AN infamous Breeders’ Cup brawl that turned a racecourse into a huge boxing ring saw one jockey threaten to ‘kill’ another in a moment that still shames the sport 12 years on.
The star-studded American meeting is one of the biggest in the world with tens of millions up for grabs over two days.
The likes of Frankie Dettori, William Buick and Hollie Doyle will be over in Keenelend, Kentucky, giving it their all this weekend.
But an unprecedented fight between two jockeys there 12 years ago continues to cast a shadow over the event.
Three-time Kentucky Derby winner Calvin Borel and Javier Castellano had to be pulled apart after tempers flared at the end of the £380,000 Breeders’ Cup Marathon at Churchill Downs – usually one of the smaller races on the card.
American Borel, now 55, was so incensed that he pleaded with security to release him so he could ‘kill’ his rival.
The bust-up started when Borel – regarded as calm and mild-mannered by weighing room colleagues – waited sinisterly for Castellano after the contest.
He was furious over a mid-race move in which Castellano and his horse Prince Will I Am cut up horses ridden by Borel and Martin Garcia.
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Garcia was almost sent crashing off his horse and Borel lost all his speed – and chance of victory – on A U Miner.
With a stewards’ enquiry ordered, Borel thought better of waiting and stormed over to Castellano in the winners’ enclosure.
There, with blood boiling and his rage out of control, he struck his rival in the face.
Venezuelan Castellano, who stands just 5ft 1in, then took a swing back at 5ft 5ins Borel.
TV cameras were on hand to capture the chaos, with Borel’s eyes bursting out of his head in rage.
He continued to try to hammer down blows on Castellano, now 45, before wife Lisa restrained him.
Helped by brother Cecil, they each grabbed an arm and took him back to the jockeys’ room.
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But it did not stop there, with both trading insults there before Borel, who ripped off his silks, apologised for his outburst.
The jockey said: “It’s over. It’s all good. We talked.”
And in a statement issued through his wife, he added: “I realise many people hold me in high esteem, and I apologise for publicly losing my cool.
“It’s unfortunate that it happened on national TV and at such a prestigious event as the Breeders’ Cup.”
This fight is far from unique in the sport of kings, though.
In October 2018 two jockeys had to be separated by police as they kicked and punched each other.
In June of the same year Raul da Silva was slapped with a 21-day suspension for punching renowned trainer Jim Crowley in the face at Goodwood.
Christophe Soumillon picked up a big ban for elbowing Rossa Ryan off a horse in a move which shocked the racing world.
It’s not restricted to jockeys, though.
A ferocious six-woman brawl that saw punches and dresses going everywhere recently went viral online.
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