The storybook ride of Calvin Borel and Mine That Bird has come to an end, with the connections of the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) winner now looking for a new jockey.
Trainer Bennie "Chip" Woolley Jr. said he approached Borel and his agent, Jerry Hissam, on the morning of July 1 after hearing reports that the jockey might opt not to ride Mine That Bird in the Aug. 1 West Virginia Derby (gr. II) at Mountaineer Park but would be riding Warrior's Reward in the Jim Dandy Stakes (gr. II) that same day at Saratoga in upstate New York.
Woolley said he explained that he needed a rider who would could commit to Mine That Bird for the remainder of 2009 and that Borel was unable to do so.
“Calvin is in a unique position right now to have a lot of options, but his failure to commit to my horse meant I had to go a different direction,” said Woolley. “He’s just got other commitments he has to fulfill. That’s part of the game. That could happen any given day, anywhere.”
Woolley said he had several replacements in mind.
Warrior’s Reward is trained by Churchill Downs-based Ian Wilkes, who has had a long association with Borel. Borel won the 2006 Bessemer Trust Breeder' Cup Juvenile (gr. I) and the following year's Kentucky Derby with Street Sense when Wilkes was an assistant for that colt’s trainer, Carl Nafzger.
Following this year's Derby, Borel rode the filly Rachel Alexandra to victory over Mine That Bird in the BlackBerry Preakness Stakes (gr. I). He was then back aboard Mine That Bird for a third-place finish in the Belmont Stakes (gr. I).