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Borel's Move Not Good For Horse Racing

Kentucky Derby winner Mine That Bird
AP
Kentucky Derby winner Mine That Bird

There are going to be people who will celebrate jockey Calvin Borel should he lead Mine That Bird to a Belmont win this weekend.

If you can’t get a Triple Crown for another year, you might as well celebrate the first-ever “Jockey Triple Crown,” right?

Borel brought Mine That Bird to the winner’s circle at the Derby, switched to Rachel Alexandra and won the Preakness and is back aboard Mine That Bird and guaranteeing a victory on Saturday.

But if you believe that Borel would deserve credit for such a feat, it means you believe in the art of the jockey. That good jockeys help horses win races.

Using that logic then, you could argue that had Borel been on Mine That Bird for the Preakness, he might have caught Rachel Alexandra, which he helped beat Mine That Bird by only ¾ of a length.

You see where I’m going here?

Good for Calvin Borel and his possible jockey Triple Crown, but no one cares. If anyone did, Borel would be more of a leading indicator on Twitter than National Doughnut Day. And you wouldn’t be able to get Borel autographed pictures on eBay for $7.99.

Some respected Borel for switching to Rachel Alexandra and pulling off a win. But I’m in the camp that Borel had an obligation to horse racing to be on Mine That Bird to end the three-decade-old Triple Crown drought and to help inject life into an ailing business.

Mine That Bird would have been the perfect Triple Crown winner.

Most importantly, the horse is a gelding, so unlike other hopefuls it’s not going to the breeding shed. Anyone in horse racing can tell you that one of the biggest problems with the sport is that once a hero is born, he’s retired at stud.

That’s nice for the people who want a piece of his offspring, but it’s like an all-star at his peak leaving the sport. The fact that Mine That Bird is a gelding means that the horse’s main source of income is racing, so the owners can keep the horse out on the track for years like the Triple Crown winners of the past.

The other reason why Mine That Bird is a good story is it proves that champions don’t have to be bought for millions of dollars. Mine That Bird was purchased for $9,500 and then $400,000. What’s better than an economically sound horse winning it all? It would inspire people who couldn’t afford to spend a couple million dollars on a horse to get into the game.

A jockey Triple Crown better than nothing? Nope. It might be the reason why we have nothing.

Questions? Comments? SportsBiz@cnbc.com

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