Jockey Calvin Borel has reached an agreement with the new owners of Kentucky Oaks (Grade I) winner Rachel Alexandra to ride the 3-year-old filly through the “current racing season.”
Jess Jackson’s Stonestreet Stables, majority owner of Rachel Alexandra, and partner Harold McCormick announced in a press release issued Friday that Borel would continue to ride the daughter of Medaglia d’Oro, who was purchased for an undisclosed price in a private transaction earlier this week. Rachel Alexandra is unbeaten in five races under Borel, a string that started in November in the Golden Rod (GII) at Churchill Downs and continued in her record 20 ¼-length victory in the Oaks under the track’s historic Twin Spires on May 1.
“It came down the fact that he knows and loves this horse, that he knows how to get the most from her and he knows how to win,” Jackson said in the press release. “We think this is a perfect match of rider and horse.”
“We’re very happy to have the opportunity to continue to ride Rachel Alexandra,” said Borel. “I’ve had the chance to ride some great horses, but she is one of the most special horses I’ve ever been around. I appreciate the faith that Mr. Jackson and Mr. McCormick have shown in me, and we can’t wait to be there wherever she runs next.”
Borel’s agent, Jerry Hissam, said his rider would have no further comment on the agreement.
The victory aboard Rachel Alexandra was the first by Borel in America’s top race for 3-year-old fillies. He followed that one day later with a victory aboard Double Eagle Stables and Buena Suerte Thoroughbreds’ Mine That Bird at odds of 50-1 in the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (GI). The Derby victory was the second for the 42-year-old Borel, who won the race in 2007 aboard James Tafel’s Street Sense.
Borel’s sweep of the Kentucky Derby and Kentucky Oaks was the seventh in the 135-year history of the two races, and the first since Hall of Famer Jerry Bailey won the Derby with Sea Hero and the Derby with Dispute in 1993.
Borel ranks third in the Spring Meet jockey standings with nine wins.
WOOLLEY, NAFZGER COMPARE DERBY-WINNING NOTES – Double Eagle Ranch and Buena Suerte Equine’s Mine That Bird galloped a little more than two miles over a sloppy Churchill Downs racing surface Friday morning under exercise rider Charlie Figueroa.
“Everything has fallen into place since the Derby,” trainer Bennie “Chip” Woolley Jr. said as the Birdstone gelding walked back to Barn 42. “He is doing good. He is eating good. He hasn’t lost any weight, not that he could afford to lose any. The only thing I could without is some of this rain.”
Heavy overnight rain left the track sloppy for a third consecutive morning. Since his Kentucky Derby victory last Saturday, Mine That Bird has only seen a fast track in the morning two days and more rain is expected overnight into Saturday.
Woolley, who had lunch and dinner Thursday with two-time Kentucky Derby-winning trainer and Hall of Famer Carl Nafzger, plans to keep Mine That Bird on his twice-around routine until Tuesday.
“Maybe Tuesday morning before we leave I will just jog him and we’d have to go before 7 if we do that,” Woolley said.
PAPA CLEM TO SHIP TO PIMLICO ON SATURDAY – Bo Hirsch’s fourth-place Kentucky Derby finisher Papa Clem galloped a mile and a half before the renovation break with exercise rider Mundo Gonzalez up.
Trained by Gary Stute, Papa Clem has been stabled in trainer Cody Autrey’s barn at Churchill Downs since arriving in Louisville on April 14 after his victory in the Arkansas Derby (Grade II). That stay will come to an end Saturday.
“We are leaving tomorrow,” said Gonzalez, who serves as Stute’s main exercise rider.
“I would imagine he would train in the morning,” Autrey said. “He is scheduled to leave (by van) about 10 a.m.”
SLOPPY TRACK KEEPS GENERAL QUARTERS IN BARN – Owner/trainer Tom McCarthy kept Toyota Blue Grass (Grade I) winner General Quarters in the barn Friday morning because of track conditions.
“I woke up at 2 and saw all the lightning and then the rain,” McCarthy said. “The first thing I did when I got here was check the track and it looked terrible. I would rather be safe than sorry.”
With more heavy rain in the forecast for later Friday and overnight into Saturday, McCarthy was asked if he could skip another day.
“I will have to gallop him or do something in the morning,” McCarthy said.
McCarthy plans to have General Quarters leave by van early Tuesday morning, which gives the Sky Mesa colt three more days of training at Churchill Downs.
NO PREAKNESS RIDERS CONFIRMED FOR FLYING PRIVATE, TERRAIN – Robert Baker and William Mack’s Flying Private galloped early Friday morning under Taylor Carty and then took a brief stroll into the mile chute accompanied by trainer D. Wayne Lukas, who was alongside on a pony.
Lukas has not confirmed a rider for Flying Private in the Preakness.
“I should have one by this afternoon,” Lukas said. “I have one thing I have to tie up.”
Adele Dilschneider’s Terrain galloped a mile and a half under Jimmy Valdez before 7 a.m. Trainer Al Stall Jr. plans to work Terrain on Saturday or Sunday, depending on the weather.
Stall has not named a rider for Terrain.
“We are going to wait and see what happens,” Stall said. “But there will be somebody in white pants waiting to get on the horse.”
WEATHER COULD POSTPONE HULL WORK – Trainer Dale Romans had undefeated Derby Trial (Grade III) winner Hull out for a mile and a half gallop before the renovation break.
Hull is supposed to work five furlongs after the renovation break on Saturday with jockey Miguel Mena up, but Romans may push the move back a day because of weather.
“If I have to, I can wait,” Romans said.
Owned by Heiligbrodt Racing Stable, Team Valor International and Gary Barber, Hull may bypass the Preakness if Kentucky Oaks (Grade I) winner Rachel Alexandra is supplemented.
Romans said if Hull does not run in the Preakness, the son of Holy Bull would point to the $250,000 Woody Stephens (Grade II) at seven furlongs on June 6 at Belmont Park.
PIONEEROF THE NILE GALLOPS; “RACHEL” GOES AROUND ONCE– Zayat Stables’ Pioneerof the Nile galloped a mile and a half after the renovation break with exercise rider George Alvarez up.
Trainer Bob Baffert, who has yet to commit the Kentucky Derby runner-up to the Preakness, is due back in Louisville on Saturday night.
Stonestreet Stables and Harold McCormick’s Rachel Alexandra made one trip around the sloppy Churchill Downs oval before 7 a.m. with exercise rider Dominic Terry up.
MATT WINN DRAWS 19 NOMINATIONS – Joseph Rauch and David Zell’s Capt. Candyman Can heads a list of 19 nominations for the eighth running of the $100,000-added Matt Winn for 3-year-olds to be contested at seven furlongs on the main track on Saturday, May 16.
Trained by Ian Wilkes, Capt. Candyman Can has won three graded stakes, beginning with the Grade III Iroquois at Churchill Downs last fall. Capt. Candyman Can opened 2009 with a score in the Grade II Hutcheson and most recently took the Grade III Bay Shore at Aqueduct on April 4.
Among the other nominees is undefeated Derby Trial (Grade III) winner Hull, WEBN Stakes winner Parade Clown, Northern Spur winner Dance Caller and the undefeated Cash Refund.
BARN TALK – Jockey Calvin Borel, who last weekend became only the seventh rider to sweep the Kentucky Oaks and Kentucky Derby in the same year, will appear Tuesday night on NBC’s “Tonight Show with Jay Leno.”
Trainer Tom Amoss notched his 298th career Churchill Downs victory on Thursday when Falling Knife was put up in the seventh race by disqualification. Amoss is tied with Lynn Whiting for ninth place on the all-time Churchill Downs win list.
Also making a run toward the 300 club is Greg Foley. Champ Laila gave Foley his fifth win of the meet in Thursday’s third race to raise the trainer’s career total under the Twin Spires to 290, 12th-best all time.