Jockey Mike Smith opts off Mine That Bird in the Belmont Stakes (gr. I), adding a few more twists to the bizarre road that the son of Birdstone (SRO) has traveled in his Triple Crown odyssey. The part of the linked article that piqued my interest the most was that Mine That Bird trainer Chip Woolley "indicated that he won't wait to see whether Rachel Alexandra goes on to the Belmont" before selecting a new rider. So unless something happens quickly and Calvin Borel finds himself without plans for June 6th, Mine That Bird is probably going to have a new rider signed on.
So here's an interesting scenario:
Woolley signs someone -- Julien Leparoux? -- to ride Mine That Bird.
Trainer Steve Asmussen or owner Jess Jackson decides that Rachel isn't quite in shape for the rigors of the Belmont.
A suddenly mountless Calvin Borel picks up a ride on another horse, pitting him against Mine That Bird from yet another platform.
We constantly hear talk about how no horse has won a Triple Crown in 30+ years. Well, what about a JOCKEY winning all three races on different horses? It's unprecedented -- never once in the 100+ years of American classic racing. What a great story that would make.
I should probably state -- just for complete disclosure -- that I'd be rooting for Borel because of our undeniably close connection. (Back on Feb. 17, 1997, Borel jockeyed the Two Punch (SRO) gelding Three Block Fox (pedigree) -- who was, coincidentally celebrating his fifth birthday that day -- to a WIN at Oaklawn Park. Three Block Fox is now better known as Dumbledore, my riding horse. So you can see how tight Calvin and I are.)