By Josh Cook
The Kentucky Derby is quickly becoming Calvin Borel's race.
The lovable jockey with the Louisiana drawl captured his third Run for the Roses in the last four years - becoming the first rider to achieve that - Saturday aboard Super Saver in the 136th Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs.
"I was born to ride," said Borel, who won last year's Derby on long-shot Mine That Bird and the 2007 Derby aboard Street Sense. "This is every jock's dream to win the Derby, I never thought I'd win three Derbys. I'm very blessed...very blessed."
Borel, nicknamed "Bo-Rail" for his riding style, took Super Saver along the rail and to a 2 1/2-length victory over hard-charging Ice Box.
"I had him where I wanted," Borel said. "I got him off the pace and he relaxed good. I learned a lot the last time I rode him (April 10 in the Arkansas Derby). The first time I rode him I won on the lead (Nov. 28, 2009 at Churchill), but in the last race I took him back and learned a lot about him."
Borel bounced back after a runner-up finish to Line of David in the Arkansas Derby to win for the third time in seven career starts. The victory also gave trainer Todd Pletcher his long-awaited first win in the Derby after coming in 0-for-24 in the feature race on the first Saturday in May.
"It means everything in the world because I know what that feels like," Borel said giving Pletcher his first Derby victory. "It's every person's dream. This is what he dreams of, this is what I dream of."
"I said earlier in the week that Calvin Borel is a great rider no matter where he goes, but at Churchill Downs he's even five lengths better," Pletcher said. "He just knows this track so well."
That's because, Borel said, Churchill reminds him of his home track of Louisiana Downs.
"I was born and raised there," Borel said. "It's the same at every pole and I think that's why I ride so well here. It's unbelievable how much they are alike."
"He's an instinctive rider," Pletcher said. "(And) he knows this horse so well."
And Borel had a premonition that Super Saver would run well Saturday.
"I had an awesome feeling that he'd run good," said Borel, who last year became the first jockey to win the first two legs of the Triple Crown aboard two different mounts, riding Rachel Alexandra to victory in the Preakness. "I rode him here last year in the mud and he showed me a lot where I could get him to relax."
Coming out of the No. 4 post position Borel broke Super Saver to the inside almost immediately.
"He broke sharp and where I wanted to be, eight, nine, 10 lengths off, which is very good in a 20-horse field," Borel said. "When I got to the quarter pole I still had some horse under me. From there I knew nothing was going to run him down.
"I think the colt's peaking right now, at the right time. I think this colt might just get better."
For Borel the only thing better than winning three Derbys in four years might be winning four Derbys in five years. The field for the 137th Kentucky Derby better be ready for Borel.
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