When Calvin Borel won the 2007 Kentucky Derby on Street Sense, it seemed an unfeasible and gratifying climax to the long, low-key career of a journeyman jockey. On Saturday, however, he won the race for the third time in four years on Super Saver, an achievement unmatched by all the ace riders of the previous 136 years. Moreover, the 43-year-old at last satisfied the Derby craving of a man to whom breaking records has been routine throughout his own career.
Todd Pletcher has been the dominant trainer in North America for the past decade but his exasperating quest for its most famous race had seemed doomed after the hot favourite, Eskendereya, was withdrawn injured the previous weekend. But on Saturday Borel's Midas touch ended Pletcher's sequence of 24 failures at Churchill Downs as Super Saver glided clear of 19 rivals over a sloppy track. It was a trademark Borel ride, sticking to the inside rail, just as he had on the shock winner, Mine That Bird, last year.
Pletcher proved as undemonstrative as ever, making Borel a vivid foil with his emotional, sing-song, Cajun ways. Together they will seek to end a Triple Crown drought stretching back to 1978. But there was no breakthrough for Jeremy Noseda, attempting to become the first trainer to win the race for Britain. Awesome Again trailed in only 19th.