Legendary Jockey Calvin Borel Expected to Reach Landmark Win at Oaklawn


Photo credit: Churchill Downs / Reed Palmer Photography.
Photo credit: Churchill Downs / Reed Palmer Photography.

Legendary jockey Calvin Borel is expected to land his 5,000th career victory this month at Oaklawn Park in Hot Springs.  The event will be celebrated by giving out free trading cards of Borel to those in attendance that day.

The event and 5,000th career victory stands out because only 25 jockeys have ever attained that number.

According to a news release sent by Visit Hot Springs, Borel rode his 4,999th victory in New Orleans last week, and his historic 5,000th should come fairly quickly when Oaklawn opens its 2013 live race meet on January 11.

It can’t be known for certain which day that victory will come on, but the folks in charge will be prepared to hand out free cards at the track that day. The only way to get one  will be to be present at Oaklawn the day Borel wins No. 5,000. They will not be issuing the cards anywhere else, and will not accept mailed-in requests for them.

The cards will have a color photo on the front and text information on the back along with information about visiting Hot Springs.

“We did a special card to mark the appearance of the legendary Zenyatta in the Apple Blossom race three years ago,” Steve Arrison, CEO of Visit Hot Springs, said in the news release.  “That was one of the most popular cards in our series, which began in 2001 with cards linking President Clinton to his hometown of Hot Springs.

Since then, they’ve done special cards connected to their World’s Shortest St. Patrick’s Day Parade and marking Hot Springs’ special ties to Japan through their Sister Cities program.

Borel has ridden a total of 6,365 races at Oaklawn with 899 wins, 817 seconds and 708 thirds with $20,395,809 in earnings. He has won a total of 46 stakes at Oaklawn, including 12 graded.

They will have special areas set up where fans can receive their cards.

Borel was inducted into the Arkansas Sports Hall of Fame last year.

Photo credit: Churchill Downs.
Photo credit: Churchill Downs.

In recent years, Borel, a two-time-riding champ at Oaklawn, has become synonymous with Kentucky Derby success, winning the Run for the Roses three times in four years between 2007 and 2010 including with 2010 Arkansas Derby runner-up Super Saver. The Kentucky Derby streak is matched only by riding great Eddie Arcaro. He became a household name by

riding Mine That Bird to victory in the 2009 Derby, but then sticking with eventual Horse of the Year Rachel Alexandra in the Preakness two weeks later.

Borel was born in 1966 in St. Martin Parish, La., and grew up in Louisiana Cajun country. He started riding at bush tracks as a child. He reached the highest echelons of racing with a fearless and aggressive riding style – earning the nickname “Bo-rail” for his courage taking horses through tight spots along the inside. He took some time off in late 2012 to portray himself in the “Mine That Bird” movie being filmed at Churchill Downs.

Featured image photo credit: Horsephotos.com

For more information call Steve Arrison at 501-321-2027.


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