Kentucky Derby 2017 hopeful Girvin makes first appearance at Keeneland
April 23, 2017 08:19am

Brad Grady’s Girvin, winner of the Risen Star (G2) and Louisiana Derby (G2) and the top point earner on the Road to the Kentucky Derby (G1), jogged twice around the main track next to a lead pony Sunday morning after the renovation break.

The track had been sealed for the first part of training Sunday but was opened when morning rains did not materialize.

After 9 a.m. ET, Girvin made his first appearance on the main track with Rosie Napravnik aboard after having trained the previous day on the all-weather training track.

“As long as the main track is good, we will train on it,” said trainer Joe Sharp, who had brought Girvin to Keeneland from the Trackside Training Center in Louisville to avoid potential sloppy track conditions from inclement weather that was forecast.

Sharp said he plans to work Girvin on Keeneland’s main track Monday at 8:30 a.m.


Silverton Hill LLC’s Meantime showed Saturday he could become a prime-time player for trainer Brian Lynch when he broke his maiden by 7½ widening lengths in Keeneland’s sixth race at 1 1/8 miles.

“He sure looked good yesterday,” Lynch said about the 3-year-old Shackleford colt, who is a half-brother to multiple Grade 1 winner Sweet Reason.

In his debut going a one-turn mile at Gulfstream Park, Meantime finished second at 53-1 odds to eventual Louisiana Derby (G2) runner-up Patch. In his next start at 7 furlongs, he was third behind Time to Travel, who finished fourth in last weekend’s Stonestreet Lexington (G3) here.

“There was a mile and a sixteenth race that didn’t fill and seven-eighths is not his cup of tea, but I wanted to get a race in him before coming here,” Lynch said. “I was very happy with his performance.”

Lynch plans to keep Meantime at Keeneland for the next couple of weeks and then head to Belmont Park.

“He could be anything and we’ll see how the year progresses,” Lynch said. “We will look for an allowance at Belmont and then after that, who knows? Maybe a mile and a half Belmont Weekend.”

Silverton Hill purchased Meantime for $230,000 at Keeneland’s 2015 September Yearling Sale.


Trainer Brendan Walsh picked up his third victory of the Keeneland Spring Meet on Saturday afternoon when Qatar Racing, Marc Detample and Crystal Lane Racing’s Shelbysmile won the fifth race.

Four hours later, he watched American Equistock’s Multiplier win the $250,000 Illinois Derby (G3) in suburban Chicago.

No, he was not in both places.

“A 5-year-old could have saddled him,” Walsh said about Multiplier. “I didn’t need to be there. He could have saddled himself.”

Multiplier, who broke his maiden in his third start at Fair Grounds March 18, had three works at Keeneland prior to his Illinois Derby victory.

“I’m not sure what we will do next,” Walsh said Sunday morning.

“Obviously, the Preakness (G1) is what everybody was asking about last night. We will see. I think he will be a grand horse for the derbies this year.”

Walsh also said that Lee Mauberret’s Wicked Lick, runner-up in the Fair Grounds Oaks (G2) in her most recent start, would be ridden by Brian Hernandez Jr. in the $1 million Kentucky Oaks (G1) on May 5 at Churchill Downs.


Shane Borel is as close to being a jockey as possible without getting on a horse.

Borel is a valet (pronounced “vall-ett”), who helps trainers saddle their horses before each race and cares for jockeys’ gear. Valets are employed by Keeneland and earn bonuses directly from the jockeys based on their winnings.

A Keeneland valet since 2002, Borel (left) has Brian Hernandez Jr., Corey Lanerie and Jose Ortiz in his care. His best-known client is his uncle Calvin Borel, the Hall of Famer and three-time Kentucky Derby (G1) winner. 

“My corner of the jockey’s room is pretty strong,” he said.

On race days, Borel arrives at the Jockeys Quarters around 9 a.m. to prepare for the day. His tasks include polishing his jockeys’ boots and organizing their tack and other equipment.

Borel and the other valets, who wear Keeneland green polo shirts and khaki pants, carry saddles and related items to the Paddock to meet trainers before each race. After the valet places the saddle on the horse’s back from the right side, the trainer tightens the girth from the left. For a more secure fit, the valet can snug the girth even more from the right. The valet and trainer then wrap another girth over the saddle. 
After the race, the jockey unsaddles his mount and hands the saddle to the valet, who carries it back to the Jockeys Quarters.
“Our first responsibility is to do our jobs – saddling the horses – for the track,” he said. “Our No. 1 responsibility is to work for the track because without getting hired to (help) saddle the horses, we cannot be in the Jockeys Quarters to work for the riders.”

Borel certainly knows his way around the track. He grew up in the racing-rich region of Southern Louisiana, where his father, Carol, and mother, Diane, worked hands-on with the horses they raced.

Prior to becoming a valet, he spent 26 years as an exercise rider at Louisiana Downs in the northern part of the state and at Oaklawn Park in Arkansas before landing in Kentucky in 1994. Now as a valet at Keeneland and Churchill Downs, he is as involved in racing as ever.

“I love everything about Keeneland – the place, the prestige, the crowds, the way people treat you,” he said. “The list goes on and on. It is a very classy place.”
Source: Keeneland Association


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