The 136th racing of the fastest two minutes in sports is in the books. I’m referring of course to the Kentucky Derby, which was won Saturday at Churchill Downs by Super Saver. In the lead up to the race, Super Saver was as high as a 15:1 favorite to win the race, but that number dropped as it became increasingly clear that the weather would be foul – conditions that jockey Calvin Borel thrives in. The win was Borel’s third at Churchill Downs, and his third in the past four years. He became the first jockey to win the race three times in a four year time span. Next up for Super Saver and Borel is the Preakness, which is held annually at the Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore on the third Saturday of May. Borel joined WNST in Baltimore on Monday morning to talk about his statement on camera following the big win that he thought Super Saver would win the Triple Crown, how he thinks Super Saver will fare just fine on the longer tracks at Pimlico and the Preakness, how he thought they had a good shot to win at about the quarter pole, helping Super Saver’s owner and trainer Todd Pletcher capture his first Derby win, and how he didn’t think there was anything he would have done differently after re-watching the tape of his historic win.
On his on camera statement after the Derby that he thought Super Saver would win the Triple Crown:
“I said I like him to win the Triple Crown, yes sir. I think he’s the type of horse that’s peaking right now, and he’s been lightly raced, you know what I mean? So this was big for us. I think he’s got a hell of a shot to do it. I think this was the most important race to get out of the way with a 20 horse field and everything. And you know, Todd (Pletcher) did such a good job of getting him to relax like I wanted, and I think he’ll just get better from now on.”
On if he thinks Super Saver will fare as well at the longer tracks of Pimlico and at the Belmont:
“I know the next race will be good for him. It’s a little shorter than a mile and a quarter. And then Belmont is a mile and a half, and we’ll see what happens there. I was very excited to get the mile and a quarter, and the way he did it, and how he felt after the race. Another 1/4 of a mile is really easy, so I can’t see why he wouldn’t get to a mile and a half.
On at what point in the race did he know that he was in good shape to win the Derby:
“About the quarter pole I knew I was in real good position to win the race. That’s the only horse I went around, and it got a little tight there, but once I got through there and went about his business like I thought he would, I knew we had a hell of a shot.”
On if there was any added pressure to win for trainer Todd Pletcher who had never won a Derby:
“No, I never really thought about that. You know, he said ride him like you own him. You know, I was blessed to win his first Derby, I know how he feels. So no, I didn’t think a lot about that much, but it’s something special for me to do for him. And I just got to thank him very much for letting me ride his horse, you know?”
On if he looked back at the tape after the race and thought about what he might have done a little bit differently:
“No, I don’t think I would have planned anything different. In fact, me and my brother were talking two days before, and sh*t (didn’t get bleeped because he’s tough to understand with his strong Cajun accent) we laid it out on paper how the race was going to unfold, and it did. Bob Baffert’s horse, and the other horse on the outside – second, third horse or whatever – I thought they would go and I would be laying six, seven lengths off of them. And it was just to see how fast they were going so I could see if I had to get off the fence in case they stopped too fast. And at about the 3/8 pole I thought I better beating it out a little bit to get around that one horse, because I knew they were fixing to stop because they were going pretty quick.”