CRAWFORD | Borel looking forward to Saturday return at Ellis Par - WDRB 41 Louisville News

CRAWFORD | Borel looking forward to Saturday return at Ellis Park; Travers showdown set

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Calvin Borel at Ellis Park (Photo by Jennie Rees, Ellis Park) Calvin Borel at Ellis Park (Photo by Jennie Rees, Ellis Park)

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Calvin Borel said he “needed to get a load off my shoulders,” after suddenly announcing his retirement from racing at the end of March.

He’ll tip the scales at about the same size during his official weigh-in when he returns to racing on Saturday at Ellis Park. But without going into details, he says the emotional weight he’s carrying will be lighter.

“It’s been a long time, but I’m doing good,” Borel told Jennie Rees of Ellis Park. “I’m healthy, and I can’t wait till tomorrow to ride. I love to ride. I just had to get a load off my shoulder and I did, and I’m doing good. I love to ride and that’s what I want to do. It makes me happy.”

Borel will ride Kiss My Note, a first-time starter trained by Buff Bradley, in Saturday’s sixth race at Ellis Park (about 4:20 Eastern time) in a 5 1/2 -furlong turf race for maidens.

Borel hasn’t been away from the sport during his retirement. He has worked horses for various trainers, and been at the track almost every day. He says Ellis Park is a good place for his return.

“It’s the perfect place to start back,” Borel said. “Actually, it’s gotten really tougher than four or five years ago, purses are good and actually good horses . . . so everything’s going good. I can’t complain. I’m happy, and that’s the main thing.

Borel will sign autographs between the second and fourth races on Saturday. Track officials will set up a table under the grandstand at the north end of the track (adjacent to the picnic area and pavilion).

TRAVERS SHOWDOWN SET

Preakness Stakes winner Exaggerator and Belmont Stakes winner Creator headline a full field of 14 3-year-olds in the $1.25 million Travers Stakes at Saratoga Race Course on Saturday at 4:30 p.m.

The Travers figures to be a good preview for the Breeders’ Cup Classic. A win by 3-1 favorite Exaggerator would go a long way in giving him a decided leg up for championship honors. Trained by Keith Desormeaux and ridden by his younger brother Keith, Exaggerator won the Santa Anita Derby in May, was second in the Kentucky Derby, won the Preakness and, after a last-place finish in the Belmont, came back to win the “Win and You’re In” Haskell at Monmouth Park July 31 to earn an automatic berth into this year’s Classic.

Standing in his way is a litany of contenders, making the Travers arguably the best 3-year-old race of the year. Southern Equine Stable’s Laoban, Jump Sucker Stable’s Governor Malibu and Eclipse Thoroughbred Partner’s Destin were 1-2-3, respectively, in the local prep, the July 30 Jim Dandy Stakes and all three have the credentials to win. Laoban, a son of 2010 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile winner Uncle Mo trained by Eric Guillot, picked the right time to win his first race when he led every step of the way over a game Governor Malibu in the Grade 2 Jim Dandy Stakes on July 30.

Trained by newly elected Hall of Fame Member Steve Asmussen, Creator won the Arkansas Derby at Oaklawn Park in April, but has been inconsistent. He finished 13th in the Derby and then won the Belmont. Ridden by Irad Ortiz, Jr., he needs to make amends for a lackluster performance in the Jim Dandy, when he was last of six horses the entire way. His stablemate, Ron Winchell’s Gun Runner, should provide some pace.

Last year, Triple Crown winner and Breeders’ Cup Classic winner American Pharoah, trained by Bob Baffert, lost just one race, and it was a hard-fought second to Keen Ice in the Travers. This year, Baffert brings two contenders to Saratoga in Mary West’s American Freedom, who was second in the Haskell, and newcomer Arrogate, a winner of three straight in California who will be making his stakes debut in the Travers.

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