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Breeders' Cup 2017

Borel to Ride at Indiana Grand Aug. 6

Calvin Borel 615 X 400
Photo: Eclipse Sportswire
Calvin Borel, three-time winning jockey of the Kentucky Derby and winner of more than 5,000 career races, is named to ride two horses at Indiana Grand Racing & Casino Wednesday, Aug. 6. Borel is coming in to ride Thank You Kisses in the $85,000-added AJ Foyt Stakes on the turf. He also picked up another mount for the day aboard the Ian Wilkes’ trained Dark Rain, a two year old maiden on the turf in the third race on the afternoon card that begins at 2:05 p.m.


Borel has had six previous starts over the years at Indiana Grand, three of which occurred last year, but he has yet to earn a win at the track. His luck may change with his start aboard Thank You Kisses, who has already been lucky in life.


“When Thank You Kisses was born, her mother didn’t have any milk,” said Owner-Breeder Ron McKay. “The mare (Lady Cherie) has a tendency not to have good milk. This is the second time we had to have a different plan with her.”


McKay “rented” a Quarter Horse mare named “Kisses,” who had recently lost her foal. The nurse mare provided the necessary milk to keep the colt going for the first three to four months of his life. Therefore when it came time for a name, it was an easy selection for McKay.


“We named the colt ‘Thank You Kisses’ because she (Kisses) rescued him,” said McKay. “I have several horses at a farm in Ohio (Raimondes Farm) and they both stayed there until he was weaned. Then we took him to my farm in Kentucky and that is where he was raised.”


McKay and longtime trainer, Mike Nance, had high hopes for the colt from the start. Always showing promise, the now four-year-old son of Nobiz Like Shobiz took his shaky start in life and turned it into a promising career on the track. At two, he was lightly raced with only four starts, pulling in one win. He returned as a three year old, posting two wins in nine outings, including the $85,000 Hoosier Breeders’ Sophomore Stakes. As a four-year-old, he has returned stronger than ever, recording one win and two thirds in three outings. Thank You Kisses now has more than $169,000 in career earnings.


“He (Thank You Kisses) has always shown promise and we have always had high hopes and expectations from the beginning,” said McKay. “It took a couple of races for him to get started, but he’s turned into a nice horse for us. I wasn’t here for his stakes win last year. I had a new grandson born in Colorado, so I went to see him and missed the stakes race.”


McKay doesn’t miss many races for his stable. He and Nance have a solid friendship and partnership that has stood the test of time since 1982. They began working together at Ellis Park and have had success at various tracks in the Midwest, including Thistledown, Sportsman’s Park, Fairmount Park and the Indiana tracks. Now with more than 140 horses in his possession, McKay continues to fare well at Indiana Grand and hopes Thank You Kisses will bring in another stakes win for his M.Y. Stables, Inc.


“We were looking for a jockey for him (Thank You Kisses) at the last minute, so Mike (Nance) and I decided to look around and see who we could find,” said McKay. “We saw Calvin (Borel) was riding in Kentucky and wasn’t riding on Wednesday, so we took a shot he would come up for an $85,000 stakes race. We’ve admired his riding for years, so we are excited to have him ride.”


When asked if Borel had ever ridden for him before, McKay said he cannot remember that he ever has, so this will be a first. The other first will be a turf start for Thank You Kisses.


“He (Thank You Kisses) has never run on the turf, but we know he’s good on the dirt and in the mud so we decided to try,” said McKay. “He likes to come from behind, so he should fit Calvin’s style. And, if it rains and gets moved off the turf, it won’t bother us a bit.”


Thank You Kisses is uncoupled with stablemate Father Mick in the 12-horse field, running at a distance of one and one-sixteenth miles. The gelding will begin from post two for Borel at odds of 8-1 on the morning line. The heavy favorite in the race, Proud Azteca, will be ridden by Francisco Torres from post four at odds of 9-5 for trainer Mike Maker.


Borel, who is currently ranked among the top five jockeys at Ellis Park, has more than 15 leading rider titles to his credit. His titles come from tracks such as Churchill Downs, Keeneland, Ellis Park, Turfway Park, Louisiana Downs, Delta Downs, Kentucky Downs and Oaklawn Park. In addition to his three Kentucky Derby wins with Street Sense (2007), Mine That Bird (2009) and Super Saver (2010), Borel also earned fame aboard Rachel Alexandra, winner of the Preakness and 2009 Eclipse Award Horse of the Year. In recent years, Borel finished third in the 2013 Kentucky Derby with Revolutionary. In all, the Louisiana native has more than $125 million accumulated in purse earnings during a career that has spanned more than 30 years. Borel was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2013.





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