05/05/2010 11:00PM

Borel again finds the spotlight can be harsh


LOUISVILLE, Ky. - When Calvin Borel won his first Kentucky Derby three years ago aboard Street Sense, local racing fans were eager to show their appreciation on the next day of live racing at Churchill Downs. Before the first race on May 9, 2007, they surrounded the paddock, cheered heartily, and told Borel they knew he always had it in him.

But now that Borel has won the Derby three times in four runnings, a sense of humdrum has almost set in - a consequential event in itself, considering this is the Derby we're talking about. On Thursday, his first day back after capturing the 136th Derby last Saturday on Super Saver, the paddock scene was conspicuously serene as Borel climbed aboard Mihrimah for the first race of the day.

Funny, but Borel could probably use the break. Everywhere he goes, he said, from "McDonald's to Walmart" to anywhere else in Louisville, he has received congratulations while being inundated with requests for autographs and photo opportunities with fans. Yet again, he is living a dream, shaking his head in amazement when asked to think about the enormity of his feats, calling his story "unbelievable" over and over.

Before the Thursday card, Borel held a 15-minute conference with about a dozen media members, participating in the same post-Derby scenario that Churchill officials arranged after his wins with Street Sense in 2007 and Mine That Bird last year. Humbly and quietly, he touched several times on the support of his late parents, his brother, Cecil, and his wife, Lisa, in discussing how he got to where he is today. He said his postrace prediction of winning the Triple Crown on Super Saver was made in a hopeful, not boastful way.

"I hope people know where I'm coming from," he said. "You have to believe in yourself."

Borel talked briefly about the May 15 Preakness, saying Super Saver is "peaking at the right time" and is a "very smart" horse. He talked about some other Preakness-related issues before politely attempting to move the conversation in a different direction.

"I'm just happy I won the Derby again," he said with his customary smile. "I'll worry about the Preakness later."

Baffert OK after getting rammed

Bob Baffert drove a loaner car to Churchill on Thursday morning after his rental car was damaged the previous night in an accident in which no one was injured.

"I'd just gotten off the freeway at Bardstown Road and was minding my own business," said Baffert. "All of a sudden I hear this noise and the car starts to shake, and I'm like, 'This isn't good.' "

A tractor-trailer had rammed the right front side of the vehicle, and although Baffert initially thought there was only minor damage, "Once I pulled away, the wheel was almost coming off, and obviously it wasn't drivable," he said.

Baffert, who was disappointed by the respective sixth- and 15th-place finishes in the Derby by Lookin At Lucky and Conveyance, joked that "I got run over on the racetrack, and now I'm getting run over just sitting in my car."

Kenneally making plans

Buckleupbuttercup, a 6 1/4-length winner of the Eight Belles Stakes on the Derby undercard, will make her next start here May 29 in the Dogwood Stakes or wait for the June 5 Acorn at Belmont, said trainer Eddie Kenneally.

Likewise, Kenneally said his top sprinter Custom for Carlos, winner of the Count Fleet at Oaklawn last out, will make his next start here May 29 in the Aristides or wait for the June 5 True North at Belmont.

Jenner, Jorgensen packing up

The Churchill backstretch will be losing two of its more well known citizens in a few weeks when Mick Jenner and his wife, Hanne Jorgensen, move to her homeland, Norway, with their 16-month-old son.

Jenner and Jorgensen occasionally have made the news while working as exercise riders and assistants to a number of top trainers for the last decade or more, including Baffert, Ken McPeek, Helen Pitts, and Tom Proctor.

* Rachel Alexandra most likely will breeze here early Monday, according to Scott Blasi, assistant to trainer Steve Asmussen. The work will come 10 days after the 2009 Horse of the Year incurred her second straight defeat, this one to Unrivaled Belle in the La Troienne Stakes on the Kentucky Oaks undercard.

* Julien Leparoux, who has the mount on Pleasant Prince in the Preakness, also has lined up at least two other notable mounts on the May 15 undercard at Pimlico, with Just as Well in the Dixie Stakes and Rainbow View in Gallorette, both for trainer Jonathan Sheppard.

* Jockey Robby Albarado broke an uncharacteristically lengthy drought by winning the first race Thursday aboard Doff ($8). Albarado had gone 42 races without a winner, ending with his last seven mounts at Keeneland and running through a 0-for-35 skein during Derby week.