NEW YORK (AP) - This was a Belmont for the Birds.
It was Summer Bird, not Mine That Bird and jockey Calvin Borel,
who came roaring down the long stretch and won the final jewel of
the Triple Crown on Saturday.
The upset ended Borel's bid to become the first jockey to win a
personal Triple Crown, and he failed to deliver on a guarantee that
he would win the Belmont with the little gelding. Borel won the
Kentucky Derby aboard Mine That Bird, then won the Preakness with
Summer Bird, sent off at 11-1 odds, blew past Dunkirk and Mine
That Bird to give jockey Kent Desormeaux a Belmont Stakes victory
he desperately wanted.
With the crowd cheering on the leaders in stretch, Mine That
Bird made a huge move outside and took a brief lead over Dunkirk.
But it was Summer Bird who pulled away for a 2¾-length victory
over Dunkirk. Mine That Bird was third in the field of 10
"I thought I was home free," Borel said, "but the other
horses galloped by."
They sure did, and there wasn't any happier rider than
Desormeaux. Last year, he won the Derby and Preakness aboard Big
Brown, only to have to pull up the colt in the Belmont. And in
1998, he brought Real Quiet into the Belmont for a Triple try only
to get beat by Victory Gallop by a nose in a photo finish.
"I hope from now on we'll talk about winning one," Desormeaux
There was an inquiry filed by the jockey of Charitable Man, Alan
Garcia, against Dunkirk for interference, but it was disallowed by
the racing stewards.
(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)