Louisville Magazine

APR 2012

Louisville Magazine is Louisville's city magazine, covering Louisville people, lifestyles, politics, sports, restaurants, entertainment and homes. Includes a monthly calendar of events.

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force that drew bettors to Day even though, in the long run, they would lose money. A few years ago, Asher says, he went back and looked at Day's numbers for a single meet and compared them to Borel's in that same meet. (Tis was before Borel was a household name.) "If you had bet every horse that Pat Day had ridden in that meet, you would have won a lot of races, but you were down $70," Asher says. "At the same meet, if you bet every horse Calvin had ridden, you would have far fewer wins, but you were up $158." Day's record is nothing short of amazing. A leading rider at Churchill and Keeneland Race Course, he set a North American record in 1989 when he won on eight out of nine mounts in a single day at Arlington Park near Chicago. With records like that, bettors couldn't throw their money at Day's mounts fast enough. All that enthusiasm drove odds down to nothing. Kaywood witnessed the effect at Ak-Sar- Ben Race Track, a now-defunct course in Omaha, Neb. Te owners of local cham- pion Brent's Trans Am flew Day in to ride the horse in the Corn Husker Handicap, a $200,000 graded-stakes race. "Tat Saturday it came up raining," Kaywood says. "Anyone with room temperature IQ could look at past performance; this horse hated to run in the mud." But the Pat Day Paradox prevailed, and the crowd made Brent's Trans Am the even- money favorite, ignoring another horse with a proven record and no problem with the slop. Brent's Trans Am came in next to last. "Te reason I remember that so clearly was the winner was so easy to pick," Kaywood Calvin Borel could gallop a stick horse in the mud at Churchill Downs and, guaranteed, the stick's odds would be lower than half the field. says. "I made a lot of money betting against Pat Day." Asher says the Calvin Effect is still mostly a Derby phenomenon. "If you bet on Calvin last fall," he says, "you got an average winning payout of $13.60. In Pat Day's day, you were lucky to get $5." While Borel's average winning payouts at the regular meet have slipped a bit, they're still strong compared to Day's. Asher attri- butes it to what he calls Borel's swashbuck- ling style. "I think he takes a lot of mounts that might not be fashionable selections in the morning-line odds," Asher says. But Kaywood doesn't call Borel's style swashbuckling. He calls it reckless. "Riding very close to the rail is dangerous," he says. "Tere's a solid track record in the history of racing to prove that. It's a dangerous place to ride if you have a big field. But he's not afraid to do that. He will get to the rail." For his part, Borel says he isn't worry- ing about what other people think, and he certainly isn't worrying about the betting odds. "I know what I'm on, sweetie," he says. "Tat's one thing about getting on them in the morning. I know what I have. Mine Tat Bird, I rode him like he was the best horse in the race. He shouldn't have been 50-1. It wasn't a fluke. It was a change of riding style that he needed." Borel also studied Mine Tat Bird's three stakes victories as a two-year-old at Wood- bine Racetrack in Toronto. "He liked about a quarter of a mile run," Borel says. "Tat was it. Tat's who he was. You had to use that." Mine Tat Bird, like Street Sense, was unflappable. Te roaring Derby crowd, the long post parade, the huge field bothered neither horse. "Street Sense, you could put a bomb under him and he never got nervous. Mine Tat Bird was the same way," Borel says. It's all about getting to know the horses, getting them to relax, seeing who they are. "I don't look at the odds," he says. "You can't go by that, sweetie." But come Derbytime, you can go by the rider. Q ADVERTISEMENT 4.12 LOUISVILLE MAGAZINE [57]

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