Out of the Gate with ... Richard Mandella
Hall of Fame trainer Richard Mandella has seven Breeders’ Cup wins, all of which came at Santa Anita Park. His starters this weekend include Beholder, winner of last year’s Juvenile Fillies, in the Distaff, and Indy Point in the Turf. Mandella enjoyed a record-setting Breeders’ Cup at Santa Anita in 2003 when he saddled four winners and had the richest day by a trainer in the event’s history. He resides in Pasadena, Calif., with his wife, Randi. They have two children, Gary, also a trainer, and Andrea.
Name: Richard “Dick” Mandella
Birthplace: Altadena, Calif.
Most influential person in my career: I can’t say one, I would have to say a couple; it would be my father, Gene Mandella, and Lefty V.J. Nickerson, who I was an assistant trainer to.
My out-of-the-box idea for Thoroughbred racing: To reinvent the game a little bit, meaning: build a new racetrack, make it multi-use - concerts, maybe connect it to a sports team of some kind on a big piece of land and build it so that it is community friendly with nature walks or an Equestrian Center - so that they [fans] can see how horses are taken care of. Most people in the world think we just pull them out of their stall when we run them, and then when we’re done we just throw them away.
My favorite racetrack: Many … Santa Anita, Del Mar, Saratoga, Keeneland, Arlington Park, Monmouth Park. I love racetracks.
My fantasy job: Any job where I could sleep in!
What I like most about my job: I have gotten to work at my hobby.
Other sports/teams I follow: I’m very much involved with horse racing, which consumes most of my time. I enjoy the playoffs – baseball and football that kind of stuff – but mostly our own game gets my attention.
My heroes: My late father
What about myself would surprise those who know me: Nothing
My favorite athletes of all-time: Bill Shoemaker and Wilt Chamberlain
Most treasured possession/memento: My Dubai World Cup whip
A pet peeve: I have none
What book(s) I am reading or have recently read: Leonard Jerome. One of the first men to build a racetrack, called Jerome Park, with William Travers and August Belmont and his attempt was to build a class racetrack and bring racing out of the controversial sport that it was at that time and make it classy and full of integrity.
Favorite Magazines: The Blood-Horse
Favorite websites I visit daily/weekly: Daily Racing Form
Gadget I cannot live without: Stop watch
Last concert I attended: Willie Nelson.
Favorite foods: Italian … etc.
What I drive: An old Mercedes
If I could be a guest on any TV talk show it would be: “Late Show with David Letterman”
If I could appear on any television show it would be: “Married with Children” but I’m a little late on that one.
If I could be on stage with a musical group I would play what instrument: Tap my foot
Favorite musician/band: Willie Nelson and Burt Bacharach
Favorite actor: John Wayne
Newspaper I read daily: Pasadena Star-News
I’d like to have dinner with: Sophia Loren
Best racetrack food can be found at: The new and improved Santa Anita Park
Accomplishment I am most proud of: Being inducted into the National Museum of Racing Hall of Fame
My philosophy on life: Just do the best I can.
Favorite quote or motto: The old standard: Treat people the way you like to be treated.… However, some not quite as well.
Things I collect: Old books; biographies and history books.
Favorite authors: Richard Henry Dana, “Two years Before the Mast”
Favorite animal other than a horse: Dogs, cats, cows, etc…
What actor would play me in a movie: Tom Cruise, for sure
Favorite non-Thoroughbred racing sports event I have attended: I went to a Dodger game once and owner Wayne Hughes took me to a USC Football game; he thought I got them beat!
What living person do you most admire: My wife and Allen Jerkens
Twitter handle: A what? No, but I have a twitch once in awhile.
No. 1 Bucket-List item: I always said that I would like to travel someday in my life; and, I wouldn’t mind meeting Sofia Loren.