08/15/2016 9:43AM

Borel to return to riding this month

Barbara D. Livingston
Hall of Fame jockey Calvin Borel will return to riding Aug. 27.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Hall of Fame jockey Calvin Borel will return to riding later this month at Ellis Park following a five-month layoff during which he supposedly retired while dealing with personal issues.

Borel has been at Churchill Downs most every morning in recent weeks, working horses for trainer Buff Bradley. Borel has been living at Bradley’s farm in Frankfort, Ky., since resurfacing from a self-imposed hiatus during which he spent time in Florida and in his home state of Louisiana.

Borel has hired veteran agent Frank Bernis to handle his business. Bernis said the first day back for Borel will be Aug. 27 at Ellis in western Kentucky.

“We’re riding one for Buff that day,” said Bernis. “We’re going to ease back into it.”

Bernis added that Borel would like to be “going great guns” at the rich five-day meet Sept. 3-15 at Kentucky Downs.

Borel, 49, last rode March 26 at Oaklawn Park, where he announced several days later through his then-agent, Larry Melancon, that he was retiring. Bradley and Bernis have confirmed that Borel is separated from his wife, Lisa, with whom he purchased a home in south-central Florida about two years ago after selling their Louisville, Ky., residence.

Borel also has spent time in Louisiana with his grieving older brother, retired trainer Cecil Borel, whose wife, Debbie, died Jan. 1, 2015.

Borel is best known as the only jockey to win the Kentucky Derby three times in a four-year period, having triumphed aboard Street Sense (2007), Mine That Bird (2009), and Super Saver (2010), and as the regular rider of 2009 Horse of the Year Rachel Alexandra. He has 5,146 wins and $127.1 million in mount earnings in a career that began in Louisiana in 1983. He was inducted into the National Museum and Racing Hall of Fame in 2013.

Prior to his layoff, Borel had not exactly been riding in peak form. Competing primarily on the Kentucky circuit, his statistics had fallen off dramatically from his peak years of 2007 ($10 million in mount earnings) and 2009 ($9.2 million), with his 2015 mounts having earned just $1.7 million, his lowest total since 1990.

Bradley and Bernis both said Borel has put his personal issues behind him and is eager to return.

“He’s raring to go,” said Bernis, who also will continue to work for jockey Brian Hernandez Jr. “His head is back in it.”

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