Del Mar Report (Cont.)

Continued from part 1


Two years behind the desk at TVG gave Gary Mandella the opportunity of a lifetime. Eventually, however, it began to give him a feel of what he had given up.

He missed getting his hands dirty, watching horses up close, watching them change, watching them grow. He missed the peaceful early mornings, working alongside his father--and Hall of Fame trainer--Richard.

And he definitely missed the stone-cold adrenaline rush of pulling down one of the country's biggest prizes.

Consider him cured. With his father away in New York attending the wedding of client Gerald Ford, Gary Mandella tightened the girth on Brazilian newcomer Redattore July 28 and came away with the $400,000 Eddie Read Handicap (gr. IT).

Redattore is the latest in the long and honored line of South American imports to walk the Mandella shedrow, which over the years has featured such standouts as Siphon, Gentlemen, Sandpit, and Malek. It didn't take long for Redattore to establish his own presence.

"He really doesn't resemble them physically," admitted Mandella, recalling some of the Southern Hemisphere stars of yesteryear. "Mentally, he's like Sandpit in that he loves to stand and look at things. Everything he looks at it's like he's trying to understand. He's a big, healthy horse. He's his own horse."

It did, however, take a while to get him under tack. Now a 6-year-old son of Roi Normand (the same sire who gave us champion Riboletta last year), Redattore came to North America last year with a top-notch résumé and a knee chip begging to be removed. Minor surgery was performed by Dr. Larry Bramlage in Lexington, and by fall, Redattore had joined Mandella's string in Southern California.

At this point, there's no telling how good Redattore can be, but if his breakthrough effort in the nine-furlong Eddie Read is any indication, he should be making a lot of noise. Though longshot Special Ring rushed out to a daylight lead, Alex Solis essentially ignored the headstrong front-runner. Instead he had Redattore settled in second, riding as if the pace were his.

The plan worked. Solis cut Redattore loose approaching the far turn, leaving the others with little more than a prayer. His final eighth, clocked in :11.76, slammed the door on Native Desert, the honest 8-year-old gelding. Redattore was two clear at the wire in 1:47.16, a time which flirted with the course mark established by Al Mamoon back in the 1986 Eddie Read. Native Desert held off Super Quercus and Timboroa, both trained by Frankel, for second.

Solis admitted he felt Redattore still had another furlong in him, a notion which augurs well if Richard Mandella decides to give the Aug. 18 Arlington Million (gr. IT) a try. That, it turns out, may the ideal stage to find out just what Redattore is made of.

"It's like his Breeders' Cup," Gary Mandella said. "This horse, like the other South Americans, is not going to be eligible, so that's maybe one of the biggest purses this horse will have a chance to run for in his life. We'll see. He earned his chance, that's for sure."

Redattore is owned by Luis A. Taunay.