Super Saver (Calivin Borel): decisive verdict in front of the twin spiresPicture: Getty Images
Borel strikes again as Super Saver lands Derby
Report: USA, Saturday
Churchill Downs: Kentucky Derby (Grade 1) 1m2f, dirt, 3yo
CALVIN BOREL won the Kentucky Derby for the third time in four years on Saturday when he partnered Super Saver to a decisive success in the 136th running of America's greatest race in front of a crowd of 155,804 at a rain-sodden Churchill Downs on Saturday.
The 8-1 second favourite was trained by Todd Pletcher, who finally got the monkey off his back and ended a long losing run in the Kentucky Derby, which he had failed to win with 24 previous runners.
Britain's contender Awesome Act was never seen with a chance and eventually finished 19th of 20 under Julien Leparoux.
Trainer Jeremy Noseda said: "Julien said that he was happy round the first bend but that down the backstretch Awesome Act was never really firing.
"It was a very disappointing run," added the trainer. "We thought there was no issue with the sloppy track but perhaps there was.
"We'll get him back and decide what to do next. We've given it a go and, sadly, he just didn't perform on the day."
Super Saver, who took the lead after turning into the stretch, scored by 2½ lengths over thelate-running Ice Box.
The Florida Derby winner charged wide down the stretch to take second by 2¾ lengths from Paddy O'Prado and Make Music For Me.
Churchill Downs specialist Borel, who won the Derby with Street Sense (2007) and Mine That Bird (2009), produced yet another characteristic ground-saving display on WinStar Farms' Super Saver, a son of Maria's Mon.
Winining trainer Todd Pletcher: "It's a joy"Picture: Getty Images
Conveyance and Sidney's Candy led the field at a suicidal pace, posting ludicrous fractions - 22.63s for the quarter, 46.16 for the half - in sloppy conditions after heavy rain.
Although Super Saver is usually a front-runner, Borel wisely settled him a good five lengths off the pace.
Not for nothing is the rider known as Calvin ‘Bo-Rail' to his fans, though, and he stuck to his favoured rails position throughout, travelling kindly on the backstretch before moving up sweetly on the far turn, where Noble's Promise took the lead.
Super Saver soon slipped between he and the fading Conveyance two furlongs from home before powering down the straight for a comfortable win. He stopped the clock at 2m04.45s for the 1m2f.
"I had him where I wanted," said Borel."I got him off the pace and he relaxed good. I learned a lot last time I rode him - the first time I rode him, I won on the lead, but in the last race I took him back and learned a lot about him. Winning the Derby never gets old!"
Winning trainer Pletcher had suffered the disappointment of having to scratch ante-post favourite Eskendereya through injury a week before the race.
"It's a joy," he said. "People said we had one with our name written on it. I didn't take anything for granted. It feels awfully good.
"I've said before that Calvin is a great rider anywhere, but he's five lengths better here at Churchill."
Last year's US champion juvenile Lookin At Lucky, the 6-1 favourite, met no luck in running from the inside draw, being squeezed out in the early stages and dropping well back down the field before finishing well for sixth place from a mile back.
Of the other fancied runners, the Pletcher filly Devil May Care finished tenth and Santa Anita Derby winner Sidney's Candy faded badly to 17th.