03/18/2010 12:00AM

Q&A: George Jacobs

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Benoit & Associates
George Jacobs recently won the Santa Anita Handicap with Misremembered. Jacobs owns the horse with trainer Bob Baffert's wife, Jill.

Owner of popular restaurant Georgee's Pizza in La Canada, Calif., he is the co-owner with Jill Baffert of Misremembered, the winner two weeks ago of the Santa Anita Handicap. Daily Racing Form interviewed him at Santa Anita.

Birthdate: Jan. 15, 1958, in Pasadena, Calif.

Family: wife, Lynn; sons Jeff, George; daughters Michelle, Kelly. Michelle was the Rose Parade Queen in 2001.

Nickname: "Pizza George"

Got into racing because . . . "I grew up with horses. I rode them as a kid. I rode show horses at the stables in Burbank and was in 4-H. My family moved to La Canada in 1972, and we bought a house where we could have horses at home. I had Pintos and Paints and Quarter Horses. I used to come here with my dad as a kid. My dad loved this place. I got into racing in 1996 with Matt Young, a former major league pitcher I've known since I was 14; he was in my wedding. Ian Jory was our first trainer. We had a couple of claimers. A year later I met Bob Baffert."

What was it like winning the Santa Anita Handicap? "Like your team just won the Super Bowl. I knew he was going to win at the quarter pole. Martin Garcia hadn't asked him yet, and I could see he had a ton of horse. I got goosebumps. I remember hearing Jill screaming. The best thing was that my family was here. When he won the Indiana Derby, it was just me and Bob's assistant, Jim Barnes. I got home [from the Santa Anita Handicap] and was still in shock. I got up at 3 a.m. and started reading the stories online. Did that really happen? People say, 'Are you on Cloud Nine?' No, I'm on Cloud 10, above Cloud Nine."

Tell us the story behind Misremembered's name: "It's from the the verbal gaffe Roger Clemens made when he was testifying" about alleged steroid use.

Did you ever meet Roger Clemens? "Many times. I would go visit Matt when he was playing, and he knew Roger real well. Roger's been to my restaurant. I haven't kept in touch with him, but I know Matt sends him e-mails on the horse."

How did you first meet your trainer, Bob Baffert? "I met him in 1997 at Barretts with Matt Young. We bought a horse with him named Shot of Gold. He turned out to be a good horse. That really gets you going."

Bob and his wife, Jill, bred Misremembered. How did it come to pass that you ended up being the co-owner of the colt? "I actually own the dam with Bob and Jill. Bob was having lunch one day in my restaurant. He comes into my place three or four times a week. While he was there, Bob got a call from John Sikura saying the mare was for sale. Bob remembered her because she had won the Del Mar Debutante. He said, 'You want half?' It cost me $4,500. We were going to breed her to Point Given, but John convinced us to breed her to Candy Ride. John Sikura deserves all the credit."

Funniest memory of something with Bob: "Me and my wife went skiing with Bob and Jill in Beaver Creek, Colo. Jill had never been skiing before. Bob took Jill to the top of the mountain. She had to get down in the ski patrol sled. She was mad. Bob and I were laughing, which made her madder. That's how we ended up naming one of our horses Mountain Rage. He ended up being a stakes winner."

You like to come out in the mornings a lot at Santa Anita. What do you enjoy about the mornings? "I just like being here and being around Bob's horses. Bob's my trainer, but he's also a friend. He's taken me on trips. I've flown with him in private jets. I only live 12 minutes away."

What's a typical day like for you in terms of your time with racing and your restaurant? "I get up at 5:30 every morning, get to work at 6, set up shop, come here, then go back to work. I'll have had the restaurant for 30 years this June. My son Jeff just started working for me. All these horses, I pay by the slice. We'll joke, 'That one will cost 5,600 Philly Cheesesteaks.' When we say we bought a horse for a ham sandwich, we're not kidding. I'm a perfect example of what can happen in this sport. It's luck. And a good trainer."

Best horses seen: "Lady's Secret was always one of my favorites, and Point Given."

What other hobbies do you have? "Basketball and skiing."

Future ambitions: "To be here full time. I just want to come here every day with a smile on my face."