Calvin Borel, who won an unprecedented third Kentucky Derby (G1) in four years while aboard Super Saver in 2010, will represent the United States in the Meydan Masters jockey competition in Dubai on February 17-18.
In his second journey outside the United States for such a contest, Borel will ride against the best jockeys in the world, including Ryan Moore of Great Britain, Hiroyuki Uchida of Japan, Johnny Murtagh of Ireland and Italian-born Frankie Dettori, who is the top retained rider for the United Arab Emirates-based Godolphin stable.
“I'm very excited. This is unbelievable—a very big honor,” Borel said Tuesday from his current base at Oaklawn Park. “My agent (Jerry Hissam) and I work hard, and I'm very fortunate to be here in this position.”
Borel and his wife, Lisa, will be in Dubai from February 14-19 and will be treated to a variety of special events in conjunction with the Meydan Masters, a highlight of the ongoing Dubai International Racing Carnival. This will be their first trip to Dubai.
“They've sent me some information and pictures and it's amazing,” said Borel, who is looking forward to the opportunity to meet owners and trainers and possibly return for the $26-million Dubai World Cup (G1) program on March 26.
The 45-year-old Louisiana native said he has fully recovered from the broken jaw he suffered in a fall when his mount bolted in the Delta Downs Jackpot (G3) in November. Borel won the first race on Oaklawn's opening program this year.
In 2009, Borel won a race in the World Super Jockeys series in Japan and finished fifth of 15 riders overall who had been selected to compete in that prestigious event.
Dubai Racing Club officials have invited 12 riders for the Meydan Masters, with most recognized for a memorable ride in 2010. Borel was chosen for his Derby victory on Super Saver, which followed his Derby win in 2009 on longshot Mine That Bird and another victory in 2007 on Street Sense.
Moore, who has been riding with great success during the Carnival at Meydan, was selected for his wins on European champion Workforce in the Epsom Derby (G1) and Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe (G1). Moore also rides international Group 1 winner Snow Fairy, who is being pointed toward a possible start in the Dubai World Cup, and he captured the 2010 International Jockeys' Championship in Hong Kong in December and the World Super Jockeys event the preceding month in Japan.
Uchida, who recently was honored as the best jockey in Japan for 2010 and also was champion rider in 2009, was invited for his winning ride on Eishin Flash in the Tokyo Yushun (Japanese Derby) (G1).
Dettori, famous around the world as the rider of such Godolphin champions as Dubai Millennium, Fantastic Light and Sakhee, earned an invitation for his winning ride aboard the stable's Mastery in the Hong Kong Vase (G1), while Murtagh was chosen for his win on Cape Blanco in the Irish Derby (G1). Both Mastery and Cape Blanco could run on the Dubai World Cup program.
Other jockeys invited for the Meydan Masters are:
· Olivier Peslier of France, the regular rider of international champion Goldikova who was invited for his record-breaking win on Harbinger in the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth II Stakes (G1);
· Brazilian Tiago Pereira, who made history as the first jockey to win a $10-million race when he piloted Gloria de Campeao to victory in the 2010 Dubai World Cup;
· Frenchman Gerald Mosse, for his win on Americain in the Melbourne Cup (G1);
· Maxime Guyon, rider of Prix du Jockey Club (French Derby) (G1) winner Lope de Vega at age 21;
· Irishman Richard Hughes, who ventured from his base in Britain, where he rode top three-year-old Canford Cliffs, to win classic races in India last year; and
· British-based William Buick, who was invited for his win on Dar Re Mi in the 2010 Dubai Sheema Classic (G1).
The jockeys will compete on horses assigned by random draw in two races on the February 17 program at Meydan and another two races on February 18, with the distances ranging from 1,600 meters (about one mile) to about 2,400 meters (1 1⁄2 miles). Points will be awarded based on order of finish.
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