Hall of Fame Jockey Calvin Borel Retires

by | 03.30.2016 | 2:27pm

Lisa and Calvin Borel with Carl Nafzger at the 2013 Hall of Fame induction ceremony
Lisa and Calvin Borel with Carl Nafzger at the 2013 Hall of Fame induction ceremony

Hall of Fame jockey Calvin Borel has retired, effectively immediately, his agent, Larry Melancon, confirmed Wednesday morning at Oaklawn Park in Hot Springs, Ark.

Borel, Oaklawn’s leading rider in 1995 and 2001, couldn’t be reached for comment and no reason was given for the retirement. He was named on seven horses the next three racing days at Oaklawn and was scheduled to work horses Wednesday morning, including Cosmic Evolution for the $400,000 Fantasy Stakes (G3) April 9.

Melancon said Borel, 50, informed him Tuesday afternoon that he was retiring. The two talked again about 40 minutes before the track opened Wednesday morning, Melancon said, and nothing had changed.

“That’s all I know,” said Melancon, who had Borel’s book since late August.

Jerry Hissam of Hot Springs, Borel’s close friend and longtime agent, was also unable to shed any light on the jockey’s abrupt retirement.

“I spoke with him and he said it was time,” Hissam said. “It was just time.”

Hissam had represented Borel for most of the last 25 years after taking the jockey’s book at the 1991 Oaklawn meeting.

According to Equibase, racing’s official data gathering organization, Borel retires with 5,146 career victories – 27th-highest total in North American history – and purse earnings of $127,087,376. He rode his first winner in 1983.

Born Nov. 7, 1966, in St. Martinville, La., Borel earned the nickname “Bo-Rail” for his daring ground-saving rides, a style that carried him to an unprecedented three Kentucky Derby victories in four years (Street Sense in  2007, Mine That Bird in 2009 and Super Saver in 2010).

Borel also won the Preakness aboard 2009 Horse of the Year Rachel Alexandra and was inducted into the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame in 2013.

Borel enjoyed immense success at Oaklawn, recording his 3,000th, 4,000th and 5,000th career victories in Hot Springs. He became the 26th jockey in North American history to reach 5,000 victories March 7, 2013.

Borel ended Pat Day’s 12-year run as Oaklawn’s leading rider in 1995 and captured his second title in 2001.

He began riding regularly at Oaklawn in 1990 and recorded 947 victories in Hot Springs, including 51 in stakes. The Hall of Famer won all five of Oaklawn’s major Racing Festival of the South events at least once, including the $500,000 Arkansas Derby (G2) in 1993 aboard 108-1 long shot Rockamundo.

“It was just one amazing God-given ride,” Hissam said.

Hissam retired before the 2016 Oaklawn meeting and now works in customer service at the track.

Borel’s 50th and 51st Oaklawn stakes victories came aboard the popular sprinter Ivan Fallunovalot in consecutive runnings (2015 and 2016) of the $100,000 King Cotton for trainer Tom Howard of Hot Springs. He also rode Ivan Fallunovalot to a ninth-place finish in the $1.5 million Breeders’ Cup Sprint (G1) Oct. 31 at Keeneland.

“His professional input and feedback on a horse has been invaluable,” said Howard’s wife/assistant, Kathy. “He drove over from Louisville to Keeneland and galloped Ivan for the Breeders’ Cup. How strong is that? He’s been so good to us.”

The Howards said Borel’s loyalty extended off the track.

“We consider him a friend, personally and professionally,” Kathy Howard said.

In what would be his final career mount, Borel finished fourth aboard the Tom Howard-trained Mud Light in Saturday’s $100,000 Gazebo Stakes at Oaklawn. His final career victory came aboard Thrylos March 18 at Oaklawn for trainer Lon Wiggins, who also has Cosmic Evolution.

Borel won the $50,000 Martha Washington Stakes and $250,000 Fantasy Stakes (G2) in 2009 aboard Rachel Alexandra for Wiggins’ father, retired trainer Hal Wiggins.

He had seven victories at this year’s Oaklawn meeting.


Upon learning the news of Hall of Fame jockey Calvin Borel’s retirement on Wednesday morning, Churchill Downs Racetrack President Kevin Flanery issued the following statement:

“Along with his three Kentucky Derby victories and his status as one of the most accomplished jockeys in Churchill Downs history, Calvin’s 20 years at our track were as notable for his relationship with our fans as his excellence on the track. Calvin rose to racing’s Hall of Fame from humble beginnings, and that was reflected in his ongoing relationship with our fans – and especially children. He loved the kids and felt a responsibility to provide a positive image to them and to let them know daily how much he appreciated them. There have been few, if any, individuals quite like Calvin Borel in 142 years of history at Churchill Downs. We thank him for a job well done and wish him the best in the future.”

Borel spent his first full season riding at Churchill Downs in the Fall of 1995. He won 1,189 races over 45 race meetings beneath the Twin Spires to rank second all-time at Churchill Downs only behind Pat Day’s 2,482 victories. Sixty of Borel’s victories came in stakes events, which places him third all-time at the track behind Day’s 156 and Robby Albarado’s 76.

Borel was a four-time leading rider at Churchill Downs: 1999 Fall (42 wins), 2006 Fall (23), 2009 Fall (27) and 2010 Spring (52).








337-594-3000 EXT. 3149






OPELOUSAS, LA- Evangeline Downs Racetrack Casino & Hotel will kick off its 51st season of Thoroughbred racing action on April 6 in Opelousas, Louisiana. The 84-day meeting will run through Saturday, August 27 with live racing each Wednesday through Saturday night. The season will feature a new post time of 5:50 pm CT, which is a change from the former post time at Evangeline Downs of 5:40 pm.


There will be 26 stakes races held during the season with total purses in excess of $2 million. The two biggest nights of the season will occur on a pair of Saturdays. The June 4 program will include three stakes races highlighted by the $100,000 Evangeline Mile for 3-year-olds and up at one mile on the main track. Louisiana Legends Night will take place on July 2 offering eight stakes races for Louisiana-bred horses and will also include the richest event of the season, the $125,000 Louisiana Legends Classic for 3-year-olds and up going 1 1/16 miles. A total of $775,000 in stakes purse money will be offered on Louisiana Legends Night.

Here is the complete 2016 Evangeline Downs Stakes Schedule:


DATE                         RACE                                      SEX/AGE                DISTANCE  

Friday, Apr. 8             $50,000 Cajun Miss                  3YO Fillies                7 furlongs

Saturday, Apr. 9         $50,000 Ragin Cajun                3YO                          7 furlongs

Friday, Apr. 22           $60,000 Opelousas                    3YO & Up F&M      1 mile (TURF)

Saturday, Apr. 23       $60,000 John Henry                  3YO & Up                1 1/16 miles (TURF)

Friday, May 6             $75,000 Equine Sales Oaks      3YO Fillies                1 1/16 miles

Saturday, May 7         $75,000 Equine Sales Derby     3YO C&G                1 1/16 miles

Friday, June 3             $60,000 Tellike                         3YO & Up F&M      5 furlongs (TURF)

Friday, June 3             $75,000 Spotted Horse             3YO & Up F&M      1 mile

Friday, June 3             $70,000 Acadiana                     3YO La-bred Fillies  7 furlongs

Saturday, June 4         $100,000 Evangeline Mile        3YO & Up                1 mile

Saturday, June 4         $60,000 Need For Speed          3YO & Up                5 furlongs (TURF)

Saturday, June 4         $70,000 Lafayette                     3YO La-breds           7 furlongs




Saturday, July 2          $125,000 Classic                       3YO & Up                1 1/16 Miles

Saturday, July 2          $100,000 Distaff                       3YO & Up F&M      1 1/16 Miles

Saturday, July 2          $100,000 Sprint                        3YO & Up                5 ½ furlongs

Saturday, July 2          $100,000 Mademoiselle            3YO & Up F&M      5 ½ furlongs

Saturday, July 2          $100,000 Turf                           3YO & Up                1 1/16 miles (TURF)

Saturday, July 2          $100,000 Cheval                       3YO                          1 mile (TURF)

Saturday, July 2          $100,000 Soiree                        3YO Fillies                1 mile (TURF)

Saturday, July 2          $50,000 Starter                         3YO & Up                1 1/16 miles


Saturday, July 16        $100,000 D.S. Shine Young     2YO Fillies                5 ½ furlongs

Saturday, July 16        $100,000 D.S. Shine Young     2YO C&G                5 ½ furlongs

Saturday, Aug. 20       $60,000 Owners’ Day Distaff  3YO & Up F&M      1 1/16 Miles (TURF)

Saturday, Aug. 20       $60,000 Owners’ Day Cup       3YO & Up                1 1/16 Miles (TURF)

Saturday, Aug. 27       $60,000 EvD Prince                  2YO                          6 furlongs

Saturday, Aug. 27       $60,000 EvD Princess               2YO Fillies                6 furlongs


Improvements have been made to the turf course at Evangeline Downs for the 2016 Thoroughbred season. The racetrack has hired Randall Leger as the new Track Superintendent. Leger has supervised the turf course improvements, with the assistance of consultant Bode Boudreaux and turf specialist Scott Guidry. Turf rye has been planted on the course, which has also been top-dressed with sub-angular sand. This has allowed the course to now have a more solid foundation and root system. It is expected to be at three inches for the start of the racing season. The end goal of the renovations to the Evangeline Downs turf is to make it one of the finest turf courses in the United States.


For more information on the Thoroughbred season at Evangeline Downs, visit the track’s website at www.evdracing.com. Evangeline Downs’ Twitter handle is @EVDRacing and the racetrack is also accessible on Facebook at www.facebook.com/EvangelineDownsRacing.



About Evangeline Downs

Evangeline Downs Racetrack Casino & Hotel is owned by Boyd Gaming Corporation, a leading diversified owner and operator of 22 gaming entertainment properties located in Nevada, New Jersey, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana and Mississippi.  Boyd Gaming press releases are available at www.prnewswire.com.  Additional news and information can be found at www.boydgaming.com, or www.evangelinedowns.com.


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LTBA Re-Opens EVD Office

The Louisiana Thoroughbred Breeders Association has re-opened its Evangeline Downs office effective today, March 29, 2016. The office is located at the racetrack adjacent to the racing office.

Brooke Darbonne will be at the office Tuesdays through Fridays from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. to assist breeders with any LTBA related business.

The EVD office of the LTBA will be open for business through the duration of the Evangeline Downs thoroughbred meet.

2235 Creswell Lane Extension
Opelousas, LA, 70570
Tues-Friday 9:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.

Sunbean wins Star Guitar Stakes

Brittlyn Stable, Inc.’s Sunbean wins the 7th running of the Star Guitar Stakes. Photo by Lou Hodges Jr./Hodges Photography

Star Guitar Stakes
March 26, 2016
One mile and one sixteenth, for 4-Year-Olds and upward, Louisiana Breds, $60,000

Brahms-X Strawdnair, by Malagra
Breeder: Brittlyn, Inc
Owner: Brittlyn Stable, Inc.
Trainer: Ron Faucheaux
Jockey: R.E. Eramia

Time: 1:44.93
Margins: 1 1/4, 3, 6 1/4

2nd: Hopeful Notion

3rd: One King’s Man


Classy Bird Takes First Stakes Win in Crescent City Derby

Classy Bird wins the 44th running of the Crescent City Derby. Photo by Amanda Hodges Weir/Hodges Photography.

Crescent City Derby
March 26, 2016
One Mile and one sixteenth, for 3-Year-Olds, Louisiana Breds, $75,000

Birdstone-Classy Aly, by Sky Classic
Breeder: Allen Guillotte, Jr.
Owner: Norman Stables, LLC
Trainer: Lonnie Briley
Jockey: F. C. Torres

Time: 1:46.33
Margins: 1, 2, 3

2nd: Extra Credit

3rd: Ekati Warrior


Jockamo’s Song Takes Costa Rising Stakes Victory

Jockamo’s Song wins the 6th running of the Costa Rising Stakes. Photo by Amanda Hodges Weir/Hodges Photography


Costa Rising Stakes
March 26, 2016
About 5 1/2 furlongs, turf,  for 4-Year-Olds and upwards, Louisiana Breds, $60,000

Half Ours-Miss Clairnette, by Trophy Hunter
Breeder: Debbie Allen & David Allen
Owner: Dare To Dream Stable, LLC
Trainer: Michael Stidham
Jockey: M. Murrill

Time: 1:03.19
Margins: 1/2, 1 1/2, hd

2nd: Eden Grey’s Kitten

3rd: Brilliant Interest


Our Lady Allie Wins Crescent City Oaks

Our Lady Allie wins the 11th running of the Crescent City Oaks at the Fair Grounds Race Course in New Orleans, LA. Photo by Lou Hodges, Jr./Hodges Photography

Crescent City Oaks
March 26, 2016
1 mile 70 yards, for 3-Year-Old Fillies, Louisiana Breds, $75,000

Private Vow-Our Fan Allie, by Lear Fan
Breeder: Joyce Pickett
Owner: Midwest Thoroughbreds, Inc.
Trainer: Thomas M. Amoss
Jockey: J. Graham

Time: 1:44.20
Margins: 4 1/2, 1/2, 3 1/2

2nd: Jet Black Magic

3rd: Sunny Oak


Longtime LQHBA Executive Director Leverne Perry Passes Away, Services Set Tuesday

ALEXANDRIA , LA—MARCH 27, 2016—Former LQHBA Executive Director Leverne Perry died today in Alexandria, Louisiana. He was 84.

Services have been set for 2 pm Tuesday (Mar 29) at the G.A. Mangun Center at the Pentecostals of Alexandria located at 2817 Rapides Avenue in Alexandria, Louisiana.

Visitation will be held Monday from 5-9 pm at Hixon Brothers in Alexandria and also from 10 am until time of the service on Tuesday at the G.A. Mangun Center.

Leverne was born in Sieper, Louisiana on January 4, 1932. He contributed much to this community throughout his lifetime. As an accomplished cowboy he traveled the south and even competed in a Madison Square Gardens in New York. Many remember Leverne as host of the children’s show “Leverne Perry and the Little Wranglers” which ran from 1960-1966.

He had a heart for children, especially those with special needs, He organized the “Horses and Handicaps Program “ volunteering many hours to help give joy to others through his love of horses. He also was involved in fund raising for St. Mary’s.

Leverne was the owner of Leverne Perry Shoes. He also served, as President of the Police Jury in the 1970′ s. He was President of Amicus Club Rodeo Association.

Perry served as the Executive Director of LQHBA for 26 years retiring in 2013.

He played a key role in successful legislative efforts that resulted in slot machines at Louisiana racetracks. Following that, Louisiana’s Quarter Horse racing industry flourished into the richest state-bred program in the nation with significant gains in purse money and breeder incentives awards for accredited state-breds.

During his tenure, he helped develop the Youth Scholarship program, the first Mardi Gras Futurity and the first $1,000,000-guaranteed Breeders Futurity for Louisiana-bred foals.

His tireless efforts to promote and expand Louisiana racing and breeding helped develop the annual yearling sale into one of the largest state-bred Quarter Horse sales in the country.

Perry has been honored with many distinguished service awards and will be inducted into the inaugural class of the new LQHBA Hall-of-Fame next month. He is also a member of the Louisiana Rodeo Hall of Fame.

In recognition of his 25 years of service as the executive director of the LQHBA, the American Quarter Horse Association honored him with the 2011 Gordon Crone Special Achievement award. In 2014 he received the LQHBA Lifetime Achievement award.

Perry served on the AQHA Racing Committee and the AQHA Champions committee and served as Executive Director Emeritus of LQHBA.

He was preceded by his parents Jesse and Goretha Perry. He is survived by five daughters, Sonny and Karen Rush, Julie and Dana Normand, Javier and Jill Gutierrez, Larry and Leigh Lepinski, Heath and Amy Grimes, twelve grandchildren and three great grandchildren.

In lieu of flowers, please make donations to Louisiana Quarter Horse Breeders Association Youth Scholarship Fund. 318-487-9506.

CLICK HERE for additional information.

Gun Runner Dominant in Louisiana Derby


Gun Runner Dominant in Louisiana Derby
Photo: Amanda Hodges Weir/Hodges Photography

Gun Runner leaves the rest behind in the Louisiana Derby.

Winchell Thoroughbreds and Three Chimneys Farm’s Gun Runner, who captured the grade II Risen Star Stakes in his last start, was a commanding winner of the $1 million TwinSpires.com Louisiana Derby (gr. II) March 26 at Fair Grounds Race Course & SlotsWatch Video

Ridden by Florent Geroux, Gun Runner, who paid $9.80 to win as the third choice in a field of 10, is headed to the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I).

“He’s a very quality horse,” trainer Steve Asmussen said. “We’re very excited about the race he ran today and looking forward to his next race.”

Candy My Boy, fourth in the Feb. 20 Risen Star, took the early lead and maintained control through fractions of :23.54 for the opening quarter-mile, :48.24 for a half-mile, and 1:12.94 for six furlongs withDazzling Gem and Gun Runner in close pursuit. The latter took over past one mile in 1:38.12 and wasn’t threatened to the finish.

The final time for the 1 1/8 miles was 1:51.06 on a fast track. Tom’s Ready, seventh in the Risen Star, rallied for second, while Dazzling Gem held for third. Favored Mo Tom, a troubled third in the Risen Star, had an opening along the rail but was stopped again and finished fourth after a rally from far back.

A 3-year-old colt by Candy Ride  , out of the Giant’s Causeway  mare Quiet Giant, Gun Runner was bred in Kentucky by Besilu Stables. He has now won four of five starts; his lone defeat came last November in the Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes (gr. II), in which he finished fourth behind AiroforceMor Spirit, and Mo Tom.

The Louisiana Derby winner earned 100 points in the Road to the Kentucky Derby standings.

Read More at Bloodhorse.com