HOT SPRINGS - Jockey CalvinBorel joined an elite group of just 25 riders when he won the 5,000th race of his career Thursday at Oaklawn.
Calvin, who returned in late Februaryfrom a broken wrist, rode Horseplay LLC's Hezunusal to victory in the sixthrace. It was his first victory since December when he rode a winner at FairGrounds to reach 4,999 wins.
Borel, who was announced as a finalist for the ThoroughbredRacing Hall of Fame last Friday, also reached his 3,000-win and 4,000-winmilestones at Oaklawn.
"When I started, I didn't even dream of riding 5,000 races,let alone winning 5,000," said Borel. "I would like to dedicate this race to myagent (Jerry Hissam). He's done a great job. We had three Kentucky Derby winsand Rachel Alexandra. I want to thank all the trainers and fans. I think theysaw I always tried my best and appreciated it. I'm really happy I got this atOaklawn. It's one of my favorite tracks."
"I've been blessed to work for such a gentleman these 22years," said Hissam, who has been recovering from illness at home. "There's nobetter person. This is just fantastic."
Every person at Oaklawn Thursday received a commemorativetrading card honoring Borel's historic achievement courtesy of the City of HotSprings.
Borel, a 2011 inductee into the Arkansas Sports Hall ofFame, was Oaklawn's leading rider in 1995 and 2005. He is probably best knownfor winning three Kentucky Derbys within four years and as the regular rider of2009 Fantasy Stakes winner and Horse of the Year Rachel Alexandra. His firstKentucky Derby victory came aboard Street Sense in 2007 and then he won therace in 2009 aboard Mine That Bird and 2010 aboard Super Saver, the ArkansasDerby runner-up.
Borel was born November 7, 1966, in St. Martin Parish, La.,and grew up in Louisiana Cajun country and started riding at bush tracks as achild. He reached the highest echelons of racing with a fearless and aggressiveriding style - earning the nickname "Bo-rail" for his courage takinghorses through tight spots along the inside. He took some time off in late 2012to portray himself in the "Mine That Bird" movie being filmed atChurchill Downs.
Borel's biggest wins at Oaklawn are:
1993 Arkansas Derby with Rockamundo
1995 Count Fleet Sprint Handicap with Hot Jaws
2000 Oaklawn Handicap with K One King
1997 Apple Blossom Handicap with Halo America
2001 Apple Blossom Handicap with Gourmet Girl
2009 Fantasy Stakes with Rachel Alexandra
His Triple Crown wins:
2007 Kentucky Derby - Street Sense
2009 Kentucky Derby - Mine That Bird
2009 Preakness Stakes - Rachel Alexandra
2010 Kentucky Derby - Super Saver