x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 18 February 2018

Paddys Day and Calvin Borel set sights on Sheikh Zayed Jewel Crown race in Abu Dhabi

After winning the President Of The UAE Cup at Churchill Downs on Saturday night, the acclaimed jockey Calvin Borel and Purebred Arabian star Paddys Day are headed for Abu Dhabi's November showcase.

Jockey Calvin Borel came out of retirement last month and is slated to race in the UAE for the first time in five years in November. Matthew Stockman / Getty Images / AFP
Jockey Calvin Borel came out of retirement last month and is slated to race in the UAE for the first time in five years in November. Matthew Stockman / Getty Images / AFP

Superstar jockey Calvin Borel is primed to have his first ride in the UAE in five years in November when US Purebred Arabian star Paddys Day takes his chance in the Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan Jewel Crown.

Paddys Day powered away with the President Of The UAE Cup at Churchill Downs on Saturday night to record his 16th victory in 23 starts.

Paddys Day beat Thess Is Awesome by eight and a quarter lengths in 1min 53.49sec for the 1,700 metres at the home of the Kentucky Derby.

The victory in the Abu-Dhabi-sponsored event was a third Grade 1 win for Paddys Day, a son of Burning Sand who was bred in Texas.

The five-year-old finished a disappointing last in the Abu Dhabi Equestrian Club’s €1.2million (Dh5m) extravaganza last season, but trainer Scott Powell was bullish about a second attempt on November 6.

“We’re going to Abu Dhabi in November for their big race and Calvin is coming,” Powell said. “You know what? We’re going to do some damage. We’re pretty tough.”

Paddys Day has now won five of his eight races this season and his previous top-level wins came in the HH Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan Cup Stakes at Sam Houston racecourse in March. He then went on to post a five-length win in the Delaware Park Arabian Classic Handicap two weeks ago.

Borel last rode in the UAE when he won a race in the Meydan Masters, a now-defunct jockey competition in 2011.

Borel has won the Kentucky Derby three times and famously guided Rachel Alexandra to become the first filly for 85 years to win the Preakness Stakes in 2009.

Borel, who will turn 50 a day after the Abu Dhabi race, announced his retirement in March but made his return to the saddle last month.

“He’s like a little thoroughbred,” Borel said of Paddys Day. “He’s very athletic and does everything like a thoroughbred does. He ran a good race. He didn’t break as sharply as I thought he would. Once I found a hole I just picked my spot and he took off. I’m just happy to be back. I’ve won a few races this week so it’s back to rolling so everything’s going good.”

Elsewhere in America Songbird maintained her flawless record in the Cotillion Stakes at Parx racecourse under Mike Smith and is on course for the Breeders’ Cup.

Songbird brushed aside the front-running Grade 1 winner Carina Mia and put just under six lengths on her at the line. Cathryn Sophia, the Kentucky Oaks winner, was just under seven lengths further back in third.

Songbird, who is trained by Jerry Hollendorfer, took her unbeaten sequence to 11 wins, and has now accumulated seven victories at the top level.

She now will head to Santa Anita for the Breeders’ Cup Distaff on November 4 to face Beholder and Stellar Wind.

Follow us on Twitter @NatSportUAE

Like us on Facebook at facebook.com/TheNationalSport