Sunday, May 20, 2007

Integrity in the Horse Industy

Jockey, Calvin Borel.

I was reminded yesterday as I watched the pre-show for the Preakness Stakes how rare integrity is in the horse industry. The sport's commentators, Bob Costas and Tom Hammond, with analyst Gary Stevens talked their way up, down, backwards and forwards to cover every angle of how this race would be run and what to expect of the Street Sense and his jockey, Calvin Borel.

"Street Sense, the 9-2 favorite, rallied from 19th under jockey Calvin Borel to pass the pacesetting Hard Spun in the stretch and draw away to a 2 ¼-length victory in the 133rd running of the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs." more...

Because the Preakness is the second leg of the Triple Crown of thoroughbred horse racing, the derby winner always gets the majority of the speculation because after all, this is the only horse in the field that has a shot at the triple crown. This year was no exception.

While they did highlight all of the horses in the field, there was particular attention and speculation placed on Street Sense and his jockey, Calvin Borel in every interview with every jockey, owner or trainer. There was also a cameo on the Derby winning jockey, Calvin Borel, the man of the hour ever since the derby.

Calvin Borel has dreamed his whole life of riding a great horse like Street Sense and winning the Triple Crown. He dropped out of school after finishing the eighth grade to pursue his dream of racing thoroughbreds. Working his way up from the dirt tracks of the bayous just like his daddy told him. "You have to make it happen, nobody's gonna do it for you."

Who would believe that an eight grade drop-out would be invited to the White House to dine with the President of the United States and the Queen of England? Shows how strange this world is, not only did he get invited, but they had a tux ready and waiting for him and kept a shopping mall open so that his fiancee could get something appropriate to wear. Whooda thunk????

What does all this have to do with integrity in the horse industry? Well, with all the hoopla and all the glamor and spotlight thrown Calvin Borel's way where do you think Calvin Borel was in the very last race of the day on Derby day? Why, he was riding a horse! When asked why, he wasn't out celebrating this huge event in his life, Borel replied, "I told the man I'd ride his horse."


  1. I know! I heard that too. Amazing man.
    He also said something about painting a brown horse black back in the early days of his racing. I guess those horses didn't have the lip tatoos.
    Which brings up a good question: Do you "brand" your beautiful and expensive babies like they do the thoroughbreds?

  2. I thought it was great how humble he was, and how, when asked "What happened?" in reference to why they didn't win, he just said (not quoting here), "No excuses, we did our best, and that's what we got" or something to that effect. I agree, I think as long as you do your best you should be happy with the outcome no matter what. He seems like a great guy, who's truly doing what he loves. And it was a great race to watch! :)

  3. LOL that is so great to hear. I missed the race and just saw the highlights of the Preakness.