With this entry, I start a series of personal interviews with racing personalities; if I’m lucky, I’ll get to take a picture of them as well.
Entitled “Chika Muna”, it’s Tagalog for “let’s gossip awhile”, and sounds like the term, “teka muna,” or “wait awhile”. In other words, I’ll ask them to take a little time out from their busy schedules to chat and gossip a bit about themselves and racing.
Join me as we get to know them better.
Chika Muna! with Summer’s Hottest Trainer, Rudy Mendoza
For the past couple of months, his stable has blazed a succession of wins. One of summer’s winningest trainers is certainly Rudy Mendoza, a horseowner himself who is practically an institution in local racing.
I got a chance to chat a bit with this very humble and modest man last Tuesday, May 22, when he had seven entries. After all the eight races on the card were run, his stable’s Tellmenolies notched her third consecutive win, Bloodline her second win in three outings, and 6-year-old veteran Gallant Warrior his sixth victory in a row. His longshot entry Sea of Galilee even managed to grab second place.
For the first time, his secrets are revealed – right here!
TREAT EACH HORSE AS AN INDIVIDUAL: “Actually, pinag-aaralan ko ang ugali ng bawat kabayo. Through experience, nakikita ko ang gusto nila, so yun ang binibigay ko. Si Gallant Warrior, bago naibakasyon, puro talo. Tapos, nahuli ko yung kiliti niya sa ensayo. Dati, laging sobra sa batak, pero ang gusto pala niya ang hindi napapagod sa ensayo. Si Tellmenolies, gusto niya babatakin siya. Nananalo. Ganoon din si Grand Fiesta. Kanya-kanyang estilo.”
TEAMWORK IS KEY: “Maganda rin ang alaga ng mga sota, ang magkapatid na sila Poleng at Nelson. Malaking tulong din sa pagpapabuti ng kabayo ang mga assistants ko – si jockey Randy Lagrata, na magaling pagbilinan, si jockey Sonny Vacal, at pati na rin si Steve. Teamwork ang sekreto.”
GOOD NUTRITION: “Kumpleto ang vitamins, regular ang pagkain.”
QUOTE: “Walang magaling na trainer ‘pag ‘di ka masuwerte! Kasama na rin ang dasal doon.”
Photo: Tatay Rudy Mendoza at the SLLP Turf Club balcony, just before Gallant Warrior’s run. May 22.