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Borel Unassuming Despite Three Derby Wins In Four Years
Romans Expected To Start Both Paddy O'pardo And First Dude
BALTIMORE,MD 05-05-10---Calvin Borel has done something that no other rider in the history of the game has achieved-ride Kentucky Derby winners three times during a four-year span. That fame has led the Cajun to meet the Queen of England at the White House and appear on the David Letterman and Jay Leno shows. But the 43-year-old is most comfortable on the backside.
“I have won nearly 5,000 races but once you win the Derby your whole world changes,” said Borel this morning during the renovation break at Churchill Downs. “I love the game, whether it is a $5,000 horse or a $2 million dollar one. The game has been good to me.”
For the third time in four years, Borel comes to Pimlico Race Course as a Kentucky Derby winner. He has been involved in two memorable runnings of the Preakness, finishing second with Derby winner Street Sense in 2007 and winning the 2009 renewal aboard filly Rachel Alexandra after becoming the first jockey to take off a Derby winner (Mine That Bird) to ride another horse in the Preakness.
“I was blessed to win it one time,” added Borel. “I have to give Carl Nafzger a lot of the credit for giving me the opportunity to ride a colt like Street Sense. Winning the Derby three times has been an unbelievable ride. It has been good horses.”
Borel has ridden 2010 winner Super Saver three times. Last year the duo teamed up to win the Grade 2 Kentucky Juvenile Club and were re-united for a second place finish in the Grade 1 Arkansas Derby. Then last Saturday, the pair had a perfect trip to give trainer Todd Pletcher his first win in America’s signature race.
“I learned a lot from him in the Arkansas Derby,” Borel said. “He had the ability to relax that he didn’t have when I rode him last year. Even though we didn’t win that day I told Todd he was peaking at the right time. I expect to see a full field at Pimlico but I just love my 3-year-old, he does everything in stride.”
“When we came to Churchill after the Arkansas Derby, it just seemed like he was moving forward, literally from the first day he went to the track,” Pletcher said. “He was moving real well, went to the track great, trained well leading up to his first breeze there and breezed great. It really seemed like the Arkansas Derby moved him forward. He was getting ready to run his best race. We were excited about that.”
Super Saver returned to the Churchill Downs track Wednesday morning for a leisurely jog once around the mile oval under exercise rider Kevin Willey.
“He jogged like a Derby winner,” said Mike McCarthy, assistant to trainer Pletcher, adding with a laugh, “and I’ve seen plenty of those horses here. I have been here.”
“Everything is going very well,” added Pletcher from Belmont Park immediately after talking to McCarthy. The horse is doing great. Moving very well. Energy level and appetite have been a very good indication that he’s come out of his race as well as we could hope for.”
Pletcher is slated to return to Louisville Friday and stay through Monday, May 10.
The number of starters set to face Super Saver the field for next Saturday’s $1 million Preakness® Stakes continues to develop. The $1 million classic is the headline event of the May 15 card at historic Pimlico Race Course.
Trainer Dale Romans said this morning he plans to send Paddy O’Prado, who was third in the Derby, just 2 ¾ lengths behind Super Saver, and First Dude to Baltimore on the same Tex Sutton flight as the Derby winner.
Paddy O’Prado galloped a mile and half after the morning renovation break. Romans will ship the third-place Kentucky Derby finisher to Pimlico next Wednesday and said Kent Desormeaux would retain the mount in the Preakness.
“He wanted to go to the track,” Romans said. “He’s very happy and you could tell he wanted to do something.”
As Paddy O’Prado left the track, Romans pointed to a bay colt heading to the track for his morning exercise.
“I may run him, too,” Romans said of First Dude, owned by Donald Dizney. “I have reserved a spot on the plane for him and if he is doing good, I’d say it’s 90 percent we’d run if he can get in. I would have liked to have run him in the Derby.”
First Dude finished third in the Grade 1 Blue Grass Stakes on April 10 in his most recent start and prior to that finished a troubled fifth in the Grade 1 Florida Derby, his stakes debut. In his most recent work, First Dude went five furlongs over a muddy track in 1:00.80 on April 26, the best of 26 at the distance that morning. Ramon Dominguez will ride the son of Stephen Got Even.
Also on the May 12 flight, which is scheduled to land at Baltimore-Washington International Airport at 1:30 p.m. Eastern, will be Pletcher’s other Preakness starter Aikenite, Derby Trial winner Hurricane Ike and any runners from the Nick Zito or Bob Baffert stables.
Zito considers Jackson Bend as possible for the Preakness, while Ice Box remains doubtful. Zito has saddled 19 Preakness starters since 1991, including a victory in 1996 with Louis Quatorze and three additional on the board finishes.
Baffert, who hoisted the Woodlawn Vase four times from 1997-2002 after Preakness victories, said it was still a 50-50 proposition on Wednesday as to whether Lookin At Lucky and/or Conveyance would run in the middle jewel of racing’s Triple Crown.
“It’s not 51-49 or 52-48; it’s 50-50,” Baffert said as his two Kentucky Derby runners walked the shedrow.
Trainer D. Wayne Lukas is expected to be the first to arrive at the Pimlico stakes barn next Tuesday, May 11 with Dublin, who was seventh in the Derby, and Northern Giant.
The Preakness lost one contender as Hall of Fame conditioner Jonathan Sheppard announced that Bushwhacked was out of Preakness consideration. Owned by George Strawbridge’s Augustin Stable, the son of Posse spiked a fever earlier in the week.
“The horse is doing better but I spoke to Mr. Strawbridge and we’ve decided that we are not going to make the race,” Sheppard said. “We’re disappointed but we’re going to look for something further down the road.”
Trainer Derek Ryan said today that Schoolyard Dreams will put in his final Preakness breeze Thursday morning at Monmouth Park. Eibar Coa, who will have the riding assignment on the Tampa Bay Derby runner-up, will be aboard for the work. Coa will be the seventh rider in as many starts to ride the son of Stephen Got Even.
Trainer Mike Machowsky confirmed that Caracortado will also be on the May 12 flight into Baltimore that will leave Los Angeles in the morning before stopping in Louisville. The son of Cat Dreams, who is five-of-seven lifetime will work seven-eighths Saturday at Santa Anita Park with regular rider Paul Atkinson, who will make his Preakness debut aboard the gelding.
“Everything is going perfect for him,” Machowsky said. “I just want to keep my fingers crossed and hope everything goes well with the work Saturday and we’ll be on our way.”
Trainer Wesley Ward confirmed today that Pleasant Prince will work five-furlongs on Sunday morning at Keeneland with regular rider Julien Leparoux, who will be aboard the son of Indy King next Saturday. The colt was second to Ice Box in the Grade 1 Florida Derby and finished behind a pair of other probable Preakness starters (Hurricane Ike & Aikenite) in the Derby Trail.
“The horse is doing really well,” Ward said.
Noble’s Promise continues to rest at trainer Kenny McPeek’s Magdalena Farm in Lexington. KY. The son of Cuvee led Saturday’s Derby at the quarter pole but was overtaken by Super Saver and Calvin Borel and finished fifth.
As expected Graham Motion entered Turf Melody in Saturday’s Grade 2 Dwyer Stakes at Belmont Park. The conditioner said yesterday he was 50-50 for the Preakness and wanted to have another option for the son of Maria’s Mon while Baffert and Zito finalized plans.
The status of A Little Warm is in flux. While the colt missed three days of training earlier in the week with a slight fever, Spring Hill Farm racing manager Chris Baker said, “the plan is to run the horse.” The son of Stormin Fever won the Spectacular Bid Stakes in January then finished second in a pair of Grade 2 events: the Hutcheson Stakes and Louisiana Derby. Tony Dutrow is the conditioner.
Make Music for Me, who was fourth in the Derby, remains doubtful.