The horse that might very well be the favorite for the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies on Friday, November 5 at Churchill Downs will have the services of the man that knows that piece of real estate better than anyone. Tell A Kelly gets Calvin Borel for the Breeders' Cup race that will likely determine who is the Champion Two-Year-Old Filly for 2010.
Tell A Kelly leapfrogged to the top of the pops with her outstanding stretch run to win the Grade 1 Darley Debutante at Del Mar in early September. Her outstanding turn of foot at the end of that race made it entirely plausible that she would able to go longer without much doubt. Well, that lingering doubt returned in full force with her next start at Hollywood Park, where she ran second to 32-1 shot Rigoletta, in the Grade 1 Oak Leaf. The Oak Leaf was run at a mile and a sixteenth, which is the same distance as the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies race.
It is my thought the rider change on Tell A Kelly was totally necessary. If you go back and watch the replay of that Oak Leaf race from Hollywood Park, you will find that rider Alonso Quinonez had Tell A Kelly repeatedly in trouble throughout the important stages of the race. At the top of the stretch, Tell A Kelly was in very tight between rivals and she even appeared to be slightly jostled at that point of the race as well. Her challenger on the outside was Rigoletta, who wore down the favorite in time and prevailed with a strong stretch run of her own. The fact remains that the race shouldn't have been that close had Quinonez done a better job of handling Tell A Kelly earlier and kept her out of harm's way. That can be a very grueling way to get around the racetrack, in traffic and fighting through small holes that are nearly not there, for any experienced horse around, much less a precocious but talented two-year-old.
With the move to Calvin Borel, you get a rider that knows that oval at Churchill Downs as well as anyone in racing today. He has won three of the last four Kentucky Derbies, one on a favorite (Street Sense), one on a longshot (Mine That Bird), and one on a mid-range shot (Super Saver). The folks in Kentucky also know where Borel will likely be, since they don't call him Bo-RAIL for nothing. It will remain to be seen whether he will be able to go the inside route with the late-running Tell A Kelly. He still might have to go overland with her since her last experience in tight quarters didn't fare so well. However she might get there, I think Tell A Kelly keeps her rightful place at the top of the two-year-old filly class with this move by trainer John Sadler.
Tune in tomorrow for more from They Are Off. For right now, I am Gone... GOODBYE!