LUPE PRECIADO GETS 2000TH WIN

BY Dick Jerardi

Guadalupe Preciado’s first win as a trainer came at Philadelphia Park on June 4, 1989, with a first-time starter named Broadway Bouncer. His 2,000th win came at Parx Racing on Nov. 16, 2000, with a first-time starter named Chub Wagon.

It was the same footprint where he had first won 31 years before. His 12 graded stakes wins and amazing run to the 2015 Breeders’ Cup Sprint with Favorite Tale came in between those milestones for the man who first attended the races as an 11-year-old in Mexico City.

Two days after Preciado got 2,000, he got 2,001 at Parx with a horse ridden by Mychel Sanchez. Where is the 2,001 sign, Sanchez asked Preciado with a smile.

Every win has been earned by a man who has trained 20 horses with more than $200,000 in earnings, including Caught in the Rain, Mr. Nasty, and Favorite Tale, a $1 million earner who won the 2014 Gallant Bob at Parx and 2015 Smile Stakes before running third in the BC Sprint. Preciado has started 11,909 horses with those 2,001 wins, 1,829 seconds, 1,722 thirds and $44,714,767 in earnings. It has been some career.

“Mr. Nasty ran against the best horses in New York every time,’’ Preciado remembered. “He won the Tom Fool. He beat Rubiano.’’

It was July 13, 1991, when Mr, Nasty, ridden by the great Angel Cordero, wired the field and upset favored Rubiano in the Tom Fool. Mr. Nasty was owned by Jack Mondel who Preciado has long credited with giving him his start and some of his best horses.

Mr. Nasty, Preciado remembered fondly, won races with Cordero, Julie Krone, Jerry Bailey, and Mike Smith, Hall of Famers all.

Preciado worked with trainer J. Bowes Bond when he first came to the United States. Later, he went to Churchill Downs with 1981 Kentucky Derby favorite Proud Appeal, the colt trained by Stanley Hough. Then, he worked with his wife Wendy Mutnick when she trained the horses. He took over as the trainer when she had their first child. They can be seen at their Parx barn together every day.

The trainer has 18 horses in his barn these days, many fewer horses than he had in years like 1994 when he won 116 races, 1997 when he won 120 and 2004 when he won 118, 30th best in the country. This year, it’s 125 starters with 25 wins, 20 seconds, and 16 thirds. In his career, he has won with a solid 17 percent and 47 percent in the top three.

Preciado’s first starter came two weeks before his first win. That was at Garden State Park on May 20, 1989. So he has lasted 20 years longer than the track where his first horse ran, a perfect tribute to the man who started winning early in his career and never stopped.

TRAINER GUADALUPE PRECIADO GETS CAREER WIN #2,000

For Immediate Release:
Monday, November 16, 2020

When Chub Wagon, a three year-old filly making her career debut, came romping home to thoroughly convincing seven and a half length win in the fourth race Monday afternoon at Parx, trainer Guadalupe Preciado celebrated the 2,000th win on his career. A native of Mexico, Preciado came to the U.S. and began training horses in 1989. A chance meeting with owner Jack Mondel (Hidden Lane Farms) jump-started his career in the early ‘90’s, led by multiple graded stakes winner Mr. Nasty (G3 Gravesend Handicap – 1990 and G2 Tom Fool – 1991). He also won the G2 Demoiselle for Mondel in 1990 with Debutante’s Halo.

Inducted into the Parx Hall of Fame in 2013, Preciado also trained multiple graded stakes winners Favorite Tale (G3 Gallant Bob – 2014 and G2 Smile Sprint – 2015) and Caught in the Rain (G2 Mrs. Revere – 2002 and G3 Athenia – 2003). Favorite Tale was honored as Pennsylvania Horse of the Year in 2014.

THE 2020 FINISH LINE

By Dick Jerardi

In mid-March, when nearly every track in the country, with the notable exceptions of Gulfstream Park, Oaklawn Park and a few others, shut down for weeks or months, it was unclear if the Triple Crown or the Breeders’ Cup would even happen.

It was uncertain what racing would look like when or if it returned. It was several months before racing at Parx came back. It was unfortunate, but understandable, that the Pennsylvania Derby, Cotillion and other open stakes did not happen in 2020, the purse money going to the owners who support the track all year long. With the casino also closed and the slot money that supports 85 percent of the purse structure turned off for several months, it absolutely made sense for any purse money to be reserved for the horsemen that call the track home.

So we did not have our championship September at Parx, a month that has gotten the track into the national conversation with all the important stakes races that culminate with Pennsylvania Derby Day where some of the country’s best 3-year-old colts and 3-year-old fillies race in the track’s two Grade I races.

We all missed the enjoyment and exposure that month and those races have brought the track. But it’s 2020 so we take what we get, have to be thankful racing came back at all and everybody has had a chance to earn a living.

It is no secret that the Triple Crown is the biggest thing in the game. Not sure what 2020 would have been like without it. Thankfully, the races all happened, if out of order and at the wrong times. But think about it: with the mid-June Belmont Stakes, the early September Kentucky Derby and early October Preakness, we got to see memorable performances by Tiz the Law in New York and Authentic in Kentucky, ending with the Swiss Skydiver-Authentic epic in Maryland.

When Tiz the Law dominated the Belmont and Travers, there was talk of a Triple Crown and, if it happened, would it be the same? It wouldn’t have been the same obviously, but nothing has been or could be the same in 2020. If Tiz the Law had gone on to win the Derby and Preakness, it would have been an incredible achievement, especially with the Travers in the middle of it.

But Authentic’s early speed and a classic Bob Baffert-training job put Authentic in the Derby winner’s circle. Tiz the Law’s Derby race would have been good enough most years, but not against a talented colt readied by a master trainer, Authentic getting the dream trip alone in front.

Tiz the Law dropped out of the Triple Crown after the Derby, trainer Barclay Tagg opting for more time to get the colt that had won the Holy Bull, Florida Derby, Belmont and Travers ready for a run at Horse of the Year in the Breeders’ Cup Classic.

So it was on Authentic and the filly Swiss Skydiver to give us the race of the year in the Preakness, the filly winning a stretch-long duel by a neck.

As the moveable feast that is top-class horse racing arrived at Keeneland for the Breeders’ Cup, everything was on the line in the $6 million Classic – Horse of the Year, 3-year-old champion, all of it.

A wonderful 10-horse field, including the 2019 Derby winner for 20 minutes Maximum Security, the hottest older horse in the country Improbable (the 2019 Derby and Preakness favorite), Tiz the Law and Authentic, lined up for the final showdown.

It was once again Authentic’s early speed that carried the day. Immediately in front, Authentic looked like a winner the whole way, running away from stablemate Improbable’s
challenge in the stretch, giving Baffert a 1-2 finish in America’s richest horse race and the great jockey John Velazquez his first Classic.

So Authentic, winner of the Sham and San Felipe, second in the Santa Anita Derby, winner of the Haskell and Kentucky Derby, second in the Preakness and dominant winner of the Classic will be 2020 3-year-old champion and Horse of the Year.

The colt has been retired to stud, along with many of the other big names which made this unprecedented year so special.

Tiz the Law is the only horse to win the Champagne, Florida Derby, Belmont Stakes and Travers. But the wonderful colt, who was clearly uncomfortable running inside horses in the Classic and finished out of the money for the first time in his career, will end 2020 without any championships which almost seems unfair.

The good news is that Tiz the Law will race on in 2021, his first goal the Pegasus at Gulfstream Park in January. The New York bred will have a new jockey, the man who was on Authentic, the colt that cost Tiz the Law the 3-year-old title. Johnny V. will ride Tiz the Law and, perhaps 2021 will be the year the colt gets a championship.

PARX WINS AGAIN AT BREEDERS CUP

By Dick Jerardi

It is becoming an annual fall tradition, be it at Churchill Downs, Santa Anita or Keeneland. A horse trained at Parx arrives at the Breeders’ Cup, gets ignored in the betting and dominates a BC race.

It was Jaywalk in the Juvenile Fillies two years ago at Churchill, Spun to Run in the Dirt Mile at Santa Anita last year and, last Friday, the brilliant Vequist in the Juvenile Fillies at Keeneland.

Three of the best at Parx trained the winners: John Servis (Jaywalk), Carlos Guerrero (Spun to Run) and Butch Reid (Vequist). It was actually Reid’s second BC win as Afleet Again ran away from the field in the 2011 Marathon.

Few deserved this win more than Butch and his wife Ginny, linelong race trackers who looked like they had their horse of a lifetime heading into the 2019 Triple Crown season. Maximus Mischief was easily the best 2-year-old stabled at Parx since Smarty Jones. The colt was a real threat to win the Kentucky Derby. Then, he got hurt and the dream was over almost as soon as it started.

The Reids have been winning races together for years. They had that BC win and a Grade I win with Poseidon’s Warrior, but they don’t have zillionaire owners who spend millions at the sales for horses that win the seven-figure races.
But they do have terrific owners like Tom McGrath’s Swilcan Stable. It was McGrath who, on Reid’s recommendation, bought Vero Amore for $15,000 at the 2013 Timonium Sales. She finished second in three stakes, including losing a photo in the 2014 Black Eyed Susan Stakes.

Vero Amore was a nice race horse, but she will be known into the future as the dam of the 2020 2-year-old filly champion, Vequist, a McCrath homebred. The brilliant daughter of 2016 Derby winner Nyquist got the trip in the BC she did not get when second to Dayoutoftheoffice in the Frizette. Jockey Joel Rosario never left the live rail with Vequist and ran by the filly in the stretch she could not catch at Belmont Park.

The Reid entourage was supposed to end up at the Breeders’ Cup event Friday night to celebrate, but it wasn’t really their style.

“It was a little too stodgy,’’ Butch said.“Everybody’s got jackets and ties. We got (brother) Brian and the crew. It wasn’t really the right crowd for us.’’

So they took good care of the manager, got a nice table at Jeff Ruby’s in Lexington and had “plenty to eat.’’

So where does this win rank?

“That was the biggest, plus it gets you the champion,’’ Butch said. “I wasn’t sure I’d ever train a champion in my career.’’
Hopefully, there will actually be a 2021 Eclipse Award ceremony that the Reids can attend when Vequist is officially named division champion.

After her first race, an inch loss at Parx, Gary Barber and Adam Wachtel bought interests in Vequist. She was sent to the Grade I Spinaway as a maiden and and blew away the field by almost 10 lengths. She finished second by 2 lengths in the Frizette. But there was no doubt about the Juvenile Fillies. Dayoutoftheoffice got an easy lead on a speed-favoring track, but Vequist was always in range. When Rosario asked her to go through a tiny hole between the leader and the rail, she was very eager and powered home a decisive 2-length winner.

Vequist left Kentucky for Florida Sunday where she will hang out at Dr. Barry Eisaman’s farm for 45 days before Reid meets up with her at Palm Meadows Training Center in Boynton Beach, Fla. She will train there over the winter, hoping to return to Kentucky next spring for the Kentucky Oaks at Churchill Downs.

 THE BEST TWO DAYS IN SPORTS

I have been to 33 Kentucky Derbys, 27 Final Fours, three World Series, two Summer Olympics,, two NBA Finals, one Super Bowl, the Rose Bowl, Orange Bowl, Cotton Bowl, and Fiesta Bowl. But whenever anybody asks me about my favorite annual event on the sports calendar, the answer is always the same: the Breeders’ Cup.

My only regret is that, once it starts, I can’t pause it on occasion to savor the moments. By the time one of the 14 championship races over two days ends, it always seems like the post parade is underway for the next one.

I missed the first one in 1984 at Hollywood Park, but attended every one from 1985 to 2011. Superstorm Sandy got me in 2012 as planes were grounded most of that week and I could not get to Los Angeles. I did not make it the next year either or in 2016. Other than those four years, I have been at every Breeders’ Cup. This will be miss number five.

This will be the Breeders’ Cup that just about everyone that is not a participant will miss. But I will be at Keeneland vicariously and I won’t miss a minute on television Friday or Saturday, from the Juvenile Turf Sprint right through the Classic.

Santa Anita and Churchill Downs have played host the most times. This will be Keeneland’s second Cup after American Pharoah left everyone searching for adjectives in 2015.

I always enjoyed the Cup at old Gulfstream Park. It is a shame it has not been at Belmont Park since 2005. Hollywood Park is the only Cup track that is no longer a track, having been torn down to make way for the spectacular new football stadium where the Rams and Chargers play. Few remember anymore that the second Cup was at Aqueduct. It was a little drab and dingy that day, but the racing was, as always, sensational.

Aqueduct is among the tracks that have hosted just once. They also include Woodbine (1996), Arlington (2002), Lone Star (2004), Monmouth Park (2007), Keeneland and Del Mar (2017). I have special memories of everyone.

The Cup returns to Del Mar next year and then back to Keeneland in 2022. If you said it could be only once placed, I would vote for Santa Anita. It’s big enough that it doesn’t feel crowded. The San Gabriel Mountains backdrop is spectacular. And the weather is always wonderful.

Parx, of course, has become a major Breeders’ Cup player the last few years with Jaywalk winning the Juvenile Fillies in 2018 and Spun to Run the Dirt Mile last year. Vequist won’t be favored in the Juvenile Fillies Friday, but she has a big chance against a terrific field.

It won’t be the same without being there, but the good news will be that the Triple Crown and the Breeders’ Cup were held in 2020. And they will be held in 2021, hopefully with huge crowds again.

FOREWARNED DOES IT AGAIN

When Uriah St. Lewis purchased Forewarned for $40,000 in December 2018, the 3-year-old had four wins and three seconds in 11 starts, all racing on the Ohio circuit (Thistledown, Belterra Park, Mahoning Valley).

The now 5-year-old horse has raced 19 times since the purchase. Based at Parx with his owner/trainer, Forewarned has run at his home track seven times, Aqueduct, Saratoga, Belmont Park, Laurel, Pimlico, and Charles Town. The horse has run in such prestigious races as the Whitney, Woodward, Cigar Mile, and Pimlico Special. He has also returned three times to Ohio where he was born.

Last October, Forewarned was at Mahoning Valley for the $150,000 Best of Ohio Endurance Stakes. Running against Ohio breds instead of horses like McKinzie and Vino Rosso and going off at 7-5 instead of prices like 89-1, 97-1, and 135-1, Forewarned, running at a mile and quarter, won convincingly by 2 3/4 lengths.

Saturday, a year after that last visit to Mahoning Valley, Forewarned did it again in the same race. Sent off at 1-1 and coming from well off the pace, Forewarned hooked up with fellow Ohio bred Wicked Warrior at the top of the stretch and the pair raced together for the wire, Forewarned eventually prevailing by a half-length. The third horse was 12 3/4 lengths behind.

So that $40,000 purchase has now earned $380,920 in his two years with St. Lewis. Like most of the trainer’s horses, Forewarned does not have much early speed, but endurance is never an issue, the farther the better.

And you will know right where to look for Forewarned in late October 2021 _ at Mahoning Valley against those Ohio breds going for a threepeat.