Monday, August 19, 2013
Riding the Rail to Immortality
You’ll have to be loaded with forgiveness. The intention was to write about Calvin Borel last week, then a ticket went gone and a horse died, which trumped our Ragin’ Cajun from getting his “ink” in this carryover of carryovers. Without much of anything going on, save for Princess of Sylmar wrapping up Champion Three-Year-Old Filly honors (maybe Horse of the Year consideration??? How'd you like that five-horse field. Yee-haw!), Borel seems about as vibrant a topic there is.
Footnote: The ceremony needs to do away with honoring the living members of the Hall of Fame in this time slot. It’s repetitive as they do it every year, but more than that it takes away from the current class going in. They cast a long shadow and drain the energy and attention away from spectators. By the time new members are getting inducted, we feel as though we’ve been through it already. Put the onus on the newbies. What induction ceremony pays this much attention to inductees of year's past? This is why I need to be commissioner, right? Exactly.
Back to Borel. The ceremony started with Tom Durkin delivering what I believe to be an irony-free intro where he said, “And there’s Kelso. Remember when he won five straight Jockey Club Gold Cups? Then it was run at two miles. That’s pretty cool.
Joined by his wife Lisa, Borel finally got up on stage and donned his new blue blazer. He had no paper for his speech. “I have family and friends I want to talk about, but I’ll have my wife tell a story and go from there.”
So he receded and basked in the glow of his beautiful wife, shining in white telling stories of the barns Borel schooled in where “the rats were bigger than the cats.” It looked as though she was going into the Hall through her whole touching speech. In a way she was because Borel, if he’s good at anything else besides riding horses, it’s that he lets other people do their thing so he can—you guessed it—ride horses.
She thanked many people with tear-glazed eyes and when she thought about Rachel Alexandra, she had to hold back the tears even more. You truly felt the gravity of Rachel Alexandra to them. She made history with them, and made them a lot of money too.
Lisa recalled the day when Rachel Alexandra was sold to Jess Jackson. They feared they’d lose the mount since the Jackson/Steve Asmussen connection opted for Robby Albarado with Curlin. We all know how that ended. (Footnote: Lisa almost forgot to thank Jess Jackson and Barbara Banke. She fired through her list, all off the top of her head, and when she reached the end, realized she had nearly forgotten to mention them. Danger averted.)
She stepped down and Borel took the mike, he was done in the time it takes to run a turf sprint. “I just wish my mom and dad were here. If they could only see. I was very, very blessed to have a good mom and dad to let me do what I do.”
Which seamlessly led to Borel speaking of his long-time agent Jerry Hissam. “I’ve never seen a jock and his agent stay together that long,” Borel said. “There was not two bad words between us. He did his job. I did mine. If we lost the horse, we always tried to find another horse to beat him”
It was over before we knew it, just like when he slipped up the rail on Mine That Bird in 2009. He found a hole the size of a watermelon and threaded the eye with that gelding. Bo-Rail to a 'T'.
“The horse is a drug,” Borel said in closing. Indeed it is.
That's pretty cool.
Pick 5 Follow Up
I have no real definitive information to add to the Pick 5 talk. I was told that what was reported is all that's known. All that was reported was in my piece, which means there's no further information about carryovers or the races the Pick 5 encompasses. I have an email out to someone else at NYRA. When I find out more, you'll know. Oh, yes, you will know. She will be mine. Oh, yes, she will be mine.