For a moment I thought I was watching the World Wrestling Federation.
Two top rated jockeys fighting in public.
Mind you, jockeys, like everyone else have fights. Sometimes fist fights. But usually it is behind closed doors.
This time, at the Breeder’s Cup…it was like two coaches fighting on the field at the Super Bowl.
This time it was Calvin Borel who was angry following a bumpy ride in the $500,000 Breeders’ Cup Marathon at Churchill Downs raceway.
When he approached rival Javier Castellano to sort things out, it was obvious Borel — who has endeared himself to fans because of the way he wears his heart on his silks — was upset.
Moments later, the winner’s circle at Churchill Downs erupted into chaos, with one of the sport’s most colorful characters red with rage.
Borel and Castellano’s very public tussle got racing’s two-day top event off to an ugly start, which left Castellano shaken and Borel pleading with security officials to let him go so he could “kill” his rival.
Two riders who usually save their jostling for the racetrack turned that ground — a place typically reserved for big smiles and even bigger winner’s checks — into a fight club on Friday after the opening race of the Breeders’ Cup.
The 43-year-old Borel waited for Castellano after the Marathon, angry over a mid-race move in which Castellano and mount Prince Will I Am unwittingly cut off horses ridden by Borel and Martin Garcia.
The move nearly sent Garcia tumbling to the ground and blunted Borel’s momentum.
It took several minutes for Borel — his eyes bugging out and his face a deep shade of red — to be restrained.
His wife, Lisa, and brother Cecil each grabbed an arm and walked Borel back to the jockeys’ room, where he flung off his silks.
The disagreement continued out of the view of cameras in the jockey room, though Borel later apologized for his outburst on his Facebook page.
“It was a situation that deserved to be resolved, however, said resolution should have taken place within the privacy of the jockeys quarters,” Borel wrote.
The incident created an almost surreal scene at Borel’s home track.
I thought it was cool. And I sure as hell will watch on Saturday.
I’ll report on the Classic race, scheduled for about 6:45 p.m. eastern time in the U.S.A.