The Brock Talk

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Borel Leaves The Bird

Add another saga to the crazy story that is Mine That Bird as the Kentucky Derby winner again lost a jockey. Calvin Borel, who rode Mine That Bird in the Derby and a third-place finish in the Belmont Stakes, can not commit to riding Mine That Bird in the Aug. 1 West Virginia Derby, forcing trainer Chip Woolley to look elsewhere.

Mine That Bird is scheduled to run in the $750,000 West Virginia Derby on Aug. 1 and it was assumed Borel would ride. However, it appears Borel and agent Jerry Hissam have given a commitment to trainer Ian Wilkes, the trainer of Warrior's Revenge, an up and coming 3-year-old scheduled to run Saturday in the $200,000 Dwyer Stakes at Belmont Park. After that, Warrior's Revenge is tentatively scheduled to run in the $500,000 Jim Dandy Stakes at Saratoga the same day as the West Virginia Derby.

In a series on unprecedented jockey changes, the son of Birdstone will now have a change of rider in every race since winning the Kentucky Derby. After the Derby Borel decided to ride Rachel Alexandra in the Preakness and took off Mine That Bird. Mike Smith got the Preakness mount on Mine That Bird and finished second to Borel and Rachel Alexandra. Smith then decided to stay in California to ride Madeo in the grade 1 Charlie Whittingham Handicap at Hollywood Park the same day as the Belmont, taking off of Mine That Bird. Madeo is owned by Jerry and Jan Moss who also own the undefeated Zenyatta for whom Smith is the regular rider.

Mine That Bird trainer Chip Woolley Jr. then gave Borel the return mount for the Belmont. Woolley apparently assumed that Borel would ride Mine That Bird in the West Virginia Derby. What trainer wouldn't make that assumption? Then Borel and Hissam committed to Warrior's Revenge trainer Ian Wilkes. Wilkes' large stable is based at Churchill Downs and has a long association with Borel.

Woolley accepted the Borel's defection with grace saying “Calvin is in a unique position right now to have a lot of options, but his failure to commit to my horse meant I had to go a different direction. He’s just got other commitments he has to fulfill. That’s part of the game.”

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