Given the volume of his wife's tears as she darted into their yard Tuesday, it took some coaxing on Calvin Borel's end before he could figure out what had sparked the sudden outburst.
When Lisa Borel gathered herself enough to break the news to her husband, cutting the lawn took a temporary backseat as longtime jockey needed a moment of his own to digest the words.
Calvin Borel, he of the three Kentucky Derby victories and 5,012 career wins to date, joined racehorses Housebuster, Invasor, Lure, McDynamo, and Tuscalee in being elected to the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame, it was announced Friday.
Borel, champion sprinter Housebuster, 2006 Horse of the Year Invasor, and two-time Breeders' Cup Mile winner Lure were selected in the contemporary category, while McDynamo and Tuscalee were chosen by the Museum's Steeplechase Review Committee. The electees will be inducted on Aug. 9 at the Fasig-Tipton sales pavilion.
Noted for his rail-skimming ways, the 46-year-old Borel has purse earnings of $120,859,986 in a career that began in 1983. It's his Kentucky Derby wins that put him in rarefied company as he is the only jockey to win the Kentucky Derby three times in a four-year span, accomplishing the feat with Street Sense (2007), Mine That Bird (2009), and Super Saver (2010).
"Unbelievable, I'm very honored to be in that position," Borel said Friday. "My wife got the phone call and I was cutting the grass and she just come outside crying.
"I got her to settle down and let me know the news..and I started crying myself. I know there are so many successful people out there so I am so blessed to be called."
Borel's fearless riding style is balanced with a visible connection he often shares with his mounts. Such was the case with 2009 Horse of the Year Rachel Alexandra, who Borel guided to historic wins in the Preakness, Woodward, Haskell, Mother Goose, and Kentucky Oaks.
"If it wasn't for the horses, I wouldn't be where I am," he said. "They make my life and they do know I love them to death."