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CALVIN BOREL WINS 2010 SANTA ANITA WOOLF AWARD
ARCADIA, Calif. (Feb. 20, 2010)—Two-time Kentucky Derby winning jockey Calvin Borel has been selected by a vote of his peers as the 2010 winner of the Santa Anita George Woolf Memorial Jockey Award. Borel’s Woolf victory was announced live on HRTV from the Fair Grounds in New Orleans by retired Hall of Fame jockey and current HRTV analyst Gary Stevens. Stevens won the Woolf Award himself in 1996.
Presented annually by Santa Anita since 1950, Borel will become the 61st recipient of one of racing’s most coveted awards. The Woolf Award honors and recognizes those riders whose careers and personal character earn esteem for the individual rider and the sport of Thoroughbred racing.
The Woolf Award was created to honor and memorialize Woolf, who was one of the greatest riders of his era and who died soon after a spill on the Club House turn at Santa Anita on Jan. 13, 1946. The Woolf trophy is a replica of the full-size statue of the late jockey which adorns Santa Anita’s Paddock Gardens area.
“Bo-Rail,” as he is affectionately known due to his propensity to hug the inner rail en route to heart-pounding victories, outran four other Woolf finalists: Garrett Gomez, Randall Meier, Gallyn Mitchell and DeShawn Parker.
The regular rider of the superstar filly and eventual 2009 Horse of the Year Rachel Alexandra, Borel stunned the racing world by orchestrating an unforgettable rail-skimming, last-to-first victory aboard New Mexico-based Mine That Bird in the Kentucky Derby. Off at odds of 50-1, Mine That Bird executed the second biggest upset in Derby history and his winning margin of 6 ¾ lengths was the biggest since 1946, when Assault won by eighth lengths.
Mine That Bird gave Borel his second career win in the Derby, as his first came with Street Sense in 2007, in very similar fashion.
Due to his association with both Rachel Alexandra and Mine That Bird, Borel maintained a high profile on racing’s biggest stages throughout 2009.
Following his win in the Derby, Borel became the first jockey in history to take off of a Derby winner to ride another horse in the Preakness Stakes. Opting for Rachel Alexandra, with whom he had won the Kentucky Oaks, Borel defeated Mine That Bird and a field of 12 other males by one length and thus became the first filly to win the Preakness since 1924.
Borel and Rachel Alexandra would go on to again defeat 3-year-old males in the Gr. I Haskell Stakes, and males aged 3 and up in the Gr. I Woodward Stakes at Saratoga, becoming the only distaffer to ever win the prestigious 75-year-old stakes.
Born Nov. 7, 1966 in St. Martin Parish, Louisiana, Borel won his first recognized race in 1976. Like so many top Cajun riders before him, Borel began riding match races in his native Louisiana long before he was old enough to compete at recognized racetracks.
From “matching” at age eight, to winning his first Kentucky Derby at age 40, Borel’s career has been punctuated by hard work and a no-nonsense approach to the sport’s daily rigors. Borel can commonly be found mucking stalls and performing other menial stable chores for his brother, trainer Cecil Borel, at Oaklawn Park’s annual winter/spring meeting.
An iconic figure on the Kentucky-Arkansas-Louisiana circuit, Borel has won riding titles throughout the region and he is held in the highest regard by people at every level in the racing business. From owners and trainers, to officials, media, grooms, hotwalkers, pony people and exercise riders, Borel has earned a level of respect and depth of affection seldom seen in what is an ultra competitive sport.
Borel will receive the Woolf Award at Santa Anita in late March or early April, with a specific date to be announced shortly.