Borel masters another Derby

Updated: May 3, 2010, 2:22 PM ET
By David Grening | Daily Racing Form



LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- From his seat aboard Dean's Kitten in the back of the pack in Saturday's Kentucky Derby at sloppy Churchill Downs, jockey Robby Albarado said he made a point to find where Calvin Borel was in the race aboard Super Saver.

Seeing Borel in fifth position along the inside and moving fluidly aboard Super Saver, Albarado had a sense the race was over at the half-mile pole.

"I said he's going to get to the fence," Albarado said. "He's going to win."

Again.

One year after guiding improbable long shot Mine That Bird to victory in the Kentucky Derby, Borel gave a similar rail-skimming ride to Super Saver, sliding him inside of Noble's Promise at the three-sixteenths pole and home to a 2½-length victory in Kentucky Derby No. 136.

Not only was it Borel's second consecutive Derby victory, but it was an unprecedented third victory in this race in four years. He also won it in 2007 aboard Street Sense. Bill Hartack won three Derbies in a five-year span (1960-64). Borel -- who finished third in the 2008 Derby aboard Denis of Cork -- is the fifth jockey to win it in back-to-back years.

Borel is the ninth rider to win this race at least three times. Eddie Arcaro and Hartack have each won it five times while Bill Shoemaker has won it four times. Angel Cordero Jr., Kent Desormeaux, Gary Stevens, Isaac Murphy and Earl Sande are the others to have won three Derbies.

"This Calvin Borel, you got to give him credit, he knows how to win this race,'' said Bob Baffert, a three-time winner of the Derby whose horse, Lookin At Lucky, finished sixth as the 6-1 favorite on Saturday. "He gets right on top of that rail, takes advantage. Smart rider; he owns this track.

"The thing about Calvin is he takes control of the race. He's great here. He's a great rider and he can get it done.''

As he did last year, Borel kept his engagement to ride his mount in the race following the Derby and would not hold his news conference until after that race.

"I was born to ride, sir,'' Borel said. "This is what I wanted to do all my life. Every jock's dream is to win the Derby. I'd never dream I'd win it three times. I work hard, I'm dedicated, I'm very blessed.''

Borel first got on Super Saver in November 2009 when the decision was made to run the colt in the Kentucky Jockey Club at Churchill rather than the Remsen at Aqueduct. Borel guided him to a five-length victory then. In his only other time aboard the colt, Borel rode him to a second-place finish in the Arkansas Derby.

"I said earlier in the week that Calvin Borel is a great rider anywhere he goes, but for some reason at Churchill Downs he's even five lengths better,'' winning trainer Todd Pletcher said. "He's just figured out Churchill Downs. He knows how to ride this track, he gets along with the colt really well.''

The presence of Borel on Super Saver was probably the reason Super Saver went off as the 8-1 second choice behind Lookin At Lucky. Super Saver was listed at 15-1 on the morning line.

"Used to be Pat Day, now I think Calvin owns [Churchill Downs],'' said Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas. "He's got a great feel for it and they're running for him and his confidence is sky-high. He's just a great rider, too, a great horseman in a lot of ways.''

Perhaps the one question regarding Super Saver was if he could win from off the pace. Borel was confident he could and even told that to Albarado.

"I said, 'You'll be close to the pace,'" Albarado said. "He said, 'I will take him back today,' and he did. I know it takes a nice horse to win it, but it's great positioning too.''

At Churchill Downs -- and specifically in the Kentucky Derby -- nobody puts a horse in better position than Borel.