x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Summer daze for Triple Crown-chasing Borel

A horse named bird won the Belmont Stakes on Saturday, but it wasn't the one that everyone was expecting to cross the line first.

A horse named bird won the Belmont Stakes on Saturday, but it wasn't the one that everyone was expecting to cross the line first. Tim Ice-trained Summer Bird, a half brother to Kentucky Derby winner and Preakness Stakes runner-up Mine That Bird, spoiled the party for jockey Calvin Borel who was trying to become the first rider to win the US Triple Crown of thoroughbred racing on two different horses.

Borel, 42, who was in the irons when Mine That Bird won at Churchill Downs in May and then took the Preakness aboard the sensational filly Rachel Alexandra, had guaranteed a New York victory for Mine That Bird after a midweek trackwork session. He not only spoke to soon but may well have sent his horse to the front too soon on the Belmont dirt as Mine That Bird, going the long way round the outside, appeared to run out of steam on the home stretch, allowing Summer Bird, under Kent Desormeaux, to move up out wide and cross the line first.

Mine That Bird was well beaten in the final two furlongs managing only third as Dunkirk, the early pace-setter, ridden by John Velazquez, pipped him for second. Mine That Bird trainer, Chip Woolley Jnr was crestfallen. "I thought he would win," said the handler. "We just made a little early move and came up a little empty." stregoning@thenational.ae