Calvin Borel was nicknamed Calvin Bo-Rail for his exploits
on the inner part of the Churchill Downs main track, and he pulled another
rabbit out of his hat Friday afternoon.
Riding Moonshine Mullin, a former claimer, the Hall of Fame
rider stuck to the rail and outdueled Golden Ticket late, winning the $300,000
Grade 2 Alysheba at a big price. The race served as a prelude to the Kentucky
Oaks, but from an excitement standpoint, the event more than held its own with
Breaking from the 1-hole, the son of Albert the Great broke
on top and led through moderate fractions. Around the far turn, the Randy Morse
trainee was challenged by Golden Ticket, and yielded the lead to that rival in
mid-stretch while heavy favorite Will Take Charge toiled near the back of the
Instead of fading to second, though, Moonshine Mullin dug
in, inching ever closer. In the final strides, the 6-year-old and Borel
regained the lead before hitting the wire clear by a half-length and stopping
the timer in 1:42.83 for the 1 1/16-mile distance. Golden Ticket settled for
second, while Coin Broker was a distant third, finishing nearly four lengths
behind the top two.
Many expected Will Take Charge to do just that, but the
Eclipse Award winner was a total non-factor. Jockey Gary Stevens seemed to be
in a drive for most of the race, but the son of Unbridled’s Song could do no
better than a well-beaten sixth.
The Alysheba also featured 2013 Triple Crown veterans Mylute (who finished fourth) and Golden Soul (the seventh-place finisher). Moonshine
Mullin, who has now won four consecutive races, paid $15.80 to win and keyed an
exacta that paid $81.60 for every $2 wagered. Before Friday, Moonshine Mullin’s
main claim to fame was a strong 2011 summer at Saratoga, where he ran second in
the Jim Dandy and sixth in the Travers.