose against the boys. Partially because it was in her backyard and also because if Rachel was beating up on these guys, then Zenyatta would too.

And so if Zenyatta had not run in the Classic there also would have been a question mark over her career. Because while she may have gone undefeated and broken Personal Ensign's record you'd still have the detractors saying "she never went a mile and a quarter" and "she never ran against colts."

I just think a lot of good came from JJ buying Rachel, including what Zenyatta ultimately accomplished at the Breeder's Cup. I just don't know if the Mosses and Shirreffs would have taken that leap without Rachel overshadowing Zenyatta the way she did. Mind you I'm not saying he should be nominated for an Eclipse but I'm just thinking about what the Zenyatta camp would have done had Rachel's campaign not gone the way it did.

Hope everyone is having a fantastic Friday, peace to all.

08 Jan 2010 9:16 AM
Jack from Michigan

Does JJ know how to spell ZENYATTA?

Why does he deserve a nomination after ducking the horse players dream race of the century?  Not only did he disappoint the racing fans and racing industry, he deprived Racheal of her rightful claim to glory.  How much recognition does this guy truly deserve?  DAH!

08 Jan 2010 9:31 AM
Rachel Fan

It is becoming more and more difficult to read the thoughtless posts by Carolyn.  Here is an example.

"You are so right Man O'War, You don't snub the Breeder's Cup races."

carolyn 07 Jan 2010 8:50 PM

Again statements like this are made be a person with very little knowledge who apparently has not taken the time to do "ANY" research (I mean at least try). #1 Championships are and have been achieved on Dirt or Turf in horse racing for hundreds of years.  The powers that be (ever so ignorant) and trying to lay out the red carpet for the Euros (which backfired as the top Euros Zarkava & Sea of Stars were retired before the B.C.) put these races on a surface that is not considered a natural surface for horses to run on.  

#2, Looking at the record of horses that prepped on dirt for the 2008 and 2009 BC, (0-43), for those that don’t understand what that means, (Carolyn) that means if a horse ran in a race held on dirt before the BC each and ever one of those horses lost the BC race that they were entered in.  If you look at the list of horses that passed up on the races, it was long and stocked full of quality.  If you look at the list of horses whose owners did as Jess Jackson did last year and brought your Grade 1 dirt horse out to run on what is called a “Plastic” surface, well your horse ended up looking like a horse that was a cut below the rest.  Look at the list from 08 – Curlin, Hystericalady, Ginger Punch, Music Note, (MTB 08-09), Munnings and others all ran up the track on the surface.  Whats saddest is that the Pro-ride is supposed to play the closest to a dirt track, which is hard to believe.  But so many quality horses connections passed up on the BC that I am not sure where the thought would be that you don’t pass up on the event because its hyped as a championship.  Its not a championship, it’s a day of racing that has been invalidated due to a move to another surface.  That’s like I heard someone say if this years BC Classic was run at 2 miles what would everyone say, well you’d say that because of such a radical change its not a true championship event. That’s the simple thought process or at least for those that have common sense.

08 Jan 2010 9:32 AM

Lava Fan-You really thought Zenyatta had an easy campaign!!  Beating the best horses in the world is easy??  Get a grip,man!!

Lisa Borel- Thank you for your marvelous post.  You are both very blessed to have each other.  I was fortunate to see Calvin win both his Derby trophies live, and I think he is one of the most genuine riders in racing.  I'll admit that I was quite shocked to see MTB go shooting past the finish line in front of that trio of leaders, but when I recognized that it was Calvin on his back when they returned to the grandstand in jubilation,I was so thrilled for the both of them.  I'll never forget that experience.  

 Many who are critical of others often forget that this is a human world in which we live.

 Best wishes for your continued happiness and success to both you and Calvin.

08 Jan 2010 9:48 AM
Mary in VT

Lots of horses can turn in a brilliant race once in a while, but every race? Rachel was brilliant in every one of her '09 races. Add to that the unprecedented and historic nature of her accomplishments. Think what we would have missed if Jackson hadn't bought the horse. I don't know how this sport could ever repay Jess Jackson for the most thrilling season in modern times, and yet, while he takes racing to heights untouched and clean, the petty little voters can't acknowledge him with a nomination. Please.

However, it might be a sign of the angst the voters felt in choosing between Rachel and Zenyatta. Perhaps it helped them feel better about landing on Rachel if they snubbed Jackson while stroking Moss. Of course, that would be skewed logic to stroke the owner of the losing horse, while snubbing the owner of the winning campaign, but it is well within the human condition. At any rate, whether or not it bothers Jackson, I am ashamed of the industry that delivered this snub. They eat their own.


It seems like Rachel's Haskell win too often gets lumped with her body of work, but after listening to multiple tv commentators rave about the fractions set by lights out sprinter Zensational in the Pat O'Brien, I think the Haskell deserves a closer look.

Munnings in the 2 path with Rachel glued to his neck ran the first quarter in the Haskell in 22:99 ~ Zensational in the Pat O'Brien 23:10.

Munnings with Rachel glued to his neck ran the half in the Haskell in 46:43 ~ Zensational in the Pat O'Brien 45:37.

Munnings with Rachel glued to his neck ran 6f in the Haskell in 1:09.92 ~ Zensational in the Pat O'Brien 1:09:66. The Haskell Stakes record at this call is 1:09 and 2/5 though no horse has ever delivered that and won the race.

Rachel bobbled slightly at the break, settled into the 3 path, and ran 3 wide all the way around the track until she was alone in the stretch. While still under wraps, this 3 yr. old filly stuck like glue to a top quality sprinter that compares to any in this country until he was cooked ... and *STILL* drew off from the Belmont winner who had benefited from an inside trip ... to win by 6 lengths ... in the soup. Final Time 1:47:21 Stakes Record 1:47:00 Track Record 1:46:80

And that was just one her lights out races. Wow. Zenyatta didn't deliver anything like this all year long.


I can't believe some people are still knocking Borel for smacking RA with the new humane popper whip. Maybe the tv cameras didn't catch what seemed obvious to those standing track side. Or maybe I'm wrong. No. It can't be that. (smile)

The crowd goes cookoo for cocoa puffs for Rachel Alexandra. When she turned for home in the lead in the Haskell the crowd just went crazy. She turned her head to look at the stands. Calvin gave her about 6 pops down the length of the stretch and it looked to me like he was trying to keep her mind on the race since she had already left the field behind. Multiply the crowd noise from the Haskell by a factor of about 10 and you will understand the distraction it presented during the Woodward. It was deafening. Not only did this 3 yr. old still growing girl have to fight off the late closing tough as nails older males, she had to do it while the humans in the world appeared to be going ka-razy. Couldn't help but think that racing is alive and well that day. <g> Anyway, I think that even if there were no other horses dangerously close to her in the Woodward, Calvin still would have needed the popper to keep her attention on him and the race.

They say that Zenyatta races with cotton balls in her ears. Maybe someone could invent more serious ear plugs for race horses made out of the same stuff they use for marksman.

On another note entirely, I watched a program about the built in inflatable air bags in the suits of motorcycle racers. How come they don't whip up something like that for jockeys? Maybe the same company that delivered safety wear to motorcycle racers could whip something up for jockeys to protect their spine, and/or limbs. A little business venture for someone???

08 Jan 2010 10:33 AM

Rachel Fan,

The Mosses apparently had a very good year. At the end of '09 they were ranked No. 8 among owners with $4.17 million earned. Their horses started 128 times, going 31-21-24. Their win rate was 24 percent, and their in-the-money rate was 59 percent. Among the horses they campaigned in '09 were Zenyatta, Tiago and Madeo.

By comparison, Jess Jackson's Stonestreet Stable was ranked 281st on the owners list with earnings of $491,000. His horses started 68 times, going 14-12-9. His win rate was 20 percent, and his in-the-money rate was 51 percent.

Because she's owned in partnership, Rachel is not included in those stats.

IHEA suffered the same fate last year -- not getting credit for the horses owned with other partners.

Honestly, if you want to vote JJ owner of the year because of Rachel, then you have to include his partner, Harold McCormick, in the award.

08 Jan 2010 10:49 AM

First: to Lisa Borel, thank you for your poignant response.  I've been watching Calvin race for many years, and I greatly appreciate the opportunity to see him do what he loves, and what he does best.

Second:  the sport of horse racing itself is dying.  Trying to capture a national audience should be a PR when we actually have horses, riders, trainers and owners who accomplish that PR, to snub them seems to just diminish the sport even further.

Third:  the passion of racing fans is so impressive and wonderful that it should be raising the spirit of the race itself even higher.  Instead, we sort of shoot ourselves in the foot by acting like nasty little gutter snipes, rabid in our fanaticism, vitrioloic in our criticism, and totally disrectful of any other opinions to the point of insulting each other and name-calling.  How very childish of us. Why can't we just appreciate what the 2009 year has brought to our doors.  Fantastic, competitive racing with colts and fillies alike.  Yes, it was the year of girl power, and aren't we most fortunate to be its witnesses.

Finally, Rachel A. and Zenyatta were BOTH the greatest boost to this sport, and the best reason to celebrate them both, and respect every horse and its connections for bringing us so many elating thrills and enjoyable moments.

08 Jan 2010 11:15 AM
Susan Watkins Hot Springs, Arkansas


YOU GO GIRL!!!  Thanks for expressing in a genuine way your feelings they were very well put.  Calvin is an awesome guy and has a lot of good people with him including Lisa, and Jerry his agent.  Calvin loves the horses and we all know in our own mind that he is an "eclipse award" winner....I wish all of you the best for the new year and may God bless all of you.  So very glad Calvin will be at Oaklawn.  Look for a lot of us Arkansas folks to be behind you.....again thanks Lisa.....

08 Jan 2010 11:35 AM

For not owning many horses...buying Curlin after a maiden, Rachel and then running her against the boys, Hot Dixie Chick, Kensai...seems like pretty astute purchasing to me!

08 Jan 2010 11:47 AM

Right, lets get going on a response, because I'm in no way the ignorant one. I live in England, where we have rules regarding the whip - ask Russell Baze about it. He rode at Ascot in the Shergar Cup a couple of year's ago and received a minor ban for it. That's the way it is. You hit a horse too often with the whip, they're padded as well, and you get banned.

"Just wanted to thank everyone for their kind remarks about Calvin-

As for the not so kind remarks- everyone is entitled to their own opinions, and I respect that.

There are just two things I would like to say in Calvin's defense, and yes I am his wife and probably shouldn't even be involved in this conversation- but its cold outside and I have nothing better to do so here it goes!

Some of the comments, specifically the nasty one made by Jose- accusing Calvin of "excessive" use of the whip in the Woodward..."

It was excessive. Of that there is no doubt. If that was done on a British racecourse, I estimate he would have recieved a 14-28 day ban. It's not just my opinion either, on one particular racing forum over here people were shocked. Sadly, I can't copy and paste any of the comments from the site, but reading through the comments again the topic starter estimated the whip was used 17 times in the final furlong. I'll ask you this, how many strides did Rachel Alexandra take in the final furlong?

"This is the one negative things about blogs- people can sit behind the anonymity of their computers and write the nastiest and most slanderous things, things I honestly doubt they would ever have the courage to say to someone's face."

I have the courage to say anything to anyone's face in any place. It wasn't slanderous or nasty - it was the truth in my opinion. You can speak to me any time if you so wish and I'll tell you exactly what I think. What was slanderous by the way?

"Obviously you do not follow horse racing close enough to know that the new rules regarding whips mandate the use of the new cushion whips- they are extremely light weight- in fact they were designed to specifically not to sting the horses hind quarters- only to make a popping noise when the horse is struck."

Yes fine, but we still have rules in England regarding that, so I think I understand well enough thank you. In fact, the whip Borel used was still bigger than any whip used in the UK. I'll ask you this, if the padded whip makes less of an impact, what is the point of continuing to whip nearly 20 times in one furlong above shoulder height? It's sort of a stupid thing. The whip doesn't do what you want, but you keep hitting - I take it as hard as possible, otherwise it must be extremely pointless.

"Calvin Borel is a horsemen, first and foremost. There are very few people, if any, who would argue with me on that fact. I take offense to anyone who accuses of him of abusing ANY horse.

Calvin would never ask Rachel for more than she could give him. He knows her like the back of his hand. He loves her, and would rather die than hurt her- so Jose- I know people like you will say whatever you want behind the safety of your computer without regard to anyone's feelings or without regard for the basic truth- but know that I sit here with tears in my eyes at the very suggestion that he would hurt her just to win a race- and Im in a rage over the absurdity of such a suggestion."

He is a jockey first and foremost - he's paid to win races and he did his job. I never said he abused her, did I? Smash was the word I used. It was, however, in my opinion excessive use of the whip in relation to winning the race. 17 times someone on one well known betting exchange forum estimated he hit the horse in the final furlong. 17?! times. The basic truth is he hit the horse more times than she took strides within the final furlong. I never said he wanted to hurt her, did I? And if you know the truth, why care about what I happen to think or say - especially on the internet?

"You don't know my husband."

I never said I did.

"You're not a jockey and you have no idea what riding a horse in a race is like, or the equipment involved- and until you do- you should keep your ignorance to yourself."

It's not ignorance. From where I come from hitting a horse more times than strides within the final furlong is deemed excessive and unnecessary for the image of racing.

In fact, I'll post the British Horseracing Authority's view on it.

Read that and tell me how it would conform to British rules. Shoulder height, excessive frequency, excessive force etc. Do you get it now?

"I take comfort in the fact that anyone whose opinion of Calvin really matters knows he would never mistreat any horse, ever, period."  

You obviously don't, or you wouldn't happen to type half of the obvious stuff above.

"Thank you Jason for bringing this up for debate- lively discussion (minus the ignorant nastiness, all of you Jose's out there...) is the best way to generate interest in this great support we all love so much!"

Minus the igorant nastiness - I know now what type of person I'm dealing with here.

I await my reply with much interest if I get one.

08 Jan 2010 12:00 PM
Simply Majestic

Hand wringing ?  Honestly?

Hardly.  This is horse racing, I have bigger things.

But I’m tired of this childishness ruining this sport I had liked.

Yes, I’m sorry Helsbelles, it IS acting without any class whatsoever to cheer someone not succeeding or winning etc., regardless of the side you are on.  Do you cheer and laugh at Olympians who don’t win?

And your opinions of JJ are just that, not actuality.  You are entitled to them, but, alas, that does not make them truth.  If it does, then other’s opinions of the Moss’ are just as valid.  

Honestly I don’t’ care WHICH is HOY, they are both deserving.  

But the “vileness” is heaped on from both sides, so you don’t get to claim “holier than thou” honors.

This is absolutely ridiculous.

08 Jan 2010 12:40 PM

to those knocking Calvin for not riding before the Belmont.  It was well publicized that Calvin DID try to get mounts before hand, but was basically 'snubbed' by NY trainers. So off base there folks.

Precentage statistics while interesting, don't tell the whole story. Certainly CA and NY have more money, races and stakes than the KY circut. Also don't have mega stables like Pletcher, Asmussen, Baffert or other big name trainers like Mott, McLaughlin, Sadler, ONeill etc, that make their home here in KY.  My point is Calvin is not the go to rider on the same type of circut/horses that these other riders are on (Leparoux rides KY, but also major rider on NY circut).  I would imagine that if he rode for say Baffert like GoGo, his precentages would have a whole different look and considering he rode nearly 3rd to half less than Leparoux or Dominquez, certainly proves his abilities.  Calvin rides who ever he is asked to ride, in the morning and in the afternoons and does pretty good with what he has.  He is VERY underrated rider.  We'll keep him in KY thank you and be assured that while he may never get an Eclipse Award, he is sure to find his way into the Hall of Fame one day for what he has done, which is win two KDs, of which none of these other Jockeys has done yet, and added the additional classics of the Oaks and Preakness, which of the group only Gomez shows an Oaks win. Additionally, Calvin did get his second ESPY Award for Top Jockey in 2009

Not sure where the stats came from but according to NTRA they are:

Calvin 853 sts 140-108-100 $9,244,647 (Rank 15) 16% win 40% ITM

GoGo 967 sts 210-166-140 $18,571,171 (1) 21% win 53% ITM

Leparoux 1284 sts 247-206-156 $18,560,565 (2) 19% win 47% ITM

Dominquez 1651 sts 391-284-261 $18,348,422 (3) 23% win 56% ITM

Calvin only rode two horses at the BC, finishing 2nd w/ Readys Echo and unplaced on MTB who clearly is not effective on synthetics.  Certainly that plays a key factor in earnings.  Just my thoughts.

Knowing how honest and hard working Calvin is, it certainly has me curious who Calvin is riding that he would appeal a suspension just to stay on in hopes of keeping for the KD.  Its not like we haven't seen jockeys do this before to stay on a top horse, but a bit unusal for Calvin.  I hope Lisa will give us some insight as to who Calvin is so high on, especially being as TC blogging is about to start in earnest!

08 Jan 2010 1:30 PM

Rachel Fan- and you are so thoughtful when you post here-lol!

08 Jan 2010 1:41 PM

Lil Darlin.... This is what I am doing only it will be a lot longer song LOL and a heck of a lot more  horses.  :)

Greg J.  I am still trying to find GOOD pics of these ones.... Hint hint..... ;)






I was overseas for a couple of decades so if someone would email me the decade of these horses please do.  I was not around for a long time.  I know the most recent ones from this decade and from before 1980.  



With Anticipation

The Tinman

Better Talk Now

Evening Attire

Kona Gold


Native Dancer

Awesome Again




Northern Dancer

Dr. Fagar


Dark Mirage


John Henry

Lava Man

Eight Belles


Rachel Alexandra


Easy Goer

Foolish Pleasure


Go For Wand

Holy Bull

Spectacular Bid

Victory Gallop


AP Indy

Winning Colors


Lady's Secret


Sunday Silence




Storm Cat



I guess this is one way to get your horse in.  I'll open up the request slot for the day.  :)  I have about 5 to 10 pics of all of these horses except for the ones I pointed out to Greg.  I left out the TC horses on the list cause we all know they will be in there.  

Love you all........  ♥

08 Jan 2010 1:48 PM

Pixie Poet:

You hit the nail right on the head.

Rachel Fan:

I, like Mike R. have figured out who you are, so I will not waste my time with your rubbish.

I got what I wanted and am so happy with the outcome on here.

The Gods were listening????

Now, I will give Rachel (the horse)her due credit that I know she deserves.

08 Jan 2010 1:51 PM


aaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhh you are from England. Well that explains a lot.  Things are way way different there than here.  

08 Jan 2010 1:51 PM
Pam S.

One thing I really hate about this blog is people telling others they are ignorant, need to do research, don't know the facts, don't know somebody personally etc.  You can disagree and state your opinions without doing that.

Dissenting opinions are what blogging is mostly about, and Jason has never said this blog is only open to experts or those inside the industry.  Most everyone reading this and taking the time to post is most likely VERY interested in racing and reasonably well informed, and therefore should not be told that they don't know what they're talking about.  It's impolite to disagree in that manner.

Also, no one knows what would have happened had Rachel not been sold to JJ.  The former owner could have changed his mind and tried open races during the year.  Godolphin might have purchased her and entered her in the BC Classic. You may be well informed and dedicated to careful research, but you don't have a crystal ball. And I'll venture to say whoever you are, you don't know Dolphus Morrison personally.

Four months ago or six months ago, did you know Zenyatta would run in the open Classic?  Did you KNOW it?

08 Jan 2010 1:56 PM

PNewmarket- I realized that.  It was a chaser named Kasbah Bliss who finished third in the HK Vase, I believe.

08 Jan 2010 1:56 PM

Simply Majestic:  I don't mind sparring with you, just so long as it is with the understanding that it is all in good fun, and the world is not going to come crashing down.  You sound like a

nice person that, if I met in real life, I might strike up a friendship with.  Having said that, I don't think you understand the concept of horse racing.  Have you ever placed a bet?  If you

have, then you must realize that this sport can indeed be about rooting for someone to lose (note the racing term "try to beat").  If you truly have never rooted for a team to lose - for example, when the Patriots were trying to match the Miami Dolphin's perfect season - then, as Dr. Laura would say, "you are a better man than I".  Another example:  in the ill-fated '07 BC Classic, I was crying along with Calvin watching Street Sense spinning his wheels going nowhere in the muck, because I wanted them to win.  I would imagine you were NOT similarly affected, but rather were whooping it up over Curlin's romp in the mud.  How insensitive and classless of you Simply Majestic (tongue planted firmly in cheek).  Maybe it is you that needs to come down off your high-horse, rather than me.  Pertaining to my opinion of Jess Jackson, boy I'm glad I gave the edited version!  You would have loved my full opinion... lol.  Jackson does not deserve to be on the list of greatest owners for this year because of his childness, selfish snubbing of the BC.  He got exactly what he deserves... nada.  And yes, I say hooray!  

As Virgil always says:  PEACE.

08 Jan 2010 2:00 PM
steve s

Rachel breeding dont allow her to go 10 furlongs-every breeding expert knows that

08 Jan 2010 2:03 PM

Simply Majestic.....

I have been to three Olympic Games and seen all of them all my life.  There really are people out there that laugh at the people who don't win.  It is really really sad!  Only "one" gets the Gold in EVERY disipline and that is just the way it goes.  ONE winner!  Just to get to the games is hard.  Once you are there, it is a heck of a lot harder.  But yes, there are those childesh people that laugh at the ones that do not make the Gold.  2006 in Torino.  It happened a lot.  Sad that people have to act that way........

I just wish that we could all get along and ♥Heal This World♥  :)

08 Jan 2010 2:39 PM


Remember on the other blog when you asked if I needed help?  LOL.  I know what you can do.  For the 80's and 90's & the early part of this decade, could you post the YEAR that these horses were the most famous?  I do NOT want to make a complete fool of myself putting a horse in there that was in fame 10 years before their time.  :(  I starting back up in 2005 when I came back to the states.  There is a large gap in there that I was not on the train of racing.  Off doing other things.....

Thanks.... in advance..... LOL....I'll put more pics of your fav horse in there unless it is one of the ones that I intend to insert about 10 pictures already.  Geeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeesh my hard drive is starting to neigh at me.  LOL.............

♥Zenyatta♥RA♥Zenyatta♥RA♥  Nuff said!

08 Jan 2010 2:54 PM

Rachel Fan:

Your constant drivel and berating of Zenyatta only proves that you really don’t know much about horse racing.  You have no clue as to the strength of the competition that she faced.  Personally I think that you are doing a disservice to Rachel by your constant ranting.  Now you’re starting to berate other bloggers.

If you are going to say something, stick to the facts.  Don’t give us conjecture of what you think might have happened in different scenarios.  If you think that Rachel winning the Woodward by a desperate head to a G-2 horse qualifies her as an all time great then so be it.  If you think that her winning the Martha Washington, the Fair Grounds Oaks, the weak Kentucky Oaks and the even weaker Mother Goose again qualifies her to be considered an all time great, then that’s your opinion.  Excuse me if about a million other people that know something about horse racing and the quality of performances think differently.

Regarding the BC races, they were originally established by well meaning horse people as a means of bringing the best of each division together.  For the most part, the owners and trainers have obliged, but not always, especially when some feel that they might be at a disadvantage and risk defeat (hint hint).  How convenient it is to say that Zenyatta scratched because of an off track, but leave this fact out.  How convenient it is to say that Zenyatta would be annihilated by the likes of Careless Jewel and Icon Project, etc., when her stable mate easily defeated some of them in the Lady’s Classic.  Do you honestly think that Rachel would annihilate them?  The inference you constantly give is yes indeed, and probably without raising a sweat.

You say you are not a Zenyatta hater, but you managed to post your exact same post on two different blogs just so the world won’t miss what a Zenyatta hater you are.  LOL

08 Jan 2010 3:14 PM
Mike Relva


Regarding your comments about CAROLYN,I would rather see a hundred of her posts to ONE OF YOURS! If only you knew half of what you think you do!

08 Jan 2010 3:16 PM
War Admiral

Zenyatta is going to be nominated to the 2010 "Dubai World Cup". The new state-of-the-art Meydan racecourse is hosting the 2010 "Dubai World Cup".

All previous Dubai World Cups have been hosted on a dirt surface (Nad El Sheba racecourse). Meydan racecourse is a synthetic (Tapeta) surface. The grandstand is 5 furlongs in length and the the total cost to build Meydan racecourse was one billion dollars. The Meydan race course can be mistaken for an airport due to its size (76 million square feet and includes a hotel, a museum, ten restaurants, a marina, an IMAX theater, and a canal. The canal flows into a lake, where Sheikh Mohammed and his entourage will disembark at the racecourse's boathouse. The canal links the Business Bay (near the Emirates Towers) on busy Sheikh Zayed Rd, to Meydan racecourse.

The 2010 "Dubai World Cup" is March 27, 2010. The 2010 "Dubai World Cup" is worth a staggering 10 million dollars.

The 2009 "Dubai World Cup" was worth 6 million dollars.


If Zenyatta wins the 2010 "Dubai World Cup", she will eclipse Curlin's North American earnings record.

08 Jan 2010 3:31 PM

"Its not a championship, it’s a day of racing that has been invalidated due to a move to another surface." ~~Rachelfan

Thank you thank you thank you!!!! I couldn't agree more!!

08 Jan 2010 3:41 PM

The Eclipse awards are not about who garnered the most PR for horse racing...jeez.

It's about accomplishment on the track. Tiznowbay gets it, there is no way that Jess Jackson can win owner of the year. He doesn't run horses in his own name. His Stonestreet Stable doesn't register, and as mentioned earlier Stonestreet and Partner, a separate entity were 4 for 4 with RA. Nicely done but doesn't deserve to join the list of previous Eclipse winning owners.

Better luck next year JJ. Congrats and thanks though for the great moments you did provide this year.

08 Jan 2010 4:06 PM

I had the privilege of watching Personal Ensign beat Lady's Secret to win her 13th race, a Breeder's Cup win.  Breeder's Cup is for the best horses in the World to compete, Zenyatta not only beat the best horses in the World she beat the aged Studs, and did it in style.  No matter what you think Zenyatta won all of her 14 races, no matter how far back she was she found a way to win!! If the committee has any sense they will give HOY to Zenyatta or make a a dual win with Rachel.  Zenyatta is a once in a lifetime mare and Rachael is a great filly.  I think Mike Smith should have been on the list for Jockey of the Year.  I feel Calvin made some bad choices when he was making the TV circuit in NY and didn't give Mine That Bird the ride he could have if he had spent some time at Belmont getting familar with the track.

08 Jan 2010 5:18 PM

You know what is comical about all this bickering?  None of us (that I know of LOL) have anything to do with the outcome.  So why not just sit back and enjoy the ride.  I will say this AGAIN!

♥Zenyatta♥RA♥   :)

08 Jan 2010 5:22 PM

Jose:  Keep one thing in mind.  The racing we're discussing is US racing, and soft whips are allowed.

I personally don't care for the whips, but I do understand why they're used...and it's not to make the horse go faster.  It's to keep the horse focused and to change leads effectively.  It's to keep a horse in its own lane without veering out into another horse's path...and being pack animals..they certainly do tend to drift toward another horse (which could be catastrophic to more than a few riders and horses).

And your attack on Lisa Borel was ignorant, crude, and snide.  She simply stated what she felt, defended Calvin against some cruel comments, and attacked no one, simply noting the harsher criticisms of ill-informed contributors and trying to educate them.  Your defensive response simply shows your inability to recognize and graciously accept that you have your own misconceptions.

08 Jan 2010 6:13 PM
bob m

i was not really to suprised

to see mike smith and calvin borel

off the top three jockeys list..

they are best inconsistent jockeys, eventhough borel won

the kentucky derby the horse mine that bird did not win another race

the whole year....

 mike smith gets a few big mounts

and wins with these type of horses.

the day to day races he is marginal

and usually mid pack in the southern california standings...

 ramon dominguez a young and upcoming rider swept the ny racing

circuit... has anyone done that

recently??? ramon deserves recognition and is a far better jockey than borel or smith......

laperoux and gomez win the big

purses, but day to day ramon is

better than both of these jockeys

also... if they both rode in ny

dominguez would still be on top....

08 Jan 2010 6:21 PM
Lil Darlin

Stardusty -

Busher was an amazing femme fatale Horse of the Year (1945, I think).  You will love her, beat the boys and girls, and if she didn't she found a rematch and THEN beat them.  Awesome daughter of War Admiral.


The last time I checked, Saratoga was in the United States, not England. If we wanted to be England, we wouldn't have kicked its butt in 1776 AND 1812.

Your posts, the way I read them, were very mean spirited, and in the U.S. us girls stand up for our guys when sillynannies like you attack them.

08 Jan 2010 6:24 PM
Not a FOB

I can't believe the way that the FOB CULT has trashed these blogs.

I guess that cheersalex's little playhouse isn't enough for them.

08 Jan 2010 6:49 PM

Stardusty Rose:

I got your e-mail today.  This endeavour you are undertaking is a big job.  I'll be glad to help you out.  It'll probably take me a few days so don't think that I forgot or am backing out.  Keep on posting.  Hearing from  the likes of you is always refreshing.  LOL

08 Jan 2010 8:10 PM
Paula Higgins

Jose93, Lisa Borel is Calvin Borel's wife. Your rebuttal to her response defending her husband was unfortunate. You should have graciously acknowledged her comments and left it at that. You refuse to accept the fact that the whip he used is not a whip in the truest sense of the word. Give it a rest. Calvin Borel would NEVER hurt an animal. I thought Brits were known for their civility. At least that's what they keep telling us.

08 Jan 2010 8:35 PM
Backside Sweetie

First I would like to thank everyone who stood up for Jonathan Sheppard,he should certainly have been a nominee for best trainer.I am a bit biased as I personally know and have worked for him for several years.But as some of have said he is a gentleman and a hands on trainer.He personally checks and visits every horse and loves each and every one as if they were his own.He listens to us little people and asks our opinons on what we think of the horses.As Lisa Borrel said,not being nominated won't upset or change the great trainer that he is.He will continue to be the fine person that he is,and those of us who know his expertise will continue to respect and know the good man that he is!The eclipse awards are just like this blog,someones opinion not by merit.I can sit in my living room and look at four walls of win pictures and see the smiling faces,especially Jonathan's and remember how great the feeling was watching our horse cross the finish line eclipse award will ever make any of us feel like that!So don't feel bad for Jonathan,feel good for him and all of us that work for him,because we know and his horses know that he is the BEST!And please everyone lets be nice to each other because we  all are on this blog because of the love of the game and horses.Remember-FRIENDS HORSES IT'S A GOOD LIFE.  

08 Jan 2010 9:00 PM

Paula-But sadly enough, if he is reading these blogs, he certainly has an interesting view of Americans.  He wasn't anymore out of line than some of her comments pointing out his name as the epitome of hating.  His original post was small and really not that big of a deal.  To single him out was not in the best taste on her part either, nor was it polite.  His post was just an opinion like all of ours.  Why single him out when so many people have said the same thing?  We all thought that his use of the whip was excessive.  That it was a pop whip makes it all the more ridiculous because they are obviously ineffectual as a whip.  So why carry them at all?  Can we all stop being so rude?  Read his original post.  It was nothing to be singled out as a hater.  Do you know the whip rule in France?  You can whip a horse 8 times- total!  Can you imagine what they thought when they saw the replay of the Woodward?  And England is a little more lenient as I understand it.  But you are not allowed to hit a horse that many times in Europe.  Those are their rules.  That is where Jose is coming from and that is why he said what he said.  Seeing how closed-minded so many people here have been about the RA/Z debate and how mean spirited, I don't know why I thought people could understand his perspective, and then his outrage at being singled out for comments that were mild compared to many on here.  I wish I knew what makes bloggers so antagonistic and rude.  I should do a thesis on it.  It's just so sad.  He did not deserve to be singled out and called what he was called, whether she is Calvin Borel's wife or not.  That does not give her the right.  I'm sorry, but that is my opinion.  Now you guys can attack me.

08 Jan 2010 10:21 PM
Judy Loves Mine That Bird, Zenyatta & Rachel Alexandra

TO LISA BOREL: I appreciate you taking the time to post. I'd like you & Calvin to know that when he won the Derby on STREET SENSE, & on MINE THAT BIRD, he moved me to tears. Tell him thank you for loving the sport & for riding little MTB into the winner's circle!!

Please also tell Calvin I was disappointment at Santa Anita when he came out for several races last year with MTB. I had a special poster made for MTB that is still missing Calvin's autograph. This was for charity. He ignored me twice - OUCH! It was not between races for him. That hurt. :-(

TO BoBo Bo Bo Bo: I have to admit your post made me :-) IMO Jackson is a fan of the bucks and the "love" of the horse comes second.

I know Mike Smith. I feel bad he wasn't listed either, but after reading most of the posts, I guess it makes sense.

08 Jan 2010 10:32 PM


09 Jan 2010 5:49 AM

Backside Sweetie

I hope you tell Mr. Shepphard that there are many here that think he is one of the best and hopefully one day he will be recognized nationally for the outstanding job that he does!  With Anticipation was one of my fav horses and the fact the horse retired sound after years of racing and moved on to a career as a fox hunter speaks volumes to his abilities and care.  We look forward to seeing Cloudy kick butt some more this year.

Jose93 and others on whipping

I agree and disagree here.  Smashing was not a good word to use, though I expect it is being taken harsher than intended.  As much as I love Calvin, I too do think that his use of the whip in the final furlong of the Woodward was a little over the top, regardless of the type of whip used. Alas, we are all human, and all make mistakes and in this particular instance, I think it was.  Kind of the end result did not justify the means.  And if american racing didn't see the whip as a possible problem, then it wouldn't be changing.  As pointed out, it is used to keep a horse straight, change leads etc and necessary for safety reasons, however, regardless of how padded it is, it is also used to 'encourage' a horse to their best effort.  Anyone who has been around horses knows that it doesn't have to hurt to get their attention, scare or force (not necessarily negative terms) to do what we want.  The question is what is too much.  Obviously British racing has a little more sterner opinion and I don't think its a wrong one.  No one here said that the whip shouldn't be used, its a matter of whats too much. A jockey with as much experience as Calvin has is held to a higher standard.  But with the fact that he obviously loves RA, I think the 'heat of the moment' and emotion certainly effected how he rode this particular race. Okay hes human, I can see both sides, understand and forgive, can you guys?

09 Jan 2010 9:21 AM

The comments by Lisa Borel said it best.  Yes, Calvin Borel is a great hard boot rider.  He is a consumate horseman.

However, I wish Cajun Country would attempt to defend that argument which stated Cabrini Green, the fine LA runner and sire, should have been nominated for Horse of the Century because he was the only horse to defeat John Henry three times.  I realize "Cajuns" must stick together, but................

09 Jan 2010 10:35 AM

mararacing- thx for the comments.  I have researched this whip because I wanted to know what jocks felt about it.  The vast majority of them seemed to think the new whips were basically useless and ineffectual, especially when being used to control the horse.  I'm just wondering if it's better to have a whip like this, or to have a whip that they feel is effective and have stricter rules on the use of it?  Mr Borel was one of the jocks who commented and he is not a fan of the new whips either. I'm asking the question of everyone, so please let me know what your thoughts are.

09 Jan 2010 10:41 AM

Jason, I know these two blogs are keeping you on your toes. I suggest you  take two advil and keep your laptop in your hands all day. You do not have time for any breaks, So, pack you a lunch or call in a pizza, if you have a date tonight, cancel it (that is unless you're not married), It is the weekend now, so these blogs will probably fire up in a little while......LOL

09 Jan 2010 10:49 AM

I agree with Footlick. I didn't think Jose was out of line or rude in his first post. But, he was singled out for his opinion, so I have so problem with him responding.

I, too, did not care for the way Rachel was whipped -- especially in the Haskell when that was well in hand.

09 Jan 2010 11:57 AM

War Admiral:  With regard to the possibility of Zenyatta in the Dubai World Cup 2010, I have been thinking the same thing.  

Jose93:  You had every right to defend yourself against an unwarranted attack.  America has become the land of idol-worshippers, where fame is a ticket to literally get away with murder.  

09 Jan 2010 1:05 PM


I just watched your video, I just wanted to tell you that you have done an outstanding job. It is absolutely fantastic. I look forward to seeing all of them you make. Best of all, You have my favorite song by Elvis, "My Way", brings tears to my eyes. I just love it.

09 Jan 2010 1:38 PM
Rachel Fan

I’ll address each point that other posters made, Speedball, do people think that Zenyatta had an easy schedule, have you read the pps from her previous season, from Jan 1-May 23rd Zenyatta did nothing but sit in her stall, on the 23rd of may she faced LIS, allicansayiswow, gambler’s justice, champagne eyes and taste’s sis.  After that race a month later she ran in the Vanity beating briecat, dawn after dawn, Hot n’Dusty, allicansayiswow, and modification.  A month later in the C.L. Hirsch she ran against champagne eyes, tidal dance, dawn after dawn, LIS who ran an unimpressive 4th, Lethal Heat and was all out life and death to beat Anabaa’s creation at the wire.  In the Lady’s secret 2 months later she faced briecat, made for magic, anabaa’s creation, LIS, Cocoa Beach, and Lethal Heat.  Let me quote Jerry Moss from earlier this year: “we can’t do the same thing we did last year and expect to win HOY”.  The BCC proved to be a very nice race on paper, and I am sure the Zenyelots want to act as if every horse in the race had a good chance to win but that’s just not the truth, there were plenty of throw outs, remember dirt horses were 0-43 in the 08 & 09 BC, so you can throw out, Summer Bird, Regal Ransom, MTB, and Girolamo, the Euros had all ran in tough campaigns and were not proven on the proride as they train on polytrack, so you could throw out Rip, and Twice Over, Awesome Gem is a Grade 3 horse Richards Kid is a Grade II horse at the very best, Colonel John is a Grade III horse his form in the last 12 months is awful and Einstein and Gio Ponti were you possible to run a good race, so yeah on paper she face multiple grade 1 winners who are impressive on their turf, but being honest that was a race she should have won while laughing, instead of being under the whip with a furlong left. But the campaign as a whole would at best be considered Grade II or Grade III level she faced 33 horses total and for the surface only case specific for the surface she faced 3 horses that were Grade 1 winners on the preferred surface, that’s what makes the campaign so soft and calculated. This is what you call trying to back into an award.  

Tiznowbaby, very nice point about how the Moss’s did this year with their horses, but lets dig a bit deeper at the list, So your point is the Moss’s did $4.1 mill with 31 wins.  Ok Godolphin Racing, Juddmonte Farms, Mr. and Mrs. Jerome S. Moss are the listed finalist, Juddmonte had 27 wins and $6.5 mill and Godolphin had 18 wins and $3.7 mill, both Judd and Godolphin had double digit Grade 1 wins cant say the same about the Moss’s just admit that they put them in because of one race, its ok.

Steve S, did you realize that her sire came in 2nd in the Belmont, and second in the BCClassic and second in the Dubai World Cup, and won the Travers.  So if her sire was able to get 12 furlongs and win at 10 that statement about her distance limitations seems farfetched, she sure looked like she was struggling to get the oaks and Haskell distances.  Even in the Preakness and Woodward she galloped out ¼ mile or more.

09 Jan 2010 1:39 PM
Paula Higgins

O.k. I am reposting this quickly because I think I lost my posting in response to your post, Footlick. First, I am not attacking you. I understand your point of view. But the person really being attacked was Calvin Borel. HIS WIFE, LISA, was merely defending him and I am in total agreement with everything she said. She is the spouse of a jockey being attacked on a blog and I feel terrible that she saw some of these posts. I think most of us feel badly that her feelings were hurt. If this had been someone attacking my husband, I would have gone nuclear already and I am not kidding. Jose93 should have responded to her post with an apology for offending her and a "thank you" for clarifying the situation. In short, the whip is NOT a whip but a popper. That's a huge difference. Whips hurt like hell. Calvin did not use a real whip. Jose93 didn't apologize, he just kept at it. I think he should have been more sensitive to her feelings and shown the civility the British are so famous for. This is a unique situation and not your typical blog scenario. It calls for a more humane response. My comments to him were chosen to be less confrontational, but yet to defend Lisa and Calvin. I stand by them. For really nasty blogs, you need to visit some of the figure skating sites.

09 Jan 2010 2:16 PM

Rachel Fan

Yawn!  Yawn!  Yawn!

Same old drival.  Time to give it a break.

09 Jan 2010 3:14 PM

Shirreffs should have been on the list, Borel was a definite probable if only because of his KY Derby ride but Jackson was rightly left off because he's a phoney.  His filly will win HOTY but he she should have been sent to Santa Anita and his reluctance to do so marked him down as a man who was scared to make the really hard call and put his horse in a race she had every expectation of winning.  

09 Jan 2010 3:27 PM

"Any jockey that feels the need to smash a horse like Borel did to Rachel Alexandra in the Woodward rightfully should not be nominated for outstanding jockey. Nor does Jess Jackson deserve outstanding owner for buying established Grade 1 winners year after year."

Paula- I didn't think you were attacking me, but this is the post that triggered Ms Borel to single him out as a hater.  If you feel that it is so heinous to justify an apology to Ms Borel, then that is your opinion.  But, if this was the most offensive thing said to me in my life, I would thank my lucky stars-lol.  

09 Jan 2010 4:18 PM
Paula Higgins

Footlick and Tiznow, Jose93 isn't an axe murderer. I get that. But Lisa Borel's feelings were hurt by the comments posted about her husband. I think this is a specific and unique situation requiring some finesse and kindness.

Calvin Borel is an excellent jockey and a good person. We have all seen his heartwarming responses to any race he has ever won. I don't think for one minute he would deliberately hurt any horse. Let's give these jockeys the respect they deserve. All of them. That goes for the times they have less than perfect rides. They do their utmost to win and do it safely.

09 Jan 2010 6:09 PM

Bert, you are a hoot!

09 Jan 2010 6:31 PM


I don't count money until it is my hand, Point to be told is don't count HOTY until January 18, when it is announced. Believe you me, it can go either way, and I am not going to give it to RA until I hear her named called for HOTY.  Some people don't want to accept this, but Zenyatta is a strong contender for this award also.

09 Jan 2010 7:20 PM

That was a good one Bert.  And I remember Cabrini Green.

09 Jan 2010 7:37 PM

quarterhossgal, Personal Ensign never beat Lady's Secret.  She beat Winning Colors in the 1988 Breeders Cup Distaff.  Lady's Secret was retired in 1987 after winning the Breeders Cup Distaff in 1986. It is highly unlikely that Personal Ensign could have beaten the Iron Lady, had they ever met.

10 Jan 2010 12:56 AM
Mike Relva


You live in a fantasy world.

10 Jan 2010 8:13 AM

The problem with racing today is the sport cannot even recognize greatness and market it the way it should be.  Rachel had the greatest year ever put forth by a 3 year old filly in our sports history.  People from California want to ARGUE that because Zenyatta won 4 races against over matched horses on poly tracks and then beat males that mostly run on dirt on a poly track one time that she somehow deserves HOY and not the amazing 3 year old who won the Preakness, Haskel, and Woodward.  Which no filly had done in 200 years of racing.  Really ?  One race is what you're leaning on to make others believe she deserves HOY ?  One race on a poly track is all you got ?  Nothing else ? Really ?  To give HOY to any other horse after what Rachel Alexandra did this year would be a black eye to the sport and render the award meaningless.  No Horse in History achieved what Rachel achieved and did it without a blemish at 3 years old and some of you want to toss it to the side because a poly horse won 1 race against mostly dirt horses that went 0 for 43 the last two years at the Cup.  You call yourself a fan of the sport ? Suggesting any horse deserves the award other then Rachel after what she did in 2009 is a joke and renders your future opinions meaningless.

10 Jan 2010 9:37 AM

merlinmerry- highly unlikely?  Why do people always underestimate an undefeated horse.  There is a reason why they are undefeated.  I would never say highly unlikely when talking about Personal Ensign beating Lady's Secret.  It would be a great race.

10 Jan 2010 9:49 AM

I believe that the problem between Jose93's post, and Lisa Borel's singling out his comment was simply a matter of different cultural backgrounds.  The connotation in the word "smashing"

in America indicates cruelty.  She was rightly upset, even though his British interpretation simply meant the use of the whip.  However, his next response was crude and vindictive, and he has rightly earned criticism for his tirade directed against Lisa Borel....when that's not the point of this blog at all.  'nuff said!

10 Jan 2010 11:09 AM

Gee Dray:

The way you are ranting and first thing on a Sunday morning.....hummmmm sounds like your NFL teams didn't do too well yesterday.  Me, I'm just getting up after going out on the town and spending some of the money I WON.  LOL

10 Jan 2010 1:07 PM

Footlick - Lady's Secret raced 45 times, with 25 firsts, 9 seconds and 3 thirds. Of her wins, 22 were in graded stakes races. She ran 4 times against males, winning once and placing the other 3 times. She won a record 8 grade one stakes races in 1986 - something no other horse of any sex had accomplished since 1973. She won Horse of the Year that year.

Personal Ensign ran 13 times and won 13 times. A noble feat but surely over matched by Lady's Secret and her 25 out of 45 with 22 graded stakes wins.

Altho Lady's Secret was a tiny terror on the track, I would take Personal Ensign in the breeder's shed any day over the gray. As a mom, Personal Ensign is truly unbeatable.

10 Jan 2010 2:48 PM


Thank You......

Mike Relva......

Hey there.   How ya been?  Boy isn't it cheerful and sernene coming over here to see all the bickering over two beautiful horses that both deserve their fame because both of them have beet the boys and with poetry in motion they did.  :)


Greg J..... If you want to, you can post some pics of those horses that I need in facebook :).... I am revising one for one of my friends and that is what he is going to do.  :)

♥RA♥Zenyatta♥    And please take notice that in my posts I always switch these two around so that I give them BOTH equal credit.... :)  

10 Jan 2010 4:43 PM

merlinmerry- I'm glad you are so sure that Lady's Secret would beat Personal Ensign.

10 Jan 2010 10:52 PM
Mike Relva


How have you been? Yes,I know,some individuals NEVER change.

11 Jan 2010 8:45 AM
Mike Relva


I've always respected your opinions. IF you want,get my email from Stardustyrose. Wanted to comment about the blog on NTRA,but would rather in private.

11 Jan 2010 8:47 AM

Mike Relva:

I already posted an e-mail where you can contact me to'll wait to her from you and pick up your e-mail on your reply.

11 Jan 2010 12:01 PM


Been thinking more about these dates.  I think that would mess things up.  Example Curlin.  He is a 2 year champion and HOY.  There are some of these legends that aren't as strong as others.  I believe Ruffian, Winning Colors (all the girls that beat the boys), Eight Belles, Rags 2 Riches, Barbaro and a few of the others should be pronounced more.  With those horses, I can put in a date.  With all of the rest of them, I don't really think a date is needed because everyone that knows racing will spot them right away.    

Don't get me wrong.  ALL of these horses are very very special but another example would be John Henry.  I think the names of the horses is suffient enough.  What do you think?  :) EXCEPT for the TC winners & the deep legends.  :)

Greg J.  email me K?  I am taking three months off.  I may or may not go to Vancouver.


11 Jan 2010 4:02 PM

I have a brilliant idea.  Let's put Zenyatta & Rachael on the moon and have them race.  That would be the most fair.  Neither has ever run on the moon so they would be even RE: the surface.  :)


11 Jan 2010 4:05 PM


You are so right in all of your comments.  I think Calvin should have been nominated as he has shown time and time again he is a horseman first and foremost.  I enjoy watching him ride time and time again because it does not matter whether he is on a claimer or a stakes horse he gives his best and is happy to win and he shows it. He is a true ambassador for racing because he always puts his horses first.  

I for one have never questioned him for riding RA in the Preakness because a true horseman knows if you are lucky you get one great horse in your life and you have to follow your heart. Best wishes to you both.

As for HOTY I think it should be a tie, both horses are great and you cannot take anything away from either of them.  

Every year we all think some people get left out of the voting but that is the way things go when you depend on an opinion.  The awards are good but the personal accomplishments are always better than an opinion.

11 Jan 2010 4:09 PM

I don't need the situation clarifying thank you. We use lighter whips in Britain, but Borel's use of the whip has not been fully explained to my satisfaction. If you're using the whip to keep a horse straight, change leads etc, why use it 17 times in the final furlong with most of those above shoulder height in the final furlong? Remember, much of racing in Europe is based on changing lead legs for acceleration because it's mostly Turf racing. Was every hit really needed to win the race? I doubt it. To me, in my opinion, Borel sort of panicked as the closers started to gain significant ground. And because the whip is softer it is sort of pointless hitting away. And, to me, as much of the number of hits used, it was the style it was being used - as in for force - example being above shoulder height with a limited time to respond.

11 Jan 2010 5:18 PM


The Rachel Alexandra fans are so angry over Zenyatta becoming the first filly/mare to win the "Breeders Cup Classic".

Where is the love people?

12 Jan 2010 12:19 AM


Hope you're having a good day.  I'm working on some stuff for you.  Should get it to you towards the end of the week or on the weekend.  Dates for all might be good to present them in some type of order.  That and some additional info for each isn't much of a problem.  I'll keep in tough. LOL

12 Jan 2010 7:39 AM

Jose93 are you a rider?  Do you know what actually goes on in a race where you have millaseconds to decide what to do?  Have you ever even done anything except watch? If the stewards, owner and trainer did not question him how can you?

12 Jan 2010 11:21 AM


In other words, present them in the same kind of order that I put the Triple Crown horses in?  Hmmmmmmmmmm Well that would be really good.  Let's see there are 11 TC winners.  Then there are about 60 or more other horses LOLOLOLOL!  Oh BOY are we having fun yet?  End of the week or weekend is JUST FINE LOL.  Take all the time you need........ :)  I just hope that I get can all of these horses into one vid. :)  I am going to be taking my pc down sometime this week prolly to move it so there will be a few days where I won't be on-line.  Not today though.  I have all the pictures and the music.  Actually I think that your idea is the best cause if they were in order, then people that don't know nuttin about racing (such as me LOL) for some of those years, can understand it....... :)

♥RA♥Zenyatta♥  WA LA......

12 Jan 2010 11:48 AM
Mike Relva


RMITCH is correct,you probably haven't done anything other than watch!

12 Jan 2010 12:43 PM

Laz, have you read the update on the WTR? My goodness, They really give Zenyatta credit for her fabulous run in the BCC. How can anyone say, the BC races don't mean anything....hahaha..I think now they will change their tune..

I knew Zenyatta would win the world over with her win in the BCC, now, the world knows how important the BC really is....

12 Jan 2010 2:18 PM
just a fan

Only jockeys can comment on rides, Mr. Mitchel?  Fans that have seen hundreds/thousands of races over a lifetime, cannot use that vast knowledge as a base from which to extrapolate?  Not being much of a Rachel fan, I don't even feel strongly about this specific topic.   But I am concerned about the larger issues surrounding it.  Are you trying to tell us we didn't see what we saw?  Isn't that just a wee-bit condescending?

12 Jan 2010 3:34 PM


I believe that Zenyatta will get it BUT I also believe strongly that Rachael should get something important.  I will be upset if she doesn't get something.  I prefer Zenyatta but I will be very angry if RA gets snubbed completetly.  Actaully I would rather have RA get HOY simply because we really all know what Zenyatta is capable of.  Did I just say that? LOL  :)


12 Jan 2010 10:22 PM

Stardusty, Me too, You know I don't care if RA gets that award. Ever since the BCC, Zenyatta has been on top of the world and rightfully so, In retrospect, I feel sorry for RA now, and I'm with you, if  RA don't get the hoty, then she won't have won any polls or votings over Zenyatta. Truthfully, RA can have the HOTY, my god, No one award, can tear down what Zenyatta has amassed this year. I bet the naysayers won't say that the BC races are not important anymore, or  just "one race" as they call it. That one race holds a lot of merit.

Stardusty, I'm feeling sorry for RA in my own way, and damn she is a great filly and has had a remarkable year, so, she had to dig deep in her races, I don't care if she gets it...

13 Jan 2010 6:14 AM

Carolyn and Stardusty:

I think that the WTR says loads about how good both Zenyatta and Rachel are.  As much as I like Zen, I also like Rachel and admire her courage.  Remember, at five Zen is much more mature and in a horse's mind was able to confront her tasks much more readily than a much less mature 3 y.o. filly.  That is one of the thngs that I like about Rachel......she readily accepted her challenges and went about her business.  My only problem is......I think that the tasks were not as difficult as some of the more fanatical Rachel supporters think they were.  That being said, HOY is only a title and in no way will diminish what the loser has accomplished this year.  LOL of luck you guys and have a good day.  Remember Stardusty, I'll send you some into probably over the weekend.

13 Jan 2010 8:40 AM
Phony JJ

Rachel fans:

I have noticed on some of the blogs that you people are really  bad mouthing  any and everything that has Zenyatta leading the way, I have heard the BCC didn't matter, the World Thoroughbred Rankings don't matter, all polls that have Zenyatta ahead, you people are trying to tear it down..

Do you people realize that at the end of this year, IF RA runs, you all will be hoping she amasses all these votes and accomplishments that Zenyatta is recieveing now. Next year, you will be hoping that RA has won the BCC, having the top world rankings, being #1 in all the polls, sitting on top of the world as Zenyatta is today, Don't Snubb what you will be hoping for next year..Now, you are all in a small minority even if RA gets the hoy, because that vote only comes from 280 people, out of the whole world, that makes it a small minority, because the "WORLD" has voted for Zenyatta.  I guess what you think "DON'T MATTER" really "DOES MATTER"!!!

13 Jan 2010 11:25 AM
Debbie O'Connor

To Lisa Borel-

I think you husband is a brilliant, clever rider, but as you so astutely pointed out, what does he or for that matter Rachel have to prove?  They are both super talented athletes and I'm sure both of them will endure the tide of time and history.  It would have been nice if Calvin had been nominated for an Eclipse, based on the fact that he has worked so hard for so many years, THAT should have been taken into consideration.  I'm a dyed in the wool Rachelite, but honestly, I don't think she'll win Horse of the Year, and it breaks my heart because I really think she is spectacular, just like your old man!

13 Jan 2010 2:31 PM
Paula Higgins

Rachel will win the Eclipse Award. The majority of the voters are east ocast voters. That being said, she is a worthy winner. So is Zenyatta. But it is what it is,since the people that run this thing can't think outside the box and allow for a check-off box for a tie. Zenyatta is Horse of the Decade and historic. She transcends any award and this is from an east coaster.

13 Jan 2010 3:00 PM

As usual Laz, you are 100% correct..dead on...

13 Jan 2010 3:11 PM
Seattle Slew

Zenyatta is so talented that she spotted the "Breeders Cup Classic" field a furlong and a half before Mike Smith put her on her correct lead.

13 Jan 2010 3:45 PM

OK, yet again I'm coming in late to this talk fest but I feel I have to make some comments:

1.  I think it is not wrong to state an opinion (eg) Calvin Borel appears to have "whipped Rachel too many times".  I agree with this comment.  It did seem excessive to me.  THIS DOES NOT MEAN ONE IS SAYING THAT CALVIN BOREL IS A BAD MAN.  It's not just in England that there are now rules on how many times and where you whip a horse regardless of the type of whip you use.  Woodbine just came up with such a rule and I think that Chantal Sutherland had her horse disqualified in a race because she fell afoul of that rule.  I still am not sure what the point of hitting RA so many times was -- but I wasn't her jockey and I repeat: I AM NOT SAYING CB IS A BAD MAN, I JUST DIDN'T LIKE IT.

2.  Lil Darlin: you did NOT win the War of 1812.  WE did.  Nyah, nyah!

(that last comment is as adult as some of the previous comments in this blog!)

13 Jan 2010 4:07 PM

Just a Fan,

No not only riders can comment but I speak from experience.  I have ridden horses (show, barrel, and race horses) for 40 years and until you are in their shoes you don't actually know what they were thinking or their reason for doing what they did.  The public is always the first to blame the Jockey for losing, or riding wrong or anything else that they don't like about the outcome of the race.

The stewards will and have suspended jockeys for excessive use of the whip and they did no such thing here so I don't really see why Jose93 has a problem with it.  

13 Jan 2010 5:18 PM


OK weekend is just fine with me LOL.  I am taking a couple of days off from the pc and just gonna lie down on the couch, sleep, eat, and watch TV.  In other words.  I am going to be a couch potato for a couple of days....... Soooooo much to do......  :)

13 Jan 2010 5:32 PM

rmitch-although jocks get penalties in Europe because of their stringent rules- I think a horse in France can be hit 8 times total for a race- I don't feel that stewards do whip violations in this country unless the whip hits a horses face or interferes with the other horse.  There was another case recently where a horse was whipped 17 times in the final furlong, and I don't believe there was even a stewards inquiry.  If these whips that are being used now don't even sting, can they really be used effectively is what I am asking?  There is a difference between a lighter, kinder whip and the "pop" whip that one jock said was like using a marshmallow.  If we have made the whip ineffectual, can it really help a horse change leads and stop them from veering in or out?  I have never been a fan of heavy handed riding, Braulio Baeza being my all-time favorite jock, but many a great jock has had a heavy hand.  I think there is only so much pressure from the whip that is going to make a horse run harder and after that it is punishment.  If a horse is giving their all, whipping them more won't make them give more.  If the whip is so light that it doesn't do what it was intended to do, then maybe jocks shouldn't carry them and then we won't have to discuss it.  And I do understand why Jose93 has a problem with it.  It looks like it was needless excess with alot of force.  I'm not saying it was, but that's what it looks like.  And the people who have responded to him have acted like he doesn't know what he's looking at and he does.  Maybe we should say that our whip rules are extremely lenient and our jocks are allowed to whip a horse as many times as they feel necessary with whatever force they feel is necessary as long as you don't hit the horses face or hit another horse.  If that is not our whip rule, then maybe we should say that our stewards don't really penalize it unless it interferes with another horse or the horse being ridden gets hit in the face.  Great Britain and Europe were at the forefront about whip restrictions.  Instead of adopting more stringent rules, have we just replaced the whip with an ineffectual model?

14 Jan 2010 11:42 AM


I will conceed to you that some Jocks do get heavy handed, but I never saw him raise the whip above his shoulder and again we don't know what he was thinking. (trying to keep her attention on business and not the crowd) Like I stated before everything in a race happens in a matter of milliseconds and to comment on him smashing the horse I thought was out of line.  I don't like the new whips and the change was made to appease the public of which most of them watch 3 or 4 of the big races a year. They think that qualifies them to comment about what is right and what is wrong.  Some of the rule changes are for the better and some of them are for the worse.

And yes I agree that maybe the new whip is probably ineffectual.

14 Jan 2010 4:32 PM

rmitch- Well, I'm going to drop it, because I don't want this to go on and on.  My whole point to begin with was that it was unfair of Ms. Borel to single Jose out as a hater.  And many people took exception to my statement.  I'm so tired of contention no matter what is said anymore.  All this confrontation is very tiring.  I do know that most Europeans are a little taken aback by the amount of whip use in this country since they have seen that you can get just as good results out of a horse with less use.  But, to each his own.  Everyone believe what they want, and that's the end of it for me.  Have fun.

14 Jan 2010 11:40 PM
Paula Higgins

I don't think the new whip is ineffectual. The horse gets the idea and knows what it means. You don't have to beat them over the head. How many owners would tolerate their horse being abused? None of the major players that's for sure.

15 Jan 2010 12:43 AM

Paula- I never said that a horse needs to be beaten over the head.  The quotes I've read from the jocks who have used them think that they don't really work.  Even Mr Borel doesn't like them.  I'm sorry I brought it up.  As for owners, I'll give you two examples of horses whose owners put the race and the sport before the horse.  Swaps and Majestic Prince.  I'll probably be sorry I brought them up too, though-lol!

15 Jan 2010 12:05 PM

Jess Jackson did not start RA's carreer this year. Yes, he put her in races that were quite demanding for a 3 year old filly (older one since her real bday is January) but anyone of them could have ended her life and then you all would be singing a different tune. She also had chip removal surgery and Hal Wiggins always gave her more than 2 weeks off after a race. It seems when Eight Belles broke down many horseplayers were outraged that a trainer would run a filly against the boys in the Derby, etc.

The only horse that Jess Jackson  had worth noting was RA, after the million dollar buy.

 Calvin is a great rail rider and terrific at Churchill. He had difficulty riding at other tracks such as Saratoga (1 win) and Keeneland. Garret, Ramon and Juilian ride all over, on all surfaces and win.

Jonathan Sheppard on the other hand has been running his horses everywhere on all surfaces doing so successfully.I admire him as a good trainer and a trainer you can approach and get an honest answer. He travels everywhere without excuses. Very unfair that he was not included on the trainers ballot.

15 Jan 2010 12:59 PM

OK pardon the ignorance with this but would someone please tell me that a whip that does not sting a horse would do any good for changing leads?  I used to use the reigns to change leads on my horses or my knees.  Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm  why can't they do that?  OK rose is going to go and hide now.  :)


15 Jan 2010 1:26 PM

Lisa Borel is my new hero! Kudos to you and thanks for "keeping it real"!

15 Jan 2010 1:49 PM
Paula Higgins

Good news maybe. Art Wilson interviewed Jerry Moss and it was a very interesting discussion. Essentially, Wilson came away with the view Zenyatta might not be done racing. I read the interview and it is clear they have not made a final decision. We can only hope.

15 Jan 2010 2:35 PM

I don't understand these snubs either. Is there some kind of old boys club going on?

Is Calvin Borrel omitted because he's just a hick from the sticks? He did have an incredible year, but most importantly he rode the perfect ride in the worst conditions, with the longest shot at the Kentucky Derby.

He was always humble, sincere & likeable. When was the last time a jockey was on the Tonight Show? Yes, he did go far beyond his jockey responsibilities and promoted horse racing to a public that has lost interest in the sport.

I do know someone who met Calvin at the track. He went back to ask him to sign a picture he had taken. My friend said he was so nice & gracious, just being the country boy that he is and spent 15 minutes talking to him.

Why do those in charge of major operations, associations, ect. keep shooting themselves in the foot?!!!!! They say the industry has to grow, they need young fans, but they continue to do things the same old way. These snubs are just one example.

2009 was the most historic year since Secretariat, yet the industry does not take full advantage. For example: not allowing co-winners for Rachael & Zenyatta.

It would make most people in the industry happy & certainly the public. These wonderful fillies would recieve more publicity, more fans & interest in the sport with people who don't even know what the difference is between a filly, a gelding or a stallion!

15 Jan 2010 3:29 PM

My point exactly stardustyrose.

15 Jan 2010 8:04 PM

I miss jocks like Baeza.

15 Jan 2010 8:09 PM

Certainly think Jess Jackson should be in there. He put his horse's welfare above everything - including awards/accolades - and I think that's how it's supposed to be. Another trainer who did not race on a track he did not like was commended for his concern for his horse (and rightly so!). I wonder why Jess Jackson was criticized for doing the same thing ...

15 Jan 2010 9:07 PM

Heads-up to other Jonathan Sheppard fans, DRF has a really nice article on his training techinque that I really appreciated:

If you haven't seen it yet, don't miss it. :-)  

15 Jan 2010 9:09 PM


I like your post a lot!  Only one thing that I don't agree with.  I believe that 1977 when Seattle Slew won the Crown un-defeated was the most hisorical year.  NOT to take ANYTHING away from Big Red. I love that horse.  

Good Post I hope a lot of people read what you said.  :)


16 Jan 2010 2:58 PM


Hey it is the weekend and just wanted to tell ya that I will be very tied up till Monday. On that note, I have all the horses in a folder and pretty much except for the ones I outlined to Greg are not there yet.  On my Word document, they are in black writing so I know not to leave any horses out.  

I was so into this that I started  talking to everyone like a horse LOL.  People were telling me to come out of the barn.  LOL!  OK anyway.  Just poppin in to say hey.........

Where the heck is Jason?????????


16 Jan 2010 3:06 PM
Paula Higgins

WOOHOOO!!!!!!!!!! Zenyatta is racing in 2010!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! TVG just announced it. Thank you so much to Jerry and Ann Moss and all her connections.

16 Jan 2010 4:39 PM

Congratulations to Calvin Borel for winning the 2010 George Wolff award.  Now that's better than an Eclipse award because it tells you what the other jockeys think.  Bravo Calvin!  To be awarded March 14th, Calvin will be at the Fair Grounds on March 13th on Rachel Alexandra. That's a lot of traveling!

22 Feb 2010 9:06 AM

Hey Jason-dont here from you much anymore-the only sound i hear is the pop from the HOY award almost similar to a subprime crisis. Rachel cant even beat an grade 2 older mare, just as i suspected. Let me remind everyone, she has beaten not a single legitmate grade 1 animal. How could anyone vote for her HOY? What a travesty! No what a fix!

23 Mar 2010 9:08 PM
Mark the Bugler

Sherpa: Mike Smith was inducted into the HOF in 2003.

Lisa Borel: Thanks for a great, insightful post. Nobody could have said it better.

Racing fans: Randy Romero accomplished much more in his career than Calvin Borel has so far. (Arguably, so has Alex Solis). Calvin WILL get in eventually. 3 Derby wins? - that's a mortal lock.

As will Jonathan Shepherd, who is regarded as more of a steeplechase trainer, indeed the best in his field.

As far as owners go, I don't even know why the are considered for entry into the hall of fame.  Consider this: George Steinbrenner is not in the baseball hall of fame.

01 Jun 2010 10:34 AM

Jess Jackson does not win awards because he is a mercenary owner sitting on a mountain of money who swoops in once someone developes a champion horse, then makes the owners an offer they cannot refuse so that he can claim the glory for himself. He's in racing for all the wrong reasons, mainly to glorify Jess Jackson. Nobody will remember who bred and brought Rachel Alexandra to the racing world, but the history books will all say "owned by Jess Jackson", just like with Curlin.

He'll buy another Horse of the Year title for Rachel this year making Zenyatta the only back to back undefeated horse to retire after winning the year end Classic for the second time, and not being named Horse of the Year. The only reason Jackson has not bought Zenyatta is that the Moss family is way too rich to need his money. How many people doubt that he has had this conversation with his money men? I can hear it now, "aw sorry Mr. jackson, but the Moss family eat money salad for breakfast! Tough luck, old man.

15 Jun 2010 10:10 PM

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