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STABLE NOTES BY ED GOLDEN
CALVIN BOREL WINS 2010 SANTA ANITA WOOLF AWARD
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 Saturday 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 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.
Mine That Bird gave Borel his second Derby victory. 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 Rachel Alexandra 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 Grade I Haskell Invitational at Monmouth Park, and males aged 3 and up in the Grade I Woodward Stakes at Saratoga, becoming the only female 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 many top Cajun riders before him, Borel began riding match races in Louisiana long before he was old enough to compete at recognized tracks.
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, hot walkers, 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 mid-March. A specific date will be announced shortly.
MACHOWSKY COMFY WITH NEXTDOORNEIGHBOR IN SHAM STAKES
Two months in front of the Kentucky Derby, and Mike Machowsky is sitting pretty. The 44-year-old trainer has two promising Triple Crown hopefuls in the unbeaten Caracortado and promising maiden winner Nextdoorneighbor, who runs in Saturday’s Grade III, $150,000 Sham Stakes, a major steppingstone to the Grade I, $750,000 Santa Anita Derby on April 3.
Caracortado, who captured the Grade II Robert B. Lewis Stakes on Feb. 6 for his fifth victory, goes next in the Grade II, $150,000 San Felipe Stakes on March 13 against Kentucky Derby Future Book favorite Lookin At Lucky.
“He trains like a really good horse,” Cincinnati native Machowsky said of Nextdoorneighbor, a bay son of Lido Palace owned and bred by John and Jerry Amerman. The Amermans raced Lido Palace, as well as Netxdoorneighbor’s dam, Fencelineneighbor. Both were major stakes winners.
“We’re keeping our fingers crossed,” Machowsky said. “Nextdoorneighbor is working good and acts like he’s got everything you’d want in a horse at this time of year.”
Discretion being the better part of valor, Machowsky was reluctant to compare Nextdoorneighbor and Caracortado. “But a few months back I breezed them together a couple of times,” he said. “They went very well together, so I’m pretty excited to have both of them.”
Probable for the Sham, Alphie’s Bet, no rider; Boulder Creek, Victor Espinoza; Kettle River, Brice Blanc; Nextdoorneighbor, Mike Smith; Outlaw Man, no rider; Privilaged, no rider; Setsuko, Rafael Bejarano; The Program, Martin Garcia; Viva Macho, Silvio Amador; and Wolf Tail, no rider.
Setsuko worked five furlongs on Pro-Ride Sunday in 1:01.60 for Richard Mandella, while The Program went the same distance in 1:00.80 for Bob Baffert. Wolf Tail worked six furlongs at Hollywood Park in 1:13.80 for Doug O’Neill.
HEALTHY COMPARI RETURNS FOR CRYSTAL WATER HANDICAP
Streaking Compari has recovered from a minor illness and will seek to extend his winning streak to five in next Sunday’s $100,000 Crystal Water Handicap for older California-breds at one mile on turf.
“He got a little respiratory infection on us,” trainer Marty Jones said of the gelded son of Redattore, who is perfect after running third in his first start a year ago. “Unfortunately, it came right on top of the Sunshine Millions Classic and we had to scratch the horse. But it seems like everything’s cleared up now.”
Probable for the Crystal Water: Compari, Garrett Gomez; Jack’s Wild, Brice Blanc; Liberian Freighter, Rafael Bejarano; and Live Sundays, Alex Solis.
POPULAR EDDIE D. WON’T ‘PASS’ JOCKEYS’ BASKETBALL GAME
Eddie Delahoussaye’s riding days are long over, as are his brief attempts at basketball. But that won’t prevent the popular Hall of Fame jockey from attending Thursday’s 43rd annual Charity Basketball Game between the Santa Anita jockeys and Holy Angels School. Tip off is scheduled for 7:15 p.m. at LaSalle High School in Pasadena.
Delahoussaye, now 58, will join Laffit Pincay Jr. and Gary Stevens, along with four-time national money-earnings king Garrett Gomez, in an autograph session starting at 6:15 p.m. “I signed them last year, too,” said Delahoussaye, who retired from riding seven years ago, “and some years back, I even played in the game. I was the one who passed the ball. I couldn’t shoot.”
Delahoussaye was never as hooked on hoops as fellow Louisiana native Kent Desormeaux, who starred for the jockeys’ team before moving to another circuit and aspired to play in the NBA before his lack of height dictated otherwise.
“Kent could play,” Delahoussaye enthused. “I could play baseball all right, but not basketball. It will be fun to be out there, though. It always is. Hopefully, we’ll have another good turnout Thursday.”
As he has for the past 10 years, HRTV anchor/analyst Kurt Hoover will coach the jockeys.
Game captain David Flores, Paul Atkinson, Rafael Bejarano, Joel Rosario, Mike Smith, Joe Talamo, Martin Garcia, Brice Blanc, Alonso Quinonez, Felipe Valdez, Mike Baze, Tyler Baze, Omar Berrio, Christian Santiago Reyes, Micheal James and others are expected to participate.
Proceeds will benefit the Holy Angels athletic department. LaSalle High School is located at the southwest corner of Michillinda Ave. and Sierra Madre Blvd. in Pasadena, approximately four miles from Santa Anita. Admission is $5.
BORTSTEIN MEMORIAL WEDNESDAY AT SANTA ANITA
A memorial service for longtime turf writer Larry Bortstein, who passed away at age 67 on Jan. 31, will be held in Santa Anita’s FrontRunner Restaurant on Wednesday, Feb. 24, at 5 p.m., following the afternoon’s races.
Bortstein, who at the time of his death was a regular contributor to the Orange County Register and the California Thoroughbred Magazine, succumbed from the effects of a pulmonary embolism he suffered at his home on Jan. 23. His longtime friend and colleague, Bill Christine, a retired multiple Eclipse Award-winning staff writer for the Los Angeles Times, will emcee the service.
FINISH LINES: The funeral for former trainer Dal Jones Jr. will be this Tuesday, 11 a.m., in the Sky Rose Chapel at Rose Hills Cemetery, 3888 Workman Mill Rd. in Whittier (562-699-0921). A reception will follow at 1 p.m. in Santa Anita’s Chandelier Room of the Turf Club. Jones died Tuesday following surgery at the age of 38. A Dal Jones IV Memorial Fund at Wells Fargo Bank in San Gabriel has been established. For inquiries, contact Branch Manager Johanes at 626 237-3900. . . Saturday’s two winning Pick Six tickets worth 65,989.80 each were purchased at Barona Casino near San Diego for $24 and at Pleasanton through TVG for $216, respectively . . . Las Virgenes winner Blind Luck worked four furlongs on Pro-Ride Sunday in :49.60 under regular rider Rafael Bejarano for the Grade I, $250,000 Santa Anita Oaks on March 6. “She’ll work five-eighths again next Saturday and that will be it,” said Jerry Hollendorfer assistant Dan Ward . . . Santa Anita Handicap candidate Rendezvous worked five furlongs in a minute flat for Hollendorfer . . . Malibu Stakes winner M One Rifle worked four furlongs on Pro-Ride in :48.40 for Bruce Headley . . . Bob Baffert said he had “nothing in mind” for unbeaten Conveyance after the gray son of Indian Charlie remained unbeaten with a front-running victory under Martin Garcia in the Grade III Southwest Stakes at Oaklawn Park yesterday . . . John Sadler has overtaken Baffert for the lead in Santa Anita’s training race, 20-18 . . . ShowVivor II was down to 303 contestants going into Sunday’s races.