Now that Rachel Alexandra’s status for the Belmont Stakes Odds has been determined (she will not run), the focus turns to jockey Calvin Borel as he tries to do something that has never been done, win the jockey Triple Crown aboard two different horses. He won with Mine That Bird in the Kentucky Derby and with Rachel Alexandra in the Preakness Stakes. Now he will get back on Mine That Bird in the Belmont. “Now that the decision is made, I am excited to come to New York and ride Mine That Bird in the Belmont Stakes.” Borel said.
Mine That Bird is going to be a solid favorite in Belmont Stakes Odds and that might put a little added pressure on Borel. Recent history might not be on Borel’s side either as Belmont Stakes favorites have been a bust recently, including last years’ favorite Big Brown.
Mine That Bird is a big closer but that type of horse rarely wins the Belmont. A horse with tactical speed does far better in Belmont Stakes odds. In the last 30 years, 27 of the 30 winners were within two lengths of the leader at the top of the stretch. That does not bode well for Mine That Bird who has come from the clouds in both the Derby and the Preakness. “If you look at previous Belmonts, the horses closer to the pace tend to win,” trainer Chip Woolley said, “People think just because it’s longer it will suit my horse better but history says you need to be closer to the pace so he’s got his work cut out for him. But as far as changing his style, we’re not going to do that. If you change his style he’s not going to finish and I’d rather be finishing than stopping.”
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The key to winning at the Belmont is timing everything just right which is where Borel will come into play. “Not only is getting the timing right key but knowing where you are in the race and how much you have to make up is crucial because the track is so much deeper,” Woolley said. “If you push the button too early, you sure can come up empty at the wire.”
Not all deep closers have failed either, as in 2006 it was Jazil rallying to win after sitting last early in the race.