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Calvin Borel to Come Out of Retirement

Hall of Fame rider to return at Ellis Park Aug. 27.

Hall of Fame jockey Calvin Borel, who retired from racing in March, said he would resume his riding career Aug. 27 at Ellis Park, it was announced Aug. 15.

"When you love something, it's hard to break (away)," Borel told the Ellis Park media team. "This is all I know how to do, and I love it. And I'm healthy. If I wasn't healthy, I could walk away. But I'm doing so good now. I'm not fighting my weight. I'm so happy."

Borel, 49 and a three-time Kentucky Derby (gr. I)-winning rider, recently returned from New York where he attended the Hall of Fame induction ceremony. His agent will be Frank Bernis, who also lines up the mounts for Brian Hernandez Jr.

Borel said he wanted to get on some mounts before Kentucky Downs and Churchill Downs begin their September meets.

Borel retired suddenly March 30 at Oaklawn Park with little explanation other than telling his former agent at it was just time in a career that began in 1983 and included fracturing almost every bone in his body at one time or another. He returned to the Louisville area in early July, staying with trainer Buff Bradley and getting on some horses in the morning.

The decision to retire was apparently not so clear-cut. Borel said he was conflicted but had been getting some pressure from Lisa Borel to return to Central Florida where she lived and had show horses. While the jockey and Lisa were in a long-time relationship and she took his name, he said they never were married. Borel said he went to Florida but the relationship didn't work out.

He went to his native Louisiana to spend time with family, then came to Kentucky. In early July he said he hadn't discounted a return to riding but needed time to think about it.

Borel was famous for his relentless work ethic. Of retirement, Borel said: "I didn't like it. I took enough time off. It wasn't fun anymore. Some people quit because they're tired of it. I'm not tired of it. I was in New York for like two weeks, getting on some horses for 'Coach,' Wayne Lukas, and he said, 'You're not ready to retire.' I just want to come back and ride and see what happens."

Borel won riding titles at Ellis Park in 1995 and 2011 and was the 2010 recipient of the George Woolfe Memorial Jockey Award. He won the Derby aboard Street Sense  (2007), Mine That Bird (2009) and Super Saver  (2010). He also was the rider of new Hall of Fame inductee Rachel Alexandra, the 2009 Horse of the Year upon whom he won the Kentucky Oaks (gr. I) by a record 20 1/4 lengths and then beat the boys in the BlackBerry Preakness Stakes (gr. I), the William Hill Haskell Invitational (gr. I) and against older horses in Saratoga's Woodward Stakes (gr. I).

Borel's 5,146 victories rank No. 27 all-time.