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Thoroughbred Today a little bit of

magic centerfold feature

ferrari on legs 1 freaky talented colt

did someone say



edgar prado success and retirement



Thoroughbred Today

You often hear stories of little girls who fall in love with horses. Twenty years ago, I was one of those little girls. I must have been eight years old when I first started nagging my parents about wanting to ride, and two years later my persistence paid off. On my tenth birthday, my mom signed me up for lessons and ever since then horses have been my life. They’re the reason I get out of bed in the morning, the driving force behind my goals, and my solace in times of adversity. I remember the moment the trailer pulled into the driveway; it had come all the way from Texas carrying three horses. I don’t remember the driver’s name or the color of the two other horses; the instant my eyes caught hers, everything around me vanished. I’ll never forget the look in her eye or the way it made me feel. It was like she was looking right into me; like she could hear what I was thinking; like we had an entire conversation without the need for words or the slightest of sounds. I was so taken back by the intensity in her eyes; I think I may have stopped breathing for a few seconds. And then, almost as if she knew, she walked over to me and we walked into the barn. It’s been eleven years since that little chestnut mare came into my life and to this day you can’t get me to tell this story in person without getting emotional. Since the spring of 2007, Buttercup has been my rock and has taught me so much about life and myself. If you have kids, I encourage you to incorporate horses into their lives. Trust me, there is magic in horses you won’t find anywhere else. In the spirit of Triple Crown season, I want to wish the horses and the connections of each running in the KY Derby, Preakness and Belmont Stakes good luck and safe trips! See you at the finish line!


Everything Equestrian, LLC. visit us online FOR ADVERTISING RATES & INFO Editor-In-Chief

Claudia L. Ruiz Managing Editor

Lauren Lima Front Cover

Matt Wooley Back Cover

Editor-In-Chief Thoroughbred Today

04 My Name is Edgar

15 The List

The jockey who rode the late Barbaro talks career and life

North America’s oldest living Derby winner is worth a visit

Contributing Writers

Ciara Bowen Ryan Dickey, Andria Elam Candice Hare, Tom Morley


10 Flashback

Alex Evers

6 things to consider when buying a racehorse

24 Derby Preps

The best photos from the road to the Kentucky Derby

12 Mendelssohn

29 Ferrari on Legs

Aidan O’Brien’s classiest KY Derby contender to date

The 3yo with the looks & horsepower of a fine Italian sports car

14 Did Someone Say Bourbon?

30 OTTB Spotlight

Stay cool with this cocktail


Andie Biancone Ciara Bowen, Jesse Caris Bill Denver, Alex Evers Ted McClenning, Anna Purdy Scott Serio, Matt Wooley Wendy Wooley EquiSport Photos Eclipse Sportswire


Jack of Hearts

On The covEr: A Little bit of magic The story behind Good Magic... p.16-23

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Jock Talk

MY NAME IS EDGAR The Hall of Fame jockey best known for riding the late Barbaro, Edgar Prado opens up about his career, personal life and the thought of retirement... story and featured photo by CLAUDIA L. RUIZ

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dgar Prado was just eighteen years old when he came to the United States in 1986. A long way from his homeland of Peru, the young jockey arrived with nothing but a small suitcase and a big dream: to become a great jockey and ride a great horse. He arrived in Miami and settled in with his uncle. Excited and nervous, he knew the journey ahead would not be easy—nothing worth achieving ever is. But Edgar was prepared to work harder than ever to prove himself on the back of a horse. Not long after, he found himself in Maryland, where he ruled the jockey standings from 1991-1993 and 1997-1999. In 1997, he became the fourth jockey in history to win 500 races in one year and was the nation’s winningest jockey from 1997-1999. In 1999, he further rectified his talent by finishing second in the jockey standings at the toughest and most prestigious meet in the Americas—Saratoga. In the sport of Thoroughbred racing, Edgar is known for many things—he’s a father of three, a 4x Breeders’ Cup winner, a George Woolf Memorial winner, Eclipse Award winner and Hall of Fame jockey. Outside of the sport, he is perhaps best known for having ridden the late Barbaro to a 6 ½ length victory in the Kentucky Derby of 2006. Once upon a time, a great jockey rode a great horse and for many races they went on to do great things together. That’s how the story should have gone. But it didn’t. Two weeks after the Derby, tragedy struck in the Preakness in the form of a fractured right hind fetlock, and for eight months Barbaro fought for his life. On January 29, 2007, after having recovered from the fracture, Barbaro was humanely euthanized when an acute case of laminitis in his uninjured left hind foot became too painful for the colt to bear. Just like that, the horse Edgar had always dreamed of was gone. It’s been more than a decade since his passing, yet it’s clear in Edgar’s voice that no amount of time will ever make the loss of Barbaro any less painful. Sitting at a table in the jockeys’ room at Gulfstream Park, he opens up to me about his career, struggles and the “R” word every athlete fears the most.

CLAUDIA RUIZ: How old were you when you first started to

ride and what made you want to become a jockey? EDGAR PRADO: Ride professionally or at the track? CR: In general. EP: I was about 5-6 years old when I first started going to the track to ride horses. My dad would take me; we would go all of the time in the mornings. I wanted to become a jockey because my dad always wanted to be one and my brothers were jockeys. CR: What is the most difficult part of being a jockey? EP: I think maintaining weight, and avoiding injury because it keeps you from riding. Also, keeping up with the business aspect is important, but it can be hard. You have to maintain good relationships and always look to make news ones. But avoiding injury is the hardest. CR: Speaking of weight and injuries, how do you stay in top shape?


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CLICK TO SUBSCRIBE EP: I go to the gym, but I have always liked running and I run five times per week. For diet, I have to eat healthy. For example, in the morning I drink a coffee, a smoothie and take lots of vitamins. Then I go to work, come back, have another smoothie and go for a run. In the afternoon, between races, I have a smoothie, but little by little, not all at once. I also make sure to drink lots of electrolytes to make up what I lose when I ride, and of course lots of water. When I’m done riding, I go home and eat a normal meal. CR: You’ve mentioned you like doing Magna Wave therapy to soothe tired muscles; do you do any other therapies? EP: Yes, Magna Wave helps me whenever my back is too tight or my muscles are tight. It’s a really good therapy. I used to go to the chiropractor a lot more than I do now, because I used to ride more. Now I ride less, but I still go every once in a while. Working with horses you never really know when you might pull a muscle. You always want to stay fit and do some form of therapy to take care of the body. CR: What has been the greatest challenge you have faced as a jockey? EP: Well, there have been several, not just one, professionally and personally. I was 18 years old when I first came to the United States to ride. I was in a new place, away from my family, I didn’t know how to drive, and I couldn’t communicate with people because I didn’t know how to speak English. Getting an opportunity was hard, but when I got one, I took advantage of it and gave it my best. At first, I couldn’t speak well enough to express what I felt after riding a horse, but the more I learned English and practiced the easier it got. But I think the hardest was losing Barbaro. I always dreamed of riding a horse like him. To lose him, the way that I did... recovering from that was hard. That it happened just shortly after my mother passed away made it even harder. CR: Tell me about Barbaro, what was it like riding him in the 2006 Kentucky Derby, from start to finish? EP: I had gone to the Kentucky Derby five times before I got to ride Barbaro in it. My ride on him in the Florida Derby gave me so much confidence that I got to Kentucky feeling so positive. I knew the class of horse he was and I rode him confidently from the start. He broke well and fast, so fast that he tripped a little leaving the gate. Then we positioned ourselves about 4-5 lengths from the leaders and he did it so easily, it was incredible. The horses around us were making a hard effort to run, but Barbaro was just there, like he wasn’t even touching the ground. At the three-eighths pole, I saw a horse making a move on the inside, but I wasn’t worried because I knew I had so much horse left. I had not even asked him to run, he made the decision alone. When he passed the horses, he put his ears forward as if the race was over, so I encouraged him forward and that’s when he took off and started to open. In no moment did I ask him for anything, I just encouraged him to keep doing what he was doing, and I never used my whip. CR: So many jockeys dream of riding in the Kentucky Derby and you won it. What did that moment feel like? EP: It was an overwhelming sensation and everything I had dreamed it to be. I worked so hard to get to that moment. To win it like that on a horse with such class and realize he still had so much left in the tank, it was an unbelievable feeling. I was so grateful and happy, but at the same time I was also sad because I had always taken my mother with me to the Kentucky Derby and I wanted her to be there with me that day... she passed away in January. It was bittersweet.

CR: Horses teach us so much, about life, about ourselves. What

lessons have horses taught you? EP: How to be patient, with animals and people. Learning to understand horses helped me to understand people better. It’s not always about imposing and doing what you want, you have to find a way where there is mutual agreement between you and the horse, or person. With horses, you have to form a friendship between animal and human. It’s a very special relationship. They are so humble and caring and they really become your friend. CR: What do you like to do when you’re not riding? EP: I like to clean the house and organize things. I like to go to the gym and run after I relax. I don’t play much sports because I don’t want to risk getting hurt. I would have liked to ski, water ski, skydive, rock climb and stuff like that, but I’ve seen jockeys play soccer for fun, get hurt and not be able to ride for months because of it. I have to be careful. CR: What sports and teams do you like to watch? EP: For years I really loved watching soccer, but when Peru didn’t qualify 2-3 years in a row I started following Spain and England. Now that Peru is doing well again I’m back to watching them. For football, I like the New England Patriots. For baseball, I like the Red Sox. Basketball, I like the Celtics. CR: Do you have a favorite movie? EP: Tombstone with Kurt Russell. CR: Hmm… I’ve never heard of it. EP: It’s about cowboys. You should watch it. CR: What’s your favorite racetrack and why?

EP: Saratoga; it has this atmosphere where everybody lives and breathes horses. From the moment you get to the track, you feel good. You feel like a professional. You finish riding and pass by the fans on the way to the jockeys’ room, everyone looks at you, everyone says hi, they ask for your autograph and want to take a picture with you. They make you feel like you’re living the dream. The people at the track, they are true fans. They don’t just go to bet, they go to have a good time, participate and watch the horses. There is no other racetrack like it. CR: In 2012, Javier Castellano lost his reins during a race. You picked them up and handed them back to him. How did you notice and what were you thinking in that moment? EP: We broke from the gate right next to each other and I saw him kind of reach down like he was trying to reach his reins. That’s when I realized they were broken. I made my horse run so that I could get close to him and with my whip I gave him back the rein. I had to sacrifice my horse a little to do it because my horse didn’t like to run so close to the pace, but better to be safe and prevent what could have been a horrible accident. I didn’t think twice about it. I just did it. Thank God, he was able to grab it and everything turned out ok. To me, helping him in that moment was more important than winning the race. CR: What will you do when you retire? EP: You know, it’s part of life; everything has an end. It’s something you need to prepare for mentally because it’s hard to accept. But I don’t know. I haven’t thought about retiring yet. Photo: Bob Mayberger

Thoroughbred Today


Ferrari On Legs bob baffert and mike smith talk justify photo by alex evers | article on p.29

Thoroughbred Today



go for gin

North America’s oldest living Kentucky Derby winner is right where he needs to be. by CIARA BOWEN


he pathway to the barn is beautiful, lined with trees and benches where one can sit to rest or just watch the horses in their paddocks. More often than not, however, people don’t notice that. Their eyes go straight to the window on the left of the barn where—particularly on sunny days—a handsome bay stallion can often be seen looking out. “Hey, handsome guy!” visitors call out as they near his stall. Ears perked, eyes bright, his eager expression draws them in. He stands proud—a king before his court, he relishes the attention. His coat gleaming, all the shades of red and brown and black highlighted, he is a sight to behold. At 27 years old, Go for Gin is the oldest living Kentucky Derby winner in North America. The son of Cormorant and Never Knock (Stage Door Johnny) was bred in Kentucky by Pamela Darmstadt duPont and campaigned by Hall of Fame trainer Nick Zito for owners William Condren and Joseph Cornacchia. While most well-known for his victory in the 1994 Kentucky Derby, where he became one of the few horses to defeat the mighty Holy Bull, Go for Gin’s record also boasts a win in the Remsen Stakes, and well-earned second place finishes in the Preakness, Belmont, Foun10

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tain of Youth, and Wood Memorial. A third place finish in the Gr.3 Churchill Downs Handicap would mark his 19th and final start before sustaining a small tear to a tendon sheath in his left foreleg one morning at Belmont Park. He retired with 5 wins, 7 seconds and 2 thirds and earnings totaling $1,380,866. In 1995, he entered stud at Claiborne Farm and then headed to Bonita Farm (Maryland) in 2004 where he remained until coming back to Kentucky in 2011. He was a successful stud: his progeny earning more than $16 million. The most known among them is Albert the Great, Gr.1 winner of over $3 million himself and sire of Nobiz Like Shobiz, both residents at Old Friends Farm. Today, ‘Gin’ resides at the Kentucky Horse Park, where he receives plenty of attention from greeting visitors and participates in daily presentations at the Hall of Champions. While not everyone recognizes him immediately, they often fall for him after hearing his story and feeding him a treat. “He’s very professional and willing,” says volunteer Keely Gustin, who has been with the Horse Park since May 2014. “He loves showing off and has a playful side, too.” Splashing water out with his nose and listening to the resulting noises,

playing in his water bucket is his favorite pastime. But he also enjoys having his gums rubbed and will lip his handlers until they get just the right spot. “Last winter, his buddy Western Dreamer was playing with a stick next door, so I went over to Gin and offered him a stick. [Now] I can always be found in his paddock playing with him and sticks. He makes a great game out of it and [also enjoys] playing tag.” The attention loving, food motivated stallion also appreciates a good roll in the mud, which is no surprise considering his Derby performance. With rain drenching the record breaking crowd of 130,594 as well as the surface itself, Churchill Downs was nothing but slop on May 7, 1994. Jockey Chris McCarron, who had previously piloted Alysheba to victory in the 1987 edition of the race, was aboard for the very first time. The two set fractions of 22.97, 47.21, 1:11.98 and 1:37.72 before galloping to a two-length win ahead of 13 other horses. Their final time was 2:03.72. 24 years ago, Go for Gin stood gallantly with a garland of red roses draped over his withers and connections celebrating around him. It’s a story visitors stopping by the Hall of Champions love to hear, and ‘Gin’ loves to relive, day in and day out.

-   ,  ��

 ,  ��

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He is naturally quick and has A lot of early tactical speed. - Aidan O’Brien, trainer

When Mendelssohn walked out of the Keeneland sales ring having been sold for a whopping $3 million in September of 2016, the eyes of the world were on him and expectations sky-high. A half-brother to multiple Grade One winner Beholder, the regally bred son of Scat Daddy and Leslie’s Lady (by Tricky Creek) joined Coolmore’s roster— the world’s most prolific training operation—and was put under the guidance of multiple Grade One-winning Irish trainer Aidan O’Brien. The colt debuted on July 15, 2017, in a 7-furlong maiden at Curragh Racecourse in Ireland and lost after being sent off at double figure odds. One month later, he stepped up to run a mile, much fitter, and broke his maiden in nearly gate-to-wire fashion. That winning effort proved to be a sign of what was to come for the burgeoning star as his cruising speed over distance became his tactical strength.

On November 3, 2017, at the Breeders’ Cup World Championships in Del Mar, CA, Mendelssohn won what is now viewed as a particularly strong edition of the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf. He shipped back to Ireland, took a break, won the Patton Stakes (1mile) on synthetic at Dundalk and 21 days later ran his rivals off their feet at Meydan Racecourse in Dubai, winning the Gr. II UAE Derby on dirt in record-breaking style—18 ½ lengths ahead of the field in a final time of 1:55.18. Travel for this colt is not a problem, and with Meydan’s surface typically regarded as more testing than that of Churchill Downs, Mendelssohn’s UAE Derby triumph speaks volumes of his potential with added distance, despite his sire’s poor outcome in the Kentucky Derby of 2007. To date, he is one of the classiest individuals Aidan O’Brien has sent out to take a shot at the roses on the first Saturday in May. photo by ALEX EVERS | Breeders’ Cup Ltd.


Thoroughbred Today


Bourbon Pear Lemonade



1 ½ 2 oz. 6 oz. 2

Peel and puree one pear. Cut additional pear into slices and place aside. Combine ice, puree, 2 oz. bourbon and 6 oz. Mike’s Hard Lemonade into glass and stir. Insert pear slice into glass and garnish with mint. (ingredients serve one)

Ripe pear Bourbon Mike’s Hard Lemonade Mint leaves


The List



One of the most important parts to look at on a horse is feet. Horses with bad feet at a young age are unlikely to grow out of them and get better. You can, of course, have the best blacksmith in the world and they can help to improve feet, but the general confirmation of the foot is a very important place to start. Horses with clubby feet tend to lend themselves to massive levels of concussion through the forelimbs and are susceptible to quarter cracks as well. A horse with even one clubby foot should immediately be struck off of your list.

2. Hoof-pastern axis

4. Profile balance

When you look at a horse from its profile, you want to see a nice balance from the neck to the withers to the top of the tail or croup; all should be roughly the same distance. You want to see a neck that comes out of the shoulder at the right angle; you do not want a head that is carried too high or too low. Horses that are too upright at the shoulder tend to have a limited stride and are very hard on themselves in their stride. The hind end of the horse is its powerhouse. You want to see a horse have a really extensive range of motion in its hind legs, and hip angle is crucial to this.

The hoof-pastern axis is extremely important as it is a very large load bearing part of the suspensory apparatus—an important shock absorber and one of the main supporting structures of the leg. The angle at which the pastern comes out of the hoof wall is crucial as it is an important indicator of future soundness, or lack thereof. A pastern that comes out of the hoof at the same angle as the hoof wall is ideal and will serve as a strong foundation for the leg. A pastern that comes out of the hoof at a broken angle is a huge red flag indicative of a horse that will struggle in its training and be prone to lameness. Additionally, a pastern that is too long and slopping is prone to injury and a pastern that is too upright is prone to bone and joint issues.







Nice keen ankles, a short-ish cannon bone and flat knee that faces forward are very important. A lot of horses are slightly offset and can be forgiven to a certain level. Certain sire lines tend to lend themselves to more knee issues, such as the Unbridled’s Song line. You will see certain stallions throw certain traits such as Street Cry; very often his offspring have a terribly offset left knee. This is just a trait of the stallion, but something to seriously consider.

The walk is a great indicator of the athleticism of a horse. I love to see a horse swing their hind legs underneath them, but not waste too much time in the air. Being efficient in stride is very important for a racehorse. A horse that spends too much time in the air or has too much leg movement is going to slow themselves down and consume energy more quickly. Two-year-old sales grant interested buyers the opportunity to see the horses work on the track in addition to being available to view in the barns. While this can be an advantage, I am not a great believer in the times that these horses run at these sales. A very slow time can be off putting and a very fast time can be encouraging, however, you should pay less attention to time and more attention to movement—when the horse runs, are they cross-firing or on the wrong lead or going straight. I have absolutely zero qualms about buying a horse who works in 102 or 103; they are never going to be asked to go that fast in their racing career. Therefore, when at two-year-old sales with works, you should not let time distract from focusing on quality of movement and overall demeanor of the horse while on the track.

A good mind is just as important. Horses that get very worked up, behave badly and cannot handle the pressures of going through the sale ring tend to struggle when they make it onto the racetrack. With this in mind, take a moment to look at some of the greatest athletes in the world and you will notice a common denominator. Great athletes, whether human or horse, have great minds. They are able to remain calm in moments of pressure and focus on the task at hand. This is a key component to success. Tom Morley is a Grade One-winning trainer based in New York. Visit to learn more.

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An overnight success, 30 years in the making



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hard work

+ a good team

the story behind good magic


tories of success often have a way of leading us to believe they occurred overnight. In reality, nothing could be farther from the truth. On September 16, 2016, a chestnut colt with a white blaze and one white sock entered the sales ring at Keeneland. Hip 845, the son of Curlin and Glinda the Good (by Hard Spun) stood fidgeting with his handler, looked around curiously and let out a whinny as bidders offered hundreds of thousands of dollars for him. It took approximately two minutes and twentyfive seconds for that number to reach seven figures and forty seconds later it was over. Sold for a whopping $1 million, he walked out of the ring and that was that. Fast-forward to November 4, 2017, to the Breeders’ Cup World Championships in Del Mar, CA, where there was chatter of a horse in the Juvenile division who had never run two turns and had yet to win a race. The cynics were quick to toss him out of their bets, assuming he stood no chance against the much classier and more experienced horses in the field. One minute

and twenty seconds after breaking from the gate, Gr.1 Front Runner second place finisher Solomini was confronted by a horse on his outside. It was him, the chestnut maiden who stood no chance, and he was relentless. With the utmost of class, he looked his opponent in the eye, shook him off with ease and galloped to a 4 ¼ length victory in 1:43.34. Good Magic—the same colt who had stepped through the Keeneland Sales ring one year prior—made history that day, becoming the first horse ever to win a Breeders’ Cup race as a maiden. The feat attracted national attention and cast a bright light on the colt and his “new money” owners, a family of five, racing horses under the name of e Five Racing. But this story of success began long before Good Magic was born, when a man with a vision of a better life set out to make something of himself. Robert J. Edwards Jr. was born in Patterson, NJ, and grew up in Highland Mills, NY, in a lower-middle class family. He wanted a college education, but could

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There is no “substitute for hard work. ” - Bob Edwards

not afford it. So he did what any ambitious individual would do; he found a way. He joined the Army Reserve and attended college on a GI Bill. At first he wanted to become a New York City cop, but then decided to go to journalism school. Not long after, he transferred to Plattsburg State University in New York only to find they did not offer Journalism and switched to English. He ended up graduating with a business degree from Lynn University in Boca Raton, FL, and got a job with a high-end pharmaceutical company that specialized in generic drugs. Destiny, whether you believe in it or not, is like an architectural blueprint of your life; it maps out the path you create on your journey. Japanese Proverbs states that even the rock you trip on is part of your destiny. Every decision you make in life has an outcome specifically for you. The right decision gets you where you are meant to be faster; the wrong decision takes you on a detour until you are ready to move forward. Like a game of cards, the way you play the hand you are dealt is entirely up to you. Two years after graduating, Edwards was running the generic pharmaceutical company’s Florida division, and within three years of that he had climbed to the top of the corporate ladder. The only way for him to keep moving forward was to take a leap of faith. In 1994, he went out on his own, eventually founding Boca Pharmacal in 1998, which he turned into a leading generic drug company capable of giving big pharmaceutical companies a run for their money. Fifteen years later, destiny came knocking at his door in the form of Endo Health Solutions Inc., and on January 31, 2013, Boca Pharmacal was sold for $225 million. That break paved the way for what would become known as e Five Racing and would enable the subsequent purchase of a chestnut colt named Good Magic, who would take Bob Edwards and his family all the way to Churchill Downs to run in the most celebrated race in the sport of kings—the Kentucky Derby. Nothing in this story occurred overnight. In fact, it took Edwards three decades to get to where he is today. His formula for success: Hard work, a good team, some luck and a little bit of Magic. “There is no substitute for hard work,” he tells me. “Whatever it is you like to do, go out there and be the best at it and eventually you will succeed.” ...story continued on p.23 Photo: Breeders’ Cup Ltd.


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A Little Bit of Magic

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A Little Bit of Magic

I used to assume all horses were brown and ran fast, but they are all so different. - Bob Edwards


ery few new horse racing ventures have hit the

ground running as well as e Five Racing has since their almost unheard of beginning in August of 2015. Although it is amazing that they have captured three Breeders’ Cup victories in just over two years, the backstory takes the proverbial cake. Branded e Five Racing Thoroughbreds for the five members of the Edwards family (Bob, wife Kristine, daughters Cassidy and Delaney, and son Riley), the genesis of this venture began at a wedding reception in Saratoga Springs two and a half years ago. “I sat down with [bloodstock agent] Mike Ryan, [trainer] Niall Brennan and [veterinarian] Scott Pierce, and they were talking about horses they were looking at and vetting—it was just so interesting. We spent the day looking at horses and pointing out confirmation and the whole thing was just overwhelming,” Bob Edwards said. Right then and there, he decided he was going to get into racing, and later that afternoon bid on his first horse at the Fasig-Tipton Saratoga Selected Yearlings Sale. When he arrived back home, he scoured the offerings at the Keeneland September Yearling Sale, intent on making additional purchases. One month later, with Ryan as his agent, Edwards landed Hip 23 in Book One of the Keeneland September sale for $450,000. The Medaglia d’Oro filly would be named New Money Honey and would go on to win the first of e Five Racing’s three Breeders’ Cup championships when she captured the 2016 Juvenile Fillies Turf one year later. Even more bizarre is that e Five Racing’s first ever victory was a stakes win, when Keeneland purchase Zindaya took the Intercontinental Stakes at Belmont in June of that same year. Rushing Fall would make the combination of e Five Racing and trainer Chad Brown 2-for-2 in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf, winning the 2017 edition of the race. The following day, Good Magic would gallop to a confident win in

the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile, making history as the first maiden to win a Championship race and scoring points toward a start in the 2018 Kentucky Derby. He beat ten other horses in that race, including Bolt d’Oro and Solomini, and later garnered Two-Year-Old Male honors at the Eclipse Awards. After spending some time vacationing on the farm in early 2018, Good Magic returned to the races in late February to run in the Gr.2 Fountain of Youth. He finished third, causing self-anointed experts and social media types to jump off his bandwagon. But neither trainer Chad Brown nor Bob Edwards were disappointed in the colt’s performance. “We gave him ample time off after the [Breeders’ Cup],” explained Edwards. “He needed that race.” One month later, he returned to win the Gr.2 Blue Grass Stakes with regular rider Jose Ortiz. Edwards has used his experience owning pharmaceutical companies to build his racing franchise and knows the value of building a strong team. “It’s universal in any business setting; you try to hire the best and the brightest. It’s the same philosophy in the horse business. Mike Ryan is a way better horseman than I’ll ever be. He knows more than I’ll ever learn about turning yearlings into racehorses,” he emphasized. “Stonestreet has started more champion horses than I can probably count, the guys at All In Line are great at what they do, and I have a team of trainers that have more experience than I will ever have.” Looking at the big picture, he is quick to acknowledge that he could not have achieved such success without the help of his wife. “Kris is my biggest partner and supporter at every level, being pharma, parenting or racing. I couldn’t have made it this far without her.” And then there is Father Carl—the Catholic priest who travels with the family to bless their horses before big races. Carl Hellwig first blessed Mizz Money in May 2017; she went on to win her race by a nose. On October 17, he blessed Rushing Fall, who he also named; she went on to win the Jessamine at Keeneland. Later that month, he blessed Rushing Fall and Good Magic at the Breeders’ Cup; they both won. When he did not attend the Fountain of Youth, Good Magic lost. When he attended the Blue Grass, Good Magic won. This year, Rushing Fall won her three-year-old debut in the Gr.2 Appalachian at Keeneland. Father Carl was present. So is it luck or is there really a little bit of magic behind e Five Racing’s success in the sport of kings? We may never know the real answer to that. What we do know is this family of five is enjoying the ride of their lives. “Horses are special creatures and unbelievable athletes,” Edwards added. “They bring a lot of joy to our lives.”

The Edwards Family (L to R): Delaney, Bob, Kris and Casi Photos: Breeders’ Cup Ltd., above| Wendy Wooley, left

Thoroughbred Today


Derby Preps


Photo: Todd Pletcher-trainee Audible (red and yellow silks) steps up to challenge Mississippi (purple silks) before galloping to a three-length victory in the Gr.1 Florida Derby | Andie Biancone, Coglianese Photos.

Photo: After losing the lead, Noble Indy and John Velazquez (on the right) battle back against Lone Sailor and James Graham (left) before scoring another prep for trainer Todd Pletcher in a thrilling edition of the Gr.2 Louisiana Derby | Jesse Caris, Eclipse Sportswire

Run Free, Billy! Every year there is a colt on the road to the Kentucky Derby who shows potential as a two-year-old, but doesn’t quite follow through at the start of their three-year-old campaign. This year, that colt is Free Drop Billy, a son of Union Rags and Trensa (by the late Giant’s Causeway). The Dale Romans-trainee broke his maiden by three-lengths first time out on June 15, 2017, and after a couple of runner-up efforts (in the Gr.3 Sanford and Gr.1 Hopeful) won the Gr.1 Claiborne Futurity in October. He’s been winless ever since and the victim of some bad luck. On April 7, 2018, Billy started rocketing late on the stretch at Keeneland and looked as if he stood a fighting chance in the Gr.2 Blue Grass. That is until Sporting Chance ducked out in front of him and squashed all chance. Though he was moved up to third, it was heartbreaking to watch the closer have to slam on his brakes when he was moving so beautifully. Photo: Matt Wooley EquiSport Photos

Thoroughbred Today


Derby Preps

Foul Play Accidental contact between horses running in close quarters is expected to occur from time to time. That was not the case in this year’s running of the Gr.2 San Felipe when Bolt d’Oro’s jockey, Javier Castellano (green cap), intentionally drove him into McKinzie rounding the final turn. It is one thing to try and intimidate your foe by running up alongside and looking them in the eye, but physically crashing into them to get an edge is unsportsmanlike. To watch McKinzie come back from the blow was inspiring. To watch the Santa Anita stewards DQ him, put up Bolt d’Oro and claim what occurred at the end of the race weighed more was utterly disgraceful, and racing fans were livid. Photo: Alex Evers Eclipse Sportswire


Thoroughbred Today

Photo: Hall of Famer John Velazquez and Pletcher-trainee Vino Rosso catch the lights as they sore to a three-length win in the Gr.2 Wood Memorial at Aqueduct | Scott Serio, Eclipse Sportswire

Photo: Pictured front and center winning the Gr.2 Rebel, Magnum Moon also won the Gr.1 Arkansas Derby for, you guessed it, trainer Todd Pletcher. Not too shabby, Todd. Not too shabby | Ted McClenning, Eclipse Sportswire

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Triple Crown-winning trainer Bob Baffert and Hall of Fame Jockey Mike Smith answer questions about Justify, a 3YO son of Scat Daddy with the looks and horsepower of a fine Italian sports car. By CLAUDIA L. RUIZ

CR: What was your first impression the first time you saw Justify work? BB: He started out at Los Alamitos and every time he worked, Mike Marlow, my assistant over there, he would say, “man he acts like a good horse.” I want to say it was December 30th that he worked 5/8ths in 59 and change and Mike said, “This horse is serious.” Whenever he uses the word ‘serious’, it’s usually a really good horse, because he’s been around the really good ones. He said the same about American Pharoah and Arrogate. When I brought Justify over to Santa Anita I sent him out 5/8ths. They usually get a little tired the first time they go over our track because it’s so deep, but he galloped out really well. That’s when I knew he was special. I worked him twice out of the gate and I knew, going in the first time, he was a superior horse. He worked really fast, but he did it effortlessly. The really good ones will tip you off. CR: Is there a difference in his temperament from what he is like working in the mornings to when he is racing? BB: No, he’s a very good-feeling, happy go lucky horse; really enjoys working and always has a little bounce. CR: He is very muscular... BB: Yeah, very muscular, but he’s really light on his feet. He’s beautiful—a magnificent looking horse. Athleticism, I mean, when you look at him you just can’t pick him apart. He’s an outstanding specimen, like a statue of a racehorse in the paddock. He’s got a big hip on him, his hind end is just massive and he’s strong. He’s big, but not too big, I want to say about 16.2 hands, probably about the same size as Pharoah, but with more muscle. CR: Past the Derby, what do you see him doing? BB: We don’t need to think about that right now. We’re just focused on the Derby, one race at a time with a horse like him. He’s lightly raced. We weren’t even thinking of running in the Santa

Anita Derby after his first race, we were just taking it easy and letting him tell us how he felt. Before he broke his maiden, the condition book had come out and there was an allowance race in there. So I said (to his connections), I have a plan. If he wins his first race I’ll bring him back in the allowance and stretch him out. After that we’ll go to Arkansas and throw him in the deep end of the pool. When McKinzie got hurt, that’s when I switched it up. I thought I might as well just leave Justify here and run him in the Santa Anita Derby. CR: Mike, he seemed to be drifting around a bit during the stretch run in the Santa Anita Derby. Was it his inexperience that was causing him to do so, what did you feel? MS: No, he was getting out a little heading for home and I pulled on him and he straightened out. Really the best part of the race was the last hundred yards when he started reaching out and got back to business. He grabbed his shoe leaving the gate and twisted it, tore it sideways a little, which didn’t help. It was probably the reason he was drifting out. I felt him kind of getting out and then he wouldn’t and then he would. He was probably a bit uncomfortable with it. If you take that into consideration, you wonder, ‘man, how much better would he have run if that hadn’t happened?’ you know? Of course, I didn’t know that until after the race. CR: Can you describe Justify as an athlete? MS: There’s nothing about him that’s ordinary. He’s not just a good racehorse, he’s got extraordinary talent and when you watch him run it’s unbelievable. He seems to have a mind to go with it, not to mention a trainer that’s a genius and knows exactly what he needs to do. He is lacking experience, but given those three factors, it certainly gives me the confidence to think we can add more distance. LEGEND: CR – Claudia L. Ruiz BB – Bob Baffert MS – Mike Smith Photo: Alex Evers

Thoroughbred Today


OTTB Spotlight

JACK of hearts by ANDRIA ELAM


was a little nervous as I walked into the barn for my riding lesson on December 28, 2016. Not long before, I had been bucked off a mare and was uncertain as to how I felt about riding her again that day. Two months prior, a riding mishap (on another mare) landed me in the ER with a concussion, whiplash, fractured orbital bone and two lacerations on my face that required stitches. I was apprehensive, so my hunter/jumper trainer suggested I ride a big, woolly, Off-Track Thoroughbred gelding named Hercules. My first OTTB experience occurred in late 2013 at a Western barn where I had my first riding lesson. I rode an intimidating 16.2 hand chestnut gelding named Bodhi and learned very quickly about the heart of a Thoroughbred. So I already knew I was going to like Hercules. His gaits were smooth and comfortable; his desire to please apparent through our lesson. He was a hard worker in the arena, but kind and gentle outside of it. As I left the barn that day, I hoped I would get the chance to ride him again. After a rainy January with many canceled lessons, I found myself once again on the bucking mare and ended up in the ER yet again, resulting in a leg cast for several weeks. I was starting to believe riding wasn’t for me. The physical injuries were manageable, but the emotional injuries became a challenge. Jumping even the lowest of cross-rails was frightening, as I was certain I was going to be launched facefirst into the standard. A subtle stumble would put me in near hysterics with a fear that we were both going down. Only a few days after my cast was removed, I found myself riding Hercules again. Sure and steadfast, slow and methodical, he made me feel safe and helped me regain my confidence. I wasn’t in the market for a horse, but—in a twist of fate —a couple of weeks later I found myself with his papers in hand. The handsome OTTB was mine. 30

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I learned his registered name was OTTBs, and horses in general, are not “Cranky Jack,” though he’s not cranky in machines. Expecting them to train every the least bit, and I changed his barn name day and never have fun is unrealistic. At to Jack. A California-bred by least once a week, Jack the magnificent Unusual Heat, and I go on trails to enA true hero Jack’s racing career consisted joy the scenery. He does isn’t measured of ten starts, including two turf well, but sometimes reby the size wins at Santa Anita for trainer lies on my guidance to get of his strength, Gary Stute, who was happy to through “spooky” spots. learn Jack was doing well in but by the Since he’s strong for me his second career. in the arena, I like to be strength of his OTTBs are a special breed strong for him outside of heart. of horse. Understanding their it. Balancing work with - zeus, hercules needs is important in keepplay has helped us get to (disney’s animated film) ing them happy and healthy. know one another better. As with any retired athlete, For example, Jack likes they’re bound to have some wear-and-tear. to hum while he works. I’ve never heard Implementing things such as supplements, another horse do it, but it’s endearing. chiropractic and Adequan injections can Sometimes I will even hum along with make a world of a difference. Every horse him. Keep it fun! is different, so be sure to listen to what Riding OTTBs sparked my interest for your horse is telling you through body the races. I wanted to attend to better unlanguage. derstand the mind of a racehorse. After Establishing a work schedule and re- my first visit, I was hooked. I learned that maining consistent is essential, as OTTBs thousands of retired racehorses are availare energetic by nature. Jack and I work able for adoption and started volunteering together almost every day. While I’m with After the Finish Line, a non-profit orlearning the nuances of proper communi- ganization that helps support Thoroughcation and how to be more patient with bred rescue organizations throughout the myself, Jack is learning how to respond US. It’s incredibly fulfilling and I encourwhen my cues are a little sloppy. He’s very age others to get involved in aftercare. Of patient, but can get overly-excited when all the breeds I have been fortunate to ride he just wants to run. That’s reasonable over the past four years, my heart will alsince he used to race for a living. The ways belong to the Thoroughbred. more time you spend with your horse, the Photo: Elam and her OTTB, Jack better you’ll understand them.


“ He’s beautiful—a magnificent

“ There’s nothing about him

looking horse. When you look at him you just can’t pick him apart. He’s big, but not too big, about 16.2 hands, probably the same size as American Pharoah, but with more muscle.

that’s ordinary. He’s not just a good racehorse, he’s got extraordinary talent and when you watch him run it’s unbelievable. He seems to have a mind to go with it.

- Bob Baffert (trainer)

- Mike Smith (jockey) on Justify Photo: Alex Evers

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Thoroughbred Today Spring 2018  

Thoroughbred Today magazine's spring 2018 issue is all about the three-year-olds, featuring stories on Good Magic, Justify, Mendelssohn, Edg...

Thoroughbred Today Spring 2018  

Thoroughbred Today magazine's spring 2018 issue is all about the three-year-olds, featuring stories on Good Magic, Justify, Mendelssohn, Edg...