Friday, May 08, 2009

Calvin Borel Should Not Ditch Mine That Bird

This may be the Pinot Grigio talking, but I think Calvin Borel ditching Mine That Bird is a real asshole move. I have no idea what Jess Jackson is promising Calvin other than a few more rides on Rachel Alexandra, but it must be sweet to get him off the Kentucky Derby winner. And if Jackson pressured Borel to vacate his triple crown opportunity, then he is an asshole too. I am no fan of Mine That Bird or his connections, but it is my opinion that it is Calvin Borel's responsibility to continue on him until he loses.

And on that note - I am a fan of Rachel Alexandra's new owner, but where's the sport in buying the filly a week before the Preakness? Did you really do anything to earn the glory? No. You just threw enough dollars around to buy into that spot. And, you're welcome for all of the wine that I've bought over the years to support your hobby.

I understand that Mine That Bird was bought after winning Stakes in Canada and Jess Jackson's team bought Curlin after he broke his maiden convincingly. But, this is the 20+ length Kentucky Oaks winner. We all know that she is great. Let the pre-existing connections win the races and buy her later to breed to Curlin.

This all being said, I am excited for the Preakness. I greatly enjoy the gamesmanship and the discussion of entering more Triple-Crown-Nominated horses to exclude Rachel Alexandra from the 14 that go to post. Does Mr. Zayat, who buys yearlings at auction, want to keep her out?

Time to refill my glass. If you are at Belmont on Saturday, please come and find me. I'll be the one with the bloodshot eyes.


Anonymous said...

Did you consider that maybe Calvin thinks Rachel Alexandra is a superior horse to Mine that Bird and not much (if any) convincing was needed?

It's laughable to think that Calvin is somehow giving up a giving up a "triple crown opportunity" when Mine That Bird will most likely never win anything of importance again.

Glenn Craven said...

So, Alan, exactly why is it Borel's "responsibility" to stick with Mine That Bird until he loses? Borel rode him in the Derby -- and exceedingly well, I might add. But that was the first race of his life with that horse.

Did you forget that Borel also rode Rachel Alexandra to her smashing victory in the Kentucky Oaks on the day prior to the Derby? And that he's 5-for-5 on the filly since taking the mount? ... All stakes races, including three G2s and now a G1?

I blogged on the same topic today and took the opposition position. I think Rachel Alexandra can beat Mine That Bird (I believe Borel thinks it, too), and that winning the Preakness on a filly would be bigger for him historically and personally than anything short of finishing off that highly unlikely Triple Crown for MTB with not only a win at Pimlico, but one in the Belmont.

And really, what are the odds of Borel doing that aboard a horse that was 50-1 on Derby day?

malcer said...

Two things: First, as Glenn Craven has pointed out, Borel is the regular rider of RA and never saw MTB before last week, so if anything he has a responsibility to the filly.

Second, I guess (well, hope) that Jackson's investment was inspired by the fact that RA's former owners wouldn't have campaigned her according to her class. So to say that Jackson took away their chance to win the Preakness/Belmont is simply wrong.

Ernie said...

Wining, whining intertwining
exciting Preakness
silver lining

(and yet I prefer she not go!---had to butcher the poem)

Dig the passionate drunk rush to the keyboard


John said...

Hey Alan

I understand your emotional reaction and it certainly seems wierd for a jock to jump off a Derby winner.

It has never happened in my experience and Christine in his column says the last time was in 1945 when Arcaro had to due to surgery.

So in the minds of many the "bonds' made when you win the Derby are sacrosanct regardless of whether the jock had ever set eyes on his mount prior to the Derby.

I like Calvin and he's just doing what is best for himself and that is understandable after losing the Preakness by a nose on Street Sense (not one of his best rides in my opinion); I am sure it is a prize he wants badly.

All's fair in love and war, so what's so horrible about loading the field to keep her out. It's just as sportsmanlike as spending millions to buy her and put her in.

After all what's good for the gander is good for the goose, Jess knows that.

Anonymous said...

I agree, Borel should ride Mine that Bird. If the owners and trainers pulled the jockey off for a "better" jockey, we would all be bashing that move. So why do with think it is OK for the Jockey to do the same thing. Nice post Alan!


Alan H. said...

Thanks guys for your great comments. I considered them with an open mind and I see their validity. However, I still stand by my position.

This is the Kentucky Derby Winner. That means a lot from a historical perspective and a public interest perspective. In reality, nobody cares about the Oaks winner other than those of us that read horse racing blogs. I didn't see Rachel on the cover of Sports Illustrated. This is where my "responsibility" thought was generated. The charismatic crying jockey walking away from a horse that is now a hero for the "little guy" is bad for the sport - and I still believe it is in bad taste.

Jess Jackson immediately changed RA's trainer. Why did the jockey have to remain the same?

Just one correction - Malcer, I was not suggesting that "Jackson took away their chance to win the Preakness/Belmont". I was just saying that Jackson probably could have bought her as a broodmare prospect after she finished her 3yo year. Sorry for being unclear.

Amateurcapper said...


Have to agree with the others...BOREL is on record as saying RACHEL is the best horse he's ever sat on.

His decision was a no-brainer.

Anonymous said...

Alan, you are right! It is wrong, let me restate that VERY WRONG of Borel to give up the mount on the Kentucky Derby (presented by Yum Brands) winner. Baloo, you are also right! If the owners dumped Borel, the public would be up in arms about what A-holes they are. This is no different. Borel should ride the Derby winner.

:-) JS

Glenn Craven said...

Sorry, JS, there's no viable reason to believe that Borel is obligated to stay on Mine That Bird (just because he won the Derby) nor that he's better-off doing so. Rachel Alexandra has as good a shot to win the Preakness as the Derby winner, in my opinion and likely in the eyes of many handicappers. ... But I suppose as much as this is getting debated, I might need to expound upon it a bit back over at my own space! ;-)

Anonymous said...

Sure Borel wans to win his Triple Crown- but if the Filly and the little horse with the big heart and big finish meet up at the Belmont- watch out for an upset to Borel's personal Jockey riple crown. Let's see if he made a big mistake dumping MTB. I think he did. Man O War lost one race and it was due to jockey error- he came in second despite the jockey. Even though a jockey is only about 10% of the outcome of a race, I think the Preakness was won and lost by the jockeys. If Woolley finds a better jockey or if Mike Smith learns to ride the hearty little racehorse and MTB is up for the Belmont- he will take the glory from the Filly and win it. That is my prediction Mr. Borel. A racehorse will beat the mount you chose.

Glenn Craven said...

I don't see how he could have made a "big mistake" by taking off Mine That Bird. He's already won the Preakness on a filly; nobody's done that in 85 years. She's likely to be champion 3-year-old filly, and maybe -- maybe -- horse of the year. It will take a lot of winning by Mine That Bird for Borel to regret that.

AND, who's to say Borel won't get back on Mine That Bird later? If Rachel isn't in the Belmont and I were MTB's connections, I'd be tempted to go back to the jock who gave him his best run and biggest win, even if the guy DID ditch us for a filly and then beat us with her.

It wouldn't be impossible.


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