Santa Anita Park 5.18.18:
Race 7 – Jay Makes Us Laugh
Race 8 – For Him, Dare to Enter
Santa Anita Park 5.18.18:
Race 7 – Jay Makes Us Laugh
Race 8 – For Him, Dare to Enter
Recent wins and success:
The barn is on a huge run right now! Currently 3-2-1 from 15 starters for 2018, hitting at 20% for the win, and 40% in the money. Recent wins include:
Cal Bred Karmic Affinity was purchased at the OBS April 2017 Sale for $75,000 for Chris St. Hilaire and Ed Smith (Technically Our Stable). She debuted on 1.27.18 at Santa Anita running 2nd at huge odds, then returned to break her maiden at second asking on 2.24.18 in a Cal Bred MSW for 3YO fillies and up. With Kent Desormeaux aboard, she cruised to a 3 1/4 length victory in the 6F main track race.
Purchased at the OBS March 2017 sale for $75,000, Lombo won the new condition MSW race at Santa Anita Park (homebreds or horses purchased at public auction for less than $100,000) on 1.21.18 with Kent Desormeaux aboard for owners Mike and Cory Lombardi. He followed that up with an 8-1 front running victory in the G3 Robert B. Lewis Stakes on 2.3.18, switching to Flavien Prat and earning himself 10 Kentucky Derby points!
How Unusual won an Allowance race at Santa Anita on 10.15.17 going 1 1/8 on the turf for Chris St. Hilaire, Bob Fetkin, Hunter Sill and Pender Racing. She followed that up with a late closing kick to win the G3 Red Carpet Hcp. at Del Mar on Thanksgiving Day, 11.23.17, with Corey Nakatani aboard!
After hitting the board in Cal-bred stakes and allowance races all summer long at Del Mar, “Queen” won a Starter Allowance at Los Alamitos on 9.24.17 for owner Chris St. Hilaire.
The 9 year old gelding by Lucky Pulpit showed his affinity for the Los Alamitos racetrack, winning a 5F $6,250 claiming race for Pender Racing and Dan Dalfiume on 9.8.17 with Edwin Maldonado aboard. It is his 19th career win and pushed his lifetime earnings to $625,687. He followed that up with a 3rd place finish in a Starter Allowance on Saturday 9.16.17.
Owned by Cunningham Stables, Collier, Peskoff, Pender Racing and Regan, jockey Flavien Prat shot up the rail to win the $20,000 Claiming Race on Sunday 9.3.17 at Del Mar.
Owned by Pender Racing, Technically Ours Stable, Benny Paul, and Todd Craven, Rafter One completed the daily double for the barn, winning the 3rd on 8.23.17 at Del Mar. He followed that up with a win at Los Alamitos on Saturday 9.16.17, and again on Sunday 12.14.17! Ultra consistent.
Gift of a Star
Owned by Gerry Gibbs, Gift of a Star won by a nose in a daily double for the Pender barn, starting it off in race 2 on 8.23.17 at Del Mar, with Brice Blanc aboard.
For Him, a 2YO colt by Violence, was purchased by the Lombardis out of the 2017 Barretts March Select Sale of 2YOs for $30000. He broke his maiden third time out in a Maiden $50K claiming event at Del Mar on August 9, 2017 by 3 lengths with Edwin Maldonado aboard. It was the first win for the Lombardi’s as owners, a special congratulations! He has since run 4th in the 2016 Zuma Beach Stakes at Santa Anita on 10.9.17 and 4th in the G1 CashCall Futurity at Los Alamitos on 12.9.17.
Owned by Chip Cox, Chris Dunbar, Larry Welk and Pender Racing, we claimed “Autumn” in February for $16,000, and on July 7 at Los Alamitos Thoroughbred Meet, she won a Starter Allowance race for us with Hall of Fame jockey Kent Desormeaux aboard.
Chris and Dave
We claimed 3YO Chris and Dave for $25,000 on June 26, 2016 at Santa Anita for Cunningham Stables, Pender Racing LLC, Louise Ford and Jeannie Skellan, and after a win first off the claim last summer at Del Mar, and the winter at Santa Anita, Chris and Dave won for $16,000 on Friday 5.26.2017 at Santa Anita. He scored another win, this time at Del Mar, on 8.15.17 in a Starter Allowance on the turf with Edwin Maldonado aboard.
Check out Steve Byk’s radio coverage of Lombo here:
By Jessica Martini
Some owners wait a lifetime to have a graded stakes winner on the Triple Crown trail, but for Mike Lombardi, success has come a little quicker with Lombo (Graydar), the first horse he wholly owns, earning a wire-to-wire to victory in the GIII Robert B. Lewis S. at Santa Anita last Saturday.
“It was unbelievable,” Lombardi, owner of the San Diego-based construction company Lombardi Contracting, said Thursday. “We couldn’t go to the race. It was one of the first times we couldn’t actually watch our horse run, but it was my youngest son’s 18th birthday and his winter formal, so we had to be home for that. We watched it on TV. I’m 51, and my wife Cori is 48 and we’re jumping around like we were in high school. It was crazy.”
Lombardi had plenty of early exposure to horse racing and traces his love of the sport to his childhood.
“I grew up in Ohio around two tracks; Scioto Downs, which was a harness track, and Beulah Downs, which was a Thoroughbred track,” Lombardi said. “They were just regular white collar tracks, so I was kind of around it when I was a kid. Then I started going to the Derby with some friends.
“Once I moved out to California, my wife and I joined the Turf Club for a few years,” he continued. “Then we realized we were too busy with the kids sports, so we stopped doing that. But we always loved the horses.”
After toying with the idea of ownership for several years without pulling the trigger, fate seemed to intervene two years ago.
“We were at a charity event and we purchased a ‘Trainer for a Day’ package that Mike Pender had sponsored,” Lombardi recalled. “We thought, ‘This sounds fun–behind the scenes, get to go to the barn, pet the horses, sit in the trainer’s box. It sounds like a great thing to do. We coordinated with Joel Fihn, Mike’s PR guy, and he said, ‘Absolutely, bring your friends. We’ll make a day of it. So we did that at Del Mar in the summer of 2016. It was so exciting and interesting. We thought at some point, it sure would be great to be an owner because this is kind of cool.”
That winter, in search of a Christmas gift for his wife, Lombardi contacted Pender again.
“I called Mike and I said, ‘I’m wracking my brain to get my wife something for Christmas, can I get her a piece of a horse?’” Lombardi explained. “He said, ‘Absolutely. I’ve got the perfect opportunity.’ So I bought this fractional share of her and I came up with a big Christmas video and surprised her with a Derby hat and I made up some silks. We just had a blast with it and we said, ‘Okay, now we’re owners.’ That horse still hasn’t run today, by the way, but we have a piece of her.”
While the filly, 3-year-old Grandma Gertrude (Lucky Pulpit), hasn’t made it to the races yet, the experience whet the Lombardis appetite for ownership and the couple was excited to find a horse who would be all their own.
“[Pender] went out to the OBS Sale in March,” Lombardi said. “I couldn’t go because I had other commitments, but we were talking on the phone and he was out there for a couple of days doing all of his research. He saw this Graydar colt, who is now Lombo, and he just kept talking and talking about him and I said, ‘If we can get him for under $100,000, let’s do it.’ I want to own my own horse. I had learned really quickly that when you have pieces of horses, especially if you don’t have the biggest piece, it’s not very fun.”
Out of graded stakes placed Burg Berg (Johannesburg) and from the first crop of Grade I winner Graydar (Unbridled’s Song), Lombo (hip 407) worked a furlong in :10 2/5 at last year’s OBS March Sale. Pender acquired the future graded stakes winner for $75,000.
Lombardi was able to experience the auction scene first hand later that month when he accompanied Pender to the Barretts March sale. The two came away with a colt by Violence (hip 90) purchased for $30,000. Now named For Him, the bay broke his maiden at Del Mar last August and was a distant fourth in the GI Las Alamitos Futurity in December.
“We bid on him and nobody really raised [our bid],” Lombardi said. “We got him on what I call the clearance rack. So I look for horses that Mike can do something with, maybe they’re not perfect and they’re not going to sell for half a million dollars, but there is something there. The breeding is there and if Mike sees what he likes, let’s do it.”
The Lombardis currently have five horses in training. In addition to the two juvenile purchases, the couple also claimed now 3-year-old Candyman Garret (Overanalyze) out of his maiden score at Del Mar last August and they own a recently turned 2-year-old colt by Boisterous.
“The Boisterous colt is up in Utah with Val Brinkerhoff,” Lombardi said. “He just turned two in January, so we are hoping to get that colt down here in the next couple of months. I figured if I was going to do this as a hobby, and maybe more than that down the road, I want to get the gist of it. I want to know what it’s all about. When they are yearlings and they’ve never been ridden, how do they get to be two?”
The juvenile sales season looms and Lombardi expects to be a part of it.
“I have the fever,” he said. “I admit it. I so have the fever. I love everything about it. I just like being at the auction. I’ve watched a lot of videos on my own about conformation. I know just barely enough to be dangerous, to at least communicate with Mike. So I do to expect to go to the sales and, knowing me, we’re probably going to end up with something. I’m not the guy that is going to go and spend $300,000 on a horse. I think there is a lot more gratification in finding the $75,000 Lombo that beat the $400,000 and the $850,000 horse. There is just something about it–I feel like we were smart that day. Mike saw something that somebody else didn’t see and I like that.”
With a 21-year-old son off at college in Chicago and an 18-year-old high school senior, Lombardi admitted the soon-to-be empty nesters have found a passion in racehorse ownership.
“Our screen savers on our phones, everything has always been about the kids,” Lombardi said. “And now, every picture is horses. My screen saver is Lombo and Flavien [Prat] crossing the finish line. My boys just look at me and say, ‘Yeh, I guess we’re not in little league anymore.’
“When you get total access to the paddock and the shedrow and everything, it’s like nothing else,” he continued. “It really makes you feel special. Our friends think we are super cool. It is fun to flash your owner badge and get in to everything. We just giggle all of the time–we’re like, ‘We are really nobody, but we seem like somebody.’”
Lombo, who broke his maiden sprinting 6 1/2 furlongs at Santa Anita Jan. 20 (video) in his third career start, successfully stretched out to 1 1/16 miles to win the Bob Lewis (video). It was his third start in just over a month.
As for where the gray colt will start next, Lombardi is leaving that decision to Pender.
“At some point, we all understand, you’ve got to get the [Kentucky Derby] points,” Lombardi said. “That means you’re going to have to face better and better horses as you go. I trust that Mike will pick the right spot and the horse will tell us when he’s ready to go. We’ll give it a shot and keep dreaming.”
Graydar colt showed sprinter speed and kept running at Santa Anita.
by Jeremy Balan, bloodhorse.com 2.3.18
Michael Lombardi’s Lombo used his sprinter’s speed to get to the front and kept going all the way to the finish to pick up 10 Road to the Kentucky Derby points in the $150,000 Robert B. Lewis Stakes (G3) Feb. 3 at Santa Anita Park.
Fast out of the gate under jockey Flavien Prat, the Graydar colt opened up a clear lead in the 1 1/16-mile Lewis, but it didn’t last. A trio of challengers—Dark Vader, Shivermetimbers, and Inscom—all came up to press the pace in the backstretch, but Lombo shrugged them off in the second turn and carried his speed all the way to the wire for a two-length victory.
“He ran a big race,” Prat said of Lombo, who broke his maiden in a 6 1/2-furlong sprint Jan. 20 at Santa Anita. “They put a little pressure on him down the backside, but he was nice and relaxed. I worked him last week and he’s got a lot of speed, (and) I was concerned he might want to go, but he was relaxed. That was my main concern, but he relaxed and then went on.
After he set a pace of :23.40, :47.26, and 1:12.20 through six furlongs, the Mike Pender-trained colt opened up a four-length lead in the stretch which he never was in danger of losing, and hit the wire in 1:45.41 to score at odds of 8-1. Ayacara, who was second to last in the backstretch, closed on the rail to pick up second, 2 1/4 lengths ahead of Dark Vader. Dark Vader was the only one of the three backstretch challengers who didn’t fade harshly in the stretch, as favored Shivermetimbers finished seventh and Inscom came in last of nine.\
“He’s definitely a high-octane horse,” Pender said. “Apparently Graydar had some of the same characteristics and Unbridled’s Song (Graydar’s sire) as well. He’s just a big kid and (has) a little ADD to him, but he’s starting to figure it out. When he does really figure it out, I think he’ll be dangerous.”
Lombo is the first graded stakes winner for Graydar, who will stand the 2018 season at Taylor Made Stallions for $7,500 live foal stands and nurses.
Peace, who was favored for most of the run-up to the race but went off as the slight second choice at 2-1, was never seriously involved. The Violence colt was far back in fifth in the backstretch and was encouraged to run by jockey Mike Smith, but never moved into contention and finished fifth, a half-length behind maiden Regulate.
“He stopped on me the whole race,” Smith said. “I thought the blinkers would wake him up (he didn’t wear them in his maiden-breaking win Dec. 30), but it backfired on us big time. I feel bad, because it was my idea. … I mean, he felt great—wasn’t even blowing at the end. I’m the only tired one. I was riding.”