Borel: Derby Free Agent?

Last summer, the sports world was dragged--nauseatingly and unrelentingly--through the most high profile free agent process in the history of professional sports during the LeBron James saga. When James finally announced "The Decision" to play for the Miami Heat to millions on national television, most of us were happier to finally have it over than we were at finding out what teamed he chose to play for.

That kind of ridiculous hoopla could never happen in horse racing, but there is a potentially interesting jockey free agent drama setting up for the Kentucky Derby. It involves Calvin Borel, who has won an unprecedented three of the last four Derbies and is as good a rider at Churchill Downs as anyone in the world.

Borel is the regular rider of Elite Alex, who finished fourth in last weekend's Louisiana Derby and third in the Southwest Stakes prior to that. He has been committed to the colt all winter, but with only $65,000 of graded earnings Elite Alex is currently on the outside looking in for the Derby and must finish first or second in the April 16 Arkansas Derby to qualify--if he even runs at all.

On Tuesday morning, Elite Alex's trainer Tim Ritchey said no decision has been made on whether his colt will start in the Arkansas Derby. It will all depend how the horse does on the track over the next few days, Ritchey said.

"I'm not going ruin him just to run in one race; it's a long year," Ritchey said. "There are a lot of options. He's a Canadian-bred, so we have the option of the Queen's Plate as well. There is no reason to rush into anything right now. We'll see how he does."

Assuming that Elite Alex does not run in the Arkansas Derby or does not finish in the top two if he does start, Borel would instantly become the LeBron James of the Kentucky Derby. Or, at least, that's what one would think. But according to his agent, Jerry Hissam, the phone has been surprisingly quiet.

"I haven't had one phone call so far," Hissam said. "Usually, you like to have three or four eggs in your basket by now, but that isn't the case."

Is it possible that Borel, a man with more than 4,800 lifetime wins, more wins at Churchill Downs than anyone in history except for Pat Day, and who has skillfully guided three of the last four winners on the first Saturday in May, could wind up without a mount for the 2011 Kentucky Derby?

"It would be the most embarrassing thing to happen to me in 40 years if we were sitting in the jock's room without a mount on Derby day," Hissam said.

Hissam said Borel is committed to riding Elite Alex in the Arkansas Derby and beyond, if it happens, but a Plan B or C has not been worked out. He is not exactly panicking just yet, however, as things have a way of playing themselves out on the Derby trail. And if he wont say it, let me say it for him: The world would have to go off its rocker for Borel to wind up without a mount in the Derby.

What are some logical options for Borel if Elite Alex doesn't make it? One would be J P's Gusto, who was ridden most recently by Ramon Dominguez to a seventh-place finish in the Rebel. J P's Gusto has plenty of earnings to get into the Derby from his success as a juvenile and it would seem that Dominguez would be more inclined to choose to stay with Stay Thirsty or Brethren. A 2010 Eclipse Award winner, Dominguez will ride Stay Thirsty in this weekend's Florida Derby and be the likely rider for Brethren in the Arkansas Derby. He would probably stick with one of those two horses for the Derby.

If Dominguez does choose Stay Thirsty, that also leaves Brethren without a rider--if he earns his way into the Derby. Borel would be a logical fit, being that he guided Brethren's half-brother, Super Saver, to a win last year's Derby. Super Saver and Brethren are both owned by WinStar and trained by Todd Pletcher. Makes sense to me.

Another possibility could be Astrology, the second-place finisher of last weekend's Sunland Derby. Julien Leparoux rode him in that race for Steve Asmussen, but he is committed to Dialed In right now. Assuming Dialed In stays on the Derby trail, Astrology seems like another logical choice for Borel. Asmussen and Borel don't team up very often, but you never know.

Stay tuned.





Leave a Comment:


What even more tragic if Borel never gets a mount for the Derby is that.....Draynay won't have any horse to bet!

I think Borel has won enough Kentucky that he can sit one out lol.  I for one won't be worried if he doesn't ride any horses in the Derby.  He's just an extra bet that one HAS to do just because he is Calvin Borel, no matter who he's riding.  And yes, if he gets a horse in the Derby, I wouldn't be surprise if he wins back to back again...

29 Mar 2011 1:01 PM

Jason, if Elite Alex doesn't run, Bo-rail won't be ride-less for long.  You know his luck in the derby!!!!

He will be snatched up like a tossed coin.

29 Mar 2011 1:03 PM
Ted from LA

Calvin will have mount on Derby Day~ you can take that to the bank.  I'm more concerned to know if Mike Smith will.  

29 Mar 2011 1:10 PM

I would love to see Borel on Astrology; I think the horse needs that kind of jockey to possibly succeed in the Derby.

29 Mar 2011 1:15 PM

Borel hit the board with Denis of Cork.  What else needs to be said? He is the best Kentucky Derby jockey in the history of the sport. Todd Pletcher should be on the phone with his agent right now.

29 Mar 2011 1:16 PM
Jason Shandler

Isnt Mike Smith on Santiva?

29 Mar 2011 1:39 PM

I concur with others that Calvin will have a mount for the Derby. Highly unlikely that it will be on Elite Alex who I think won't make the cut.

Calvin's proven to be a valuable factor on the seemingly most hopeless of horses.

You might even see him on a mount like Master of Hounds. Johnny Murtagh rode him in the BC JV and Ryan Moore in Dubai. So Aidan O'Brien has no qualms switching jocks on him.

29 Mar 2011 1:47 PM

How about Jaycito? Baffert always wanted to use Borel.Garcia will be busy on The Factor.

29 Mar 2011 1:59 PM

With a good trip in the Arkansas Derby, Elite Alex might be able to get the place money, and that just might be enough to get him into the Derby. This horse has been the recipient of some very tough trips in his last three starts. You would think at some point, the energy needs to flow his way. When the dust settles this will be Calvin's Kentucky Derby horse.  Only problem, I don't think EA is good enough to win the Derby.  

29 Mar 2011 2:10 PM

  Here's your derby bet.  Borel on Master of Hounds with all, All with Borel and Master of Hounds.

29 Mar 2011 2:11 PM
mickey 1957

I have thought over the last 2 or so month's borel would be on brethren.....pletcher will put ramon on stay thirsty.

29 Mar 2011 2:36 PM
mickey 1957

this has to be,the #1 year for excuse's,every week it's one excuse after another and more often than not one of these 3-are involved...mmm,beamer,or seem's like every week elite alex....please get over him ...if calvin can't win with him he's DONE.

29 Mar 2011 2:41 PM

Should Stay Thirsty run well in the FL Derby, Ramon will not have mount on Brethren in the Ark Derby.  Borel will opt to ride Brethren and Elite Alex will point to the Peter Pan or Belmont.  Just think of the history Borel, Winstar, Supercharger and Pletcher can make come Derby day.  Granted Brethren needs to run a great race to even make it to the Derby.  

Can someone please remind the connections of JP's Gusto that he finished seventh in the Rebel and is nolonger a Derby contender.  JP's Gusto's next race should be in the Bay Shore of Jerome.

29 Mar 2011 2:42 PM
Fran Loszynski

Whatever Tim Ritchey decides to do as trainer, as a fan of Elite Alex and Afleet Alex, he will do the right thing for the racehorse and all concerned. He knows the legacy of Afleet Alex and will do the best thing for Elite. Go Tim!

29 Mar 2011 2:55 PM

Denis Of Cork was very playable in the exotics that year draynay. Aside from being one of the weakest KY Derbys I have ever seen DOC had some minor issues and too much time between his SW Stakes win and his Ill. Derby try. He worked lights out at CD prior to the Derby, was getting back the jock who had won with him twice previously, and was very live to hit the board. Any halfway decent Handicapper could see it but since he wasn't chalk no wonder you were so surprised. That turned out to be one of the biggest days ever for me as I took down the exacta, tri, and super in the Derby. Of course that was the year of Big Brown who I was on long before you jumped on the bandwagon and proclaimed yourself the driver.

29 Mar 2011 2:56 PM

Easy Mr. Draynay, William Hartack, Eddie Arcaro and Bill Shoemaker are the greatest Kentucky Derby riders of all time.

I wouldn't go annointing a jockey who displays a vicious temper on national TV, and who threatens to kill another jockey because of a uncontrolled temper.

Personally he obviously is a excellent Churchill Downs jockey but I wouldn't want him on my horse.

I would take Mike Smith over any jockey today to ride 1 horse in 1 race.

29 Mar 2011 3:00 PM


That fight on Friday of The Breeders Cup was great for horse racing!  It shows how much these jockeys care about their safety and winning!  How much play did that fight get on ESPN and etc... The average sports probably enjoyed the fight more then the watching Zenyatta lose the Classic.  How do you feel about fighting in hockey, bench clearing brawls in baseball, should the NFL start playing two hand touch?  Geez.......

I for one, am hoping for a fight after the Kentucky Derby!! :)

29 Mar 2011 3:18 PM

This is simply another example of how overrated Calvin is as a rider...There is no other big name rider who only has 1 hopeful and definately no major riders who have to wait until the last moment to get a mount, which he had to do last year as well...he's the Cal Ripken of jockeys

29 Mar 2011 3:42 PM
The Bid

Shoemaker and Accaro are "The Best" Derby jocks EVER!!! Calvin is on his way but by no means is he in "That Company"!!!

29 Mar 2011 3:50 PM
Body Blow


The only fighting going on will be you fighting with Draynay for the last piece of Pletcher chalk. HA!!

And you smacking yourself in the head for picking Brethren,if the overrated little brother even makes the Derby. HAHA!!

29 Mar 2011 3:57 PM
Matthew W

Maybe Astrology.....maybe even Premier Pegasus, if Mr Cho decides against Alonzo Quinonez--there's still time for Bo-Rail to get a mount--I agree with Deacon, regarding Borel--not the best Derby jock--sure, he's ridden three of last four--all with rail rides--two of which were LUCKY--lucky that he had a highway to run through--how many Derbys have there been where a huge hole opens up and STAYS open long enough to go from last to first in 1/8 of a mile? Not many, he was lucky, he won with Street Sense and Mine That Bird on rail-skimming trips--many are the jocks who have tried that and had brutal take-ups....

29 Mar 2011 4:00 PM

You would think that Todd would scoop him up, seeing he won the Derby for him last year..Or who ever mentioned Jaycito - that may be a good fit for him..Master of Hounds could be interesting..IF I had a horse running in the Derby I would want Borel on him.

29 Mar 2011 4:07 PM

I foresee this scenario unfolding leading to the derby. Stay Thirty runs well in the Fla Derby so RD retains the mount for the derby. THAS shows improvement on 4/3 and Mr Mott retains Gomez for the big dance. Alas, Elite Alex will not get to run in the derby for lack of Graded $$$(I'm starting to tear up my Pool 2 Futures tickets on him). Thus, by default, Borel ends up on Brethren for the Derby, with WinStar and Fletcher hoping that lightning will strike twice!

29 Mar 2011 4:08 PM

Deacon, if I was Calvin, I'd of been pissed off too. Javier Castellano ruined any chance he had to pick up a decent check in the marathon. His recklessness almost injured the other jock really badly. He should of controlled it until the jocks room, but as trebloc said it was a little much needed publicity. Castellano should've just apologized, at least once every thing cooled down.

29 Mar 2011 4:17 PM

the wiz, you again prove you have no idea what you are talking about. Take a look at the horses in the 2008 Derby and look at their career G1 and G2 wins and compare that to 2005 and get back with me.  Calling 2008 weak is just factually wrong. How about the great class of 2010? Please get your facts right.  Deacon, calling Bill Shoemaker a better Derby jockey is also just wrong. Who will forget Bill Shoemaker STANDING UP on Gallent Man causing him to LOSE the Derby because he didn't know where the finish line was in 1957.  Sorry but that bone head move places him behind Borel in the Derby.  Borel winning 3 times in a 4 year span is domination of the Derby that had never happend before.  Sorry but that makes him the best in my eyes.

29 Mar 2011 4:26 PM
Pittsburgh jd

It's too early for this who rides who in the derby. Too many preps and injuries to come. I hope Elite Alex makes it to the field, he looks like a distance horse who is learning how to run, but if Calvin dosent get a mount in the race dont cry for him he has won plenty of them. There are many great jocks who deserve a win in the derby. Let's hope someone wins trainer or jock that has never won before and that i have my $$ on them. Haha.

29 Mar 2011 4:29 PM

All this Borel talk makes me sick. He is no where near as good as you guys act like he is. All you RA lovers out there should be totally mad at him for the way he dogged Rachel in 2009. BOREL is the reason RA was not the same in 2010. I mean he has 3 Derby wins and 2 of the 3 looked like they had to win the race! Street Sense was the ONLY play in the Derby that year. Let me ask who was suprised when Borel won the race last year with Super Saver? TRY nobody!! I mean he was second choice on the board in wagering. MTB was a shocker but you know what, look at how bad that crop really was. I mean if POTN was in Mott's care on Derby day he would been on the undercard in a grass race and POTN ran second in the Derby! It's the horse not the Jockey. SIMPLE as that. G. Gomez no wins in the Derby so guess that means Borel is 3 times better the Gomez?? Yeah ok I will take my chances with Gomez way before I will with Borel if I look at a race and just bet cause who is the pilot. Rarely do we see a Jockey doing anything on a horse but mess them up. Most the time if a horse wins its because of the horse not the pilot. All I know is maybe some of these bloggers should go to a track LIVE for once and get out behind there keyboards and listen to what you hear... I live in Louisville so I attend racing often and I can tell you you hear "whats that idoit doing" a whole lot more then you hear "wow great ride!!" I don't care who Borel is riding because its one of the last things I look at when making a choice of who I am going to wager on. Let me ask you guys this. All you Uncle Mo fans do you care who rides Uncle Mo?? Johnny V gets hurt right before the Darby, they get David Cohen to ride Uncle Mo in the Derby. So now you dont bet Uncle Mo cause the Jockey??

29 Mar 2011 4:32 PM
Billy's Empire

Update in Derby News. Joes Blazing Aaron to the Maker Barn, now pointing to the Toyota Blue Grass stakes. Should make a blogger very happy.

29 Mar 2011 4:35 PM

The Question to ask is why hasn't Borel won a legit race with Elite Alex at a different track?? Is he afraid to come up the rail at the Fairgrounds?? Or why didn't he come up the rail in the Risen Star at Oaklawn? Both of those rides were horrendous. That being said he will get a mount at CD where he is fearless!! Leave him out at your own risk.

29 Mar 2011 4:35 PM
mickey 1957

I said this last year on a blog,those win's in the derby by borel were "not" luck,he just has no fear,to go through small seams or opening's,gomez won't go through hole's you could drive a truck through......beside's with the second most win's ever at churchill...don't you think he know's the track like the back of his hand.....not saying gomez ride's bad,he just believe's in riding another day.

29 Mar 2011 4:43 PM

Let me remind you I saw Bill Hartack win his last Derby on number 8 Majestic Prince in 1969.  It was my first race ever with my Grandfather.  Let me also remind you he won his first Derby because Bill Shoemaker stood up on his horse thinking he had won and had misjudged the finish line.  At first he denied it and later admitted it and got a 15 day suspension.  Believe what you want Borel is the best Derby rider ever. His 4 year record of 3 wins and a show stands alone and he did it in full fields.  1969 when Majestic Prince won he was in a field of just 8 horses.

29 Mar 2011 4:47 PM

Whoever he ends up riding...kiss your odds goodbye (to make money). Even non-racing fans knows this guy rides the winner. And if it rains? Calvin's mount becomes the favorite.

29 Mar 2011 4:49 PM
mickey 1957

furlongs,I will take calvin anyday over gomez at churchill.

29 Mar 2011 4:52 PM
mickey 1957

what borel has accomplished,is by far better than,most....20 horse fields compared to 8-9 horse fields.

29 Mar 2011 4:56 PM
It aint easy being good

I agree that Borel is very overrated but the guy knows the track better than anybody. Look at his win percentages at oaklawn, fairgrounds compared to churchill he like the UCONN huskies .....winning!

29 Mar 2011 4:59 PM
mickey 1957

I hear a echo....on here

29 Mar 2011 5:03 PM

draynay I stand by my opinion that Big Browns Derby field was one of the weakest I have ever seen. I could care less what a two bit hack like you thinks. Stick to the chalk son, it's the only way you'll find a winner on a rare occasion with your limited abilities.

29 Mar 2011 5:04 PM
The Bid


Any opinions regarding Arcaro?

29 Mar 2011 5:08 PM

Just do not put Calvin B. on any horses I end up liking, they might have nice M/L odds,maybe 8-1 on up, but after Draynay empties his wallet on them they will probably be the betting favorite!!  

29 Mar 2011 5:15 PM
Annie Bananie

I'm done with Calvin and his big headed nature. I would not miss him in the least if he was not up in the Derby. How about a chance for Smokin Joe Talamo.

29 Mar 2011 5:25 PM

the wiz, now you know why no one really thinks much of what you have to say.  Calling 2008 a weak field compared to other recent much weaker years is silly at best and just your way of trying to diminish what the great Big Brown accomplished.  How sad for you.

29 Mar 2011 5:43 PM

Mr. Eddie Arcaro is a fellow Buckeye and I had the pleasure of meeting him twice.  I was not old enough to see him ride live but Grandfather told me he was the greatest Jockey ever and he rode the greatest horse ever Citation. I will not argue with my Grandfather and will gladly give him the title greatest jockey ever but the greatest Derby rider is still Calvin Borel.  Anyone could have ridden Whirlaway and Citation to Derby wins.

29 Mar 2011 5:52 PM

Whoever Borel rides in the KY Derby will be getting some of my money. The guy takes nothing and makes money at CD every year.

Borel rides in KY Derby=DO NOT TOSS

29 Mar 2011 6:09 PM
Zenyatta John

Calvin is highly over-rated everywhere else, but he rides Churchill Downs very well, as it's his 'home' track.

Mr Arcaro would get my vote, not Calvin just because he's has a good four year run.

The fight was not good for the sport. Calvin looked like a crazed person. He should have been put in jail after he said he was gonna kill Javier.  

I really don't believe Javier would put him in jeopardy on purpose. We don't need jockeys seeking revenge like drivers do in Nascar playing bumper cars on the track.

29 Mar 2011 6:10 PM

Yeah, cause Gomez sure stinks at Churchill Downs, how many  Breeders Cup races did Borel win? I will take Gomez any day of the week over Borel, and 5 times in a stakes race.

29 Mar 2011 6:13 PM
Matthew W

I'm not saying Borel isn't fearless, I'm saying if you ride the rail you are hoping for luck--that is a flat out truth....

29 Mar 2011 6:20 PM
Matthew W

If Jaycito is finishing in the Wood, a switch to Borel would be a good idea--or Rosario, I want to see a closer jock--Martin Garcia is more of a speed jock....

29 Mar 2011 6:46 PM
Junie Wise, Rocky Road Farm,Rineyville,Ky

I have a "Gut Feeling" after a couple of more "UPSETS" over the next few weeks,Calvin will get a DECENT mount!!!!

Who is the "BEST" Churchill Regular at this time???

29 Mar 2011 7:16 PM
Matthew W

Shoe blew it on Gallant Man, that was a big mistake--he wins otherwise, so at least at that point he was riding him well--his move on Ferdinand, beating Pat Day and Rampage to the open lane--Shoe's quick wit was what made Ferdinand a Derby Winner--it's also what kept Rampage from being a Derby Winner!

29 Mar 2011 7:52 PM


I'm glad you were able to talk with Baffert.  I had seen all the Jaycito to the Wood headlines but hadn't seen an explanation.

I guess Baffert feels that Aqueduct, being heavier and slower than Santa Anita, would be a better fit for Jaycito.

Personally, I think Baffert prefers The Factor much more than Jaycito.  I found Baffert's comment that Jaycito "needs 10 furlongs" to be an admission that Jaycito simply is not fast nor brilliant, and that his only chance to beat elite horses is when the distances increase, with distance being the great equalizer of talent.

Last year, Baffert hedged with Lucky', ultimately choosing the SA Derby over the Ark Derby.  As a fan in SoCal, I hope Baffert runs Jaycito in the SA Derby because it would be weird to have a SA Derby without Baffert given how many good 3 year olds he has run here at this meet.

On the topic of distance being the equalizer of talent, there have been a number of big Beyers given to 3 year olds this year, including many at Santa Anita, but at sprint distances.  Now, maybe these horses and horses like Uncle Mo and The Factor will be able to get classic distances.  If so, we could see a Triple Crown with winning Beyers in the 110 range, where they should be.  However, if these brilliantly fast horses have distance limitations, it is very possible a plodder like Jaycito could get in the picture with a Beyer as low as the mid-90s.  Just think, had Mine That Bird not freaked, Pioneer of the Nile would have won the Derby with a 96 Beyer.

As someone who wants to see excellence, I personally would rather see a truly brilliant horse like Uncle Mo or The Factor stretch its speed than see a horse win because distance "equalized" talent.  

29 Mar 2011 8:01 PM

Maybe Joe Talamo will do better in the future but his ride on Sidney's Candy last year was the worst in that race.  What a shame to burn him out on the front end and end up last with a really nice horse.

Pretty clearly the reason the rail opens up later in the race is that the horses in the Derby tire because they cannot get the 1 1/4 distance and when they do they drift out and the shortest distance is still up the rail.  

No doubt Calvin lucked out with Street Sense because if he had been blocked even for a short time Hard Spun would have won on the front end. That Derby was far and away the best in the last many years and I agree the 2008 bunch was an extremely weak bunch but no worse than most of the past few years.  This year's crop seems to be an upgrade, especially if Uncle Mo and The Factor can make the distance without burning out.

29 Mar 2011 8:05 PM

Plum Pretty's Sunland Oaks win offers a good case in speed figures and class.

Plum Pretty entered the Sunland Oaks having run 3rd, beaten about 5, to Zazu and Turbulent Descent in the gr.1 Las Virgenes.  Although the race was a gr.1, the Las Virgenes did not receive a strong Beyer, with a fig in the high 80s.

So, Plum Pretty finished 3rd in a race that received a Beyer below 90.  That would seem to suggest that the Cali 3 year old fillies are not very strong.

Even with the Cali 3 year old fillies not very good, Plum Pretty still figured to dominate the Sunland Oaks because she wasn't facing much.  And she did dominate.  Plum Pretty was able to stalk a solid but realistic pace of 46 and change and then just opened up on the field, winning by 25 in a time that compared favorably with the Sunland Derby.  For the effort, Plum Pretty received a 99 Beyer.

So, is Plum Pretty now 10 lengths better than she was a month and a half ago when she ran in the Las Virgenes?  Well, consider these things.  In the Las Virgenes, Plum Pretty was in the second flight of horse behind a 44 and 1:08 pace, a pace that left everyone dragging their hooves in the stretch.  Plum Pretty had to deal with serious speed out ahead of her, and quality fillies Turbulent Descent and Zazu right next to her or just slightly behind her.  When the real running began, Plum Pretty just couldn't keep up with those other two fillies.  In the Sunland Oaks on the other hand, Plum Pretty was able to coast at a steady, but comfortable pace early, and then was simply able to keep cruising as her overmatched competitors fell by the wayside.  Plum Pretty was basically allowed to run an optimal race.  When challenged again by better horses, Plum Pretty is going to have to deal with the real-world of sub-optimal scenrios again.

Plum Pretty is clearly a good horse, but I don't see how one can now rank her ahead of Zazu and Turbulent Descent based on what she did at Sunland.  Now, Plum Pretty, with her breeding, might end up a better Oaks prosepct than Zazu(Turbulent Descent is not even being pointed for the Oaks), but at 8.5 furlongs I would still rank her 3rd behind those other fillies.

On top of everything, I think Plum Pretty's Sunland Beyer also highlights that the Santa Anita Beyers for 2-turn races have possibly been a little lower than they have deserved to be.  Santa Anita has produced wicked-fast sprint times, but the times around 2-turns have been more  modest.  Yet, Team Beyer has been assigning figs for 2-turn races as if they should be as fast(comparatively, to the track records) as the sprints have been.

29 Mar 2011 8:25 PM

Clearly, based on stats, Calvin is not one of North America's elite riders. But, he knows how to ride Chuchill and certainly knows the Derby.

Maybe in 07' Street Sense was simply the best horse, but he faced a good field and with Hard Spun performing as well as he did, Street Sense probably did need Borel's rail skimming ride to win.

Clearly on Mine That Bird, Borel was THE difference in the race.  The same was true for last year on Super Saver.  Borel took the other jocks to riding school in last year's Derby.  Gomez was riding not to lose on Lucky', and in the process gave away any chance at winning; Gomez was REACTIVE, responding to events after they had already happened.

Borel has won these 3 Derbys because he has ridden PROACTIVELY.  He has ridden to win, and gone out and TAKEN CHANCES.  Borel rode like Demuro did in the Dubai World Cup, BOLDLY, not afraid to take risks.

Yes, Matthew W is correct that Borel's rail skimming rides in the Derby were risky.  But that's also why he was the only one doing it; what was too risky for the other jockeys was not too risky for Borel.  

So many jockeys are afraid to lose a mount if they get stuck on the rail, or make a premature move, or set too fast a pace.  Thus, we get overly-cautious rides like that on Lucky' in the Derby, Rail Trip in the Hollywood Gold Cup, or Aggie Engineer in the San Antonio.  Borel, on the other hand, has shown he is not afraid to take chances, and for that he has been rewarded.

29 Mar 2011 8:40 PM

Borel is not the greatest jock ever. But he does know how to do a little razzled dazzle magic at CD. I like watching him.

29 Mar 2011 9:04 PM

borel is a great rider(and decent boxer), but after the fight incident last year, looks like a guy that might lose his derby mojo this year and years to come.

29 Mar 2011 9:07 PM

Borel will have to sit in the jock's room and watch his great friend Castellano trying to win win his first Kentucky Derby with a Pletcher horse. That would really meke my day.

29 Mar 2011 9:08 PM

I don't know if he is the best Derby jockey ever but he could be and he is certainly in the Top 5.  And as for Borel being overrated, off the top of my head I count three Derbies, a Preakness, a BC Juvenile, an Kentucky oaks, a travers, a Haskell and a Woodward.  Sorry, you don't build up that type of resume without being special.  And it's not like Calvin gets his pick of horses like Johnny V or Garrett.  You may have an opinion that there are better jockeys but to call Calvin overrated is insane.

29 Mar 2011 9:46 PM

Borel, I Agree with furlongs.  I won't put a dollar on Borel no matter who he is riding, And I would take Gomez over Borel.  But I don't bet a horse because a certain jockey is on him, the last thing I look at is that in the big races.  Most of these jocks in the big races are money. When it totally comes down to it, most it comes down to the horse.   Been there done that.  They understand and know what they are doing.  I think what Borel does better than most in the Derby, is he truly understands pace, and doesn't get caught up in the speed dual.  He waits for it to happen, does a great job on the rail and got lucky on MTB.  The mud moved Super Saver up and Street Sense was superior. I hope he gets a mount,but I will completly toss due to the love affair of Borel. I love bucking the obvious, that's where you cash big tickets baby. Beat Assmusen, Pletcher, Baffert and cha ching.  They loose 70% of the time.  Some people bet them every time. Small returns when everyone cashes.      

29 Mar 2011 10:11 PM

If Borel all of a sudden got the mount on the horse I like at the present  (Soldat)I would abandon my selection.  I don't want my betting oportunities with the public.  He won't be there this year. Just an opinion but I really don't have nothing against him just from a betting stand point.  

29 Mar 2011 10:20 PM
Mike Relva


Newsflash! Has Gomez ever won the Derby? How many times has Calvin won it in the last four yrs? lmao

29 Mar 2011 10:24 PM
Point Given

Baffert might throw in SMASH in the SA Derby.Kaleem Shah is one of Baffert's biggest client.K Shah's derby hopefuls, Take Cntrol,Clutch Players and Concord Point did not make it to the big dance.It will be a shame if Shah's Smash,Uncle Sam and Patriot's Voyage can not make it to the dance this year.These are some expensive horses.Imagine how that poor owner feels about other Baffert's client horses already secured their tickets.If The Factor goes to Ad,Jaycito to the WM,Smash,Uncle Sam and Coil for SA Derby.

29 Mar 2011 10:27 PM

The sun doesn't shine on the same folks all the time....

How could Borel possibly win this year's Derby, unless somehow he ends up on The Factor.

29 Mar 2011 11:51 PM

Borel's four year run is amazing and makes him a high commodity for this season. Three rides he had were from closers (street sense, denis of cork and mine that bird)and super saver was his horse from the start. If I were hoping for scenario that would be best for him would be if he was picking up a mount would be a closer. Maybe Alternation if he Elite Alex does not run in the Arkansas Derby. Also Jaycito would also make perfect sense.

Possible free horses:

Animal Kingdom: Alan Garcia(soldat)

Astrology:Garrett Gomez(To Honor and Serve)

Brethren:Ramon Dominguez(Stay Thirsty)

Not bad choices for a guy with a good record at churchill. By the way, who else would you get?

Jaycito: martin Garcia(The factor)

30 Mar 2011 12:01 AM

It would seem to me Calvin would have a decent shot at getting on Anthonys Cross.....The real upside being he does have a win on that horse over the CD surface.

30 Mar 2011 12:20 AM
Matthew W

Gun Bow no admission of lessor talent to hear Baffert prefers 1 1/4 for Jaycito--and for just those reasons you stated--only there's no problem if he's like a Concern, or a Broad Brush, or a slew of Nick Zito trainees--stamina--like it takes to win the Kentucky Derby--this year, at least, stamina seems lacking---all the more reason to LIKE Jaycito--he doesn't need the graded earnings--all he has to do is finish well at 1 1/8 in his Derby prep race--then get the 1 1/4 in Louisville--something that I cannot say for many in here, and, well, Bob Baffert thinks he can get it....if I'm him I stay home,SA Derby, take your lickin from Mr Cho and Premier Pegasus--then go out to Kentucky and bag another Derby! Outlast/outkick them all....

30 Mar 2011 12:45 AM

Jason, I have one word for you for the Oaks.  Arienza.

30 Mar 2011 12:56 AM

I wonder who will end up riding Jaycito in the Derby ?  I know Martin will stick with The Factor (meaning Baffert will keep him on TF).  I'm hoping Bejarano or Rosario gets the call.

30 Mar 2011 1:45 AM

The fact that Shoemaker was on Gallant Man in the first place proves how great a rider he was. I have witnessed Shoemaker's genius aboard so many great horses that it would take 10 pages to mention them all. Remember the great ride aboard Forego to name one, and Ferdinand in the Derby to name another. Every jockey in history has made mistakes riding a horse. We could argue this all day but comparing to Shoemaker, Hartack or Arcaro is like comparing a rainstorm to a hurricane. Borel's home track is Churchill Downs, he knows it like the back of his hand. Shoemaker only rode there occasionally. I am not arguing that Borel is good rider, but he is not the same league as the other three, not even close.


There is a time and a place for an arguement or fight and whether it was on ESPN or TVG makes no difference, Borel was out of line. I am not arguing that Castellano made a mistake, but Borel's reaction and demeanor was disgusting in my book. I have been following horse racing since 1955 and I know jockeys risk their lives all the time. I was at Hollywood Park the day Alvaro Pineda died in a starting gate accident. One of my favorite jockeys, missed him terribly. My dad watched George Wolfe hit the inner rail near the finish line and die.

You got your opinion and I got mine so let's just let it go.

I am pretty darn sure Borel has made his share of riding mistakes in his career, but they don't get published because they were probably in $5K claiming races..

30 Mar 2011 1:48 AM

Gunbow, the reason they're called "classic distances" is because the 10 furlongs separates the merely brilliant from the truly classic...distance IS the great equalizer.

Draynay, good point on CB riding in 20 horse fields...but nobody could really ride Whirlaway...EA just managed to guide him in the right direction better than his previous riders.LOL

30 Mar 2011 6:26 AM

How about To Honor and Serve? John Velazquez is also commited to Unclo Mo for the Derby.

30 Mar 2011 7:04 AM

Calvin is never going to sit in the jockeys room and watch in the Kentucky Derby.    Any trainer or owner would drop there jockey if they thought that they would have a good chance of winning with Calvin or any other jockey.  

30 Mar 2011 7:04 AM

I'll take the bet Calvin will win the Derby on whatever horse he ends up with.  How's that for taking risks?

30 Mar 2011 8:14 AM

all of the wins you speak of 2:24 came with 3 or 4 horses only, thats not too many considering the guy has been riding for 25 years or more...3 or 4 good horses?!...remeber he got the mount on RA because he had the mount when she was trained by Higgins, then sold and kept it because,"if it aint broke, dont fix it" could of been the rider on RA when she was 3...he blew the saratoga race for sure to shugs horse, cause of a foolish pace...stop being so narrow minded and actually look at the facts...he's in his mid 40's and until the last 5 years, because of the Derby, he became known to the average fan...before that, out side of Louisville, no one knew him. If he was that good, his talent would have risen way before his late 30's or 40....He cant get a mount ANYWHERE else, isnt that odd? he is a one trick pony....personally, Im sure he's a wonderful guy, but as a rider he is so overrated by the avg public, its laughable...Gomez rides all over the country with allegences to no one, so does Ramon and they have many many top mounts...why is that? because their services are in demand...Borel will get a Derby mount once the true top riders have already committed, just like last year.

30 Mar 2011 8:30 AM

We have a Derby party each year and draw names to come up and pick your it pays to read over my "racing form" in case your first or second choice is already picked. Last year my dad was drawn 10th to pick a horse... he didn't get the horse he wanted so he picked the jockey that won the previous year and man you should have heard him yelling when Super Saver took the lead...hysterical! (dad doesn't follow racing much but his company uses UPS and got a Big Brown button a few years ago...that and "picking" the winner last year has him thinking he's pretty good at this). I'm pulling for Mo or the Factor because I want to see a super horse take the Triple Crown, but dad will show up to the party and simply ask who is my jockey riding?

30 Mar 2011 8:32 AM

Jerry Hissam's concern that Calvin won't be able to secure a Derby mount seem silly...unless Plan D involves putting Lebron under contract.

30 Mar 2011 10:16 AM

One of these days the other jocks will figure out how to neutralize Calvin in the Derby and when that happens watch out for the horse Joel Rosario is riding.   His ride on Make Music For Me last year got lost in all the hoopla over Calvin's third win.  

Rosario's horse finished fourth but probably should have been dead last.  Blimp replay shows a great ride and it was his first Derby to boot.  

30 Mar 2011 10:43 AM


Everyone is entitled to their own opinion and I've never heard anyone say Big Browns Derby field was anything special at the time it was run. I measure the strength of the field by where the horses are at the time of the race, it matters none in that respect if they get much better after the fact. As for Big Brown I have always acknowledged his talent but it falls short of "great" in my opinion. Big Brown was a horse who was still losing to Maidens in his Belmont (and you disparge Secratariat for facing and beating maidens in his second start)and once taken off the steroids and they wore off he certainly took a few steps backwards. They had to write a turf race specifically for him and although he was trained exclusivelly to that race his competition all had schedules adjusted and weren't pointed to a top effort that day like he was. Big Brown ran a great Fla. Derby, Ky. Derby and Preakness and totally flopped in the biggest race of his very limited career. True greatness is measured over time and Big Brown was on the track less than a year. I loved him, he helped pad my bankroll like no other before but as good as he was he wasn't truly great in my book.  

30 Mar 2011 10:52 AM

Arcaro said Whirlaway was a very difficult ride.  He was a very quirky horse.

30 Mar 2011 10:59 AM
Pedigree Ann

If you only know Calvin from the BC fracas, you don't know Calvin. That was so atypical for the man; normally, he is the calmest, most humble, well-mannered ('yes, ma'am'), hard-working fellow on the backstretch, win or lose. Remember, if that horse had gone down, Calvin's couldn't have avoided it and would have gone down, too. Castellano put 4 lives (2 men, 2 horses) in jeopardy then acted as if he hadn't done anything at all. You or I might have gotten a bit ticked off [that is a deliberate understatement: a humorous technique. No remarks, please] in such a situation.

And Mickey? Please, give your fingers a rest. Most of the time, an 's' on the end of a word does NOT require an apostrophe. It does only if it is a possessive (Jason's blog) or a contraction (it is=it's, that is=that's). I can't(=cannot) imagine how so many supposedly literate people make that mistake these days. As bad as all of this using 'I' when you mean 'me' ('between you and I'-yech!!) one hears. Yes, I learned to write the English language in school; my teachers insisted.

30 Mar 2011 11:01 AM
castellano fan

dad will show up to the party and simply ask who is my jockey riding?

GoldenBroom 30 Mar 2011 8:32 AM

You can tell him one of the losers.

Calvin won't be on another KY Derby winner.

30 Mar 2011 11:16 AM

Does everyone just read what they want to read?  No one called Borel the greatest jockey ever.  What I SAID is he is the best DERBY jockey ever.  You can argue it until you are blue in the face but no jockey in the history of the sport has put together 4 straight years like Borel. AND considering he won in full fields and not fields of 8 or 10 in my mind makes him the best.  Few jockeys would argue.

30 Mar 2011 11:40 AM

Have we forgotten about Kent Desormeaux?

30 Mar 2011 11:44 AM
Jason Shandler

You're right Oscar. Kent is currently without a Derby horse I believe. Then again, after last year's debacle...

30 Mar 2011 12:25 PM

Draynay 30 Mar 2011 11:40 AM

Good post and right on the money as far as a four year history.  i wouldn't say he's a better Derby jockey than some of the great ones, but I wouldn't say that they were better Derby jockeys either.


When it came to Whirlaway, Arcaro had his hands full trying to control one of the most difficult top class colts of his generation.  I'm not sure Borel or many other jockies would have been able to persevere like he did.

This from one of the whirlaway sites:

Jimmy Jones, son of the colt's trainer, recalled that "Whirlaway was a creature of habit. You had to create habits for him. So we created the habits we wanted him to do." [Keeneland Magazine, Oct. 1998]

The champion colt had a habit of bearing out, drifting toward the middle of the racetrack, during the latter part of his races and getting himself beaten. In preparing Whirlaway for the Kentucky Derby, this had been such a problem that trainer Ben A. Jones fitted the colt with a full-cup blinker over his right eye, and then in the colt's final work before the Derby, he cut a small hole in the blinker so that Whirlaway had a tiny field of vision, positioned himself ten feet off the inner rail, and told jockey Eddie Arcaro to ride the horse through that space. Whirlaway was able to see his trainer, Arcaro was able to keep him on a straight path, and Whirlaway won the Kentucky Derby.

30 Mar 2011 12:29 PM
Mike Relva

Kent won't be without a Derby mount for long.

30 Mar 2011 12:42 PM


I quote you "Borel took the other jocks to riding school in last year's Derby."  I'm in agreement 100%.  In fact I'd add that he also gave lessons on Mine That Bird and Street Sense.  Jockey tutors all over the world can load up their syllabi which matterial from those videos.  i heard Calvin say that he rode his mount as if he was the best horse in the race.  Thats one of the hallmarks of a great rider, never to underestimate the potential of a fit, improving 3YO that's been trained to the minute for a big effort, no matter the odds or the reputation of leading competitors.

Personally I don't see Calvin Borel winning the Derby this year, not having the mount on either Uncle Mo or Dialed In but for sure he'll fear no one at Churchill Downs.

Regarding the filly Plum Pretty, she is evidently at a stage of rapid improvement and being a daughter of Medaglia D'oro out of an AP Indy broodmare, with the "La Troinne" factor via inbreeding to Buckpasser.  Therefore she is very capable of shooting pass Zazu, Turbulent Descent, Katmanblu and company to become 3YO queen.  

30 Mar 2011 1:08 PM

I'm not going to knock Calvin,but as i said in another blog,anybody notice that the rail wont open up when Calvin is riding in a stakes(Elite Alex)and it ain't going to happen derby day either.

30 Mar 2011 1:49 PM

I love how some of you are not calling Borel a top all time jockey and here he is nominated to the HALL OF FAME. Most of you just don't have a clue.  Name all the jockeys in history to have more wins at the greatest track in the world.  Churchill.  Pretty short list huh...

Only Borel and Pat Day have over 1,000 wins at Churchill.

30 Mar 2011 2:16 PM

Narrow minded, Saratoga Dreaming, really?  

Let's review.  I said he was a special jockey and not overrated.  I brought up many Grade I races that he has won.  You respond that he has had 3 or 4 good horses andd really was not that good in his 20's and 30's.

Allow me to retort.  First, there are many great jockeys beating around at tracks around the country who never get a chance to ride in the biggest and best races or do not get their chance until later in life.  Calvin certainly won his fair share of races at these smaller tracks.  However, once he got his big chance on Street Sense, he made the most of it.  He then proceeded to win the country's most prestigious race 2 more times in a 3 year period on horses that were far from being the standouts of their generation.  He also piloted a great horse to numerous wins.  How is recognizing someone making the most of their big chance narrow minded?

What is narrow minded is this "he's had 3 good horses" nonsense.  Was Eddie Arcaro truly great because he rode first call on Calumet Farms great horses and they were the dominant breeding operation in the day?  Is Johnny V. great just because he gets all of Pletcher's horses?  If Frankie Dettori great because he gets Godolphin's high priced horses?

30 Mar 2011 2:25 PM

Ranagulzion : Are you Mike Watchmaker incognito ?  I'm just wondering because just like Mike W, seems like you're on the horse that wins every weekend....then forgets about them when a new horse wins the following weekend lol.

I use to love Kent but I think there are a lot of younger jocks out there that deserves a mount in the Derby.  I think the young guns needs to start getting the mounts to gain experience.  

Verset : Mott already secured GoGo for THAS.

30 Mar 2011 2:51 PM


30 Mar 2011 3:16 PM
Billy's Empire

Dray, you last comment is on the money. These folks are clueless.

30 Mar 2011 3:56 PM

Borel will get a mount, Just hope that he stays off my guy Stay Thirsty.  Love that horse pedigree says 10f, and he's a stalker, nuff said.  

What about the fillies. my top choices for the Oaks are all at Oaklawn Park, Arienza, Summer Soiree and Joyful Victory.

Best Older filly and mare running Havre De Grace, The Apple Blossom should be a great race this year.

I see the Arkansas Derby as a springboard again for the eclipse award winning 3 year old.  Which one, The Factor, Sway Away or Elite Alex, or possibly Astrology. Hmm, makes for interesting Story lines.  

Oh and dont forget they are sending the best f/m Sprinter going right now in Switch to try to get 8.5f in the Apple Blossom, what will she do.

Arienza in the Oaks, in hand.

30 Mar 2011 4:27 PM

Oh for those that think he's overrated, dont let anyone here tell u differently, listen to the Hall of Fame Selection committee.

Jockey Calvin Borel has won the Kentucky Derby three of the last four years. Trainer Jerry Hollendorfer scored his third win in the Kentucky Oaks last year and also won a Breeders’ Cup race. Those recent successes, combined with their previous years of excellence, propelled both men onto the final ballot for this year’s National Museum of Racing’s Hall of Fame, the Hall announced on Wednesday.

30 Mar 2011 4:30 PM
Mike Relva


If you and your pal read my comment here from yesterday you will find that I defended Calvin.

30 Mar 2011 4:36 PM
It aint easy being good

Man the pot gets stirred so quickly on here I love it. Ok question for you guys who is the worst jockey around right now my vote....Joe Talamo he is brutal!

Ok he is 21 years old but he never gets it done when it matters!

30 Mar 2011 5:10 PM
Meydan Rocks

Borel is going to ride Misremembered in the 2011 edition of the Oaklawn Handicap.

Those who suggested that he ride Jaycito in the Kentucky Derby might get their wish.

30 Mar 2011 5:55 PM

slyder says as ridiculous and obstinate as draynay is, Calvin Borel deservedly belongs in any talk about the greatest Ky Derby Jocks ever. This isn't a question about who is going to win a race where we all know draynay has no ability to pick anything but chalk and even when he does that is wrong 90% or more of the time. This is an after the effect analysis and even draynay can wrap his mind around facts once in awhile when he's not trying to skew them. Give the little man from the bayou his due. Borel has done a darn good job in the Derby.  

30 Mar 2011 5:57 PM

Hollendorfer...3 time Oaks winner.  He's been doing this a long time.  Who can forget Lite Light against Meadow Star in the Mother Goose? 1990 or 1991? The 2 ding dong down the stretch to a 20 length lead over the rest. That's what racing is about.  Whether he's hitting you between the eyes with Blind Luck in the Alabama, besting Devil May Care on her turf, or shipping into the Coaching Club American Oaks in 1991 to run a 200.54 with Lite Light, he's not afraid to put his horses anywhere at anytime.  

30 Mar 2011 6:21 PM

I bet Pat Day wished he could have a few of those Churchill rides back.

30 Mar 2011 6:43 PM

Jay jay,

Are you Bugs Bunny incognito?

30 Mar 2011 6:57 PM
Mike Relva


Since you are a "numbers guy" that supported many of your arguments on that premise. I'll throw this out that it's interesting Gomez doesn't have a single Derby win. Before you try to do a spin,will make a compelling point that I've noticed that you have used the "Dan Marino never won a Superbowl" premise. So,I'm on target here.

30 Mar 2011 7:23 PM
Jason Shandler

I have no idea what you're talking about Mike. Ive never once brought up Gomez in any debate. Or Dan Marino for that matter.

30 Mar 2011 7:36 PM

I am still waiting for an answer from you Borel worshipers: Why can't he get a mount anywhere but Churchill, if he's so good? I will gladly wager that if you ask the top 50 trainers to name their top 15-20 jocks, none of them will put Borel on the list...Johnny V doesnt ride ALL of Pletchers horses, but if he rode like Calvin, he wouldn't ride any....

30 Mar 2011 8:00 PM
Mike Relva


If I'm wrong,ok. I thought you've used Marino making some point before?

30 Mar 2011 8:00 PM

Chantal Sutherland worst Jockey and if there is a 1a  Kent Dersomex

30 Mar 2011 8:13 PM
favre forever

Mike R,

When he's not disparging Zenyatta, Jason's a Favre basher not a Marino one.

30 Mar 2011 9:05 PM
Mike Relva


You impress with your knowledge of racing. That "1a" you are slamming,has won TWO DERBYS.

30 Mar 2011 9:12 PM

Mike Relva, how many Breeders Cup races has Borel won, Eclipse Awards, money titles, Grade 1 races , hell, howabout just winning stakes raced somewhere other than Churchill, he's a one track pony and lauding his Derby wins as if they were anything but luck is hysterical, the Derby is nothing but a crapshot, if Borel is so great why no mounts on all the other big races in other circuits, to compare him to Gomez is laughable, he's not in the same league, Gomez doesn't need to carry his track around with him, Borel should be inducted into the Kentucky Derby Museum, his record outside the Derby is awful, he's a complete liability everywhere else.

30 Mar 2011 9:13 PM
Paula Higgins

Draynay, Billy's Empire you are exactly right about Calvin Borel. He deserves to be a Hall Of Fame jockey for his wins at Churchill, alone. I believe he will have a mount for the Derby. Whether he wins or not is up for debate. Much will depend upon his mount. He certainly deserves more respect on this blog regardless.

30 Mar 2011 9:31 PM

Ranagulzion : LOL.  You didn't answer my question, who were your picks in the Rebel and the previous preps ?  And who are your picks for the Florida Derby, Santa Anita Derby, the Arkansas Derby ?  I know you like Jaycito in the Wood Memorial right ??

Borel owns Churchill Downs but I doubt he'll win this year's KD.   If it's sloppy, I'll definitely put some play on him but if it's a fast track., I'll try and save my $2 win on him :)

30 Mar 2011 9:57 PM

Awesome post SaratogaDreamin.  First, characterize anyone who supports Borel as a "Borel Worshiper" to make your opponents seem less credible.  Then, hit us with a "wager" that is both outlandish and would be virtually assured of never happening to really drive your point home.  Well done.

P.S.  Maybe you can hang out with Antman.  Seems like he has a lot of positives to say about many jockeys.  Hope his name is not in honor of Chris Antley who was one of my all time favorites.

30 Mar 2011 11:13 PM

Draynay: Arcaro has 5 Derby wins, 6 Preakness wins, and 6 Belmont wins.  He also won 2 Triple Crowns.  How many TC's has Borel won?  I really like Calvin, but he is not the best jockey ever.  He may eventually manage to get there; he's nominated to the HOF.  

Bill Hartack also has 5 Derby wins and Bill Shoemaker has 4, with a winning percentage rate of 21.89% while Calvin has a rate of 14.77%.  So, while a mistake may occasionally be made, the history has already been written.  Russell Baze and Laffit Pincay Jr. are actually the jockeys with the most wins and some of the highest percentage rates.  Add to that Pat Day, Angel Cordero, Chris McCarron..etc...etc

31 Mar 2011 8:09 AM

At the same time, I have to give Calvin credit not only for his wins but also for the way he handles those wins.  How many jobs in this world require that you be followed around by an ambulance every time you go through a gate????  As I watch races coming from Meydan, the UK, and the USA, I see that ambulance on my peripheral vision, slowly crawling around the track, trailing the horses, and I think, " A jockey's job takes a hell of a lot of guts to do."

31 Mar 2011 8:21 AM
Billy's Empire

Saratoga Dreamin: WAKE UP. You are making yourself look like a fool! Please find me those 15-20 jockeys that have those numbers below that are riding right now. PLEASE. Ask all of the world class Jockeys in Dubai that just got whooped by Calvin how bad of a jockey he is. You, are one of the clueless. Your last statement sums it up perfect. Pletcher has stables all of the place. Unless there are 5 Johnny V's, he would never ride all of TP's horses, but who rode Todd's horse to victory in the Derby last year? CALVIN.

Calvin Borel grew up in Louisiana and has been riding professionally for over twenty-five years.  He has won over 4,800 races (1,000 at Churchill Downs), won over 15 riding titles at various tracks in Kentucky, Arkansas, and Louisiana, and has a long list of accomplishments.  In 2006, he won the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile aboard Street Sense.  The following Spring, Borel guided him to a Kentucky Derby win in an amazing ride moving from last to first of the twenty-horse field.  A few days after that victory, he joined the Queen of England (who attended the Derby that year) and President George W. Bush for a white-tie dinner at the White House. He also made the talk show circuit and appeared on the Today Show, the Tonight Show with Jay Leno, and the David Letterman Show.  In 2009, he won his second Kentucky Derby aboard the long shot, Mine That Bird, taking him from last to first in a carefully guided trip up the rail. The day before that victory, he won the Kentucky Oaks by 20 ¼ lengths aboard Rachel Alexandra, the 2009 Horse of the Year.  He became the seventh jockey to ever win both races in the same year. Aboard Rachel Alexandra, he also won the 2009 Preakness Stakes. He was the first jockey in history to win the first two legs of the Triple Crown (Kentucky Derby and Preakness) on different mounts. Last year he won the Kentucky Derby aboard Super Saver, making it his third Derby win in four years. Last month, as the only American rider in the challenge, he captured the Meydan Masters International jockey competition at Meydan Racecourse in Dubai.

31 Mar 2011 8:31 AM

Jay jay,

Idid answer your question ...only, my answer may be too sublime for you.  Sorry about that.

When the fields are drawn I'll post my picks.  Right now I'm pretty firm on Dialed In for the Florida Derby.  If Flashpoint goes he'll be very dangerous and would definitely wipe out the chances of To Honour and Serve.  See ya later.

31 Mar 2011 9:53 AM
Pedigree Ann

I fear I owe the board and Mickey an apology. Sometimes I channel my great-aunt Sadie, a high school English teacher of the Old School. (I'm 60 and my grandmother, her sister, was 75 when I was born so you can do the math to see when she was teaching.) It is bad manners to correct someone else for faulty grammar in a public forum and that's what I did.

31 Mar 2011 10:06 AM

SaratogaDreamin, Rhandie, etc. - please go to this page and read about the numerous riding titles and non-Churchill Down's stakes victories by Mr. Borel.

31 Mar 2011 10:14 AM

Billy's Empire - right on.

31 Mar 2011 10:16 AM
portland slew

heres an idea ! lets put calvin borel on uncle mo then youve got an overrated jockey on an overrated horse ! i hope horse an rider are wearing dust masks on derby day cuz the factor is sure gonna be kickin it !

31 Mar 2011 11:02 AM
Fran Loszynski

I'm going to take a shot in the dark here but if Calvin rides Elite Alex in the Arkansas. I have to go in his head in the Louisiana Derby: He knows there is still the Arkansas Derby-he saw what Elite Alex could do from last, what direction he would take from him how he took on fourth position-how fast the time was in traffic-and in his mind where Elite Alex might end up in the Arkansas-a trial test. I keep thinking of Street Sense and Mine That Bird, that took a whole lot of calculating. He wouldn't have said Elite Alex reminded him of Street Sense if he didn't. You know we really don't know what goes on between a jockey and his horse when the two of them face the dirt below for those two minutes and the finish out front-think about it. It's really just the two of them. Let's wait and see what happens the next week. Tim Ritchey trained Afleet Alex to the tune that the stamina and athletic ability saved Afleet Alex in the Preakness. He knows what his horses can do. So,However it goes, Elite Alex and Calvin will go where their destiny dictates.

31 Mar 2011 11:08 AM
Mike Relva


That's BS! Stop with even bringing Gomez into the equation! He's won zero Derbys! It's laughable you would try to spin Gomez.

31 Mar 2011 11:15 AM
Mike Relva


Thanks! Yeah,I've always wondered why individuals slam winners,when there's no justification in doing it.

31 Mar 2011 11:18 AM

Billy's Empire

Really nice post about Calvin.

31 Mar 2011 11:39 AM

If Flashpoint goes he'll be very dangerous and would definitely wipe out the chances of To Honour and Serve.  See ya later.

Ranagulzion 31 Mar 2011 9:53 AM

HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. - Flashpoint, runaway winner of Gulfstream Park’s seven-furlong Hutcheson last month, has been entered in Sunday’s $1 million Florida Derby and not the Swale as originally expected, racing secretary Dan Bork confirmed earlier this morning.

31 Mar 2011 12:16 PM
Mike Relva


I liked your post regarding Calvin. Well written.

31 Mar 2011 12:27 PM

I actually think the easier race for Jaycito is the Wood where he faces basically Uncle Mo and no one.  The Santa Anita Derby looks to be shaping up as the stronger of the two preps.  I hope Baffert gives Jaycito another shot againt Mo as I think his Breeder's Cup is a complete toss.  

31 Mar 2011 12:44 PM

What's laughable is Borel being made to be this awesome jock instead of the sheer mediocrity he is, it's LUCK that wins Derbies in 20 horse fields, not the Jock, Pincay won 1 Derby, George Woolf none, are we supposed to believe Borel is better than them!!!!!!!!!! Lol Lol Lol, and I'm not spinning Gomez, he is many, many, many lengths better than Borel, it ain't even close.  The irony of ironies is if anyone else had been riding Elite Alex this year, he's probably in the Derby, Borels rides on him this year have been comically awful, what's next 10 wide in Arkansas???

31 Mar 2011 12:48 PM

Borel is the REASON why Elite Alex has so little earnings. He keeps droppng him back 15 lengths and just assumes the pace will be fast and he'll get a dream trip. If Elite Alex has Gomez or Dominguez, we would know if the horse actually is good or not. But we don't, because Borel hasn't given him a chance to succeed. This isn't a one-run horse.

31 Mar 2011 1:04 PM
Mike Relva


You really demostrate how limited your knowledge is. Yes,luck plays a part,but so does SKILL. If the Derby was such a slam dunk,why hasn't Gomez and others' won it?

31 Mar 2011 2:08 PM
mickey 1957

pedigree ann....are you asking me to lift the contract,I have out on you,I'll think about it....LOL......rhandie 1 win in the derby could be called luck,but 3 wins and a 3rd,I don't buy it,not over a 5yr span,I know one thing forsure calvin has more heart than gomez will ever have.

31 Mar 2011 2:15 PM
mickey 1957

calvin is the larry bird of jockeys,he is a hick,he knows that,everyone but him knows not to touch the QUEEN,so whats calvin do he puts his arms around guess he don't have accountants,investors..and I will give even money he drives a pick up truck...he's real what you see is what you get.

31 Mar 2011 2:37 PM

Borel got the mount on super saver because he didnt have one and super saver didnt havea rider 10 days befoire the event...and that is a fact...not debatable....again I ask you, why then can't he secure a mount anywhere but Churchill if he's so good?

31 Mar 2011 2:45 PM

Luck+Skill.  Take a look at where the "Shoe" was on Ferdinand going into the first turn or McCarron's ride aboard Alysheba.  Obviously they were on good colts but they (the jockey) won the race with a ride that very few could pull off.  

31 Mar 2011 2:59 PM
Billy's Empire

Mickey, last year after the Derby, I saw Calvin mowing his grass. He is a gentleman and one of, if not, the most hard working jockey's on the backside. He gets up every morning, works out horses for several different trainers, and does it all with a smile. If you are betting jockeys at CD, you could bet Calvin, Julien, and Robby every race and make money. You bet Theriot on turf sprints, you are cashing in last year.... You bet those jockeys on the weekdays, your odds increase significantly.

31 Mar 2011 3:25 PM

My feeling is that on any given day, just about ANY jockey can win a race with a horse that’s well meant.  Saying that, I wonder if Ronnie Franklin would get the mount on Spectacular Bid today?  My thinking is that he wouldn’t, but back in the day he did and he did quite well, at least with the Bid.  The key is for jocks to get top or well meant mounts consistently and to align yourself with top trainers that have a deep stable.  That’s what John V. has done with Pletcher.  That’s what jocks like jerry Bailey have done in the past.  Not enough is made of the person who does the orchestrating, the agent.  The jock still has to produce, but the agent has to secure the best possible chance for him/her to produce.  Garrett Gomez had some great years with Ron Anderson.  How is he going to continue at his high level with Tony Matos?

31 Mar 2011 3:33 PM
Ted from LA

"my guess he don't have accountants,investors.."

And you're calling someone a hick?

31 Mar 2011 3:47 PM


Here's my Florida Derby trifecta:

1) Dialed In (with Flashpoint in the race, the stalkers are gonna be blowing real hard to keep up, turning for home, and that's when Leparoux switches on the afterburners on this explosive Zito rocket)

2) Bowmanm's Causeway (this is an improving colt and a very talented stayer that is ripening at the right time. This colt is being aimed at the Queens Plate in Canada but like his great grandsire Northern Dancer, could do so via Loisseville, Kentucky. He'll be following Dialed In close enough in the charge to the wire)

3) Flashpoint (kudos to his sporting owner for going this route with this powerful and classy grey colt. He's so dangerous in this race that he could do what The Factor did in the Rebel. I have a silent wish to see him wire this field and add some more "red hot pepper sause" to the Kentucky Derby c/o Yum Brands "dish" on May 7.  My heart says Flashpoint but my brain says Dialed In).

To Honour and Serve's goose is cooked by Flashpoint and Soldat will have to prove that he can come from behind with the likes of Dialed In and Bowman's Causeway and prevail.  If Soldat plays the stalking game he has a better shot IMO but the pace is going to truly test his mettle.  

This is a very good race and could yield the winner of the Kentucky Derby if it turns out that Uncle Mo's training schedule is too soft compared with these very good colts that will have had three tough prep races.  I guess that Stay Thirsty's performance in here will give both Todd Pletcher and Mike Repole a handle on this aspect.  Good luck and lets see your picks.  

31 Mar 2011 4:34 PM
Mike Relva


Obviously you must live by "very high standards" lmao if you slam someone that's won three Derbys in four yrs. Absurd!

31 Mar 2011 4:47 PM

Mike...what is so hard to understand...he should be applauded for getting it done in the Derby and should go into the Kentucky Derby Hall of Fame,simple. and thats where the accolades should end...No one said he isnt a terrific human being, a regular guy, your standards , Perry Outz is a world class rider, because he's accumulated lots of wins over a 40 year career....I'm still waiting and this is the 4th time I've requested, for someone to explain to me why he can't get a mount anywhere outside of Churchill if he is a world class rider?

PS..he went to Dubai because they paid him to(I would have gone also), and because the top jocks had secured top mounts state side, what did Calvin have to stay here and ride? a nickel claimer

31 Mar 2011 5:27 PM

If Calvin wins another K.Derby, we will have to start calling him GOD.

31 Mar 2011 5:30 PM

Better yet...look at Shoemaker coming out of the number 1 hole at 54 years of age vs. Garrett Gomez coming out of the same post aboard Lookin at Lucky.

31 Mar 2011 6:40 PM

The good news is after the Florida Derby we will not have to talk about Dialed In anymore.

31 Mar 2011 7:31 PM
Ted from LA

Dialed In will win the Florida Derby.

31 Mar 2011 7:53 PM

Let me correct myself on worst jockeys, lets just say for my money that I bet I wouldn't want them to be the jockeys I have to count on, Worst is a bad term.  They risk there lives to do what we racing fans love.  I stand corrected on that.  For my money I cringe when they are on my horse.  


He may have won 2 derbys but didn't he cause a placing in last years derby.  From 2nd to 3rd.  I applaud all jockeys for doing what they do.  I will never be that harsh again. Thanks for calling me out.

Florida Derby selections


Dialed In

Arch Travler

Thas for the Superfecta

31 Mar 2011 7:56 PM


Looks like there will be a couple of early 3-5's on Gulfstream's card on Florida Derby Day you can start touting on these blogs! Whi you betting in the FL Derby? OFCOURSE Soldat, he is the morning line favorite. As always. Good luck at the windows everyone...

31 Mar 2011 8:21 PM

Laz - don't get me started on Ronnie Franklin.  It took an exceptionally bad jockey to get The Bid beat on any occasion and Franklin did just that in the Belmont.  It was once said about Secretariat that if it wasn't for his human connections, he would have never lost a race.  I put The Bid in the same league.  (I have said before that I am an unapologetic Secretariat mark.  Indeed, Secretariat is my all time favorite athlete in any sport.  That said, I rank The Bid as second all time of my list).

31 Mar 2011 8:21 PM

When I look at the Florida Derby field I see only 2 horses in the race that must be totally cranked up to win the race to prove they have a place in this Derby field. THAS and Dialed In. Soldat does not need to win the FL Derby he already has 2 solid wins at 1 1/8 and just needs to NOT run up the track to show his connections the next stop is Louisville. Mott as well as Zito need to win this race. Dialed In has yet to win around 2 turns even though his last race was a close defeat (although kinda ugly). And THAS needs to show that he was not just a solid 2 year old and he has moved forward as a 3 year old and is ready for the Roses. If I had to bet the race that looks like the strongest we seen so far this season it would be a nice size EX BOX. THAS/DIALED IN. Some saver EX part wheels with both those horses on top with couple nice longshots under them. Just the way I view it. Of all the horses in the race I would be very suprised if Stay Thirsty can win against a field such as this. To be honest outside of Uncle Mo I think Pletcher's 3 year olds are avg. at best.

31 Mar 2011 8:37 PM
Mike Relva


I'm way ahead of you cause if Dialed In wins you will try to undercut,(a) the horse,(b) the competition,or (c) the manner in which he won.

31 Mar 2011 9:25 PM
Mike Relva


Get back to me when GOMEZ wins just one Derby. LMAO  BTW,you don't think it's an ever present reminder that he HASN'T WON EVEN ONE?

31 Mar 2011 9:30 PM


I never said that Franklin was a great jockey (he wasn’t) and it was amazing to me that he continued to get the mount on the Bid, especially after he was the rider when the Bid lost his 3rd and 4th lifetime races (he would lose only 2 of his next 26 after that).  His next loss unfortunately was in the Belmont after Franklin won 12 straight on him.  Franklin basically had an easy go on his remaining mounts on the Bid after that 4th career race as only one was close, his neck win after a stretch battle in the Young American.

As much as you think Franklin’s ride cost the Bid the TC, I feel that one of the best Derby jockeys ever, Bill Hartack cost Northern Dancer (my all time favorite) the TC by choking him off all the way down the backstretch in the Belmont, costing him valuable energy that wasn’t there when he needed it in the stretch when he couldn’t keep up with Quadrangle (he defeated him 3 times earlier that year) and Roman Brother (he defeated him 4 times also earlier that year).  Maybe Willie Shoemaker should have gotten the mount on the Bid earlier.  Ironically, it was Shoemaker who chose Hill Rise instead of the Dancer.  Maybe shoe would have won that Belmont.

31 Mar 2011 10:54 PM

Calvin's brother always told him to ride the rail, now it's classic calvin to ride that rail and win, and for what he is known best for.   IF anyone can take a horse around CD on Kentucky Derby Day and win by riding the rail then it's going to be Calvin Borel aka Bo-Rail, they didn't give him that nickname for nothing.  

31 Mar 2011 11:10 PM

This is not meant to disparage any of the jockeys that are under discussion.  It is just the opinion of one man - Hall of Fame trainer Charlie Whittingham on jockeys:  "There's no use giving them instructions because by the time they go from the paddock to the race track, they've already forgotten them. There's a reason why jockeys wear size 3½ hats."

01 Apr 2011 12:13 AM

I'm sure every jockey and trainer would love to win a Derby, but I doubt Garrett Gomez would trade his career for Derby wins.  Compare their whole careers and then ask if Garrett Gomez is worrying about not winning the Derby.  He does just fine without a Derby win, I think.  Would he like one?  Probably.  Does he need one to feel complete or accomplished?  I doubt it.  He has had alot of hardships to overcome, and he has overcome them to be one of the most accomplished jockeys riding.  That says something about his talent and his fortitude as a person.  Not winning the Derby is not going to make him feel less a jockey.  It is so funny how people feel winning a Derby is a must for being accomplished.  It is something that all trainers and jockeys dream about, but I doubt they lose sleep at night if it hasn't happened.  They have too much to worry about and too many more races to try to win.  I can't judge a jockey's or trainer's career on whether they won the Derby or not.

01 Apr 2011 12:28 AM

Just saw the lineup for FD, with Flashpoint in the race, I think I'll stick with my 3 of my top four :  Dialed In,Soldat and THAS.  I think Soldat will ensure an honest pace from Flashpoint or might even take the lead.  I have a feeling that THAS will be back to form this time, he should be tight enough to have a good race.  The pace scenario shaped up perfect for Dialed In's "like a freight train" run.  The one I'm keeping an eye on is Stay Thirsty, I just like his pedigree and his running style.  He'll be much closer than Dialed In and if he's good enough, he'll beat Dialed In.  For betting purposes, I'll play my top three but I'll probably play Stay Thirsty on top on some tickets.    The other interesting horse is the giant killer's horse, with Lezcano aboard, you can't leave out Arch Traveler.  There's not going to be a heavy favorite in this race (too bad for draynay),

We're down to the G1 races, pretty soon we'll find out who are the true contenders.  Time to pick your dark horse and keep an eye on those that will peak on the first saturday in May.

The Rock / Jason : Who are your picks ?

I got the feeeevah, the derby feeevah!

Good luck to all betting the races this weekend!

01 Apr 2011 1:03 AM

Householder : I totally agree with your post about Baffert going after Mo with Jaycito, the BC race was indeed a toss out.  I'd like to find out how good Jaycito is but regardless of how he races in the Wood, he will be on most of my tickets come Derby day.  His running style is one where I won't have to worry too much about his post position, my only concern is the jockey keeping him too far back early in the race.  I'd prefer him to be 10 to 12 lengths back and then makes a zigzag run around the turn to get clear outside and zooms past the tiring frontrunner/stalkers.

Ranagulzion : Good luck on your picks, I see you're starting to consider the fact that UM's preps are too soft, I guess that means you accept the fact that he might not be a superhorse after all ?

01 Apr 2011 1:12 AM

Just the mere fact Stewart Elliott, Ron Franklin and Calvin Borel have won the Derby tells how much the jock matters in the Derby, it's just a crapshoot, I know one thing, Gomez wouldn't trade his career for any of the above, his shelf is full of trophys from ALL kinds of races, all over the Country, not just one race on one track.

01 Apr 2011 2:27 AM


in the swale: 1) Little Drama 2)Indiano 3)Travellin man

01 Apr 2011 3:25 AM

Are you serious ?  Gomez would trade a whole bunch of wins for a Derby win.  There is no bigger race.

01 Apr 2011 5:39 AM
Billy's Empire

Everyone may call me a Pletcher lover etc., but Stay Thirsty could run big in the Florida Derby. When he leveled out in the stretch of his last race, he looked strong to the wire, and should only improve 2nd and third start back this year.

Now that Flashpoint will most likely go to the front, there will be a good pace to run at. This race sets up for Thirsty and Dialed in from a pace perspective, but who knows how good Soldat is this year. He has not been challenged. If Soldat can sit off the pace of Flashpoint, put him away and win, he is in my Derby bets. So many good horses in this race.

01 Apr 2011 8:44 AM

And last year every one was saying Pletcher never won a Derby...and look what happened...he did.  So don't count Gomez out so soon.  

By the Meydan...the top jockeys in the world were invited.  They had no choice in horses or gates.  The race that Calvin won...he won dropping back and running on the outside.  So keeping him off the rail is no insurance that he won't win.  As far as not having mounts anywhere but Churchill...haven't you watched Oaklawn Park racing?  He's in almost every race.  As far as Borel at Saratoga..He doesn't have the clientele he does in Ky, but in 2007, at Saratoga he won only 9 races.  4 of them were the The Jim Dandy, the Alabama, the Sword Dancer and the Travers.  He's the ONLY jockey to have done that at Saratoga in one year.

Actually, this year, it seems the boys will have a lot to worry about when Anna R Napravnik hits Churchill Downs.  She has a good mount, and the fickle racing gods may just push her along on POF.    

01 Apr 2011 8:46 AM
Saratoga AJ

Florida Derby picks:

Box Dialed In, Soldat and Arch Traveler in exactas and triples.

01 Apr 2011 9:25 AM
CB not

Calvin Borel wouldn't be the first pick of any trainer on any Derby Day if you lined up all the horses before the race and and you asked trainers one at a time to choose whatever jock they wanted on their horse that was available that year. Arcaro, Hartack, and Shoemaker had more Derby wins. Cordero, G. Stevens, Issac Murphy, and Earle Sande who won 3 of 8 had just as many. Willie Simms was perfect in the Ky. Derby going 2 for 2. I'd take the first 5 mentioned at the peak of their careers and so would any trainer if they had the choice long before I put CB on my horse in the Derby.  

01 Apr 2011 9:35 AM

Billy- I'm sure people call you more than that-lol.  I haven't analyzed the FL Derby yet.  It will be interesting to try to figure out what blinkers are going to do for Stay Thirsty.  Will he show more speed?  Will he get aggressive and rank?  Does anybody know if he has even worked in them?

01 Apr 2011 10:20 AM

FL Derby is a true superfecta.


Dialed in,THAS



Gulfstream has a great card sunday and I will be their all day..

01 Apr 2011 10:33 AM
Billy's Empire

So, the Florida Derby card is packed full of stakes winners and great races. Starting with the Swale, there are 6-7 races in a row that should be fantastic. let's hit the pick 6

01 Apr 2011 10:54 AM

Just for the record, while I am a Borel fan and think he is a great jockey, I also thin GoGo is a phenomenal jockey.  Just felt the need to say that since many of the comments are comparing the two.

01 Apr 2011 10:58 AM
Billy's Empire

one rides in Cali, the other in the Mid West. Like apples and oranges. Dumb debate. The point of the story is wheter Calvin would have a derby mount, and he will. Onward and upward. Spring is here.

01 Apr 2011 11:29 AM

Jayjay - Arch Traveler is not trained by the giant killer.  The giant killer is Allen Jerkins, the father of Arch Traveler's trainer, Jimmy Jerkens. Jimmy is a fine horseman who was the original trainer of Quality Road, before the owner decided to turn the horse over to Pletcher. (Personal opinion - big mistake.)

01 Apr 2011 12:26 PM
Mike Relva


How do you know? Have you asked Gomez?

01 Apr 2011 12:44 PM
Billy's Empire

Mike, Rhandie has a hard time with reading comprehension. Just ignore him.

01 Apr 2011 2:57 PM
Mike Relva


Good point!

01 Apr 2011 3:49 PM

Complete nonsense.  It took a perfect ride by Borel to win on Street Sense.  And winning on SuperSaver and Mine That Bird was next to impossible but done because of Borel.  No rider has dominated the race over a 4 year span like Borel and he did it on horses with the least amount of talent.  There is no jockey past or present that I would rather have on my horse than Borel.

01 Apr 2011 4:00 PM
cb not

Who's Calvin on for the Fla. Derby? If he's so great someone would get him a mount. Calvin Borel will never win another Ky. Derby.

01 Apr 2011 5:22 PM
fla. peach

Fla. Derby: $20 exacta box the 1,2,7,and 8. $5 exacta's 1,2,7,8 over the 4.

01 Apr 2011 5:24 PM
The Rock


I handicapped Saturday's races although I haven't gotten to Sunday's card. Plan on doing that tonight. But I like the early P4 from races 2-5. Taken a shot with a single in the first leg and i'll give my best bet later.

Saturday @ GP Race 2: Lots of speed here and even though its only 6f's and he's got the rail, I really like Depeche Cat here. First time off the layoff at Tampa was a strong run against a much tougher field than this. If he can get off the fence, should be tough to hold off.

Race 3: Tough race IMO even though Pletcher's maiden breaker (3) will take a lot of money. Think she's vulnerable being down inside against some outside speed that have run against winners and won multiple times. Let's Get Fiscal (4) & Evangelical (6) look primed to run back to their maiden race matchup in the fall and might be able to take down the big fave.

Race 4: Another wide open maiden event with a possible heavy fave Pletcher/Velasquez combo on the outside. You're Kidding (4) I expect to improve big time off that first start and like FTL on the Wilkes (3) horse, even though he's 1 for the moon at the meet.

Race 5: Wide open event to close it out. Hibaayeb (7) is the class by far, but with the shorter distance, layoff & the trainer saying she'll need one before her best, I'll try to beat her. Hoping Meriweather Jessica can crawl on the front end and get away.

$.50 Pick 4 1/3,4,6,7,8/3,4,5,6,9/1,2,4,6,7 = $62.50

Best Bet: Race 6 - Alpha Centauri GB (3). Tacticul speed, top numbers. Looks tough to beat.

01 Apr 2011 6:25 PM


I didn't listen to you last week and I've been kicking myself ever since. Nehro coming in 2nd was the key to a very nice trifecta pay-out. Shades of First Dude in the Preakness, last year. So this week I listened intently to THS but the field hadn't drawn yet and you weren't sure whether Flash Point was going to be in the race or not. Has the fact that he has been entered changed anything in your handicapping of the race?  

01 Apr 2011 6:56 PM

merlinmerry- great quote!

01 Apr 2011 7:35 PM
Jason Shandler

Flashpoint doesnt change things all that much for me, except that I may throw Dialed In in exotics with the added pace. But I think the value in this race is THAS to win, as well as one of the three high-priced horses--Shackleford, Bowman's Causeway and especially Arch Traveler. I think one will hit the board, hopefully Arch Traveler. Soldat is worth trying to beat at 9-5, IMO. Too strong of a field not to and the added pace dimension cant help him.

Sorry you didnt catch the tri with me last week Zookeeper. Nehro was a hunch play but sometimes you get lucky.

01 Apr 2011 8:02 PM

I'm with you Jason.  I love Soldat, especially if they lay him off the pace, but something tells me that THAS has to step up.  There is really no tomorrow for a colt that was so highly regarded. I also think that Flashpoint will either fizzle or dominate.  My money is that he will fizzle.  I'm going with THAS holding on to beat a driving Soldat with Stay Thirsty running an honest race for third and Dialed In a closing (Not necessarily charging) fourth.  Seeing I was so far out last week, maybe I'll get the money this week.

01 Apr 2011 8:44 PM

Haven´t been able to handicap myself out of a paper bag lately, but:



Dialed In

01 Apr 2011 10:51 PM
Ted from LA

Dialed In


Stay Thirsty

Arch Traveler

01 Apr 2011 11:01 PM

Saturday @ Gulfstream Savvy Spreme in the th

SundaY @ Gulfstream Ice Cream Man in the 2nd

merry christmas :)

01 Apr 2011 11:26 PM


Hillarious, am in the same boat.  It seems best to take a break with you get in the rut like that.  All gamblers hit the wall sometimes. My top two are the same so we probably still are left in the paper bag.  Good luck today

Soldat WITH THAS with all with all for the Superfecta today.  30 bucks. Maybe even reverse it for another 30.  THAS with Soldat with all with all.  Good Luck all

02 Apr 2011 9:50 AM

Thanks Jason. I posted a comment after yours last night but it got lost in transit. (Still wondering where these lost comments go,lol!)

I was also thinking that the presence of Flash Point would benefit Dialed In, so we agree there. Now if only I can make myself include THAS at the top of my trifecta, I may not have to kick myself after the race. :)

Good luck everyone with your bets. It should be a heck of a race!!!

02 Apr 2011 11:50 AM

That trainers are intentionally forming a block to keep Calvin Borel out of the Kentucky Derby because "He's won too many!", sure says a lot about the trainers and puts a black mark on racing.  Shame, Shanme...what a sad blight on racing.

02 Apr 2011 3:52 PM

Good luck to you too Antman! =)

(And Soldat will let us out of the bag...)

02 Apr 2011 6:32 PM

Thanks MerlinMerry, I think it does run in the family though I think.  

The Rock : I still haven't decided but I'll be playing my top 3 with Stay Thirsty most likely and just double up my tickets.  I know there's a big potential for an upset in this race but I think in the end it's the known top contenders that will hit the board.  I haven't looked at the odds, but here's my picks

TRI  :

7,2 / 7,2,6,1 / 7,2,6,1

7,6 / 7,6,1,2 / 7,6,2,1,3

7,2 / 7,2,6,3 / 7,2,6,3,5

7,1 / 7,1,6 / ALL


7,6 / 7,6,2,3 / 7,6,2,1,3,5 / 7,6,2,1,3,5

2,7 / 2,7,6,5 / 2,7,6,5,1 / 2,7,6,5,1,3


03 Apr 2011 2:17 AM

Swale- Black N Beauty, Indiano, Travelin Man

Sir Shackelton- Safe Trip, Regal Ransom, Capt Candyman Can

Appelton- Riviera Cocktail, Cherokee Artist, Sayif

Skip Away- Gabriel's Hill, Jackson Bend, Drosselmeyer

FL Derby- To Honor and Serve, Dialed In, Soldat (but will use these with Shackelford in exotics.  I can't really separate my top three and could end up doing straight across the board bets on each too.  I'm gooing to wait and see on this race, may not even bet it.)

Here are my pics.  Zarkava summed up my handicapping lately too.  I've had some good bets that keep me afloat but on the whole the paper bag has no escape route so far.

Good luck everyone!

03 Apr 2011 10:18 AM

Didn't get to watch Kentucky UConn,and thought my chances had to come to an end, but 1 point!!!!!!!!!  AAAAARRRRRGGGGGHHHH!  The paper bag syndrom.  They had a great run this year though.  But 33% shooting is tough

03 Apr 2011 10:21 AM

Great field in the Potrero Grande!

03 Apr 2011 10:55 AM
Jason Shandler

Saratoga Dreamin: Good call with Savvy Supreme. You've earned my trust. I will play Ice Cream Man today.

03 Apr 2011 11:42 AM
Mike Relva


03 Apr 2011 3:30 PM

dialed in is your second choice in the derby. stay thirsty lost all hope when pletcher put the blinkers on him

03 Apr 2011 6:20 PM
Mike Relva


What were you saying about Dialed In? Right.

03 Apr 2011 6:26 PM
Fran Loszynski

I would have loved to watch Lafitt Pincay and Calvin Borel in a race together. Courage is their middle name. Go ELITE ALEX AND CALVIN BOREL WIN THE ARKANSAS DERBY!

Alot of love from your fans is riding with you both to make it home. God Bless you both.

03 Apr 2011 6:36 PM

2,7 / 2,7,6,5 / 2,7,6,5,1 / 2,7,6,5,1,3


jayjay 03 Apr 2011 2:17 AM

I know these was your 50 cent super bets, but please tell me you didn't blow the tri.

03 Apr 2011 7:31 PM
Linda in Texas

Mike Relva, good call, 30Apr2011.


Draynay - "The good news is after the Florida Derby we will not have to talk about Dialed in anymore."

31Mar2011  7:31 PM

Tell me more about that prediction Draynay. I think you have to eat your words! We will have Dialed In to talk about some more!When Dialed In won, i immediately remembered your words.

Dialed In did himself proud, and

Zito and La Penta were pleasantly surprised and totally blown away by

his determination to win. It was a beautiful race, hand it to them they deserved it.

03 Apr 2011 8:52 PM
Linda in Texas

Ted from LA had Dialed In also.

I failed to mention your name and i always find your posts so amusing and witty. Notice please, i did not quote you as CV did yesterday.

Hope everyone did well at the windows.

03 Apr 2011 9:01 PM
Mike Relva


Didn't you know,Pletcher is the end all,he does no wrong. lmas

03 Apr 2011 9:36 PM

Only did a tri box at the end on the FL Derby.  Worked well luckily.  And Amazombie paid better than I thought he would so a little more money there.  Thought Safe Trip was going to be a key to another good tri.  Wrong.  Oh well, that is the game.

03 Apr 2011 9:37 PM


lmao no i didn't i must have forgot. why put blinkers on a horse who has done no wrong i know he was running weird in the gotham but why now? oh well better now then the derby that is if they want to go. i think he might have distance limitations IMO

03 Apr 2011 9:47 PM

I think the Florida Derby turned out much weaker than most, including myself, thought it would be going in.  Yes, Dialed In got up, but they finished that last eighth in almost 13 and 4, and the final time was a second slower than Awesome Maria yesterday and 4/5ths slower than R Heat Lighting.  And the time was comparatively slower than the Skip Away, the race preceding it.

Shackleford surprised by hanging in there so long, but except for Dialed In, no one was really firing behind him.  THAS basically ran his FoY(press and fold) race again, Soldat raced mid-pack and folded, and Flashpoint just ran evenly all around the track after bearing outwards coming out of the gate.  And Stay Thirst was never a factor.

Dialed In has a shot at Churchill, but my feeling now is that there would have to be an absolute pace meltdown for him to get up.  Although he did pass the field around the turn and then wore down Shackleford, there was nothing that final eighth that told me Dialed In is going to prosper with ANOTHER quarter of a mile.  In fact, none of the horses in the Florida Derby looked like they wanted anything to do with 10 furlongs.  And that is a common motif in preps across the country.

Dialed In did prove he is not simply a late-running one-turn miler.  But let's be clear, he wasn't finishing that well in the Florida Derby.  Everyone else beside Shackleford stopped, and Shackleford himself was tiring significantly(by the clock).  Dialed In got up to Shackleford, but wasn't able to blow by him even though Shackleford was slowing significantly.

I'll give Shackleford some credit for setting a solid pace and turning back THAS, Soldat, etc.  However, reports suggest he had the advantage of a speed favoring track.  If the track was speed favoring, Dialed In deserves cedit for bucking it, but the early fractions flattered his late run.  So, I end up being far from overwhelmed by either performance.

The race deserves a Beyer of only a 90, but I have a feeling it will get a 95.

03 Apr 2011 10:11 PM

I hope you played Ice Cream Man, Jason....I think a few others did too :)

03 Apr 2011 10:57 PM

Laz : I had the exacta and trifecta, but I really really didn't like Flashpoint and he burned me on my superfecta, I had the superfecta the way I had it posted 3 times (fity cent).  I thought when the 8 went on the inside, he was going to fade but it wasn't meant to be...

I'm a bit confused with Soldat, I think the Draynay curse struck again.  The way he ran, I think they were trying him to come off the pace but hopefully he's alright.  I don't know if I'll play him in the Derby, depends on how the weather plays.

I'm just glad that my horse won.  I didn't have the 5 on top at all.  Dialed In doubters can't ignore this horse but I knew that his allowance prep was dead on.  He should now be fit to contest that 10F and his sustained run, eating up ground should really work well at Churchill.  Now I just have to wait and see how Jaycito fairs with PrePeg.  I would've preferred him to run in the Wood because it's not a speedtrack like SA.  

04 Apr 2011 12:17 AM

Ranagulzion : How did you do in the Florida Derby ?  Did you follow my picks ?

04 Apr 2011 1:18 AM
Mike Relva



04 Apr 2011 3:33 PM

Mike Relva,

I noticed how draynay had no pick in the Fla. Derby since he was so busy trashing Dialed In who was the chalk. No chalk to pick so no clue who to go with. The only thing he was sure of whas Dialed In wouldn't win, LMAO!!

04 Apr 2011 6:22 PM

Plum Pretty will be the nice set-up for Zazu in the Kentucky Oaks.  

04 Apr 2011 7:42 PM
Mike Relva


I enjoy reading your comments. He's hedging his bet already. Did you notice last week he mentioned he hopes Mo "has enough left" for the Belmont. Remember as early as Jan. he was calling Mo a lock for the Triple Crown. lol

04 Apr 2011 9:18 PM

I'll never understand why folks keeps talking about the final times of a race to determine how good a horse is.  I've never used it to handicap the next race for the horse.  I don't know how anyone can use the run times from a race in Gulfstream and handicap a race in Churchill Downs, not to mention it's a 9F race compared to a 10F race.  

I only saw Dialed In made a run on the final turn and passed the tiring horses, sustaining his run to beat a tough speed horse (running in a speed track).  DI has now 2 9F races, a good foundation going into the derby.  UM will have to be a monster horse to win the Derby off of 1 9F race without being battle tested.  Having said that though, I hope that everyone sees it the other way and not bet on Dialed In to win the Derby.  I would love to see his odds go higher than 10-1 in the derby, but that's just me being greedy lol.  The only thing I'm really worried about Dialed In is that I hope he didn't peak in this race, I hope that was just him running a good race and the best is yet to come.

I'm not too thrilled about Jaycito running in the SA Derby, but hopefully the speed track will help him get fitter.  I'm not conceding the SA derby to PrePeg but if he wins it, I wouldn't be surprised.  I just want Jaycito to run well.  For me, if they're going to lose a race, I'd rather them lose the prep races and peak in the Derby.

04 Apr 2011 9:40 PM

I remember back in the day that a trainer could not change equipment off of a winning race.  Am I wrong?  So, if I am not wrong, why was it allowed for Stay Thirsty?

04 Apr 2011 11:19 PM

jayjay  Good bets.

Soldat to me is a throw out.  The rail was dead and the speed bias burned a few of them.  Soldat apparently breathed in a lot of dirt.  It might have been more interesting if he was outside instead of boxed in all the way.

04 Apr 2011 11:45 PM

Master of hounds

23 Apr 2011 10:43 AM

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