LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Calvin Borel boldly predicted he's going to win the Triple Crown after Super Saver sloshed to a 2½-length victory in the Kentucky Derby.
Ever-cautious trainer Todd Pletcher sure likes the rail-hugging rider's confidence.
"I don't think I've ever had a jockey come to the paddock more focused," he said Sunday. "I would equate it to someone coming out for a heavyweight fight. He was so in the zone and pumped up. Didn't have much to say, but you could just see the intensity on his face. He was revved up."
So was Pletcher, at least in his own quiet way, after watching alone on television as Borel stole away in his customary spot along the rail and went on to win for the third time in four years Saturday.
"A lot of guys you look at and they're closest to the fence, but they're not on the rail," Pletcher said. "When he gets there, he's scraping paint."
The win ended his 0-for-24 skid in the Derby.
"This is wonderful, but you kind of start thinking about moving forward and what the next plans are and how you're going to get there," the trainer said after ducking out of a drenching rain with his perfectly coifed head of gray hair intact.
Heavy rain pelted the track for a second straight day, forcing Super Saver to stay inside his barn, where he walked in circles after coming out of the 11/4-mile race in good shape.
Pletcher plans to keep Super Saver at Churchill Downs for training before shipping him to Pimlico four days ahead of the May 15 Preakness.
"The colt is peaking right now at the right time," Borel said after the race. "This colt might just get better."
Last year, Borel won the Preakness aboard filly Rachel Alexandra, beating Mine That Bird, whom he rode to victory in the Derby. Borel returned to Mine That Bird for the Belmont, where they finished third as the 6-5 favorite.
"We're going to win the Triple Crown this year," he said.
There was no raucous post-Derby celebration for the button-down Pletcher, who shared his usual dinner with family and friends at his hotel. He picked up the tab, just as he had the previous nine losing years.
"It's not only for me, but just everybody in the barn. So many people help you get here," he said. "It's rewarding to see how happy they are and your family."
The New York-based Pletcher has 175 horses in training and employs 150 people around the country.
Several potential rivals await Super Saver in the 1 1-16-mile Preakness, which is limited to 14 starters. One of them is seventh-place Dublin, trained by D. Wayne Lukas who was beaten by his former assistant.
"He told me to soak it all in, enjoy the moment," Pletcher said.
Other possible starters from the Derby are third-place Paddy O'Prado and Jackson Bend, who finished 12th.
Potential new shooters are the Pletcher-trained Aikenite; Louisiana Derby runner-up A Little Warm; Lexington Stakes runner-up Bushwhacked; California-based Caracortado; Derby Trial winner Hurricane Ike; Pleasant Prince; Schoolyard Dreams; and Turf Melody.
Pletcher said his two of his other Derby starters, filly Devil May Care and Discreetly Mine, won't go on to Baltimore. No decision has yet been made on his fourth starter, Mission Impazible.
Nick Zito said second-place Ice Box was doubtful for the second leg of the Triple Crown after getting checked three times in the Derby.
"I'd like to know a horse that was checked three times finishes second. Let me know," he said. "They check once, they finish 18th. He was checked three times. It's pretty amazing."