Calvin Borel, how can you not love him? He’s the most earnest sports figure I’ve ever seen. He’s hardworking and charmingly strange. He spent 20 years in the industry before he started gaining recognition in 2006. He won his first Kentucky Derby in 2007 with Street Sense.
In 2009, he became a legend. He rode Rachel Alexandra to first place in the Kentucky Oaks race and then turned around and rode Mine That Bird, a virtual unknown, to victory in the Kentucky Derby the very next day- only the seventh time that had ever been done. Then, against a field of colts, Borel took Rachel Alexandra to the top spot in the Preakness, the first time in 85 years that a filly had won that race and the first time a jockey had ever won the first two Triple Crown races on different horses.
He set a new stakes record in the Mother Goose Stakes at Belmont on Rachel Alexandra when they won a 19 1/4 victory. And then, in September, Borel and Rachel Alexandra made history by winning the Woodward Stakes, the first time ANY filly had ever won that race. Unsurprisingly, Rachel Alexandra became 2009’s Horse of the Year, and I’d say she owed a lot of that to Calvin Borel.
Today, Calvin went and did it again: he won the 2010 Kentucky Derby atop Super Saver. That makes 3 Derby wins in 4 years. And that’s another record- the previous record was 3 wins in 5 years. He has accomplished more in horse racing, over the age of 39, than most jockeys could ever dream of. We’d be hard pressed to find a sports hero as deserving as Calvin Borel.