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With Career Milestone In Pocket, Borel Looks To A Calm Summer
As usual, Calvin Borel went about his business Sunday morning with a smile on his face.
Working horses for his brother Cecil, Borel was back at it with a milestone victory in his back pocket: career victory No. 4,500.
The victory, which made him the 32nd North American rider to reach 4,500, came aboard Screen Your Friend in the Bashford Manor (GIII) for Borel's first stakes win of the meet and 36th overall under the Twin Spires.
"I have liked him all along," said Borel, who has ridden the colt three times including his maiden score on June 4. "It was good to see him take that step up yesterday."
Borel, who hurt his knee when he came off a horse during training hours on June 13, is going to take some time off when the meet closes Sunday.
"I am going to ride a few weekends around the country, but for the most part just rest it over the summer," Borel said. "It is still a little sore."
Which means the climb to 5,000 wins will get off to a slow start.
"That's my next goal," said Borel, 41. "Hopefully I can get it in three years."
Presently, there are 22 North American riders in the 5,000-win club. Sitting just ahead of Borel on the all-time North American list is Kentuckian Don Brumfield with 4,573 victories.
SCREEN YOUR FRIEND DOING WELL AFTER BASHFORD MANOR WIN - William Carl's longshot Bashford Manor winner Screen Your Friend came out his victory in Saturday's stakes debut in good order according to Georgia Jackson, assistant to trainer Bernie Flint.
"He's doing good this morning," Jackson said. "It was a great way to end the meet for us. We started slow, but finished with nine wins."
Among the nine wins was a victory by Saltgrass Trail on June 11 that gave Flint his 400th score at Churchill Downs.
However, Flint was not able to enjoy either victory at the track because he was at home recovering from back surgery.
"He tried to get out here a couple of weeks ago, but those things just take time," Jackson said.
CHAMPION CURLIN SCHEDULED FOR MONDAY WORK - Reigning "Horse of the Year" Curlin is scheduled to work on Monday at Churchill Downs in preparation for a scheduled debut on the turf next weekend either at Belmont Park or Arlington Park.
The Steve Asmussen-trained son of Smart Strike, an easy winner this year of the $6 million Dubai World Cup (GI) at Nad Al Sheba and the $1 million Stephen Foster Handicap (GI) at Churchill Downs, is scheduled to work over the main track in Asmussen's second set of horses on Monday. Curlin should step onto the one-mile dirt oval at approximately 6:15 a.m. (EDT).
Curlin breezed seven furlongs on the Matt Winn Turf Course in 1:31.20 last Tuesday in his first training effort over the surface. With an eye toward a possible run in France's famed Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe in early October, Asmussen plans for Curlin to make his turf debut on Saturday, July 12 in either the $500,000 Man O' War (GI) at Belmont or the $200,000 Arlington Park Handicap (GIII) at the Illinois track.
Published reports have had Asmussen leaning toward the New York race, but licensing issues related to the colt's minority ownership must be settled in either jurisdiction to allow the winner of the 2007 Breeders' Cup Classic Powered by Dodge (GI) to compete.
TOP RIDERS HEADED TO SARATOGA, PRESQUE ISLE - With the close of the 52-day Spring Meet on Sunday, the leading jockeys in the rider standings will be heading to various destinations.
Headed to Saratoga are leading rider Robby Albarado, Julien Leparoux, Shaun Bridgmohan and, for the first time, Jamie Theriot. Miguel Mena and Jesus Castanon, who have combined for 93 victories for agent Steve Elzey, will be headed to Presque Isle.
Leparoux, who guided Churchill Downs-based Pure Clan to victory in the American Oaks Invitational (GI) on Saturday for trainer Bob Holthus, will return to Hollywood Park this coming Saturday to ride Fab Oak Stable's Nownownow in the Grade II Swaps Stakes. Leparoux rode Nownownow to victory in the inaugural Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf last fall at Monmouth Park.
Mena and Castanon leave Tuesday for Presque Isle, where Mena has mounts beginning Wednesday and Castanon on Thursday.
Larry Sterling Jr., who with 11 victories is tied for 11th in the rider standings, is going to Arlington Park to rejoin the Chicago circuit on which he has been a regular since 1998.
Other riders in the top 10 -- Corey Lanerie, Brian Hernandez Jr., and John McKee - are slated to go to Ellis Park, which is set for a belated opening on Friday, July 11.
"It's great to have a job," Hernandez said of the agreement reached that will preserve the meet at Ellis Park. "We got lucky."
TRAINER, JOCKEY TITLE CHASES DRIVE TO RESOLUTION - The race for leading trainer is down to a two-man race as both Tom Amoss and Steve Asmussen picked up a victory each on Saturday.
Amoss enters Sunday's final program with a 33-30 lead on Asmussen, but Asmussen has seven horses entered on the 11-race card to only three for Amoss.
Amoss is seeking his first outright title at Churchill Downs. A 46-year-old native of New Orleans, Amoss shared the 2002 Spring title with Dale Romans.
Asmussen, who enters Sunday's card with 299 career victories at Churchill Downs, won both trainer titles at Churchill Downs in 2007 in addition to the 2004 Spring title and Fall crowns in 2001 and 2004.
With two victories Saturday, Robby Albarado may have put a vise grip on his first leading rider title. Entering Sunday's card, Albarado holds a 70-63 lead over Miguel Mena, who was blanked on Saturday.
Albarado has seven mounts Sunday; Mena has 10.
BARN TALK - It's on to Saratoga for West Point Thoroughbreds' Phosphorescent, stylish winner of his career debut Saturday for trainer Dale Romans. A son of Rock Slide, Phosphorescent won the first six-furlong maiden race for 2-year-olds at the meet in 1:11.38. "He is going to run in one of those stakes at Saratoga," Romans said. Ironically, the winner of the first such race last summer was Pyro, who has turned into a three-time graded stakes winner. "I hope he is as good as Pyro," Romans said. ... The other half of the split baby race was won by Winchell Thoroughbreds' Zion in 1:11.89 for trainer Steve Asmussen. Winchell Thoroughbreds also owns Pyro. ... Trainer D. Wayne Lukas is two wins away from 4,500. He has four horses entered on Sunday. ... Trainer David Vance has 2,999 career victories. He has two horses entered on Sunday's card. "I'm ready for it, I just hope the horses are," Vance said Sunday morning regarding the 3,000 mark, a figure attained by 21 North American trainers.... Ken and Sarah Ramsey, who have locked up their 13th overall leading owner title, have four horses entered Sunday. The Ramseys have 19 winners this meet and they own the record 21 winners for a meet of 57 days or fewer.
WORK TAB - Arindel Farm's 2006 3-year-old filly champion Wait a While, pointing for the July 26 Diana Handicap (GI) at Saratoga, worked five furlongs on a "fast" track in 1:01.60 for trainer Todd Pletcher. ... West Point Thoroughbreds' Derby Trial winner Macho Again, runner-up in the Preakness (GI) and fifth in the Belmont Stakes (GI), worked a half-mile in :49.20 for trainer Dallas Stewart. ... Gainesway Thoroughbreds' Ocean Colors, the next-to-last foal of 1988 Kentucky Derby winner Winning Colors, worked five furlongs in 1:02.40 for trainer Steve Asmussen.
2008 SPRING MEET LEADERS
Through Saturday, July 5 Jockeys Starts 1-2-3
Robby Albarado 281 70-44-38
Miguel Mena 355 63-49-50
Julien Leparoux 298 54-55-49
Calvin Borel 294 51-42-38
Jamie Theriot 284 48-37-39
Shaun Bridgmohan 224 44-42-32
Jesus Castanon 268 30-28-31
Corey Lanerie 229 21-33-30
Brian Hernandez Jr. 202 18-29-23
John McKee 150 14-21-20
Tom Amoss 84 33-15-13
Steve Asmussen 140 30-26-21
Ken McPeek 85 26-14-11
Mike Maker 70 20-14-11
Dale Romans 147 19-27-24
Ian Wilkes 54 15-13-7
Eddie Kenneally 64 12-10-10
Paul J. McGee 52 12-8-6
Greg Foley 68 10-10-9
Cody Autrey 56 10-9-11
Steve Margolis 50 10-7-11
Robert O'Connor II 23 10-3-4
D. Wayne Lukas 63 10-2-6
Bret Calhoun 26 10-2-5
Ken and Sarah Ramsey 71 19-11-15
Maggi Moss 33 14-7-5
Zayat Stables, LLC 55 9-12-11
Richard, Elaine & Bert Klein 39 9-7-7
Jay Em Ess Stable 26 6-4-2
Heflin & Driver Racing 29 5-5-6
Heiligbrodt Racing Stable 17 5-1-0
Seven (7) owners tied at four (4) wins