Calvin Borel is 26th North American jockey with 5,000 wins

Calvin Borel during Churchill Downs morning workouts

Jockey Calvin Borel claimed career win No. 5,000 on March 7 at Oaklawn Park in Hot Springs, AR.

Borel, 46, picked up this horse racing milestone win aboard Hezunusal in the sixth race, a $15,000 maiden claiming event at six furlongs. Borel’s 5,000th came aboard a 3-year-old Father Steve gelding trained by David Whited. Hezunusal pressed the pace into the turn and shook clear in the stretch to win by four lengths at odds of 9-2.

The Oaklawn Park racing season began in January with Borel at 4,999 wins, but the rider broke his wrist days before the meet opened. See our blog  He returned in late February, but couldn’t come up with a winner until Thursday.

A three-time Kentucky Derby winner, Calvin Borel becomes the 26th North American jockey with 5,000 wins. Borel dedicated the victory to his longtime agent, Jerry Hissam.

“When I started, I didn’t even dream of riding 5,000 races, let alone winning 5,000,” Borel said. “I would like to dedicate this race to my agent. He’s done a great job. We had three Kentucky Derby wins and Rachel Alexandra. I want to thank all the trainers and fans. I think they saw I always tried my best and appreciated it. I’m really happy I got this at Oaklawn. It’s one of my favorite tracks.”

“I’ve been blessed to work for such a gentleman these 22 years,” said Hissam, who has been recovering from illness at home. “There’s no better person. This is just fantastic.”

Every person at Oaklawn Park on Thursday received a commemorative trading card honoring Borel’s historic achievement courtesy of the City of Hot Springs.

Borel, a 2011 inductee into the Arkansas Sports Hall of Fame, was Oaklawn’s leading rider in 1995 and 2005.

He is probably best known for winning three Kentucky Derbys at Churchill Downs within four years and as the regular rider of 2009 Fantasy Stakes winner and Horse of the Year Rachel Alexandra. His first Kentucky Derby victory came aboard Street Sense in 2007 and then he won the race in 2010 on Super Saver, the Arkansas Derby runner-up and in 2009 with Mine That Bird .  See the exciting news about Mine That Bird going to the Kentucky Derby Museum and a new movie about him called “50 – 1”

Borel was born Nov. 7, 1966, in St. Martin Parish, La., and grew up in Louisiana Cajun country. He started riding at bush tracks as a child. He reached the highest echelons of racing with a fearless and aggressive riding style – earning the nickname “Bo-rail” for his courage taking horses through tight spots along the inside.

Borel, who was announced as a finalist for the Thoroughbred Racing Hall of Fame March 1, also reached his 3,000-win and 4,000-win milestones at Oaklawn Park.