How unbelievable was Mine That Bird’s Kentucky Derby win? So unbelievable that even his jockey doesn’t think he has a shot in the Preakness Stakes next week.
Calvin Borel is abandoning Mine That Bird for the nation’s top filly, Rachel Alexandra. He calls her a “once-in-a-lifetime horse,” but isn’t just having the chance for a triple crown a lot rarer for a jockey than once in a lifetime? It’s a curious decision, and maybe he knows something we don’t.
No one disputes Rachel Alexandra is talented, even though she has a people name, which kind of creeps me out. She won the Kentucky Oaks by more than 20 lengths, and this week she was purchased for $3-4 million by the owner of Curlin, the all-time leading money winner. And she’s being aimed at running at Pimlico next week, which will bring her onto a collision course with Mine That Bird.
Borel has ridden each of them regularly, but there hasn’t been a conflict until now. And it doesn’t even seem like there was much debate as the sultry horse temptress lured him away.
“It came down to the facts that he knows and loves this horse, that he knows how to get the most from her and he knows how to win,” said Stonestreet Stables owner Jess Jackson, who said Friday he was aiming the filly toward the May 16 Preakness. “They were an amazing team at the Kentucky Oaks.”
Mine That Bird trainer Bennie “Chip” Woolley was equally philosophical, saying he understood why Borel wouldn’t pass up a chance to ride a horse of Rachel Alexandra’s caliber.
“We hate losing Calvin, he’s the reason we’re here,” Woolley said. “But these things happen and we’ll move on.”
So what if Mine That Bird pulls out another win? I hope he’d be too proud to take Borel back, but I think we all know how these abusive relationships work.