Los Pollos Hermanos and Jay Em Ess Stable’s Grade 1 winner Masochistic, who was retired on Sunday after finishing in front of just one rival in the Sensational Star Stakes for California-breds at Santa Anita, will begin his second career as a riding horse under the care of trainer Kristin Mulhall, the young trainer said Monday. The 8-year-old gelding joins 2016 Breeders’ Cup Mile (GI) winner Obviously, who was given to Mulhall last summer to begin his second career, also as a riding horse.
Mulhall picked up Masochistic at trainer Bob Baffert’s barn on Monday and hauled him to her Covina Hills home, where he’ll get some time to relax before embarking on the next stage of his life. He’ll also spend much of his time watching over her broodmares and riding horses, a mule or two, a pair of goats, a wolf hybrid and a handful of dogs, among other new friends.
“I knew for a while I was going to get him [when his racing career was over],” Mullhall said. “My friend [co-owner] Will [Shamlian of Los Pollos Hermanos] asked me a while ago if I’d take him and make him a trail horse and I said I would. He’s sound enough to do anything, but I think he earned an easy life just being a riding horse.
“There’s a good chance we may try to jump him because Will believes he’s an active horse and that he can jump and have a job, so if he does like it, we’ll let him do that. Otherwise he’ll just be a trail horse. We’re going to let him decide.”
Masochistic’s career was as controversial as it was successful. He debuted as a 4-year-old in March of 2014 in a California-bred maiden in the care of trainer A.C. Avila and finished fifth and was later disqualified to eighth after a post-race drug test revealed the presence of the tranquilizer Acepromazine. He returned almost two months later at Churchill Downs on Kentucky Derby Day where he won an open maiden special weight at odds of more than 2-1, triggering an investigation by the Kentucky Racing Commission into possible betting irregularities, though nothing was ever found.
He subsequently won three more allowance races before Samantha Sigel’s Jay Em Ess Stable purchased an interest in Masochistic in mid-2015 and transferred him to the care of her stable’s longtime trainer, Ron Ellis. Masochistic went on to win four races in Ellis’ care, including the Triple Bend Stakes (GI), Kona Gold Stakes (GI) and Pat O’Brien Stakes (GII) and was second in three other graded stakes, including the 2016 Breeders’ Cup Sprint (GI).
A post-race positive for the anabolic steroid stanozolol and its metabolite after finishing second in the Breeders’ Cup put Masochistic in the center of controversy again — even though Ellis followed recommended California Horse Racing Board Protocol for the use of stanozolol for training purposes, and the amount detected in his post-race sample was so minute (30 picograms per milliliter of stanozolol; a picogram is one trillionth of a gram), he was disqualified to last and Ellis received a fine and 60-day suspension. Masochistic was also declared ineligible for the 2017 Breeders’ Cup and, after two final starts in Ellis’ care, was sent to the farm for an extended break.
At the end of 2017, Masochistic was transferred to the care of trainer Bob Baffert, where he made his final two starts, going unplaced in the Don Valpredo Cal Cup Sprint and the Sensational Star. Overall, the bay son of Sought After and the Unsual Heat mare Trotinette amassed a record of 18-8-3-0 and earned $860,895.
For the time being, Masochistic will be let down from racetrack life and ponied on the trails around her home. Mulhall said she’ll fatten him up like every good trail horse and take her time to do much more than that.
“He’s such a cool horse,” Mulhall said. “I’ve followed his career and loved to watch him run. He’s going to make a great riding horse; he’s smart and he’s classy. I’m glad the owners trust me enough to have him.”
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 in Kentucky 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 Robinson, Texas, with her longtime beau, Tony. She is the executive director of the 501(c)(3) non-profit horse rescue, The Bridge Sanctuary.