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Borel unable to deliver on vow to win

It had been quite a week for Calvin Borel. He appeared on "Late Night With David Letterman," rang the opening bell at the New York Stock Exchange and made a brash public prediction that his horse would win the Belmont Stakes. Yet, despite the gigantic wave of publicity that he had been riding all week, Borel was not able to ride into the history books Saturday. The Cajun jockey failed to become the first rider to sweep the Triple Crown on two different horses when Mine That Bird finished third behind Summer Bird and Dunkirk. "He tried his heart out," Borel said. "I put him in a position to win. We just got outrun, that's it." Some observers, including Mine That Bird's trainer Chip Woolley, thought that Borel tried to put himself in a position to win a little too early. Mine that Bird, running ninth on the backstretch, moved up to take the lead by the quarter pole. The gelding, however, ran out of gas down the stretch. "I think we had the best horse here," said Woolley, a cowboy from New Mexico who was a virtual unknown before Mine That Bird won the Kentucky Derby. "We made a move a little early and came up a little short." Borel was expected to try to take advantage of Mine That Bird's late speed on the mile-and-a-half track. He had come from behind on Mine That Bird, a 50-1 long shot, to win the Kentucky Derby. He then won the Preakness after switching over to ride the filly Rachel Alexandra. Mine That Bird had come from behind at the Preakness to nearly beat Rachel Alexandra. When Rachel Alexandra's owners decided not to run her at Belmont, Borel switched back to Mine that Bird. He then predicted that he would win the race even though he had never won at Belmont. Borel's prediction caused some eye-rolling among his jockey brethren. Kent Desormeaux, who rode Summer Bird to victory Saturday, said earlier in the week that Borel didn't know what he was getting into. "I think Calvin is naive," Desormeaux told the New Orleans Times Picayune. "He's naive about the historical event, he's naive about the situation he's in. He's in a different place." Saturday, that different place was third. For awhile, it looked as though Borel had a shot at history. A loud cheer swept through the crowd as Mine That Bird moved up the outside and took the lead. "I thought I had it won when we got to the quarter pole," Borel said. "Turning for home, I thought he was home free." Despite things not working out as he believed they would, Borel said after the race that he had no misgivings about becoming the Patrick Ewing of racing, about making a prediction of greatness that just doesn't come true. "I ride with confidence," he said with a shrug. "It's been a good roll. I wouldn't change it for anything."


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