NEW YORK - Calvin Borel grinned at the question: Would Mine That Bird have passed Rachel Alexandra if the Preakness were 1 1/2 miles?

"I have no comment," he said.

Borel has a chance to capture the three legs of the Triple Crown on two horses.

Borel won the Kentucky Derby on 50-1 longshot Mine That Bird. When Rachel Alexandra entered the Preakness, Borel switched horses to the filly he had ridden to five straight victories, including the Kentucky Oaks the day before the Derby. Rachel Alexandra edged Mine That Bird in the Preakness.

Rachel Alexandra is skipping the Belmont, and Borel is back aboard Mine That Bird.

Winning all three races in 1 year is what Borel has fantasized since he was a kid.

"I never dreamed I'd have to do it on a different horse," he said.

Borel was at Madison Square Garden yesterday, and not backing down from his guarantee of victory a day earlier.

"I'm sticking with it," he declared.

Just as he boasted about Rachel Alexandra before the Preakness, Borel quickly shifted his proclamations to Mine That Bird. He said his latest prediction was natural after seeing how the gelding responded during Monday's workout at Churchill Downs.

"When you run them two races and come back so fresh like he did - I mean, he was bouncing," he said.

Borel, who won his first Kentucky Derby aboard Street Sense in 2007, will be making his first Belmont Stakes start. He plans to follow the same patient strategy that worked so well in the Derby, when Mine That Bird rallied from last to first.

"One reason we picked Calvin to ride the horse is he likes that style," trainer Chip Woolley said. *