The Brock Talk

Monday, June 1, 2009

Borel Guarantees Belmont

Not even NBA players guarantee victories in New York. And they're going to play the Knicks. Major League baseball players wouldn't think of guaranteeing a victory in the hallowed halls of the all-new, sacred, state-of-the-art Yankee Stadium. Guarantee a victory against the football Giants and you'll probably get more than somebody's "you wanna piece of me?"

But there's our man Calvin Borel stepping off of his Belmont Stakes mount Mine That Bird after a Monday morning workout at Churchill Downs saying, "We're going to win it. No questions asked." Add to that his similar guarantee before the Preakness aboard a different horse just about three weeks ago. Although he and Rachel Alexendra lived up to that guarantee, nobody comes out trying to hit the guarantee double. Especially in New York.

But there's our man Calvin Borel. Egotistical? Brash? Boastful? Naive? Who the...? Nope. Calvin Borel. Bulletin board material for the other jockeys? Probably not. Jockeys at this level know they will have plenty to occupy their time and energy during the roughly two-and-a-half minutes it will take to run the Belmont Stakes. There is no room for malice aboard 1,000 pound horses running 40 miles per hour.

And there's our man Calvin Borel. He's now a two-time Kentucky Derby-winning jockey who is trying to become the first jockey in history to win the Triple Crown on different horses. There's Calvin Borel getting ready to attempt something that will place him alongside the likes Eddie Arcaro, Bill Shoemaker, Woody Stephens, D. Wayne Lukas and company in the Triple Crown and thoroughbred racing record books.

As if being from the tiny, cajun town of St. Martinsville, South Louisiana, having a ninth-grade education and getting invited to a white tie dinner at the White House with President Bush and the Queen of England weren't enough, (I heard he accidentally called Prince Charles Street Sense but a jockey agent told me that), he goes off and guarantees a victory in the Belmont Stakes on Mine That Bird.

Who does something like that and doesn't allienate the world? Our man Calvin Borel. And not a head will turn in aghast nor a chin nod in disapproval. Is it possible to guarantee with humility? I don't know, but if anyone can do it, Calvin just did.

To add perspective to his quote: "I loved the way he went today," Borel said after the work. "He really came bouncing off the track once we were done. That's what I love about him. He's just so happy."

I'll bet you if Mine That Bird could talk, he would have said the same thing about Calvin.

Mine That Bird worked a half-mile in 50 seconds flat but worked the final eighth of a mile in a speedy 11.60 then galloped out five furlongs (5/8ths of a mile) in 1:02.2. Needless to to say trainer Chip Woolley was reported to be very pleased. Apparently the final test of the late firing mechanism was a success.

Mine That Bird will board a flight from Louisville, Kentucky to New York on Wednesday.

Belmont challenger Chocolate Candy finished his final preperation for the Derby by also working Monday morning at Belmont Park for trainer Jerry Hollendorfer. He also worked four furlongs covering the distance in 50.25 under restraint from exercise rider Lindsey Molina. He then galloped out in 1:03.59. Chocolate Candy was second in the Santa Anita Derby behind Pioneerof the Nile and fifth in the Kentucky Derby in his last two starts.


Jerry Lee said...

Last Halloween my daughter carved a pumkin that looked just like Calvin Borel only it had more teeth.

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