Digest: Calvin Borel wins De Francis aboard Ivan Fallunovalot

Calvin Borel built a successful career by sticking close to the rail, but the Hall of Fame jockey left the rail as soon as he could Saturday at Laurel Park while riding Ivan Fallunovalot in Saturday's $250,000, Grade 3 Frank J. De Francis Memorial.

Borel's out-of-character strategy resulted in a 4 1/2-length victory aboard the Texas-bred gelding, who scored his 15th career triumph but his first graded-stakes success in the De Francis Dash, highlighting a Fall Festival of Racing program that offered seven stakes worth a total of $825,000. The multi-stakes program generated a total handle of $4.513 million, an increase of 19.6 percent over last year's total handle of $3.775. In-state handle increased by 16.4 percent.


After a clean start from the gate as the 3-1 second betting choice in a field of six, Ivan Fallunovalot was outsprinted to the lead along the backstretch by 1-5 favorite X Y Jet. Shortly after the odds-on-favorite crossed over to the rail, Borel eased his mount off the rail to engage the pacesetter on the outside. After pressing the pace past fractions of 22.34 (seconds) and 45.73, Ivan Fallunovalot pulled alongside X Y Jet on the turn and assumed the lead at the top of the homestretch.

The son of Valid Expectations kicked in through the stretch to register a commanding victory in 1 minute, 10.07 seconds.


"We broke a tad slower than usual for him. I got him in the race early and went really slow. We backed it up a lot. I just let him go up to him and the best horse that's going to finish is going to win. That's what it amounted to," Borel said.

After calling it a career last fall, Borel came out of retirement during the summer and has ridden 19 winners from 213 mounts in the Midwest.

"This is my first stakes win since coming back on a thoroughbred. I won an Arabian stakes at Churchill earlier this year," Borel said. "It's been awhile since we were at Laurel."

Rockinn On Bye, a 14-1 long shot ridden by Taylor Hole, finished second, a neck ahead of X Y Jet. The De Francis was X Y Jet's second start since finishing second in the Golden Shaheen (G1) on the Dubai World Cup program in March. He finished a tiring fifth in the Vosburgh (G1) at Belmont Park Oct. 1. The son of Kantharos brought a five-win streak, including victories in the Mr. Prospector (G3) and Gulfstream Park Sprint (G3) at Gulfstream Park, into the Golden Shaheen.

"We just weren't able to catch him," said Emisael Jaramillio, who rode the Jorge Navarro-trained X Y Jet. "My horse tried, but just couldn't catch up."

More often than not, there is no catching Ivan Fallunovalot, who entered the DeFrancis with 14 wins from 23 starts.

Trainer Tom Howard claimed Ivan on behalf of Arkansas owner Lewis Mathews Jr. for $25,000 out of a win at Oaklawn in March 2014. The reigning Texas-bred Horse of the Year has since won 11 races and $741,000 for his new connections, including Saturday's $150,000 winner's share.

Ivan Fallunovalot was scheduled to run in the Breeders' Cup Sprint (G1) at Santa Anita Nov. 5 but was withdrawn because of chronic hoof problems that were resolved in time to make the De Francis.


"We had to pass the Breeders' Cup due to quarter cracks, but everything fell into place for this race. This will set us up good for Oaklawn," said Howard, who bargain claim has won all four of starts this year since finishing a troubled ninth in the 2015 Breeders' Cup Sprint at Keeneland.

Ivan Fallunovalot is scheduled to shoot for his third straight victory in the $100,000 King Cotton Stakes at Oaklawn in January.

In other races:

— Name Changer, the 3-year-old son of Uncle Mo, earned a 21/4-length victory under jockey Jevian Toledo in the $100,000 Richard W. Small Stakes, covering 1 1/8 miles in 1:51.99.

— Testing stakes waters for the first time, El Areeb powered to a front-running 5 1/4-length victory in the $100,000 James F. Lewis III.

— Kept in the clear on the outside down the backstretch, Tequilita took command at the head of the lane and held off late runs from Star Super and Candycoated Dame to earn her first stakes triumph in the $100,000 Smart Halo.


— Sharp Azteca pulled away from a pacesetting duel with previously undefeated Hot Seat to win the $100,000 City of Laurel.

— Tale of Ruby, facing fellow 3-year-old fillies for her stakes debut off a pair of narrow allowance losses against older horses, took the lead on the far outside under Edgar Prado and pulled clear of a tight pack to win the $100,000 Safely Kept.

— Rockin Jojo, a 31-1 upset winner of the Maryland Million Distaff in her previous start, charged down the middle of the track and held off Candida H. to win the $75,000 Geisha, a 1-mile race for Maryland-bred/sired females 3 and up.

NHL: Washington Capitals forward T.J. Oshie is week-to-week with an upper-body injury after he took a big hit from Riley Sheahan in Friday night's 1-0 win against the Detroit Red Wings, the team announced Saturday.

Three forwards — Oshie, Lars Eller and Andre Burakovsky — were injured in the first period. The team announced that Eller is day-to-day with an upper-body injury and, like Oshie, he did not practice Saturday. Coach Barry Trotz said Eller is "doubtful" to play today.

"If you do see him, good for us," Trotz said.


Burakovsky did fully practice Saturday, and Trotz said he's "trending in the right direction."

Burakovsky said he feels like he can play today.

"I feel good," Burakovsky said. "I feel ready."

Oshie has eight goals and four assists this season, and he plays on the top power-play unit. He's also been logging heavy minutes on the penalty kill on a pair with Jay Beagle. Eller, for whom the Capitals traded this offseason, is also one of Washington's top penalty killers.

He has two goals this season.

With Oshie and Eller not expected to play today, the Capitals recalled forward Paul Carey from Hershey of the American Hockey League.


Trotz said the Capitals will recall one player from their American Hockey League affiliate in Hershey before the Bears play on Saturday night. That would give the team 13 forwards, no extras with Eller injured.

"It's a next-man-up mentality," Trotz said. "Someone gets an opportunity, and you go from there. If a guy can make good on an opportunity, then some guys have gotten that opportunity and made it a career. Some guys have missed that opportunity and have not made it a career. I think we have enough people that can step up and fill that void."

— Isabelle Khurshudyan, The Washington Post

Women's college cross country: Johns Hopkins won its fourth NCAA Division III national championship in five years as All-Americans Tess Meehan, Felicia Koerner and Natalia LaSpada guided the Blue Jays to a 128-point performance, the third-best point total in program history. Meehan, a senior, is the first three-time All-American in school history; she had the Blue Jays' best time of the day (21:10), 25th overall. Hopkins won by 74 points over Washington (Mo.).

Women's college soccer: Samantha Schwartz scored for host Brandeis (15-3-4) in the 87th minute to earn a 1-0 win over McDaniel (18-3-1) in the third round of the NCAA Division III tournament. Sarah McDonald made three saves for the 15th-ranked Green Terror, who finished with a program-record 18 wins and advanced to the second weekend of the tournament for the first time.

Women's college volleyball: Fifth-seeded Towson (24-9) was swept, 3-0, by top-seeded James Madison (20-10) in the Colonial Athletic Association semifinals in Wilmington, N.C., losing, 25-19, 27-25, 25-22. The Tigers, playing in the semifinals for the second straight year, were paced by All-CAA first-team members sophomore Jocelyn Kuilan and senior Jessica Lewis, who each had 12 kills. Lewis also had 11 digs.


NFL: The Washington Redskins signed long snapper Rick Lovato. Washington needed a healthy long snapper this week after Nick Sundberg injured his back in the weight room.

Master Tesfatsion, The Washington Post

Baseball: The Washington Nationals agreed to a one-year contract with outfielder Chris Heisey.