In the days leading up to the 147th running of the $3 million Kentucky Derby (G1), usracing.com is profiling all the contenders. The 1 ¼-mile Run for the Roses at Churchill Downs is May 1 and is the first leg of the Triple Crown. All profiles will be updated with post positions, odds, and jockeys following the draw on Tuesday, April 27.
By Margaret Ransom
Mandaloun earned the bulk of his 52 road to the Kentucky Derby points with his score in the Risen Star in February and should he win the first leg of the Triple Crown would become the first Risen Star winner to also win the Derby.
However, 2002 Derby winner War Emblem and 2019 winner-by-DQ Country House both ran in the Risen Star, where they finished sixth and second, respectively. Risen Star himself finished third in the 1988 Derby and won the Preakness and the Belmont Stakes.
Mandaloun has been the favorite for each of his five career starts and only finished off the board in his last, a sixth place behind Hot Rod Charlie in the Louisiana Derby.
“He’s got the physical make-up of a mile-and-a-quarter horse so we’re optimistic he’ll get better with more ground,” trainer Brad Cox said.
In his penultimate pre-Derby workout at Churchill Downs on April 17 in company with stablemate and maiden winner Colonel Bowman, the son of Into Mischief worked 6 furlongs in 1:11.40. Breaking off at the five-eighths pole, the duo logged splits of :12.40, :24.20, :35.60 and :58.80 with Mandaloun galloping out seven furlongs in 1:25.20 and the mile in 1:41.60. Colonel Bowman’s final six-furlong time was 1:11.80.
“(Mandaloun) worked great,” Cox said. “We were all puzzled after the Louisiana Derby, but he’s been doing great since that race maybe that was just a head scratcher. He’s a really good-looking son of Into Mischief and we know he’s better than what we saw in his last start.”
Post position: TBD
Trainer: Brad Cox
Jockey: Florent Geroux
Career record: 5-3-0-1
Career earnings: $361,252
Derby qualifying points: 52 (10th)
Top Equibase speed figure: 97
Pedigree: Into Mischief-Brooch, by Empire Maker
Running style: Front-runner
Notes: Mandaloun gets his name for a type of mullioned (or decorative partition) window from traditional Lebanese architecture … dam Brooch was a two-time group stakes winner, including the 2015 Ridgewood Pearl S. (G2) at The Curragh … the late Prince Khalid Abdullah has been represented by five previous Derby starters (1995 Eltish, 6th; 2000 Aptitude, 2nd; Empire Maker 2018, 2nd; Hofburg, 7th; and 2019 Tacitus, 3rd) … Brad Cox has yet to have a Derby starter … Florent Geroux has ridden in the Derby four times, his best finish was third aboard Gun Runner in 2016.
California native and lifelong horsewoman Margaret Ransom is a graduate of the University of Arizona’s Race Track Industry Program. She got her start in racing working in the publicity departments at Calder Race Course and Hialeah Park, as well as in the racing office at Gulfstream Park in South Florida. She then spent six years in Lexington, KY, at BRISnet.com, where she helped create and develop the company’s popular newsletters: Handicapper’s Edge and Bloodstock Journal.
After returning to California, she served six years as the Southern California news correspondent for BloodHorse, assisted in the publicity department at Santa Anita Park and was a contributor to many other racing publications, including HorsePlayer Magazine and Trainer Magazine. She then spent seven years at HRTV and HRTV.com in various roles as researcher, programming assistant, producer and social media and marketing manager.
She has also walked hots and groomed runners, worked the elite sales in Kentucky for top-class consignors and volunteers for several racehorse retirement organizations, including CARMA.
In 2016, Margaret was the recipient of the prestigious Stanley Bergstein Writing Award, sponsored by Team Valor, and was an Eclipse Award honorable mention for her story, “The Shocking Untold Story of Maria Borell,” which appeared on USRacing.com. The article and subsequent stories helped save 43 abandoned and neglected Thoroughbreds in Kentucky and also helped create a new animal welfare law known as the “Borell Law.”
Margaret’s very first Breeders’ Cup was at Hollywood Park in 1984 and she has attended more than half of the Breeders’ Cups since. She counts Holy Bull and Arrogate as her favorite horses of all time. She lives in Pasadena with her longtime beau, Tony, two Australian Shepherds and one Golden Retriever.