Hall of Fame jockey Calvin Borel was getting on horses Monday morning at Oaklawn in preparation for the 2019 meeting that begins Jan. 25.
A fixture in Hot Springs, Borel, 52, was Oaklawn’s leading rider in 1995 and 2001, but didn’t ride at the 2018 meeting, opting to winter at Fair Grounds because of business and family reasons.
“Good to be back,” Borel said after breezing a horse for trainer Gary Thomas, a longtime client. “Feel good. I had a good summer. Can’t wait.”
Borel has 952 career victories at Oaklawn, with his first coming aboard Twice Around in the Count Fleet Sprint Handicap (G2) in 1989. Twice Around also marked the first training victory in Hot Springs for Borel’s older brother, Cecil, who is planning a comeback at the 2019 meeting, the jockey said.
Cecil Borel, who has 105 career Oaklawn victories, including eight stakes, retired in 2014.
“He’ll be here in a couple of weeks,” Calvin Borel said. “He’s going to try and get a couple of horses and run here.”
Borel said his brother has spent the last four years watching his grandchildren grow up and fishing.
“He got tired of sitting around,” Borel said. “Just a matter of time. He hasn’t got anything else to do.”