Veteran Louisiana native jockey Calvin Borel
, nationally recognized for winning three of the last six runnings of the Kentucky Derby, could reach the 5,000-career win milestone at Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots on Thursday when he flies in from his home in Louisville, Ky., to ride two mounts at the Crescent City oval.
Currently with 4,998 career wins to his credit, Borel will ride William Helwig’s Belong to B’sal in Thursday’s third race, and return to the paddock in the sixth for the mount on Frank Fletcher Racing’s Boss Man Rocket. Both horses are trained by Fair Grounds conditioner Tim Glyshaw.
“I think both of these horses have a very good chance to win,” said Glyshaw during training hours Wednesday morning at Fair Grounds, “and I know Calvin thinks highly of both of them.
“Belong to B’sal (pronounced ‘B-Sigh’) has a ton of speed,” Glyshaw said of the 3-year-old Belong to Me gelding who has made one career start and finished third after making the pace in a race at Churchill Downs Nov. 11. “Calvin rode him that day, but he broke badly and we had to send (rush) him a little more than we wanted to. But he’s had a bullet work (half-mile in 47 flat at Churchill Downs) since that start and we expect him to break a little better tomorrow.
“Boss Man Rocket made two starts for (Hall of Fame trainer) Bill Mott before Mr. Fletcher bought him and sent him to me,” Glyshaw said. “Those two starts were on the main track but we’re going to try him on the turf tomorrow. I really think this horse is going to run a lot better on the grass. Mr. Fletcher has a private plane and he’s going to send it down to Louisville tomorrow morning to pick Calvin up and bring him up here.
“I’ve always had a very good relationship with Calvin and he always seems to ride very well for me,” said Glyshaw. “He won the ($100,000) Claiming Crown Express for me with (Joey Merritt’s) Tiban at Gulfstream on Dec. 1.
“My wife Natalie is (six-time Fair Grounds riding champion and Louisiana native) Ronald Ardoin’s daughter,” said Glyshaw. “Of course Calvin and my father-in-law rode together for years and Calvin has known my wife since she was a little girl.”
Borel, 46, whose longtime agent Jerry Hissam is currently recovering from recent triple bypass surgery, grew up in Catahoula. Although his heritage is Louisianan, Borel has been a winter regular on the Oaklawn circuit for most of his career, is riding sporadically at Gulfstream until the Hot Springs meeting begins and is most recently remembered at Fair Grounds as the rider of 2009 Grade II Fair Grounds Oaks and Grade I Kentucky Oaks winner Rachel Alexandra, who went on to Horse of the Year honors later that year.
Should Borel win with both his mounts Thursday at Fair Grounds, he would join a list of only 25 jockeys in North American Thoroughbred history to reach the 5,000-career win milestone.