Inside The Winner’s Circle: ‘New Money’ Establishing Edwards

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Bob Edwards (center) with his family, jockey Javier Castellano and trainer Chad Brown after the Belmont Oaks | Adam Coglianese

By Joe Bianca

“Inside the Winner’s Circle, Presented by Keeneland” is a series showcasing graduates of the Keeneland September sale that have gone on to achieve success on racing’s biggest stages.

“It’s not supposed to be like this is what everybody’s telling me.” Those are the words of Bob Edwards, the founder and owner of e Five Racing Thoroughbreds, whose aptly named filly New Money Honey (Medaglia d’Oro) added to the legend of the exponentially growing outfit with a gutsy victory in Saturday’s $1-million GI Belmont Oaks Invitational.

Edwards, as far as racing was concerned, was just another patron clanking through the turnstiles at Saratoga two years ago. Though highly successful in his day-to-day business, pharmaceuticals, he classifies his pre-2015 involvement in Thoroughbreds as “sitting down with a cooler, a picnic table, some beers and losing money.”

That year, however, Edwards was hanging out with an old business partner who owned a horse preparing to race at Saratoga. He was taken on a tour of the backside, which he had never seen before, and eventually introduced to some influential players, specifically prominent bloodstock agent Mike Ryan. It was a sale weekend, and Edwards, along with his eldest daughter Cassidy, spent a day picking Ryan’s brain. As they talked, Edwards became more and more interested in the idea of buying a racehorse.

“I was asking silly questions and trying to understand the business,” Edwards recalled. “I had Mike pull up horses and teach us conformation, what was right with a horse, what was wrong. We narrowed it down to a few horses. I left and went back to my wife and other kids. I said ‘hey, what do you think about buying a horse so we can run [at Saratoga] next year?’ Everybody was all for it.”

Edwards bought a New York-bred yearling, but after looking into the likelihood of a Thoroughbred making it to the races, let alone starting as a 2-year-old, he realized that if he really wanted to lock in owning a horse to run at the Spa, he needed to cast a wider net.

“I called Mike and said let’s come up with a plan and start looking at Keeneland,” Edwards remembered. “I had the catalogues at that point and I spent a couple hundred dollars going through pedigrees. Mike taught me a ton, what to look for, how to read the pedigrees, how to do your due diligence. We went to Keeneland and our plan was to go right out of the gate and get a bunch of horses in Book 1. That’s where New Money Honey came in.”

Bred in Kentucky by WinStar Farm and consigned by Taylor Made Sales, the bay filly, Hip 22, hammered down for $450,000 (sales ring video). She was one of five yearlings purchased by Edwards out of Book 1.

New Money Honey was sent to the Chad Brown barn and made her debut last September at Saratoga, on closing day no less, running second as the favorite behind subsequent multiple graded stakes winner La Coronel (Colonel John). Jumping right into stakes company as a maiden, she powerfully captured the yielding-turf GIII Miss Grillo S. Oct. 2 at Belmont and scored a groundbreaking victory for e Five next out in the GI Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf.

Making her 3-year-old debut in the GIII Appalachian S. Apr. 13 at Keeneland, New Money Honey finished a dull sixth, but she rebounded with a wire-to-wire triumph in the GIII Wonder Again S. June 8 at Belmont. It was what the filly did after the race, however, that Edwards remembers most vividly.

That luck came in handy, as New Money Honey worked out a perfect trip under regular rider Javier Castellano in the Oaks, stalking the pace in the clear and getting first run on favored stablemate Sistercharlie (Ire) (Myboycharlie {Ire}) before gamely holding that one off by a neck. The final time for the race was 1:59.89, eclipsing the 2:00.25 that sophomore colt Oscar Performance (Kitten’s Joy) ran in winning the GI Belmont Derby Invitational two races later.

In many ways, the win marked the whirlwind success of the first two years of e Five, named after Edwards, his wife and their three children, coming full circle.

“The Belmont Oaks was the first time the entire ‘e 5’ was together in the winner’s circle, so it was really something special,” Edwards said. “We’ve had good luck in business, we’ve had good luck in racing and it’s been an experience.”

After selling his company Boca Pharmacal and several branded drugs they developed, Edwards set himself up to dive into a new endeavor full-bore when he wanted. That endeavor turned out to be horse racing.

“I got in at the right time,” he said. “We’re empty-nesters right now, my youngest is going to college, so this is a great time in our lives to be able to travel and go to the races. My youngest is going to Arizona, so we might even send something out west so we can see her a little more often.”

Now, less than two years after being just another face in the crowd at Saratoga, Edwards is heading up to the meet with around 15 horses in tow, part of a total contingent of racehorses whose numbers he estimates as “more than I need, less than I want.”

Edwards bought another handful of yearlings at the 2016 Keeneland September sale and plans to be back for more again this fall. And, thanks in part to the success he’s had with New Money Honey, the 48-year-old has gained the confidence and expertise to expand his portfolio.

He now has broodmares, weanlings and even a few yearlings, and for the first time, will be a seller as well as a buyer in Lexington. He noted that he doesn’t know quite what to expect at this year’s sale, since Keeneland changed the format of its Book 1 section to include just 200 selected yearlings, all to be sold Sept. 11. Last year featured 607 head in Book 1, offered over three days. Graduates of the new Book 1 sale portion will be eligible for a bonus if they win a Grade/Group 1 race as a juvenile or sophomore. If the win happens at Keeneland, the bonus award is doubled.

“The books aren’t the same this year, so it’s going to lay out a little differently for both the buyers and sellers,” Edwards said. “I don’t know where our horses are going to get placed, but we have some nice horses we’re selling. I have a couple with Mike, some by myself.”

Edwards has proven in the early stages of his ownership that new money can compete with old. The only question remaining is just how far he can take it from here.

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