National Media Teleconference Transcript and Audio (Sherman, Mandella)

September 27, 2016 – NTRA National Media Teleconference

Awesome Again and Zenyatta Stakes

Guests (names of probable entrants), start time in audio file

  • Art Sherman (Trainer, California Chrome), 1:55
  • Richard Mandella (Trainer, Beholder), 27:39

Click below to listen to the Teleconference and view the transcript.

P R E S E N T A T I O N

Jim Mulvihill:

All right.  Thanks, Michelle.  Welcome everyone to this week’s NTRA National Media Teleconference.  We’re previewing just a small sliver of all the incredible racing set for this weekend.  Saturday, we’ve got five Grade 1s at Santa Anita, three at Belmont, not to mention additional major stakes with Breeders’ Cup implications not just at those tracks, but at Gulfstream Park and Churchill Downs, just a ton of great racing coming up in the next several days.  Now, of those Grade 1s on Saturday, seven of them are Breeders’ Cup Challenge Win & You’re In races—that’s all five at Santa Anita, plus the Joe Hirsch Turf Classic and the Vosburgh at Belmont—and all of those races will be part of a two-and-a-half hour show on the NBC Sports Network, and that is from 5:30 to 8:00pm Eastern.  As always, we appreciate it, if you can work that into your stories, we know that fans like to know where they can find the best racing on TV.

Now, today, we’re delighted to be joined by the trainers of two of the biggest names in American racing, and both of them are set to run in those big Santa Anita races.  California Chrome is America’s all-time leading money earner, the 2014 Kentucky Derby winner and the 2016 Dubai World Cup winner, and he’ll be going in the Awesome Again; and Beholder, who was second to Chrome last time out in the Pacific Classic, is a two-time Breeders’ Cup winner, a 10-time Grade 1 winner overall, and this time she’s back in against other fillies and mares in the Zenyatta Stakes.

Beholder’s trainer, Richard Mandella, will be coming up in just a little while, but first, it’s our pleasure to welcome back the man who’s trained California Chrome for more than three years, saddling him to 14 wins and more than $13.2 million in earnings.  Let’s check in with that guy.  Art Sherman, it’s Jim Mulvihill at the NTRA in Lexington.  Are you there?

But, we appreciate you joining us.  As always, it’s great to have you on.  We’ve got so much to talk about with this horse.  First things first, we just always like to know how he’s doing, so if you could, Art …

Art Sherman:

He’s doing great.

Jim Mulvihill:

… maybe just tell us about the breeze on Saturday and then how he’s been doing since vanning over to Santa Anita on Sunday.

Art Sherman:

Well, yes, a very nice breeze at Los Alamitos on Saturday.  He went three-quarters in 13.1 in gallop-out, 26 and change 7/8s, which was just perfect for me.  You know, we’re coming back in five weeks, and just maintaining (inaudible), and he’s been doing great after them kind of works.  He’s at Santa Anita now.  He galloped really strong today.  We school all week.  He galloped a mile-and-a-half this morning.

Jim Mulvihill:

Terrific!  Well, these are all positive reports.  One thing that I was interested in reading about his work on Saturday was—Jeremy Balan, in the Blood-Horse, he talked about how calm you were watching the work that morning, and that’s very striking, just because you’ve got what a lot of people would say is the best racehorse in the world.  What is it about you at this stage, or the horse at this stage that allows you to watch him have his final breeze before one of his final races, with all that’s riding on the rest of this year, and be totally calm?

Art Sherman:

Well, I think it’s the confidence in the horse, and, you know, the surroundings for the horse have just been perfect, everything, his timing, and we just are having such a great year so far, you know, we’re undefeated this year, we’re five for five, and I’ll tell you the horse is doing outstanding.  I’m just so lucky to have a horse like this.

Jim Mulvihill:

Well, we’re lucky to get to see him every time he starts in the last few years, but it is starting to wind down.  He’s got a couple of bigger goals beyond this weekend, but we’re all assuming that come January, in the Pegasus, that, if everything goes according to plan, will be the end of his racing career.  So, I’m wondering if you could just tell us about his schedule for the next few months and, starting with this race, how Saturday sets him up for those last few starts.

Art Sherman:

Well, this will set him up for the Breeders’ Cup, it’s five weeks later.  The timing is everything.  He loves Santa Anita Racetrack.  I think he’s won like maybe four Grade 1s, well-graded stakes, I don’t know if all of them were Grade 1s, but he sure likes Santa Anita’s surface.  Actually, he likes a lot of surfaces.  That’s not been a problem for me shipping him all over the country.

Jim Mulvihill:

Great.

Art Sherman:

I’ll tell you, he just seems to thrive with racing right now.  He looks better, he’s stronger.  At five, he’s just a completely different horse right now.  It’s kind of awesome just to watch him, to be honest with you.

Jim Mulvihill:

 Yes, I’m sure it is, and then just looking ahead to the rest of the year, just if you could tell us about his next few months, and beyond the Breeders’ Cup, if there’s anything differently you have to do in terms of, you know, pointing ahead to a race that’s never existed before in January.

Art Sherman:

Yes, we were thinking about that the other day and we haven’t made our final—you know, there is a chance that he might run at Gulfstream prior to the Pegasus race.  We haven’t really made up our mind.  We’re going to see how he comes on at the Breeders’ Cup and how he—what his attitude is and everything.  He can train up to that race, too, without any problem.  He’s kind of pushbutton right now.  I have never had it (inaudible) so we couldn’t keep him fit up to that race after the Breeders’ Cup.

Jim Mulvihill:

Yes, and if he did, if there was the possibility of a race at Gulfstream, a prep for the Pegasus, is that one that’s on the stakes calendar or one that you all would talk to them about writing for you?

Art Sherman:

Well, I think it’s—there’s one race on the calendar that he can run in.  We’ll just kind of play it by ear.  It’s hard to commit at this time so far in advance.

Jim Mulvihill:

Sure.

Art Sherman:

But right now, I’m just all business-ready for the Breeders’ Cup coming up.  This race will be important for me Saturday, and to have a Breeders’ Cup winner would be great.  It’s going to be a great race, anyhow, we have some real stars coming this year, so it’s going to be a super Breeders’ Cup, I think.  We’ve got some beautiful horses running, with Beholder, and you have (inaudible), Songbird—I just love that story.

Jim Mulvihill:

 Oh, absolutely, it’s going to be a Breeders’ Cup for the ages, if everybody that we’re expecting makes it to early November.  Now, Art, just hang on for a minute and we’ll see what the media has for you.

Art Sherman:

Okay, sure.

Brian Zipse:

Hi, Art.  How are you?

Art Sherman:

Great.  How are you today?

Brian Zipse:

Good, Art.  Art, you once told me that you thought you probably weren’t going to get him back as a five-year-old.  After everything that happened before, he kind of came back to America a little bit lighter, he had the bone bruising.  Can you talk about his physical progression, his mental progression, and his progression as a racehorse since you’ve gotten him back?

Art Sherman:

Well, you know, being a five-year-old, he’s matured so much now.  You know, to me, a five-year-old is one of your best times to race a horse of his kind of caliber, and I just think he’s so much stronger.  I was so happy to get him back.  He’s just blossomed into something special right now.  I can’t say enough about him.

Brian Zipse:

Have you noticed a mental progression since he was a younger horse?

Art Sherman:

Oh, yes.  He’s a real ham, you know.  He loves to get his picture taken.  He’s a super horse to train.  We school him.  Everybody comes by and sees him.  He’s just a star in California.  I call him the The Chromies.  There are people that just every weekend are here, and you can see when he runs.  The grandstand is just packed.

Brian Zipse:

That’s great, Art.  Good luck on Saturday.

Art Sherman:

Thank you.

Danny Brewer:

Hey, Artie, how’s it going, man?

Art Sherman:

All right.  How you been, Danny?

Danny Brewer:

Good, real good, real good.  Okay, so, Artie, you’ve been around the track a time or two, but are you still amazed by what you see from this horse every day?

Art Sherman:

Oh, I sure am.  It’s a once-in-a-lifetime horse for me.  I’m just so happy that he came back to my barn, and just progressing perfectly for us.  It’s a dream come true for me, all my family and all the people that work for me.  It’s been a helluva ride, I can tell you that.

Danny Brewer:

Just talk about for a minute the bond between him and Victor, because when I’m talking to Victor about him, you can tell there’s just really something special between Victor and him.  What’s your thoughts on that?

Art Sherman:

 Well, I really think so.  He’s gotten so used to the horse, he knows all his little—I always kid him all the time, I say, “Gosh, I’d give my eyeteeth to ride one like him.”  I said, “He’s so pushbutton.”  I always kid him, I say, “You’re not really going to accept the money after riding this horse, are you?”  He’s a jockey’s dream to ride, believe me, from inside outside.  He’s got technical speed, you know.  He’s just a pleasure to ride.

Danny Brewer:

Artie, it’s great to—

Art Sherman:

I can understand Victor being—yes.

Danny Brewer:

Yes, obviously, you’ve got to be kidding about riding a horse like this, right?

Art Sherman:

That’s right.  I’ll tell you, there are not too many like him.  Victor just knows the horse like the back of his hand.  I don’t give him any instructions, I just tell him, “Hey, listen, he’ll probably be close up.”  There’s not much speed in the race, and he can go on the lead, off the lead, you know.  I really think his best race is off the pace.  He happened to win the Pacific Classic on the lead, but when you give him the lead, like they did, you know, he’s a tough horse to get by.

Danny Brewer:

Absolutely.  Artie, I appreciate your time, man, and I wish you the best of luck.

Art Sherman:

Thank you, I appreciate that.

Art Wilson:

Good morning, Art.

Art Sherman:

Hey, Art.  How are you?

Art Wilson:

I’m doing good, thanks.  Hey, how much of a shot in the arm is it to the sport to have horses like Chrome and Beholder, and there’s going to be another two or three older starts at the Breeders’ Cup this year, to have them keep racing and let the fans keep rooting for their favorite?

Art Sherman:

Well, I think it’s great for the sport myself, you know.  We used to do that years ago, horses went on six, seven, eight years old.  It brings out the people.  You have to have superstars in the game to keep everybody interested, and I think you’ve got probably the best group of horses that I’ve ever seen come to the Breeders’ Cup in quite a few years.  I’m anxious myself to watch them run.

Art Wilson:

Obviously, Chrome went to Dubai earlier this year and that was a long trip, a tough trip, and this year he doesn’t have to travel for the Breeders’ Cup, not that he needs any type of an advantage at all, but how much of an advantage is it to be able to keep him home for the Breeders’ Cup?

Art Sherman:

Oh, I think it’s a big advantage for me.  He’s run over that course quite a few times.  I think he’s undefeated at Santa Anita.  I’d have to look at the record, but I think he’s won like five races there.  It’s always horses for courses.  I’m big a believer a lot of times of that.  But, you know, it’s probably as good a feeling as I’ve ever had coming into (inaudible) again, so I hope he has a clean trip and you’re going to see the Chrome that I know will show up.

Art Wilson:

Okay, great.  Good luck Saturday and beyond, Art.

Art Sherman:

All right, I appreciate that, thank you.

Debbie Arrington:

Good morning, Art.  How are you doing this morning?

Art Sherman:

Hi, Debbie.  How are you doing?

Debbie Arrington:

Oh, fine, fine.  I hope it’s not too hot down there.

Art Sherman:

It was a killer down here.  It was like almost a hundred degrees, but it’s supposed to cool off by the weekend, they say, it’s going to be like 30 degrees cooler, so we’ll be in the 70s again, good Southern California weather, so I’m looking forward to that.

Debbie Arrington:

Me, too.  Did you have your cataract surgery?

Art Sherman:

I did on my left eye.  I just made an appointment prior to talking on the radio show, I’m going to have it done around November 15.  I’ve got to make sure I’m in the clear with all the races that are coming up.  So, I’m going to have my right eye done then, but my left eye has really turned out good.

Art Sherman:

Oh, good.

Art Sherman:

I notice my vision is a lot better, yes.

Debbie Arrington:

Well, you can really see your horse now.

Art Sherman:

That’s it, you know, I’ve got a real close-up.  Especially in my left eye, I’m really good.  I’ve got 20/20 in my left eye.

Debbie Arrington:

Oh, wow!  Oh, that’s great.  Well, you’ve been with Chrome for a lot longer than trainers get to be with their stars these days.  What sort of relationship have you developed with him over all that time?

Art Sherman:

Well, I swear he knows me, you know what I mean?  He hears my voice and starts nickering, because he knows he’s going to get a cookie.  He spoils me instead of me spoiling him, I’ll tell you, because I can get out of my car and talk to one of my grooms and all of a sudden I hear this (horse noise), and he starts bellowing from his stall, and I say, “Wow!  He knows I’m here already,” and sure enough, I’ve got to go over there and give him some cookies, and of course his buddies are all around him, so I give them all cookies, too.  It’s been really fun for me.

Debbie Arrington:

Mm-hmm, and you’ve obviously taught him a lot over the years.  What has he taught you?

Art Sherman:

Wow!  He’s taught me, ah, I think a lot of patience now.  Of course, you know, as the years go by you see about everything you can see, and then sometimes there’s some new things you see.  There’s a lot of things you can learn, you know, from horses.  He’s such an outstanding athlete to train.  He is a superstar.  I know he’ll make to the Hall of Fame one of these days and I’ll be there to cheer him on, you can bet that.

Debbie Arrington:

Very good.  Well, I’m looking forward to seeing you Saturday.

Art Sherman:

All right, thank you.

Danielle Lerner:

Hi, Art.  I appreciate you being here this morning.

Art Sherman:

Thank you.

Danielle Lerner:

So, my question is—I mean, this horse was picked really early as a favorite for the Breeders’ Cup, and after being on top of the poll for 29 straight weeks, are you even—did you predict this, first of all, did you predict this kind of climb would exist still when he’s in his fifth year, and at this point are you even surprised anymore when these rankings come out?

Art Sherman:

You know, I see the rankings and I just say, well, I think I’ve got the best horse in the country.  I might be a little prejudiced about it, but, you know, he’s done about everything a horse could do.  We’ve travelled all over the country, abroad, and we’ve never ducked anybody, and it’s been a hard journey.  He really can’t prove anything more to me.  I think right now you’re going to wind up seeing him the rest of year at his peak.  It’s been a great journey for me.

Danielle Lerner:

Do you think that he still has yet to peak, or are you hoping that that peak kind of comes in the Breeders’ Cup?

Art Sherman:

Well, I think, you know, if everything goes right with this race on Saturday and he comes out of the race great, I think he’ll be coming into the Breeders’ Cup in perfect condition, and just looking for good racing (inaudible) and a clean trip, that’s all I ask.

Danielle Lerner:

All right.  Thank you, Art.

Art Sherman:

You bet.

Frank Angst:

Hey, Art.  How are you?

Art Sherman:

All right.  How are you doing?

Frank Angst:

Pretty good.  Hey, what’s just the feeling in Southern California right now with Breeders’ Cup back at Santa Anita and the big date on the card Saturday with the five Grade 1s?  I mean, can you describe the feeling going into this Santa Anita meet?

Art Sherman:

Oh, I can.  It’s always great to be back at Santa Anita.  I just think it’s the most beautiful racetrack, you know, with the grass course coming down that hill.  It’s very unique.  I enjoy myself there.  Of course, I’ve been coming here ever since I’ve been a kid, so it means a lot to me to be back at Santa Anita.  They do a great job taking care of people.  It’s been super.  We have such a great card on this coming Saturday.  I’m getting there early, so I make sure I got all the—to watch all the races.  We’ve got a suite, we have a suite for that day, and it’s going to be nice.  I’ve got all my family coming from all over.  So, I’m hoping we have a good time.

Frank Angst:

How big has been that he’s been able to have these prep races going into Breeders’ Cup in Southern California?

Art Sherman:

Oh, I think it’s a big advantage.  You don’t have to travel.  Any time you have to go across the country, you know, go from hot weather to cold weather, and I think it means a lot, to be able to train over the surface like we do.  I think you’re at an advantage if you can be in California and run here, coming into these races.

Tom Jicha:

How influential was the million-dollar bonus that Stronach put up in California Chrome going in this year, because a lot of the people you’ll see in the Breeders’ Cup are training up to it and taking much bigger gaps than you are?

Art Sherman:

Well, I think, you know, a million dollars is a million dollars, but it’s not only that.  If the horse wasn’t riding, not training good, we wouldn’t be running, and to me, it’s just perfect timing at this stage to have these preps right underneath before the Breeders’ Cup.  Of course, the Pacific Classic, you really can’t call a prep, you know what I mean?  It was a fantastic race for him.  Now, he’s getting to go to the Awesome Again.  I really don’t know how many horses are going to be in there, to tell you the truth, but I don’t think you’ll see over five myself, looking at the horses that are going to run in that race.

Tom Jicha:

Along the same lines, you said at the top of the call that it’s five weeks, and that was the bottom line.  You’ve been training horses for so many years.  You used to remember when horses ran every week, every two weeks.  What’s changed in the horse now that everybody’s looking for five weeks, six weeks or longer, to go into a big race?

Art Sherman:

Well, you know, I think the makeup of the horses are a lot different, the surfaces of the race tracks are a lot different, and that means a lot.  I think it’s tougher to go to different tracks and be that performance at a peak.  You see them all getting beat, and this one and that one, you know, and you look at the three-year-old division, they’re just outrunning each other all the time.  I think it’s a big advantage to be closer to home, where you train and can run.

Tom Jicha:

But, to what I was asking, and maybe I didn’t make it clear, was horses used to run every week, every two weeks certainly, the really good horses, and yet now, if a good horse races more than six times a year, it’s a lot.

Art Sherman:

Oh, I get it, yes.  I understand it, yes.  Well, I just think now, with the money situation, purses are so big, that people want to keep your horse around.  I’m not one to ride him back in two weeks.  That’s tough for a horse to do that, especially the way the weather is now, it’s 90 or 100 degrees in weather, and your horse loses so much weight.  We weigh our horse all the time, we’ve got scales at the barn, and I notice that after a tough race, and humidity and stuff, they lose 75/80 pounds after each race, and it just takes them that long to kind of build them up again.  That’s why, I think, you don’t see racing like they used to years ago, because they didn’t have scales and they didn’t have what we’ve got now to work with.  I think the training is really far—I can’t say it’s superior.  I just think that right now we have the stars and we’re trying to keep them training as much as we can, but of course the breeding shed has a lot to do with it, you know, money gets into the breeding end of it, and I just think that the horses aren’t around as long as they should be, you know, stars, myself.

Tom Jicha:

Thank you very much.

Art Sherman:

You bet.

Jim Mulvihill:

All right.  Art, before we let you go, I just wanted to ask you a little bit more about the Pacific Classic.  Going into that race, there was only one thing that bothered me, which was the rail draw.  Thinking back to his career, I guess there was maybe a perception, especially in his three-year-old season, that this horse didn’t like to be inside of other horses, but then in the Pacific Classic he gets out of the gate so fast that it didn’t matter anyway, he was never inside of another horse.  So, I’m just wondering if you can talk about whether he laid that to rest, perhaps, and whether that was ever even a concern in the first place.

Art Sherman:

Well, I think now, as he got older, he’s more focused in running.  He’s a stronger horse.  He got a little intimidated when in his two- and three-year-old season, you know, but now he’s a different horse when he gets into the starting gate.  You can put him any place you want.  If there’s speed in the race and they want to go for it, you just take him back and sit right off the pace.  He’s not going to be far back, anyhow, as long as he gets a clean break.  The way that tracks are now, it seems like speed horses have a big advantage over a lot of other horses that have to come from the last and next to last.  It seems like it’s always harder on them.

Jim Mulvihill:

Well, Art, thanks so much for the insight.  We always love having you on, it’s a blast to talk to you, and all of us wish you luck on Saturday and beyond.

Art Sherman:

All right, I appreciate it, everybody.  Thank you.

Jim Mulvihill:

All right.  Thanks so much, Art.

Art Sherman:

You bet.

Jim Mulvihill:

All right, and now aren’t we lucky?  We get to go from Art Sherman to another living legend, and that’s Richard Mandella.  It’s a treat not only because Art and Richard are the types of horsemen and the people they are, but, you know, like Art Wilson was saying a few minutes ago, we also get to talk about horses that have been racing at the highest levels of the sport across several years, and for all the banter over the past few decades about how early the superstars retire, it’s so great to be able to talk to trainers with horses like these, that just keep coming back time and again and giving us all these thrills.  So, we’re going to check in with Richard Mandella now.  Let’s see if he’s on the line.  Richard, are you with us?

Richard Mandella:

I’m here.

Jim Mulvihill:

Excellent.  Well, thanks for joining us.  We’re always glad to have you on the call.  We were just talking about Beholder and how good she’s been for so long, but she’s finished second twice in a row now, that’s the first time that’s ever happened, but when you look at these last two races and who she was beat by and the circumstances those days, is it still safe to say that Beholder is running Beholder-type races this summer?

Richard Mandella:

Yes, I think so, you know, beat by a couple of very good horses.  I might have contributed to getting her beat the first time, might have been too easy on her, but that’s just something you can guesstimate, you can’t—there’s no facts to it.  The fact is she’s running very well.  There’s no way we would ever be disappointed in her.  But, she’s training very well and I think she’s up to one of her best races coming up.

Jim Mulvihill:

Excellent.  Well, we certainly hope so.  I hate it when we get ahead of ourselves, but this time of year you almost can’t help it.  When this season started, a lot of us were expecting that this would be a path to a try in the Breeders’ Cup Classic, but this has just been an exceptional year.  You’ve already tried California Chrome, but then the fillies and mares that are out there, not just Stellar Wind, but also Songbird, they’re so exceptional.  Can you just talk about the options that you’ve had for this fall and the different considerations that go into Distaff versus Classic?

Richard Mandella:

You know, the fact that we were a very clear second, and with no excuses, in the Pacific Classic, it was just an automatic—you know, we’re only going to reach for something like the Classic if we do what we did last year and run such a great race, but we didn’t run quite that a good a race this year, so lower our expectations.  There’s nothing wrong with the Distaff.  It might be as tough as anything.  I don’t know that we’re picking an easy spot, right?  We’re doing what seems to be the right thing.

Jim Mulvihill:

No, that’s part of what makes it so intriguing, I mean, Stellar Wind and Songbird, and the others.  Can you think of a year where it’s been this deep with the fillies and mares?

Richard Mandella:

I can’t think of one any tougher.

Jim Mulvihill:

For sure.  Well, Richard, I don’t want to take up the time, because the media always has a bunch of questions for you, so I’m going to turn it over to Michelle and we’ll see what other questions there are for you.

Danny Brewer:

Richard, how are you doing?

Richard Mandella:

Good.  How are you?

Danny Brewer:

I’m doing fantastic.  Whenever we talk about male and female relationships, it starts out where a lot of times the male’s the boss, but as time goes something changes and the female becomes the boss.  So, in your situation, who’s telling who what to do?  Are you telling her what to do still or it’s the stage where she’s telling you what to do?

Richard Mandella:

 In my life, I have two females telling me what to do, my wife and Beholder.

Danny Brewer:

But that’s not all bad, though, right?

Richard Mandella:

It’s great, yes.

Danny Brewer:

Okay.  So, where do you—you like where she’s at right now.  Obviously, she did run strong in the Pacific Classic.  Do you feel like she’s where you hoped she would be at this stage as we get ready to go for another, hopefully, Breeders’ Cup win.

Richard Mandella:

Well, to be honest, I’d feel better if we won by eight or nine lengths, like we did last year, and had such a big day.  We didn’t have quite that big day, but we can only be proud of her for what she’s done.  She ran a great race.  What we did last year might have just been kind of the peak of her life right there, who knows.

Danny Brewer:

Richard, I appreciate the time and I wish you the best of luck.

Richard Mandella:

Thank you.

Art Wilson:

Hey, Richard.  The industry and the fans both have been treated to older stars, like Beholder and California Chrome, racing way past where it seems to be the norm these days.  In your opinion, how important is it for the sport to have horses like that, where the fans can root a number of years for their favorites, rather than just maybe their three-year-old year?

Richard Mandella:

No, I think it’s important, any chance you can to keep a really good one around.  You know, too often these days money comes into the question, and values, if they’re breeding, what they’re worth breeding-wise, and so they disappear into the breeding market and people don’t hardly get to know their name before that happens sometimes.  In this case, I needed—Mr. Hughes didn’t need the money, but I did, so we kept her going.

Art Wilson:

Okay.  Then, also, can you just touch a little bit—you talked about going in, the Distaff looks so tough with Songbird and Stellar Wind.  Can you just really lightly touch on your feelings about those two fillies?

Richard Mandella:

They’re just two very good fillies.  Which one’s the toughest, I don’t know.  I watched the race with Songbird the other day and I thought—I hadn’t looked at the form or anything and I thought those fillies couldn’t be that good behind her, and then somebody told me there were four or five Grade 1 winners in there.  She sure made it look easy.  We won the Breeders’ Cup as a three-year-old and beat Royal Delta, so I’m worried about it.

Art Wilson:

Right, okay.  Well, hey, best of luck to you on Saturday, Richard.

Richard Mandella:

Thank you.

Frank Angst:

Hey, Richard.  With Breeders’ Cup back at Santa Anita, and Saturday’s big card, can you describe the feeling going into this meet?  It would seem like it’s a good feeling going in.

Richard Mandella:

It is a good feeling.  It’s always nice to have something like this at home for you.  I don’t have to explain, I’ve had particular good luck at it, so it’s nice.  In this particular case, I think it’s more important than ever, because she doesn’t ship well, there’s no secret about that, and so we’re happy to be right here at home.

Frank Angst:

Thanks a lot.

Tom Jicha:

Yes, hi, Richard.  In the previous call, we touched on how important it is for the fans to keep these horses running, but, I mean, this year especially, your mare is six, I think Tipen is six, or five, Flintshire is six, California Chrome of course is five.  Are we missing something for these horses?  The fans of course, but for the horses, they never really get a chance to show their true greatness, because they’re being rushed to the breeding sheds so early.

Richard Mandella:

It’s just economics, and I don’t think there’s much we can do about that.

Frank Angst:

Well, let me put it another way then.  You’ve been around horses so long.  What year do you think a horse really peaks?

Richard Mandella:

You know, I’ve always thought that their five-year-old year should be their best.  They’re usually finished growing, their mind is kind of settled into a groove, and if they’re sound enough—we’ve had horses that at seven were at their best.  So, I don’t there’s any reason they shouldn’t be, other than if they get injuries and they’re haunted by them, if they’re a problem, and then obviously not going to be the same.

Frank Angst:

All right, thank you.

Jim Mulvihill:

 All right.  Richard, I’m just going to let you go, because we covered a lot of ground already.  We always appreciate your time and hopefully we’ll be able to have you back for another conversation before the Breeders’ Cup.

Richard Mandella:

Okay.  It was my pleasure.

Jim Mulvihill:

And there you have it, Richard Mandella, Art Sherman, just a terrific call today, and as always, I want to thank Joan Lawrence for lining up for these guests.  Hopefully, we’ll be back next week with more Breeders’ Cup preps to talk about, and thanks everybody for joining us on the call today.

 

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