Two-time Kentucky Derby (gr. I) winning jockey Calvin Borel has been named the 2010 winner of Santa Anita Park's George Woolf Memorial Jockey Award in a vote of his peers.
Borel will receive his award in a winner’s circle ceremony at Santa Anita on March 14.
Retired Hall of Fame jockey and current racing analyst Gary Stevens, winner of the 1996 Woolf Award in 1996, made the announcement Feb. 20 from Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots in New Orleans on HRTV.
Borel will become the 61st recipient of one of racing’s most coveted awards, which has been presented since 1950. The Woolf Award honors and recognizes those riders whose careers and personal character earn esteem for the individual rider and the sport of Thoroughbred racing.
“Bo-Rail,” as he is affectionately known due to his propensity to hug the inner rail en route to heart-pounding victories, out-polled four other Woolf finalists: Garrett Gomez, Randall Meier, Gallyn Mitchell, and DeShawn Parker.
The regular rider of eventual 2009 Horse of the Year Rachel Alexandra, Borel stunned the racing world by orchestrating an unforgettable rail-skimming, last-to-first victory aboard New Mexico-based Mine That Bird in the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) last May. Off at odds of 50-1, Mine That Bird executed the second-biggest upset in Derby history. His winning margin of 6 3/4 lengths was the biggest since 1946, when Assault won by eighth lengths.
Borel also won the Derby aboard Street Sense in 2007 in very similar fashion.
Due to his association with both Rachel Alexandra and Mine That Bird, Borel maintained a high profile on racing’s biggest stages throughout 2009.
Following his win in the Derby, Borel became the first jockey in history to take off of a Derby winner to ride another horse in the Preakness Stakes (gr. I). He opted for Rachel Alexandra, with whom he had won the Kentucky Oaks (gr. I). She defeated Mine That Bird and 12 other males by one length and thus became the first filly to win the Preakness since 1924.
With Borel aboard, Rachel Alexandra would go on to again defeat 3-year-old males in the
Haskell Invitational Stakes (gr. I) and older males in the Woodward Stakes (gr. I), becoming the only distaffer to ever win the prestigious 75-year-old stakes.
Born Nov. 7, 1966, in St. Martin Parish, La., Borel won his first recognized race in 1976. Like so many top Cajun riders before him, Borel began riding match races in his native Louisiana long before he was old enough to compete at recognized racetracks.
Borel’s career has been punctuated by hard work and a no-nonsense approach to racing’s daily rigors. Borel can be found mucking stalls and performing other stable chores for his brother, trainer Cecil Borel.
The George Woolf Award was created to honor and memorialize one of the greatest riders of his era. one who died soon after a spill on the clubhouse turn at Santa Anita Jan. 13, 1946. The Woolf trophy is a replica of the full-size statue of the late jockey which adorns Santa Anita’s Paddock Gardens area.
Borel will receive the award at Santa Anita in late March or early April, with a specific date to be announced shortly.