Borel could be first jockey to pull off feat
Tuesday, June 2, 2009
The Rider will return to Mine that Bird for Saturday's Belmont.
LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- Calvin Borel is back on Kentucky Derby winner Mine That Bird and he's thinking about another Triple Crown victory.
"We're gonna win, no questions asked," Borel predicted after a workout Monday at Churchill Downs, where the gelding did a half-mile in 50 seconds.
That was his Derby-winning formula.
"He worked in 50 [seconds] and out in 1:02, just like before the Derby. He is doing everything the same," the jockey said. "After those two hard races [the Derby and Preakness], I think the [gelding] is very happy."
It seems like everybody in Mine That Bird's camp is happy these days.
That starts with Borel.
He would have ridden Kentucky Oaks and Preakness Stakes winner Rachel Alexandra if the filly had entered the Belmont Stakes. But Barbara Banke, wife of co-owner Jess Jackson, says they're looking out for her future and passed on the race.
So Borel is back on Mine That Bird, with a chance to win all three legs of the Triple Crown on two horses, something no jockey has done.
And what do he and Mine That Bird need for a win Saturday?
"We just gotta get lucky," he said before the horse's morning work. "Me and the horse fit good."
The horse was still bouncing and kicking when he came off the track on his way to a cool-down walk and bath under the watch of trainer Chip Woolley.
"He's just a happy camper," Borel said.
Woolley thinks his horse may be even better now after a second-place finish in the Preakness in which he was closing on Rachel Alexandra.
"I was thinking last week, he's probably training better than he did going into the Derby," Woolley said. "Calvin got the work I wanted out of him this morning. ... They just looked like they were bread and butter."
Even Banke is going to be on Mine That Bird's side when the gates open Saturday.
"I'm hoping Calvin gets the Calvin Triple Crown," she said.
Jackson announced Friday the filly would not run in the Belmont, making Borel available for Mine That Bird. Borel's agent, Jerry Hissam, said there never were any hard feelings between the two teams and rider.
"We had to go the way we went, and [Woolley] was very comfortable with it," Hissam said. "It's all been real good teamwork between two camps and ourselves."
Meanwhile, one of the horses Mine that Bird beat in the Derby, Nowhere to Hide, also worked Monday but won't be competing in the Belmont.
Trainer Nick Zito said in a statement released by the New York Racing Association that he and owner Len Riggio have "decided to pass on the Belmont and look for another spot for him."
Nowhere to Hide, who worked a half-mile in 49.92 on a training track at Saratoga, was 17th in the Derby.
Borel was scheduled to fly to New York on Monday. He'll do a round of television appearances and ring the opening bell at the New York Stock Exchange during the week leading to the Belmont. And, according to him, it's just luck.
"I got the best filly and the best [gelding] in the world," Borel said. "I can't go wrong."