Feb. 13, 2011
HOT SPRINGS, AR (Sunday, Feb. 13, 2011) – Jockey Calvin Borel, displaying the skills that earned him induction into the Arkansas Sports Hall of Fame Friday and a trip to Dubai Monday for an international jockey competition, piloted Randy Patterson’s Kate’s Main Man to a gate-to-wire victory in Sunday’s $100,000 Essex Handicap at Oaklawn Park. In the process, he turned the tables on even-money favorite Win Willy, who had gotten the better of him in the final strides of the Jan. 16 Fifth Season Stakes, but who had to settle for second today.
Giving the winner a patented rail-skimming ride, Borel took control of the pace early and lulled the field through easy fractions of :23 1/5 and :48 1/5 for the first half mile. Win Willy, who was last early, began to make his move coming around the turn for home and was gaining on the winner as he rallied up the rail, but came up three-quarters of a length short. Winning time for the 1 1/16-mile race over a fast Oaklawn track was 1:45. Stachys was third.
“I knew if I could slow things down, I’d have a good chance today,” said Borel. “The track wasn’t as deep today as it was last time (in the Fifth Season) and he got a lot out of that race. He’s also had a good work since then. He just ran his race today and things worked out. We were lucky.”
Kate’s Main Man, an Iowa-bred son of Bernstein, was winning for the 11th time in 41 career starts and with the $60,000 first-place prize money has now earned $476,957. He returned $7.60, $3.40 and $2.40 as the 5-2 second choice in the field of six.
Randy Morse, trainer of winner Kate’s Man Man:
“My horse is never going to be able to say he's a better horse than Win Willy. He had everything against him today and he's such a nice horse. We just got a break with the way the race set up. Going in we just had to hope no one went and got silly and tried to challenge us early. It's not often you get a six horse field without that much pace. I personally beat him to the wire. I ran with them the last eighth. Actually I felt good on the turn. The second flight wasn't coming, the others were going backward and Win Willy was still far behind. I don't know what's next. If the Razorback comes up like this again, we'll be back. He is Iowa bred and we have to think about the races up there this summer.”
Note: Owner Randy Patterson is from Anthony, Kansas and runs two live auctions and marketplaces. He's been in the business for many years "I had horses with Randy's dad." This was his first ever Oaklawn stakes victory, but Kate's Main Man has been his only Oaklawn stakes starter.
Mac Robertson, trainer of second-place finisher Win Willy:
“He ran his eyeballs out, but I didn't see any horses passing anybody out there today. He tries so hard, but he was up against it.”
Cliff Berry, jockey of second-place finisher Win Willy:
“Not much I could have done. I was at the mercy of the pace. There was one decision to make and maybe I shouldn't have gone inside, but I didn't want to wind up wide.”
Francisco Torres, jockey of third-place finisher Stachys:
“My only chance was if someone put pressure on the winner early. It didn't happen. I knew that Calvin would not make a mistake.”