She's a Handicapper now..and I'm saying "Champagne, Anyone?"

She's a Handicapper now..and I'm saying "Champagne, Anyone?"

Friday, August 19, 2016

Calvin Borel Returns


When Calvin Borel retired from racing back in March, one wondered who would replace him as the "king of the rail" at Churchill Downs for the Spring Meet. 

Several riders did have success taking the "shortest route". Brian Hernandez, Jr. got quite good at it. Corey Lanerie won his share of races by flirting with the fence. Sneaky Robby Albarado was a guard rail rider at times. 

But none of them compared with the original. Calvin Bo-Rail. 

He's back...

Borel has come out of retirement, is back in Kentucky and will debut at Ellis Park on Saturday, Aug 27th...riding a promising two-year old for trainer Buff Bradley. It was Bradley who helped encourage Calvin to go to the starting gate again. 

One thing that is amazing about jockeys is the amount of bones thaat get broken during their careers. Borel has had 47. Imagine an NFL linebacker or power forward in the NBA with that total. You'd see the word "retired" next to their name. Borel, though, still has the desire, the drive and the taste for putting on the silks and hitting the paddock. 

He'll tell you: 

"Instead of messing around, if I'm going to do it...I need to do it now. The two year olds are coming. The First Saturday in May is getting closer.  You need to do what you're going to do, to make up your mind. If you're going to ride, you might as well ride and be happy." 

It worked for Gary Stevens. David Flores came back to the game. Be very sure of one thing. No one knows the oval that is Churchill Downs better than Calvin except possibly for the retired and legendary Pat Day.  

The average length of a horse is about eight feet. If the shortest distance around a track is on the rail and races are often won by mere inches, noses and necks...why not give those eight feet the shortest route? It's true...sometimes rail conditions on a track might not be as good as the "three path" or on the outside. A jockey knows before the race, but it's a fact...if a horse has to "swing wide" in the stretch...they can often lose a length or two off their momentum. That's 16 feet. If you give two track and field sprinters of similar skills a distance of 40 yards to run and "spot" one of them almost five yards...who do you think will win? 

The question is...will there be mounts for him? The argument for that is...if you're a trainer that is looking for a jock that knows the surface, knows the in's and out's of race riding and has absolutely no give him a leg up. Especially at Churchill this fall. 

And if he gets to the rail...look out. 


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