BILL DWYRE

Santa Anita Breeders' Cup races have been good to this trainer

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Beholder

Jockey Gary Stevens rides Beholder to victory in the $100,000 Torrey Pines Stakes a Del Mar in September. Beholder has won seven of 10 races for trainer Richard Mandella. (Associated Press / September 1, 2013)

"Then he ran the race of his life."

When the day was done, the numbers Mandella had put up were startling. For perspective, remember that the Breeders' Cup offered a total prize package in '03 of $14 million, $11 million less than now.

Mandella's winning races alone — he had other horses that also hit the board — brought his owners 60% of $8.5 million, or $5.1 million. His 10% was worth $510,000.

But he found more.

"Long after it was over," he says, "I was walking out, starting to come back to Earth. I had my tie loosened and was headed home, but I walked past the guys on TVG and they were still broadcasting. They saw me, called me over, and so I joined them.

"And as we were talking, I remembered something. My son [trainer Gary Mandella] told me when we were at Del Mar that summer that Pleasantly Perfect was listed at 40-1 in the Classic at one of the future books in Vegas.

"I gave him $20, he made the bet, and the morning of the Classic, I put the ticket in my shoe for good luck.

"Then I forgot about it until I was sitting there on the TV set. So I reached down, pulled it out and held it up."

The ticket was worth $820.

So, the next time you are searching for the definition of a good day, think Oct. 25, 2003, and Richard Mandella.

bill.dwyre@latimes.com

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