LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - It was Calvin Borel Day at Old Friends, the thoroughbred retirement farm near Georgetown, Kentucky. The 46 year old jockey will be inducted into racing's Hall of Fame this summer and he returned to the Bluegrass Monday afternoon to visit some of his old friends.
Borel is the only jockey to win the Kentucky Derby three times in four years. He did it on Street Sense, Mine That Bird and then Super Saver. Borel came out of southern Louuisiana , the heart of Cajun Country, and as he neared the age of 40 his riding career took off. Borel credits his brother for showing him the way. "He had been there and done it, ya know rode and trained and he was a good role model to me and kept me level head, just kept me in the same position as I was when I started. I think every jockey or somebody who believes that they have potential or talent needs somebody like a guidance."
Old Friends provides a home for aging thoroughbreds to retire. 126 are on the the farm, there's waiting list of 70. Many aging thorughbreds do not stand at stud, many or not highly valued. It's important to Borel they have a good home. "They'll run their llifestyle out until they're 10-12 years old and then they have no other life after that and it's hard. You sure don't want to sell them to killers, I mean I wouldn't and we have so many of them, what do you do with them? So this is a perfect example, to do what you want with your horses when they retire."
Among the thoroughbreds at Old Friends are eclipse winner Gulch and Belmont Stakes winner Sarava. Gulch is 29 years old.
Borel enjoys seeing those he rode and that includes Ready's Rocket, who won 11 races at Churchill Downs, the most in track history. Borel was in the saddle for nine of the wins. "To tell you the truth, ya know a horse like Ready's Rocket most probably made me what I am today." Borel said he wasn't expensive but he was a good horse. "Every time he went out there he'd give you 110 percent. I've always been on his back since he was probably 3-years old. You get a bind and now I come out here sometimes when I ride at Keeneland, stop, see him, it's the dangest thing."