06/26/2006 11:00PM

Trainer profile: Gary Mandella

Gary Mandella has posted consistent numbers since going out on his own in 2002.

It's not easy for a son to step out of the shadow of a famous father. Just by name association grand things are expected. Sometimes it takes a while, but as Gary Mandella is finding out, it's worth the wait.

The 34-year-old son of Hall of Fame trainer Dick Mandella has begun making inroads of his own, and surely players of Southern California races are noticing as well. Mandella had the good fortune to learn under his father, regarded as one of the finest horsemen in the game. He went to work for his father full time in 1995 after a five-month tenure at Claiborne Farm in Kentucky. He assisted his father and saddled such winners as Wild Rush (Illinois Derby, Met Mile), Atticus (Oaklawn Handicap), Redattore (Eddie Read), Stop Traffic (Ballerina), and Sandpit (Hollywood Turf Handicap). His presence in that barn meant he was near such standouts as Gentlemen, Romarin, Siphon, Dare and Go, Puerto Madero, Dixie Union, Malek, and Johar. After working with his father he then tried his hand as an analyst on TVG. Mandella got rave reviews for his work there but apparently missed being on the front lines. He moved back to training in 2002, and this time struck out on his own.

Mandella's education was evident by his handling of top sprinter Taste of Paradise, who nearly swept home in last year's Breeders' Cup Sprint. Some poor racing luck, however, left Taste of Paradise just a head shy of Silver Train at the finish. But that performance validated Mandella's work with Taste of Paradise, who had won the Grade 1 Vosburgh at Belmont just a month or so prior. It was also Taste of Paradise who provided Mandella with his first graded-stakes win when he rallied to capture the Grade 3 Vernon O. Underwood at Hollywood Park in 2004.

Mandella also inherited the ability to handle the non-star racehorse, and that balance is showing up in his numbers. He's hitting at 12 percent on both dirt and turf. There's no distance discrepancy - he's 11 percent sprinting and 13 percent routing. And his numbers up and down the class ladder show his ability to place a horse. Mandella is at 8 percent with maiden claimers, 15 percent with straight maidens, 13 percent with claimers, 10 percent with allowance runners, 14 percent with stakes runners, and 10 percent with graded-stakes runners.

He may have more good numbers coming in the graded-stakes ranks, too, if Japanese-bred Silent Name has anything to say about it. Silent Name was most impressive at Santa Anita, romping in an allowance race and then winning a strong edition of the Grade 2 Arcadia. He came back last month to be a rallying third in the Grade 1 Shoemaker Mile and has stamped himself a legitimate BC Mile aspirant. And we might not have to wait too long to see him again.

Mandella said he may have to step up the campaign of Silent Name after a third-place finish behind Aragorn and Charmo in the Shoemaker Mile.

"He was kicking the barn down and tearing people's arms off," said Mandella of Silent Name. "I may have to rethink my plans and race him some more. I'm looking at the Firecracker Mile on the turf at Churchill Downs on July 1."

Impressed with the quality of the Shoemaker field, Mandella added, "How about the last half in 45 flat? How often do you see that? No question, the first three finishers are as good as anybody in the country."

And Mandella knows what it's like to be around one of those.


HorseAge/SexLast raceFinishLast 3 BeyersCareer recordEarnings
Silent Name4CShoemakerBC31041069613-5-2-2$304,431
Totally Phat4FMdSpWt276----1-0-1-09,000
Vels Beauty2FMdSpWt151----1-1-0-018,000
Dee's a Legend3FOC25k/N1X370766712-3-1-277,820


First North American Start50.202.04
1st race after claim30.000.00
2nd race after claim30.000.00
1st race with trainer190.162.73
+180 days since last race170.000.00
60-180 days since last race270.264.26
Second off layoff 45-180 days330.091.32
Second off layoff +180 days150.000.00
1st time starter310.101.52
2nd start as maiden230.173.23
Maiden special to maiden claimer40.251.25
1st time turf250.123.31
1st time blinkers90.110.56
1st time Lasix50.202.04
Dirt to turf400.081.73
Turf to dirt290.101.34
Blinkers on130.080.38
Blinkers off50.000.00
Sprint to route310.192.23
Route to sprint140.140.94
31-60 days since last race760.112.37
Won last start250.163.26
Wet tracks100.304.76
Maiden claiming270.070.36
Maiden special weight750.152.17
Graded stakes200.103.47
Debut in maiden claiming race70.000.00
Debut equal to/greater than 1 mile70.000.00

Trainer statistics reflect North American starts from Jan. 1, 2005 through June 25, 2006