Ron McAnally Could Win His First a Breeder

Rock Your World | Benoit


Twenty-four years after he last started a horse in the race, Ron McAnally could achieve as a breeder what he was never accomplished as a trainer–win the GI Kentucky Derby. Along with his wife Deborah, McAnally is the breeder of the GI Santa Anita Derby winner Rock Your World (Candy Ride {Arg}), who will be among the favorites come Derby day.

It is the latest chapter in a Hall of Fame career that has included wins with superstars like John Henry, Paseana and Bayakoa and three Eclipse Awards as the nation's top trainer but has fizzled out as McAnally has tried to deal with the prejudice owners seem to have when it comes to aging trainers. He is 88 and has been a part of the Southern California circuit since 1948. He has just six horses in his stable, five of which he owns. Since 2012, the most winners he has had in any single year is seven.

“The older you get, people don't want you,” he said. “They want a young trainer even if they don't have any experience. They won't choose an older trainer that has a lot of experience.”

But McAnally has not grown bitter. He is happy to still be training and says he enjoys every minute of it.

“I love being out here,” McAnally said last year. “It put me where I am, and I tell everybody, 'If you love something you're doing, it's not a job. People sit on the freeway five days a week and they can't wait till the weekend comes to get a couple of days off.”

And in Rock Your World he has a horse to follow and root for in this year's Triple Crown races, knowing that his fingerprints are all over this success story. He trained Rock Your World's sire, Candy Ride (Arg) and was the owner, breeder and trainer of his dam, Charm The Maker (Empire Maker). He also trained, owned and bred the colt's second and third dam.

“I give all the credit to the mare, Charm The Maker,” he said. “She has produced nothing but stakes horses and winners.”

McAnally's small stable includes She's Our Charm, the 5-year-old full sister to Rock Your World and the third-place finisher in the 2020 GIII Robert J. Frankel S. With Rock Your World, McAnally let him go through the ring at the 2019 Keeneland September sale, where he was bought for $650,000 and is now owned by the partnership of Hronis Racing LLC and Talla Racing LLC and trained by John Sadler.

“I thought the world of this colt,” McAnally said of Rock Your World. “I was in the stall with him before he sold.”

Looking back, McAnally wishes the horse didn't meet his reserve, which would have meant that he would still be his owner and trainer and, most likely, on his way back to Churchill Downs with a serious Derby contender.

“We didn't get to keep him. That's just the way life goes,” he said.

But he's happy with the way the story turned out.

“I have no regrets,” he said. “I've known John Sadler since he started off here many years ago working for a veterinarian. I've been friends with John for a long time. A couple of days after the Santa Anita Derby he came over to me at Clocker's Corner and I congratulated him and said he deserves a lot of credit because he has done a great job with this horse.”

McAnally's specialty was never young colts. Most of his major wins came with older horses and grass horses, but he did win the Arkansas Derby twice when it was a Grade II race. He won it in 1990 with Silver Ending and the following year with Olympio. He's also had a pair of winners in the GI Hollywood Futurity, with Valiant Nature in 1993 and with Matty G. in 1995. Starting with Super Moment in 1980, he has run 10 horses in the Kentucky Derby, the latest being Hello (Ire) in 1997. None have finished in the top three.

The problem, he says, is that he never came to Churchill Downs with the right horse.

“As I've told Bob Baffert a number of times, 'Just give me the horse.'” he said. “You are supposed to win when you have a horse like John Henry. A hotwalker could train a good horse. Everyone wants to get the credit when they win a big race. But I truly believe and will say for the rest of my life, you will never succeed if you don't have the right horse. If you don't have any good horses, you'll never do well.”

He hopes his next star is already in his barn. He owns and trains Rock Your World's full brother, a 2-year-old colt named He's Our Maker. He's not going to let this one get away and he's not going anywhere. Can he win the 2022 Derby as a trainer? You never know.

Not a subscriber? Click here to sign up for the daily PDF or alerts.

Copy Article Link

Liked this article? Read more like this.

  1. Fasig-Tipton Launches Yearling Season With July Sale
  2. Early Impressions from Fasig: Whose First-Crop Yearlings Caught Your Eye?
  3. Kentucky Derby Fifth T O Password To Spell After Surgery To Remove Bone Chips
  4. Munnings Filly A. Z. Wildcat Impressive on Los Al Debut
  5. Sierra Leone, Thorpedo Anna Back On Work Tab as Mystik Dan Gets Short Break

Never miss another story from the TDN

Click Here to sign up for a free subscription.