The Lexington Herald-Leader talked with three-time Kentucky Derby-winning jockey Calvin Borel about his rail-riding tactics that have been so successful at Churchill Downs. “Other riders might track the inside path a foot or so out,” writes Alicia Wincze, “but Borel has mastered the unique art–especially at Churchill–of putting himself and his mount inches away from the rail.
How close? Check out Super Saver in the NBC Sports blimp view of the 2010 Kentucky Derby.
Borel may have given us a clue as to why he glues himself to the fence: “There's on the fence, and there's on the fence,” he told Wincze. “You know, to me, if you can get right on it, there is traction there. But if you get a half a horses off of it, (the traction) is good and bad, andn then they'll start bobbling, and people don't realize that.”
Makes you wonder if Butch Lehr's tractor drivers and maintenance crew are more afraid of getting too close to the rail than Borel is, especially on days when the track has taken a lot of water–as it has the last two Derbies when Borel's mounts seemed to be running on a different racetrack than the competition. So maybe there's more to the Churchill Downs rail being an advantage simply because it's the shortest way around the racetrack. But credit goes to Calvin Borel for finding that part of the track where the footing is better and taking a chance on riding so close to the fence.
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