Jim Mulvihill: Thank you to everybody for being on this earlier-than-normal call today. It’s extremely hard to believe after everything we’ve seen these past few weekends but the race of the summer might still be ahead of us. This Saturday Saratoga hosts the Grade 1 Woodward with a fascinating, deep competitive field assembling – most likely the top six from the Whitney, that’s Cross Traffic, Successful Dan, Mucho Macho Man, Ron the Greek, Fort Larned and Alpha, plus Flat Out, plus Paynter. We’ll be focused on that race this morning, but let’s not forget there are other big stakes this weekend. Great two year old racing – the Debutante at Del Mar, the Spinaway and the Hopeful at Saratoga. Back out west the Del Mar Derby on Saturday and the Yellow Ribbon on Monday, and then also up at Saratoga the Forego for top sprinters is part of the Woodward card, and just an incredible closing weekend up there at the Spa.
Now before we get to today’s guests, a few reminders. The Woodward and the Bernard Baruch close out the “Summer at Saratoga” series on NBC Sports Network; that’s 4 to 6 p.m. Eastern this Saturday. Those races will be part of a nice lineup of satellite radio coverage also this weekend. Dave Johnson and Bill Finley will be on from Saratoga from 5 to 6 Eastern Saturday, while the Horse Racing Radio Network will be on site at Saratoga for the Hopeful on Labor Day; that’s also 5 to 6. So Saturday and Monday live coverage from Saratoga on Sirius channel 93 and XM 209.
Now, let’s get to the guests. Later on in this call we’ve got Jerry Hollendorfer to talk about Halo Dolly in the Yellow Ribbon, and we’ve also got Mucho Macho Man’s owners, Dean and Patti Reeves, to look more at the Woodward. But first we’re going to welcome in Charlie LoPresti. He’s the trainer of Successful Dan. He’ll be one of the top choices in the Woodward, as well as Turallure, who is going to be in the Bernard Baruch, and, of course, trainer of the reigning Horse of the Year, Wise Dan. LoPresti is Brooklyn-born but he makes his home on a farm near Lexington. He’s been training since 1993, and he’s been prominent in Grade 1 stakes the past few years with those three horses we just mentioned a second ago.
Charlie, you’re on with Jim Mulvihill in New York. Thanks for joining us.
Charlie LoPresti: Well, thank you guys for having me this morning.
Jim Mulvihill: Well we’re glad to have you here. This Woodward is shaping up as the race of the year to this point for older horses. You look at this field, everybody in here except for Successful Dan is either a Grade 1 winner or a multi-millionaire. What can you say about this field top to bottom?
Charlie LoPresti: Well, you know, it’s a really strong field. It’s pretty much the Whitney and they added a few more to it, and the horses they added to it are really good horses. I mean I’m excited to see Paynter come. Flat Out is a very good horse. Those are the two new additions, and we’re excited about the race. I think the weather’s going to be good, hopefully we’ll have a good track, and everybody will get a good trip, and hopefully we’ll be a winner.
Jim Mulvihill: And, you know, it’s only been a few weeks since the Whitney, and as we’ve said, so many of the same horses coming back again. You know, what has to change this time, or what scenario do you see that’ll allow Successful Dan to turn the tables on Cross Traffic?
Charlie LoPresti: Well, I think there needs to be a lot more pace in the front. And I was really expecting that, but Cross Traffic got an easy first quarter. And I was really proud of our horse. I mean he closed a lot of ground. He really ran good. Cross Traffic is a really good horse; he’s really improving. And I think that there’s a couple of horses in there—I mean I know Paynter’s got a world of speed, so I’m kind of hoping they just get, you know, they go faster up front than they did.
Jim Mulvihill: And you ran a huge race in the Whitney despite a little incident coming onto the track. Successful Dan, he got crossed up and fell on his side. It didn’t seem to impact his performance, though. Was that an isolated incident, or is that prerace behavior that you worry about?
Charlie LoPresti: You know, he has never, ever done that. I think I had him pretty sharp for that race. I don’t really know why he did it. I mean I’ve gone over there and schooled him and I’m going to school him again tomorrow. You know, there’s a lot of flags that will fly in there. There is a flagpole there and the crowd. I really don’t know what happened, because I actually didn’t see it, but from what I understand he just—something spooked him and he ran backward and he lost his balance and over he went. He ran a great race in spite of that. I’ve got to think that maybe it took a little bit out of him, you know, when he hit the ground as hard as he did. So maybe he wasn’t into the race, the first part of it, you know, it took him awhile to get his feet underneath him, but, you know, he made up a lot of ground and he ran really hard. So I’m kind of hoping that maybe he’s going to be a little closer this time and a little sharper, and hopefully he won’t have something like that happen, because you sure don’t want that to happen to a horse right before he’s going in a big race like that.
Jennie Rees: Yes, Charlie. I’m wondering—I guess it’s hard to use the word frustrating at all with a horse who’s eight for 14 and almost a millionaire, but he is a horse who’s had a couple, you know, different times getting a year off. With the talent he has, is it frustrating just trying to get him back to the races and keeping him in one piece to show what he can really do?
Charlie LoPresti: Yes, it is kind of frustrating. I mean every time that he has come into his own and really started to show the kind of horse he is, there’s always something that goes wrong with him. We had him really good the year they took his number down in the Clark. I mean it just seems like everything’s gone against him. We had him really good for this race in the Whitney, and then I was kind of kidding my nephew when he walked through the paddock, I said, well, we finally got him there, because we didn’t get him there last year, and then I walked away and I went for the grandstand and then I looked up and there that happened to him. So it just seems like he’s kind of a hard luck horse. But we’ve had him really sound this year, and that’s the biggest thing is we’ve been able to—and this will be his fifth start this year, and—but it is frustrating to answer your question. It’s kind of tough at times, but maybe we’ll shine this time.
Jennie Rees: In this era when, you know, it’s easy to duck to go around to other races, are you surprised that this race has come up as tough as it did? I mean, other than Game on Dude, there’s really not much that won’t—that’ll be running in the Breeders’ Cup Classic that’s not going to be here.
Charlie LoPresti: Ian Wilkes and I were talking about it a couple days after the race, you run those races four or five different times and four or five different horses win it. You know, that’s the kind of caliber of horses that are in there. Yes, you can duck horses and go to different places, but I think it’s a nice race to be in. It’s a very prestigious race. And if you consider your horse one of the best in the country, then you have to step up and compete in those races. And I’m excited to run the horse. He’s training good, he’s doing good, he’s had super good breezes since then, everything’s good with his legs, and I’m really excited to run him in this race. I’m glad to see that there’s been some new additions. It may change the whole complexion of the race. As I said before, maybe there’ll be some more speed up front.
Tom Pedulla: Charlie, I just wanted to ask you what would it mean to sort of the horse’s career and to you if Successful Dan could win this race?
Charlie LoPresti: Well, as I said in the Whitney, it would mean more to me probably than any race that I’ve ever won. And, I mean, I don’t say that lightly, because I’ve won Breeders’ Cup races, I’ve won Grade 1s—I won a Breeders’ Cup race. But I just think that this particular horse, we’ve been through so much with him, I would just like for everybody to see that he is as good a horse as I’ve said all along. And it would mean a great deal for me to see this horse win. He has a special place in all our hearts.
Alan Carasso: Hey, good morning, Charlie, and condolences for your loss on—at the weekend. It was tough to see. Just curious to the extent you can compare horses out of the same dam. What are the similarities and what are the differences between Successful Dan and Wise Dan?
Charlie LoPresti: Well, Successful Dan, he’s different. He’s a strong horse. He’s a big horse. I think he’s so much better on the dirt than Wise Dan. And Wise Dan is coming around pretty good on the dirt. I mean, I’m pretty happy with the way he trains here at Saratoga every day. He had a good breeze on it. But I think they’re different. Successful Dan is a true dirt horse and he reminds me of the great old geldings of the years gone by; the Foregos and those kind of horses, because just the way he’s built and the way he runs and the way he trains on the dirt. He’s had a lot of hard luck with his suspensory injuries. But I think that’s all behind him. Knock on wood; I think it’s all behind him right now.
Wise Dan is a pleasure. Wise Dan is a very, very sound horse. He’s very easy to train. He’s an overachiever. You don’t have to breeze him very often. You don’t have to have him on a set schedule, because the way he gallops and trains in the morning, he puts so much into it that he keeps himself fit, and he’s a horse that really tells you when he’s ready to run. He’s just easy to read.
Alan Carasso: And Successful Dan’s never been further than this 9 furlongs. Obviously he sees out this trip pretty well, particularly if the pace is honest ahead of him. Do you have any feeling on the 10 furlongs, and is the Breeders’ Cup Classic something that’s in the plans?
Charlie LoPresti: I think that that would suit him. The further he goes the better he’s going to be. As you saw in his last race—I mean I’m not taking anything away from any of the other horses, Cross Traffic ran a great race, and he beat us fair and square; I think he’s a really good horse—but if you look at the rest of the field and how much ground Successful Dan was making up and when he really started rolling was around the turn, I think that he’ll run all day I guess is what I’m trying to say. I don’t think the distance is ever going to be a problem for that horse. I think the biggest thing for him is a pace scenario where somebody doesn’t steal the race. If he’s got a fair shot to be four, five lengths off a really good pace, I think like he did in the Alysheba, I think he’s going to show you that he can run. But to answer your question, he’ll run a mile and a quarter. I don’t think that’s a problem.
Alan Carasso: Will both Dans be at Santa Anita first weekend in November?
Charlie LoPresti: Well, I hope that I’m going to be there, and I just want to thank you very much for talking about Kris Royal, because that was really a hard thing that happened this weekend. It’s taken a couple of days and I’m still not over it. But I really appreciate you saying that, because that means more to me than talking about these big races really.
Alan Carasso: Yes, no problem. Our condolences. Thanks very much.
Jennie Rees: Charlie, I want to talk to you about Turallure also, and he’s got a big race coming up. And sort of I guess what happened with him? He was so brilliant, you know, a couple of years ago and then he was sidelined, and then, you know, he ran a nice race last time, but just what’s sort of been going on with him?
Charlie LoPresti: Well, Jennie, that’s a good question. I’ve been trying to figure that out. I mean after we put him away after the Breeders’ Cup, we brought him back in the race at Keeneland and he ran a brilliant race; he just lost about a length. And then he just kind of tailed off. But anyway, we did find a reason; he had the bone bruising. And we gave him all the time off and we brought him back. And he hasn’t run any bad races, but you’re exactly right, he hasn’t been brilliant the way he was. And I just had this in the back of my mind that, sometimes these older colts like that they just get complacent in where they’re at. Keeneland’s kind of a quiet atmosphere and he just kind of goes through the motions. He trained every day and he breezed, but, no, he wasn’t that brilliant, and you’re exactly right. But right before we came to Saratoga after the race at Arlington that was probably his best race. He only got beat four lengths, but I think, you know, the race didn’t set up that day. He started to show some real spark again, and I thought, you know, I want to get him up to Saratoga where he really shined a couple years ago, and, you know, such a busy racetrack and all the atmosphere and being able to go to the turf and work. And I tell you what, once I got him up here, the old Turallure was back. He looked out his window and he was sharp watching the races area afternoon. He was brilliant in his breezes. And we got Jose Lezcano to ride him because Julien went to the West Coast, and he ran a great race, and Lezcano said to me when he came back, he said, boy, what a nice horse. He said I’ve got him figured now. And so he’s trained real forward. I’m expecting a big effort. I’ll be disappointed if he doesn’t run good. I mean, I think we’ve got him back where he was.
Jennie Rees: And I think Julien will ride him in the Bernard Baruch?
Charlie LoPresti: Yes, after that happened the other day, Lezcano has to have a screw put in his wrist, and he’s going to be out for four weeks. And I really feel so bad for him because he wanted to ride this horse so much, he liked him so much, and he’s rode a bunch of our horses up here and he’s done extremely well for us. So I was faced with trying to find a rider, and I think—I know Jonny Velazquez has a mount in the race, and no better person to get than Julien. He’s coming to ride Successful Dan, and so he was our go-to guy. And, he’s done so well with him and he knows him, and the reason I put him on him is I felt kind of obligated to Mr. Lezcano because he’d done such a good job and he wanted to ride him. But it’s just unfortunate that it turned out this way, but hopefully it’s going to be a good scenario. Maybe we’ll win two that day.
Jennie Rees: And so I know you’ve got to see what happens there, but would you try to position him around Wise Dan, since they both, you know, do very well in one-mile races?
Charlie LoPresti: Yes, well, you know, it’s a good place to be, but it could potentially be a tough place to be. Wise Dan’s so brilliant, and I don’t mean to brag about him or I don’t want to sound too cocky, but I don’t see many horses beating him right now the way he is. And I do want to try to give Turallure a chance to get to the Breeders’ Cup, if I can keep them apart in those Challenge races, there’s two Challenge races that I’m thinking about, the Woodbine race and the Keeneland race, that would be the best case scenario. But I may have to run them together at some point. I don’t want to beat the Horse of the Year, but yet I feel like I have an obligation to the owner that has Turallure, and I don’t want to keep him on the sidelines to stay away from Wise Dan. So to answer your question, let’s just see what happens this weekend and then I’ll make my decision, one thing about the Bernard Baruch, this year it’s a week later so it would be almost impossible to take Turallure to Woodbine; he’d be a two-week turnaround. So I think it makes more sense at this point to look at Wise Dan—the million race for Wise Dan and then see what happens with Turallure.
Jim Mulvihill: Charlie, that pretty much covers everything that I had. So I understand you’re going fishing this afternoon. I think we’ll let you go so that you can get on with your last dark day of the meet.
Charlie LoPresti: Well, thank you guys for having me, and thanks for all your kind words and I really appreciate and have fun doing these things.
Jim Mulvihill: Excellent. Well, we appreciate you taking the time to talk to us. Thanks so much.
Charlie LoPresti: Okay, bye.
Jim Mulvihill: That was Charlie LoPresti. He’s got Successful Dan in Saturday’s Woodward. Now we’re going to move on in our call to the next guest, and that is Hall of Fame trainer Jerry Hollendorfer.
Trainer Jerry Hollendorfer will be joining us in a minute. He’s go Halo Dolly in the Yellow Ribbon. That is on Labor Day this Monday at Del Mar. Hollendorfer, he’s a member, as I said, of the Hall of Fame, and he’s approaching 6,500 career wins. He ranks third all-time on that list. He’s been the leading trainer at Golden Gate Fields an incredible 43 times to go with dozens of other training titles in Northern California and beyond. Last weekend he won the Grade 1 Test at Saratoga with Sweet Lulu, and today we’re going to talk about Halo Dolly in the Yellow Ribbon.
Just to review again some of the things that we talked about at the beginning of this call, the “Summer at Saratoga” series on NBC Sports concludes this Saturday, 4 to 6 p.m. Eastern; that’s with the Woodward and the Grade 2 Bernard Baruch. We’ve had a really great series with NBC Sports this summer, not only on the NBC Sports Network, but on the flagship NBC station as well. They’ve done a fantastic job and we’d like to thank them for that great partnership. Also this weekend the Horse Racing Radio Network is at Saratoga on Monday for the Hopeful, and Dave Johnson and Bill Finley will be at Saratoga on Saturday to cover the Woodward and the Baruch as well as the Forego, I believe, as part of that broadcast.
I understand we are trying for Patti and Dean Reeves now, the owners of Mucho Macho Man, so maybe I will tell you a little bit about them while we try and get the Reeves on the phone.
Patti and Dean Reeves of Reeves Thoroughbred Racing are based in Atlanta where they’re both successful business people. Patti is an Outdoor Advertising Consultant and Dean is the CEO of Reeves Contracting. They bought a majority share of Mucho Macho Man after his debut in 2010, and the son of Macho Uno has become one of the most popular horses of the past few years for a number of reasons, not just his colorful name, but it’s the way his owners have reached out to fans; the incredible story that he was thought stillborn before he jumped up and started running off. There’s also trainer Kathy Ritvo’s own health obstacles having had a heart transplant, but then on top of all of that there’s the horse himself, what he’s demonstrated, showing up and running his race nearly every time he’s asked to; a very game horse.
I understand we now have Patti and Dean Reeves on the phone. Patti and Dean, are you with us?
Dean Reeves: Yes, we are.
Jim Mulvihill: All right. Well, welcome to the call.
Dean Reeves: Thank you.
Jim Mulvihill: I was just now trying to summarize as best I could why Mucho Macho Man is such a popular horse with fans, but I’d love to hear it in your words what you believe are the reasons why Mucho Macho Man is such a lovable horse.
Patti Reeves: Oh, wow, it’s great to hear that, and it almost always makes me tear up a little bit. I’m just so emotional about him. I think he just became a popular horse, I think you’re right about his name, and, you know, who doesn’t love the song Macho Man and the whole disco era makes you dance and we always have fun with that. But I think, too, he just had a lot of fans early on, and I think because we’ve kept him in training and kept him racing and he’s five years old now that there’s not that many horses that are still running at five. He’s not a gelding, and, you know, as a result, I think the fans have grown over time. We have a Facebook page for him, and he tweets, and he has a lot of good interactions. He has fans that we’ve met and made with friends with over the years. We meet them when we go to the races. We invite them, you know, to meet us at the track and watch us workout, and as a result, we’ve just grown a lot of really good relationships from that.
Jim Mulvihill: Mucho Macho Man tweets?
Patti Reeves: He does.
Jim Mulvihill: What does—is that @muchomachoman? Is that his handle?
Patti Reeves: Yes, it is @muchomachoman.
Jim Mulvihill: All right. Very cool. And then, Dean, do you want to take a crack at that as well, what you think are the reasons why this horse has become so popular with nearly every racing fan?
Dean Reeves: Well, I think it’s, for me, a couple of things. He’s a little different. He’s a big horse; he’s 17 plus hands, and he’s such a game horse. He gets out there and works at every race. And if you look at his record, he’s in the money all but four races his entire career. And most of that probably was our fault. So he just, you know, he’s a blue collar worker. He gets out there, and he’s been a real blessing for us that he just shows up every time.
Jim Mulvihill: He does, and, you know, he showed up in the Whitney certainly, but only could get a third place finish that day behind Cross Traffic and Successful Dan. And I’ll ask you the same question I asked Charlie LoPresti. You know, it’s a lot of the same horses as we saw on August 3rd. In just the span of a few weeks, what do you think can make the difference this time? How do you turn the tables on those two horses?
Dean Reeves: Well, it’s certainly going to be tough, but he’s coming into this race better than he did into the Whitney, because we had run into a couple of problems early in the year with a bacterial infection and so forth. And, you know, these horses when you—when they’re out of the race mode for five or six months, it takes two or three races to get back into the—to this top level of racing. So this will be his third race back and we’re looking for him to improve on that race in the Whitney, and hopefully it’ll be good enough to get that group of horses, which are a fine group, in this coming Woodward.
Jennie Rees: Back in the Breeders’ Cup when he was the one horse to do the dirty work trying to put the pressure on Fort Larned throughout. And was that exhilarating to watch or was it painful to watch, or just what was that whole experience like in the, you know, the biggest race for older horses of the year?
Dean Reeves: Hi, Jennie. Good to hear from you. You know, I think I, for me, I was a little numb. I mean I was watching that, and I’ve seen Macho in that position for most of his races where he’s stalking the pace, and I thought certainly turning for home that we could’ve had that race. But I give a lot of credit to Fort Larned. Both those horses dug in and they beat a bunch of good horses and made for an exhilarating race. So, you know, in the Whitney, we came back and beat Fort Larned, but then we had two horses that got ahead of us there, and that just shows you how good a group this is.
Jennie Rees: And, you know, he’s, well, he’s at 2.4 million and he’s run really big races. Like you said, he shows up every time. Has it been frustrating at all that he’s just run some really huge races in Grade 1s but he hasn’t been able to quite punch through in the Grade 1s?
Dean Reeves: Yes, that’s extremely frustrating. He, to me, is a Grade 1 champion; we just have not knocked down that Grade 1 race. I looked at it at one time I think last year, he has beaten over a dozen Grade 1 winners, and yet we just have not knocked off that Grade 1 win. So hopefully it’s somewhere in the cards here in the next three, four months.
Patti Reeves: Yes. You’ll be seeing tears in Dean’s eyes when that happens.
Jennie Rees: And, you know, just thinking you could probably win a bar bet when, you know, people are saying, well, who are the two horses in the Woodward that aren’t Grade 1 winners? And Successful Dan and, you know, Mucho Macho Man, it just doesn’t seem like that should be accurate, because they have both run such big races.
Dean Reeves: Right, well—yes, that’s right, and guess it’s just one of those things, and I’d said earlier back when Phil Mickelson was trying to win one of those big golf matches that he finally won the Masters, so hopefully it’ll work for Macho. And, Successful Dan is a tremendous horse, too, but again, just—they’re just coming up running great races but certain horses really put it all together for that race and end up beating them.
Jennie Rees: And final question. What have you all learned as far as being horse owners in this whole experience with Mucho Macho Man since you bought into him?
Dean Reeves: Wow, that’s a great question. We’ve learned, first of all, to be humble about these races. You can have a really great day and the next time out it can just simply not go your way. So you’ve got to be pretty humble. We’ve learned a lot of that. We’ve learned a lot of patience. And you have to be able to accept disappointment. It was a tremendous disappointment in the Woodward last year, and then, although Macho ran great and he ran great in Breeders’ Cup, you sit there and watch that kind of race and when it’s over you’re disappointed and then you’re thinking, well, wow, we just finished second in the Breeders’ Cup Classic by a neck, we ought to be thrilled; most people would be. It’s a lot of that that we’ve learned in horse racing, but at the same time, we’ve had an absolute blast. We’ve met so many wonderful people, had a great time. We have visited and gone to cities and places and done things, and he has opened doors for me personally that I never would’ve been able to do, because without Mucho Macho Man, I would’ve never gotten to play golf at Augusta National.
Jennie Rees: That is heaven stroke for a horse.
Dean Reeves: Yes, I mean that’s pretty good, isn’t it?
Jennie Rees: That may be better than tweeting, that you got into Augusta National. Listen, thank you both and good luck.
Alan Carasso: Just wondering if Edgar retains the mount?
Dean Reeves: Yes, Edgar will be riding him in the Woodward.
Alan Carasso: Okay. And part b of the question is given the success that you had last year with Mike and understanding that obviously he’s based on the West Coast and he was in Florida over the winter so you had easy access to him there, but has there been any sort of thought to sort of try to rekindle the magic and see if he might come ride you?
Dean Reeves: We’ve not addressed that yet, and we’re going to get through this race and then see where we go from here. Those things are always a possibility. We really thought that last year we would always have Ramon Dominguez riding Macho, but in this business, nothing is forever I guess.
Patti Reeves: We keep all our doors open.
Alan Carasso: Yes. I mean on paper he was coming into this race last year obviously in much stronger form, and he’s had layoffs like that race in the slop at Gulfstream, and then the overnight stake at Belmont. Here you’re coming back now in four weeks rest; that’s really the first time you’ve put races back to back in some time, and, you know, do you think that’s going to work in your favor?
Dean Reeves: We do. He got a lot out of the Whitney; came back in really, really good shape, and in his works he’s really been pulling on our exercise rider, has felt good, so coming back in four weeks has been good for him because he’s really getting back into that race mode. And ideally we would like to give him more time, but when he was three years old when we finished fourth I think it was in the Holy Bull, we came back right after that three weeks later and won the Risen Star. Sometimes it fits well for him to come back and stay focused and ready for a race.
Jim Mulvihill: Patti and Dean, I’ll ask you just one more question. This horse has been running at such a high level for a few years now, which is obviously a credit to the trainer. Can you talk a little bit more about Kathy’s management of Mucho Macho Man and what that experience has been like working with her?
Dean Reeves: Well, we just love Kathy Ritvo and she has done a fabulous job of keeping this horse ready for these races. I don’t think she gets enough credit. She brought a horse into the Breeders’ Cup last year and beat a lot of good horses and a lot of good trainers, and she’s just done a fabulous job. It is extremely difficult, and you can look back and see all of the horses that are not racing, and it’s a credit to any of these trainers that can keep horses running at five, six, and seven years old. So she’s done a tremendous job. he knows this horse inside and out, and when she brings him to a race he’s going to be ready to run. So we’re really happy with Kathy and proud of what she’s done.
Also our racing manager, Finn Green, has been a tremendous help to us in preparing all of our horses, and especially working with Kathy and preparing Macho for his races. And the tough part, too, is getting through the times when things don’t go your way; when you do get a bacterial infection or a virus or different things that happen you’ve got to work through those, and they’ve done a great job working together.
Jim Mulvihill: Fantastic. Well, Dean and Patti, I thank you all for taking some time with us this morning and best of luck on Saturday.
Patti Reeves: Thank you.
Dean Reeves: Well, thanks a lot. We look forward to it. It should be great racing.
Jim Mulvihill: Dean and Patti Reeves, ladies and gentlemen. They’ve got Mucho Macho Man in Saturday’s Woodward.
Now we’re going to shift over to trainer Jerry Hollendorfer, who I understand only has a few quick minutes to join us. I believe it’s break time out in California, so let’s get right to him. Jerry, you’re on with Jim Mulvihill in New York. How are you doing today?
Jerry Hollendorfer: I’m doing good. Thank you for having me.
Jim Mulvihill: Oh, it’s our pleasure. Let’s get right to Halo Dolly. She won the Yellow Ribbon last year, did it with a prep that was nearly identical to her most recent start this year winning the Solana Beach by a half length; same margin even. Yesterday she had a strong work on the main track at Del Mar. How do you like her coming into this race?
Jerry Hollendorfer: Well, she’s training up pretty good to the race, and we’d like to try to do a repeat with the Yellow Ribbon, so, you know, a lot of hope being placed in her.
Jennie Rees: It looks like she was purchased after she broke her maiden, and you’ve had great luck with some other horses like that. I’m just curious about how your—the mechanism in place that you have for talent scouts and stuff. Do you have people that look for you or are you just scouting around and trying to get in perhaps before some—earlier on these horses before somebody else, you know, puts up big money for them as well?
Jerry Hollendorfer: Every trainer’s always looking for more horses, and, all the people that sell them and the agents know that, so if they think—someone thinks that they have a horse that I might be interested in they contact me or an agent contacts me and we talk about it. And if we come up with what we think is a fair price then we go ahead and purchase the horses. A lot of them work out and a lot of them don’t, and that’s just the way that things happen when you’re buying.
Jennie Rees: And what did you think that you were getting when you bought her? What sort of, you know, she’s a Cal bred, so you have that, but I mean just—yes, (cross talking).
Jerry Hollendorfer: Well, just looking for a horse that might have a chance to improve and later on run in stakes. We didn’t give a huge amount of money for her and we didn’t get her really economically either, so I’ll put it like that. I think I gave a fair price for her and she totally out-exceeded what anybody thought she would do.
Jennie Rees: How do you decide which races to go in for Cal-bred races and when to go in, you know, graded stakes races?
Jerry Hollendorfer: Well, you know, horses tell you when they’re ready to run. She’s been very consistent in her work and everything; she had a good workout yesterday. We just look at several different options for all the horses and try to figure out which one is the best one, or try to—sometimes if we think there’s going to be a real tough horse in a race we might try to avoid that and pick up another spot, so that’s just the way it goes off. I think all the trainers try to do that.
Jay Privman: Yes, I was wondering actually on a different horse, how Sweet Lulu had come out of the Test and what you were looking to do with her next, please?
Jerry Hollendorfer: Well, I don’t know. I discussed some of that this morning. I have a lot of different options for her and it’s going to be hard for me to make up my mind. Of course, one of the first thoughts that comes to mind since she did come out of her race very well is, you want to be thinking about the Breeders’ Cup, which she just won that seven-eighths in New York, so we’re going to be in our own backyard, so we would look at that race. I have her nominated for a race called the Cotillion, which is at Parx in Philadelphia, and that’s a mile and a sixteenth. That’s a million dollar race. You know, I want to look at that, although I might be inclined not to run there, if we ran in that race and then we didn’t want to run in the Breeders’ Cup, there’s a seven-eighths race at Keeneland for 250 in the fall. So those are the races that I’ve looked at so far and I haven’t been able to make up my mind.
I want to get her home, which that’s going to happen today, and we’re going to go over her from head to toe and run some blood on her and everything and make sure she’s real good, and then try to sit down and figure out what makes the most sense. My owner’s been very cooperative in letting me do what I want with this filly, and I certainly appreciate that, so I’ll be talking to him and see if we can come up with a good plan, Jay.
Carol Holden: I know with the number of races you’ve won nobody’s going to call you a filly trainer, but I must say, with Blind Luck, Sweet Lulu, Halo Dolly the last few years you’ve certainly had a tremendous amount of success with fillies. I was wondering if you have any particular affinity for them or feel, or you just happened to come up with some nice ones recently?
Jerry Hollendorfer: Well, I think a lot of clients, not just mine, are looking for fillies, because they have residual value
Carol Holden: Okay, thank you. But one other question. How’s Blind Luck doing? Do you see her?
Jerry Hollendorfer: I haven’t got to see her but they send me pictures of her and her baby all the time, and it’s quite good for me to see her. She looks very happy out there in the fields and with the baby and seems to be a very good mother, so I’m very, very pleased that I get to see her—at least pictures of her, and maybe when I get back to a sale I’ll try to stop and see her in person.
Carol Holden: And hopefully you’ll be training her offspring.
Jerry Hollendorfer: I hope so.
Jim Mulvihill: Jerry, I’ll just ask you one more kind of general question. You know, we were running down your list of accomplishments and you’ve started tens of thousands of horses over the years, and I guess, after all this time and all these training titles, you continue to start horses at every level and in high quantity. What keeps you driven to keep racing at every level and to keep as many horses in training as you have? What keeps you driven to do this day in and day out?
Jerry Hollendorfer: I wish I could answer that question. I’ve run that through my mind quite a few times that for people that do a lot of what I do, and I’m talking about the Asmussens, Pletchers, Bafferts and people that start a lot of horses, it’s—when you sit down and say, oh, maybe we should cut back and do this, it’s really hard to do. I’m sitting here beside Russell Baze right now, and I know when he’s not going to ride anymore I know it’s going to be real hard for him to do that, because you get used to doing it. And I’m used to starting a lot of horses, and I like starting a lot of horses because if something’s going wrong in one area, say at Del Mar, then you can—I’ll pick up and win a race at Golden Gate. It keeps the morale up in the barn and you keep being a winner. So I’m doing my best to keep doing that, and I’m very grateful that I have help and that I can keep starting a lot of horses.
Jim Mulvihill: How many horses do you have in training right now?
Jerry Hollendorfer: I have 135 right now.
Jim Mulvihill: My goodness. What time did you get to the barn this morning?
Jerry Hollendorfer: Quarter of four.
Jim Mulvihill: Of course. Well, you mentioned Russell. Let me also ask you one final question about him. You’ve put him on God knows how many winners, and he’s gotten a lot of attention lately with the big New York Times feature. What do you like about Russell as a rider, and what’s kept you using him so many years?
Jerry Hollendorfer: Well, you know, Russell makes his own mark because he’s a hard worker, and he comes by and he works a lot of horses for me, that’s how we work together. I really believe for myself and for Russell Baze and for all others if you work really hard then at least some good things are going to come your way and some success is going to come your way.
Jim Mulvihill: Well, thanks, Jerry. I mean, even amongst the hardest working trainers I’ve been around and admire, I’ve heard several of them express awe of your work ethic, so that certainly says something and it makes sense how many winners you have when you consider the hard work that you put into it. So we wish you luck on Monday and thank you for taking some time with us this morning.
Jerry Hollendorfer: Okay, you’re welcome. Thank you.
Jim Mulvihill: All right, Hall of Fame trainer Jerry Hollendorfer. He’ll start Halo Dolly in the Yellow Ribbon on Monday.
That concludes today’s NTRA media teleconference. Thanks to Patti and Dean Reeves, and thanks once again to Charlie LoPresti and Jerry Hollendorfer. There won’t be a call next week the day after Labor Day. We’ll be back September 10th at our regular time; that’s 1 p.m. Eastern.