TVG's LEGENDS: RICHARD MANDELA
In this installment, host Simon Bray welcomes Hall-of-Fame California-based trainer, Richard Mandela.
The son of a blacksmith, Mandela opened a public stable in 1974 and soon enjoyed success. His biggest wins include a monumental upset of CIGAR in the 1996 Pacific Classic (grinding to a halt his 16-race winning streak) with DARE AND GO and four victories on Breeders' Cup day in 2003.
The easy-going and modest Mandela downplayed his many accomplishments but did admit that he has a knack for training South American breds when other trainers fail. He explained his training style of, "re-educating" them, letting them down easy, letting them rest and then bringing them back little by little to train under our American circumstances which is galloping with saddles on their back everyday instead of bareback and just basically getting them used to the routine here.
He also acknowledged that he's been very lucky with horses and bowed tendons in his barn during his 30-year career knowing just how to handle and treat the often career-ending injury by having a keen eye; always knowing what to look for and spotting a bow and stopping on a horse at the first sign of bowing. This tried and true technique has saved and prolonged the careers of countless of his most famous runners and being patient; giving them all the time they need to recuperate properly instead of rushing them right back into training and possibly re-injuring themselves as so many other hack trainers do.
Another observation that Simon Bray pointed out is that Richard Mandela has extreme patience with horses that other trainers would throw their hands up with frustration and give up on and that most Mandela horses have longevity when it comes to their careers. Again, Mandela said it's all about being patient and this philosophy has rewarded him with a barnful of older horses - some running up to an age that other horses of the same foal crop have been retired for 3-4 years when his horses are still healthy and competing! A prime example of this is the beloved TIN MAN who was plagued by various injuries his entire career being off so long at one point that no one thought he'd ever be back to the races. Not only did he return but he soared higher than ever going on to win several Grade I races - the Arlington Million being the highlight of his career.
Stories like this are commonplace when people think of Richard Mandela; and this attests to his true horsemanship and integrity by always putting the needs of each individual horse first and devicing a unique course for each one by knowing their strengths and weaknesses and never endangering them for personal gain.
Other monumental and significant wins include putting Laffit Pincay, Jr., on IRISH NIP for Pincay's 8,834th victory breaking Willie Shoemaker's race winning record, being inducted into the National Museum of Racing's Hall of Fame in 2001, his four Breeders' Cup victories in 2003: ACTION THIS DAY (Juvenile), HALFBRIDLED (Juvenile Fillies), JOHAR (dead-heat for the Turf) and PLEASANTLY PERFECT taking the Classic.
Just a brief sampling of horses that Mandela fondly looked back upon are PHONE TRICK, PHONE CHATTER, KOTASHAAN, RELUCTANT GUEST, BEAUTIFUL MELODY, GENTLEMEN, SIPHON, SANDPIT, DARE AND GO, SOUL OF THE MATTER, THE TIN MAN, DESSERT, PLEASANTLY PERFECT (whom he said he loved like a son) and LEGER CAT.
Despite the demands of being one of the top trainers in the country, Richard Mandela has always made time to participate in all areas of the racing industry. Name an organization in California and he's involved in it. Name a charitable organization and he's given his time into it when it comes to horse racing, Mandela may be a hard worker but there's also something to be said for good karma.
A refreshing look into the career of a true horseman and trainer who's career has been rewarded by doing right for the horse.
|Format(s) Available:||DVD And VHS|
|Category:||U.S. & Canadian Flat Racing|