by Gabe Bullard
Trainer Todd Pletcher’s “Derby drought” ended Saturday at Churchill Downs.
Prior to this year, Pletcher had trained 24 Kentucky Derby contenders, but he never trained a winner until Saturday, when the colt Super Saver beat out 19 other horses to win the Derby.
Pletcher had four horses in this year’s Derby, including ninth and tenth place finishers Mission Impazible (Impossible) and Devil May Care. He says he’s happy to win a Derby, but it isn’t necessarily a reflection of his talent as a trainer.
“It’s like I said before, I’m not better trainer today than I was yesterday, no better than when I woke up this morning,” he says. “I wont’ be any better tomorrow. We’ll try to keep doing everything the way we’ve always done it.”
Saturday also marked the third Derby win in four years for jockey Calvin Borel, who won last year and in 2007.
With the track in sloppy condition after a day of rainfall, Borel stuck close to the rail to steer Super Saver to victory. Borel used the same strategy last year on longshot Mine That Bird, and it’s become known as his signature strategy, earning him the nickname ‘bo-rail.’ But Borel says riding the inside track can only be done with the right horse.
“Some horses don’t like to be there…you’ve got to go around,” he says. “I was just taught that’s the shortest way around. I love to ride the fence. I think the horse is very comfortable there because they’re always there all the time.”
It’s now on to the May 15th Preakness Stakes for Pletcher, Super Saver and Borel. Borel also won last year’s Preakness atop filly Rachel Alexandra.