Over the past several weeks, the horse racing world has been in a whirlwind. Kentucky Derby winner Mine That Bird was a 50-1 long shot, yet pulled out an improbable win, showing the world that the underdog can always surprise. Jockey Calvin Borel was ecstatic, but when the Preakness Stakes came around, he opted to ride eventual winner filly Rachel Alexandra. This powerful horse stormed down the home stretch at Pimlico Park in Maryland, fighting off a fast charging Mine that Bird, for the win.
Although everyone thought that Rachel Alexandra would win, no one actually thought that Mine That Bird would be able to repeat his Kentucky Derby performance. Yet again, though, Mine That Bird surprised horse racing fans with a solid second place finish, neck and neck with Rachel Alexandra to the finish line. What will happen at Belmont?
…Well, for one, Rachel Alexandra will NOT be competing at the 141st running of the Belmont Stakes. This abrupt decision by her trainer and owner means that the field for the Belmont Stakes is very similar to the Kentucky Derby, save a few new entries.
Accordingly, with Calvin Borel set to saddle Mine That Bird this Saturday, it’s no surprise that this horse is the odds on favorite. Mine has proven his abilities twice now, demonstrating powerful finishing capabilities, and with Borel at the reigns, you can be sure this horse will be running a smart race.
Meanwhile, fellow Kentucky Derby competitors Chocolate Candy, Dunkirk, Flying Private, and Mr. Hot Stuff, as of May 29th, will join the Belmont field, hoping to edge out Mine That Bird for the rather sizable Belmont Stakes Purse.
An interesting note: 2 trainers have entered 2 horses each in the race. Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas is fielding Luv Gov and Flying Private; while Nick Zito offers newcomers Brave Victory and Miner’s Escape to the lineup.
Needless to say, we’re in for a great run this Saturday. One can’t help cheering for Calvin Borel: if he wins with Mine That Bird again, he will be a “Triple Crown Jockey” winner (so to speak), even though he has ridden two different horses. Good Luck!