02/18/2011 3:08PM

Technicality helps Borel win Meydan Masters jockey challenge


Calvin Borel won the Meydan Masters International jockey competition at Meydan Racecourse on Friday, a night when trainer Mike de Kock scored a one-two knockout in the Group 2, $200,000 Balanchine Stakes with River Jetez and Reem.

Borel hung on by the skin of his teeth to win the Meydan Masters despite finishing last in the final leg of the series on Friday night aboard the highweight Atlantis Star. The lone American rider in the 12-jockey series, Borel actually won the title on a technicality as the third leg of the competition, a 1 9/16-mile turf handicap, did not count in the point totals because it drew only eight runners, meaning that four of the competing jockeys were left without a mount.

Borel had finished fifth in the pointless leg 3 aboard Telluride. That race was won by Johnny Murtagh on the Godolphin-owned Calvados Blues. With Murtagh earning 10 points for his fourth-place finish on Tiger Reigns in leg 4, a 1 1/8-mile turf handicap, a race in which Borel tallied just a single point for his last-place finish, Murtagh would have outpointed Borel 97-94 had leg 3 counted. Under the rejiggered rules, Borel held on to defeat Olivier Peslier 86-81 for the title with Ryan Moore third at 79. Murtagh’s official finishing place was 11th with just 22 points.

Borel looked briefly like the winner of the unofficial leg 3 when he moved Telluride up to third entering the stretch, but the John Hammond trainee was unable to sustain his drive and faded to fifth. In leg 4, Borel’s mount Atlantis Star dropped back to last after a half-mile and there he stayed as Peslier guided War Monger to a front-running two-length victory. Yet the result was good enough to earn the Meydan Masters title for Borel, the three-time winner of the Kentucky Derby who had earned 75 points for winning leg 1 and 10 points for his fourth-place finish in leg 2 on Thursday night.

A most unlucky third last time in the Group 3 Cape Verdi Stakes, River Jetez rallied to catch her stablemate Reem in the 1 1/8-mile Balanchine, defeating the Southern Hemisphere 3-year-old by 2 1/2 lengths with Long Lashes third, another length behind. Aspectoflove, who had beaten River Jetez into third in the Cape Verdi by three- quarters of a length on Jan. 20, came home an unthreatening seventh, seven lengths behind the winner. Ridden by Christophe Soumillon, River Jetez clocked the 1 1/8 miles on good ground in 1:48.79.