Horse Racing

‘Doc’ Chandler’s Diagnosis of Greatness

By Chris McGrath
Just as water finds its stage, so the everyday functioning of Juddmonte throughout nearly four a long time has approved the inexorable percolation towards the racetrack of sophistication, in horses and horsemen alike. And, all through 33 years as president of the U.S. Wing, that class has had one common filter out-except, certainly, Prince Khalid Abdulla himself.
As recorded inside the first a part of this interview, Dr. John Chandler changed into raised in South Africa and cut his tooth in Newmarket before coming to the Bluegrass. Marriage to Alice Headley of Mill Ridge, together along with his lengthy provider to the Prince, qualifies Chandler as a primary-hand witness to many defining achievers of the cutting-edge Turf.
Above all, he connects two outstanding running shoes who had almost not anything in common except the patronage of the Prince, and the most cancers that claimed their lives; however whose names, as a end result, will all the time be certain collectively.
As it happens, though he assured the immortality of his name by means of bestowing it upon his greatest champion, the Prince simply had extraordinarily little to do with Bobby Frankel.
“Really, the Prince had very constrained non-public contact with Frankel,” Chandler admits. “Later he depended on [general manager] Garrett O’Rourke, with whom Bobby had a good rapport.”
Yet the singular alliance of Brooklyn Jew and Saudi prince reproves the belief that our small, obsessive international has not anything to educate the “actual” one beyond.
Juddmonte had to start with taken on John Gosden in California as teacher of a filly in a package bought from Robert Sangster. When it become determined to export a couple of Juddmonte horses to the West Coast, Gosden was the plain preference.
“And he did thoroughly,” Chandler remembers. “So we began sending him extra horses, and subsequently had maybe 30 with him. But then he got a proposal he couldn’t refuse, to repatriate himself [to England]. He sent his horses to Eddie Gregson, but the Prince continually appreciated to pick out his very own trainers.”
A shortlist turned into drawn up, and the Prince settled on two: Ron McAnally and Frankel. Chandler rang McAnally, advised him Juddmonte would love to send him some horses.
“Well, that’d be remarkable,” stated McAnally. “Thank you very an awful lot.”
Then he known as Frankel, a man he barely knew.
“I told him who I become, and he said, ‘Yeah.’ I said, ‘Would you want to teach some horses for us?’ And he stated, ‘I don’t know. Let me consider it. You name me the next day and I’ll inform you.’ And so, no longer having any unique ego, I said, ‘That’s pleasant.’ I referred to as him next morning and he said, ‘Yeah, I’ll educate for you.’ Later, he explained that to me. He become a superb friend of Eddie Gregson, and knew he’d be taking the horses away from him. So he’d called Eddie, who said, ‘Jesus, take them. That’s the excellent damned job you’ll ever have!’”
Broodmare legend Toussaud (El Gran Senor) started out her career with Gosden, after his circulate domestic, but changed into then despatched over to Frankel. Dam of 4 Grade I winners via 4 distinctive stallions, Toussaud became notoriously tough.
“I watched her galloping at Keeneland at some point and she or he abruptly stopped like she’d run right into a wall,” recalls Chandler. “And the boy sat there like he changed into nailed on. And I stated to myself: ‘He’s been there earlier than, hasn’t he? He knew what become coming.’”
Because she refused to work left-passed, Frankel took to training Toussaud the “incorrect” way round; plus she could only paintings from the gate. Though he did control a Grade I together with her, while Chandler asked if he would like to train her the following 12 months, Frankel responded: ‘Thank you, that’s very type, but I don’t assume I can positioned up together with her anymore!’”
For all their class, many of her foals were also eccentric. “She had one of the all-time quality-searching foals, by using Gone West, I idea he become going to be the ultimate,” Chandler says. “And he wouldn’t run a yard. Put him in a race, and also you couldn’t get him out of a strong canter. Honest Lady (Seattle Slew) turned into the same manner, there has been best one rider she might go for. But she became handiest overwhelmed half a length within the Breeders’ Cup Sprint.”
This affinity with even his most attempting costs changed into the Frankel hallmark. “He had empathy for animals you couldn’t trust,” says Chandler, shaking his head. “I mean, what sort of fellow might forgo the Breeders’ Cup due to the fact he has a ill dog? He became this sort of softie, you have no idea. When [Kentucky Oaks winner] Flute (Seattle Slew) was within the barn, he’d stand for a long time speaking to her outdoor the stall.”
And clearly that’s some other bond between Frankel and a person who become, in lots of respects, his polar opposite. Cecil had that fey, aristocratic way about him, half-playful, half-bashful, however he usually shared a very natural wavelength with Thoroughbreds.
“Henry knew every horse’s character wishes,” Chandler says. “He knew what their limits had been. You realize, he used to paintings his horses a lot; and a lot faster than some. But every so often they’d just be arising there and doing it. I don’t suppose Frankel changed into as smooth a horse to train as he might have been, for being this kind of exact one. As a rule, every body can teach a great horse. But I assume Frankel had some troubles Henry dealt with with sensitivity.”
Chandler is gratified to have had a hand in introducing his antique buddy to the Juddmonte fold, having advised him as teacher to a relative of the Prince who then lost hobby. The Prince took over the deserted string, and so started a partnership that might reveal an top notch constancy in a individual otherwise in large part inscrutable to the broader racing public.
For the equine Frankel, famously, sealed Cecil’s redemption from a nadir wherein he had been written off professionally, as the day before today’s man, and individually, as very sick.
“The Prince stuck with him through thick and thin,” Chandler displays. “He changed into so loyal, whilst Henry was down to half of his yard. I’ve seen numerous horse human beings have awful spells. And he changed into doing everything the identical. We by no means could paintings it out. But Henry, he changed into decided. He had a completely robust will to win. And when matters went down, it affected him. He wasn’t nearly as devil-might also-care as he looked. That was a the front.
“He turned into fiercely competitive, at the back of that giggling façade. He resented any horse we took away to convey here. Andre Fabre was totally distinct. Andre could say, ‘You recognize, I think I’m wasting my time right here, this horse might be acceptable by using America.’ But Henry, boy, if you took a horse like Chester House, he resented it bitterly.”
Since the untimely lack of each these wonderful trainers, the Prince has rebooted his American operation-breaking with its tried-and-relied on modus operandi through returning to the yearling income, and shortly rewarded with the aid of the fantastic Arrogate (Unbridled’s Song). The champion’s arrival at Juddmonte’s Kentucky farm, in which Mizzen Mast (Cozzene) had lately been plying a solitary trade, enhances an equal rejuvenation over the ocean, where Kingman (GB) (Invincible Spirit Ire) is bidding to emulate Frankel’s great start at stud.
“The Prince liked horses in California,” Chandler explains. “So while Baffert turned into doing so nicely he stated, ‘I’d like a few horses with him.’ And said, ‘He’s a dirt teacher: we don’t have his form of horse.’ So he stated, ‘Well then, buy a few.’ It wasn’t especially the [Juddmonte] fashion, but Garrett [O’Rourke] and Baffert went out and acquired pretty a variety of steeply-priced horses. Arrogate was in the third batch-and we hadn’t had a horse well worth a damn earlier than him. I was standing next to Bob while Arrogate won the Travers. And he said, ‘Now we will pay for all those bad horses!’”
Perhaps no current end result better condensed Chandler’s universal revel in than the Breeders’ Cup Mile. “A precise trifecta,” Chandler says with a smile. “Expert Eye (Acclamation), winner, for Juddmonte. Catapult (Kitten’s Joy), 2nd, bred via Garrett. And Analyze It (Point Of Entry), 0.33, that we bred [i.E. The Mill Ridge clan].”
Not that Chandler, drawing close his 80th yr, entertains the slightest illusion that he has unravelled the mysteries of the Thoroughbred. When he first got here over, he met Jack Price in Ocala.
“He had raised Carry Back, the [1961] Kentucky Derby winner,” he muses. “Offset sucker such as you’ve never seen. He become by way of a horse referred to as Saggy, out of mare known as Joppy. And he became a remarkable damned horse. Price would usually say, ‘You recognise, they advised me to breed the nice to the best. I bred the nice I had, to the quality I ought to manage to pay for.’ There’s a lot of chance with the pony.


“We’re very lucky. Things sort of appear to turn out right. We appear to have bumbled via. It’s all a long time in the past now. I knew Teddy [Lord Grimthorpe, the Prince’s racing manager in Newmarket] while he turned into starting as a junior, at the BBA. But there’s things I do higher than maximum within the global. I can procrastinate, and I can delegate. Garrett is a completely succesful man, without a doubt first-rate, and has been right here a long term himself now.”
Everyone who is aware of and admires Chandler–and people will essentially be coterminous groups–will attest that even the vast quantity of his experience dwindles subsequent to the quality of its utility. His wife has no longer been in the satisfactory of health of overdue however Chandler remains spry and lively, as engaged as he’s enticing. A minute of Doc’s agency will train you greater than per week with a lesser man.
“I even have made no contribution to mankind,” he insists. “I even have spent my entire life looking for a horse to run from factor A to point B quicker than any other horse. What a pointless aspect in the grand scheme of the world.”
But it’s precisely because he disparages himself so earnestly that we cherish him all the more. For the rest people, the wish that we would waste our lives so usefully will stay a forlorn one.

Randy Montgomery

Hardcore pop culture trailblazer. Music junkie. Troublemaker. Twitter fan. Travel nerd. Tv guru. Snowboarder, dreamer, DJ, Swiss design-head and identity designer. Performing at the sweet spot between minimalism and intellectual purity to create not just a logo, but a feeling. Let's make every day A RAZZLE-DAZZLE MUSICAL.

Related Articles

Back to top button