(Mystik Dan, on the inside, got up to win by a nose over Sierra Leone, outside, and Japan’s Forever Young / Photos by Holly M. Smith)

From the Churchill Downs Media Team / Darren Rogers & Kevin Kerstein:

JIM MULVIHILL: Let’s go ahead and get started because we’re all here. Kentucky Derby 150 and 60% of its $5 million purse go to Mystik Dan and we are very pleased to be joined by winning jockey, Brian Hernandez. He is the first rider since 2009 to take both the Oaks and the Derby in the same weekend. And we’re also pleased to be joined by Lance and Sharilyn Gasaway. Thank you for being here. Congratulations to you.

Brian, I want to start with you. Oaks and Derby in the same weekend. It’s the sort of thing that you can’t really even let yourself think about, but now that it’s been accomplished, tell us how you’re feeling.

BRIAN J. HERNANDEZ, JR.: It still hasn’t sunk in. It’s unbelievable. We came into the weekend thinking we had good chances, really big chances, both Friday and Saturday. And then to just have the horses pull it off for us, we really have to thank all the guys back in the barn. They put so much work into this to have these horses ready on days like today and yesterday. It’s just ‑‑ like I said, I don’t know how long it’s going to take to sink in, but it’s definitely a surreal moment right now.

JIM MULVIHILL: You got a trip that is also almost unimaginable. I mean, it’s a 20‑force field and it looked like it could have been any other race. Take us through the trip the entire way, if you would.

BRIAN J. HERNANDEZ, JR.: The last 20 years I’ve ridden here in Kentucky and as a young kid out of Louisiana, I got the privilege of sitting in the same corner as Calvin Borel. So I got to watch him ride those Derbies all those years. And today, with Mystik Dan being in the three‑hole, I watched a couple of his rides there between the Super Saver and Mine That Bird. I said: You know what? We’re going to roll the dice.

And that’s the nice thing about Kenny [McPeek]. He entrusts me to do things like that. We thought we had the right kind of horse to give him that kind of trip. So we found our spot under the wire the first time quickly. Then from there, he was just so nice and comfortable the entire way. I was really proud of him that he was able to just cruise along nicely.

When I called on him to hit the spot that I needed to right before we straightened, to kind of get a little separation on the deep, deep closes, he did it. He jumped off quickly and we were able to get that separation, and that made the difference of them not getting to him in the wire.

JIM MULVIHILL: Amazing. Kenny, welcome, and congratulations.

KENNY McPEEK: Thank you so much.

JIM MULVIHILL: Last time I saw you, I said maybe we’ll see you here tomorrow. And you said “Count on it.” and here you are.

KENNY McPEEK: For three weeks, I felt like we were going to win both races. I can’t tell you why. Both horses have been so easy to deal with. The team has done such a great job every day.

There’s been no drama. Lance and Sharilyn [Gasaway] have been wonderful people to have involved here. They came in and decided to absorb it all and enjoy it. I just believe in mojo. I believe in positive energy. And we had a lot of that. And, you know, we had two really, really good horses.

Brian [Hernandez] did an amazing job today. Just really honored and proud to be here.

JIM MULVIHILL: Brian [Hernandez] got the perfect trip, but I would love to hear in your words what you saw as the race unfolded.

KENNY McPEEK: Well, this is typical Brian [Hernandez]. He knows what to do out there. I always had a world of confidence in him. Rarely second‑guess anything he ever does. When something doesn’t go right, he tells me about it before I even have to mention it. Or he’ll hop off and go, “That didn’t go good,” and I’ll say, “Nah, it didn’t.” But it happens.

Today the draw, really ‑‑ between the post position draw and the job that Brian did gave us a huge opportunity because we saved ground, saved ground, saved ground. And when you look at that photo finish, I think we needed all of it to hold off the two second and third place horses [Sierra Leone and Forever Young].

JIM MULVIHILL: You probably have been told by now you are the first trainer since Ben Jones in 1952 to sweep the Oaks and Derby on the same weekend. How does that feel? Tell us, what’s your reaction to even absorbing that?

KENNY McPEEK: Wow. You know, wow. I think what I’m most proud of is we didn’t do it with Calumet Farm horses. We did it with working‑class horses. This colt is a product of a very simple setup. I lovely little filly named Ma’am that we raced. She was a hard tryer and she was classy; and fortunately, they decided to keep her as a mare. We talked about who to breed her to, and look what she produced.

Goldencents is not a big number stallion, just putting that all together, I’m really proud of. Alan Shell foaled him at my farm in Lexington. This isn’t a huge zillion‑dollar operation. We didn’t throw money at this. We thoughtfully went through it all, and it’s amazing.

JIM MULVIHILL: I’m sorry to look forward already, but this is the burning question. Yesterday you said you would contemplate the filly in the Preakness. But now you have the Derby winner. How is that going to shake out?

KENNY McPEEK: Somebody told me years ago: No fast moves, never make a decision until you absolutely, positively have to.

Thorpedo Anna overnight, I feel like just watching her feet overnight ‑‑ of course, I sat here yesterday afternoon, and that as before I got a little more information. She left a little grain last night. We will let her recover from her race yesterday and take it from there. But she’s not going to run the Preakness. And we wouldn’t want to supplement anyway. It didn’t make any sense.

But still, again, we’ve got all these decisions. Sometimes you call those things at the line of scrimmage, as opposed to having to decide here and now.

JIM MULVIHILL: Lance, congratulations to you and Sharilyn. Just tell us what you have been experiencing the last half‑hour since you hit the wire first in the Kentucky Derby.

LANCE GASAWAY: Just pinching myself. You just wonder if this is real. You just won the biggest horse race in America. I mean, who would have ever dreamed that a little horse Ma’am, a little filly we had, and run her, and didn’t breed her to a $10,000 stud fee, and win the Kentucky Derby. It’s just really surreal.

JIM MULVIHILL: Sharilyn, how has your experience been?

SHARILYN GASAWAY: It is surreal for sure. We feel like we are just ordinary people and we have got just an amazing horse that God gave us. And I feel like that this horse ‑‑ Kenny [McPeek] calls him an old soul because he’s so chill. And if you watched him walking over to the paddock, he was so chill.

Nothing spooks this horse. I was grazing him earlier this week. Races are going on. Nothing bothers him.  And I think he gets a lot of that from his mama [Ma’am]. We are just so grateful and so blessed.

Brian, it looked like you went through a fairly tight hole there when Track Phantom moved out a little. Can you talk about that sequence?

BRIAN J. HERNANDEZ, JR.: At this point in the race, around the first turn, we had to hit a pretty tight spot. Mystik Dan, he went through there with no problem. So once I went through that spot, I was like, okay, now I know he’s going to go through tight spots ‑‑ which we already kind of knew that coming back from the Southwest.

And then just going down the backside, the nice thing about really talented horses, they went 46.3 in front of us. But my horse, he was just cruising along so nicely and so comfortable, it never felt like we were going that quickly.

Once we got to the second turn, I was just kind of ‑‑ everybody outside of Track Phantom started piling up and piling up. I had a nice little pocket there. I was like, Well, we will just sit here and let them pill up. Once Track Phantom just kind of moved off the rail just half a step, we were able to kind of get through there. We might have took out a little bit of the inside fence, but that’s okay. (laughter)

Once he cut the corner, he got a little separation on the closers that were forced to kind of go around the horses that were tiring, and he was able to hold them off.

Did you know how close they were?

BRIAN J. HERNANDEZ, JR.: When we got to the 1/8 pole and he was still running, I just kind of had my head down riding. Three jumps before the wire, I didn’t see them at all. And then right at the wire, they surged late, and I was like: Oh, God, did we win the Kentucky Derby? And I was asking the outrider that, and he said, We think you won but they haven’t said it officially yet.

It took about two minutes, and then finally when they said, Yeah, you’ve just won the Kentucky Derby, I was like, oh, wow, that’s a long two minutes. (laughter)

Yes, that was the longest two minutes in sports ‑‑ from the fastest two minutes to the longest, by far.

Kenny, talk about the game plan from the Southwest [Stakes], when he ran so big. You wanted to give him time off. Now you are looking like a genius. How about it, Kenny?

KENNY McPEEK: Lance [Gasaway] and I talked a bit about that. The backstory on that is I ran this colt back too quick in November. He won really easy in his maiden race and I wanted to stretch him out and it was the end of the season. I ran him back in an allowance race going a mile, and he coughed up a lung infection on me. Learned a little lesson there with him.

I feel like if a horse is doing good and we can win a race, let’s give him a run. That one backfired.

So we were a little bit behind the eight ball, because we had to get him over the lung infection. We brought him back in, I believe it was the Smarty Jones, and he got a little tired in that race, because we were one work shy and we didn’t have him completely ready.

Then we shuffled him out of Hot Springs and we got him to New Orleans. And we were able to get him in good weather down there. We were able to set him down and really get him fit and ready. And then we came back up for the Southwest [Stakes] and he ran huge that day.

This is the race we were after. But they shifted the schedule on us because of the weather. And when they shifted the schedule, we were going to have to come back in three weeks to run in the Rebel [Stakes]. Lance and I talked about it. We both agreed: Let’s skip the Rebel. We will put all our eggs in the Arkansas Derby basket. We got to get points that day.

We felt like if we did that, we would have a really fresh horse for the Kentucky Derby. And so we actually wanted to win the Arkansas Derby and the Kentucky Derby. But, you know, you can’t get greedy, right? (laughter)

JIM MULVIHILL: A second ago when Brian [Hernandez] was talking, you were watching the replay. I don’t know if that’s the first time you watched it, but you were sitting here saying: Great ride, great ride. What did you see actually watching the replay?

 

KENNY McPEEK: Everything. Brian, I had no doubt that he was going to get him around there in perfect order. Like, he’s the difference in winning and losing today, for sure.

Kenny, you had mentioned before that you used Thorpedo Anna and Mystik Dan as workmates. What did you get out of that? What went behind the decision to split them up after?

KENNY McPEEK: Well, they were both too fast for each other. When you are getting horses ready ‑‑ I mean, probably a poor analogy, but like boxers, you don’t want to overmatch them. You want to match them where they are equals. We had few horses in the barn that were equally talented as either horse. So when they were getting ready this winter ‑‑ she had had a setback that cost her quite a bit of time. But when they were getting ready, how do we match them?

And Greg Geyer and do that every day. We sit down ‑‑ who’s a good match? You don’t want to overmatch anybody. You want every horse to think it wins every workout. And so we matched them a couple of times. And, boy, she made him work. And I think she was the reason why he won the Southwest [Stakes], because she really fitted him up. And there weren’t any other horses in our barn that could do that.

And then he got her fit, too. But then once they’re fit, then you’ve just got to maintain. You don’t want to push them too hard and over the edge. And so if I continued to work them against each other ‑‑ and I actually learned that lesson from Take Charge Lady and Repent, a couple of horses that could have brought me to this same spot years back. But Repent and Take Charge Lady would work :57 and change if I let them.

But, anyway, I separated them and we made sure that they had workmates that would keep them interested without overdoing it.

Lance, I’m just curious, has it maybe been able to sink in this being the one‑year anniversary of your father’s [Clint Gasaway] death and him getting you into this sport, and the significance of what this would have meant to him?

LANCE GASAWAY: To me, this is for him. And Dad would have loved it. He loved the game. He and I bought horses together. We have another one now with Kenny [McPeek], Gould’s Gold. That was the last horse we bought together, and Dad named it. I think that’s going to be a good horse, too. It’s a Goldencents colt.

I’m just so happy, you know, for my family. I had all my family here. It’s just a special day.

Kenny, you famously called Thorpedo Anna a Grizzly. How would you describe Mystik Dan?

KENNY McPEEK: That’s a tough one. He’s a Grizzly, too; just a different type. I mean, look, I was just kidding around when I had said that about her. But he’s a bulldog, I guess. I don’t know how you come up with a good ‑‑ but, yeah, I felt that confident in her.

With him, it’s hard to feel more confident in a 20‑horse field. I mean, so much can happen. And everything has got to go right, and it went right.

Kenny, you are run from Lexington. You won the Preakness. You won the Belmont. What does it mean to you to win this race?

KENNY McPEEK: Look, everything. Having grown up around Keeneland all my life. I remember my grandfather took me to the races at Keeneland when I was boy. Learned how to read a pedigree. Used to go to the Keeneland library and read about good horses. Went to UK [University of Kentucky] and found the ag library ‑‑ in the basement of the agriculture library, I read every thoroughbred and blood horse record ever printed when I was in college. I didn’t do all that great in the other stuff. Look, I graduated, though, don’t get that wrong.

But, anyways, I was always interested in the breeding and how they were made. It’s just been an amazing journey.

Brian, two rail trips, two ground‑saving trips. How were they similar? How were they different?

BRIAN J. HERNANDEZ, JR.: With Thorpedo Anna yesterday, we knew she was fast. So looking at the race, it looked like the only other real speed in the race was on our outside. I thought when Kenny [McPeek] told me to go ahead and let her return to the first turn, I thought we would be able to be in the lead. She is such a naturally talented filly that she went fast, but she kind of ran them off their feet.

And in Mystik Dan’s case, a big thing that helped us was on Wednesday, Kenny decided we were going to go ahead and pop him out of the gate and just let him go like a 1/16 of a mile, 1/8 of a mile.

Mystik Dan helped us in that situation, too. Most of the time, when you try to do that with a horse out of the gate a few days before race, they will kind of overdo it.

The nice thing about him, he leaves there sharp and then he listens to you. He comes right back to you. Just like today, he was able to break so sharp, which we needed to. In a 20‑horse field like that, you can’t break a little flat‑footed because you are going to get shuffled around.

When he broke as sharp as he did, he was just so nice and comfortable his whole way around there on the rail. I was smiling the whole time, because it’s an amazing feeling when you have the horse under you and you know that they’re going to go forward, go forward, go forward.

Like I said, when he turned for home and got the split, I was like, oh, wow, there is no way this is going to happen again. And he was able to hold them off. He was that good today.

Kenny, I was hoping you could reflect on what today and yesterday means in terms of you’ve now won all three Triple Crown races. And I would expect you’re probably heading into the Hall of Fame. I’m curious to get your reaction to that kind of a thing that might be coming your way.

KENNY McPEEK: Goosebumps. A lot of them are friends of mine, Allen Jerkens, Wayne Lukas. I could give you a long list of them. I have ridden a lot of them. Pat Day. I could go on and on.

When you work around horsemen that I have worked around and you idolize them or you emulate them and you pay attention. Carl Nafzger, not only a great trainer, a wonderful human. Yeah, goosebumps.

How important was it to take the Oaklawn route to this win? And kind of related, what does this win say about the status of Arkansas racing on the biggest stage?

LANCE GASAWAY: Arkansas, I think going through the path, the Southwest Stakes, the Rebel [Stakes], and the Arkansas Derby,  I think it’s proven over the last five, seven years that we’ve had horses come through there and they have done well on the Derby trail. I think this just solidifies the horse racing we have in Arkansas, the quality of it.

SHARILYN GASAWAY: We really wanted to be at our home track. So. it’s very important to be there and to represent Arkansas there.

Chad Brown said when he watched the race in realtime, he thought he lost. And then when he watched it in slow motion, he thought maybe he got the bob. What were you thinking in full speed and in slow motion? Did you think you won the race?

KENNY McPEEK: I thought we won when we watched it the first time when they hit the wire. There was a monitor sitting right behind me and somebody pointed it out, Oh, you can see it right here. And they slo‑mo’d it to the wire. It was pretty obvious he won. At that point, I turned to my wife ‑‑ who, by the way, deals with me. You know, I’m gone a lot. She’s really ‑‑ she puts up with me. Thank you. Love you.

JIM MULVIHILL: Kenny, you have joked before about how you do some unconventional things. Can you put into words how your operation or your mindset as a trainer is maybe different from what we see from other big operations?

KENNY McPEEK: I guess because I don’t really subscribe to ‑‑ well, I don’t put any emphasis into my win percentage. I don’t think win percentage is important. I think what’s right for the horse is more important. I think what’s right for the clients is more important than my win percentage.

We tend to ‑‑ I’m almost going to say schooling race the first time out, which usually hurts our percentage. And Brian’s [Hernandez] familiar with that process every time. We try to teach horses to take a little dirt in their face. This colt, he had some schooling in his first start. He could have won first time out if you wanted him to, but he wouldn’t have learned anything.

So that, for me, makes me maybe a little different. I will run a horse back if I think they’re doing well and I think the timing is right and the situation is right. I don’t know, like I said, it’s not about me so much, but the horses and the clients.

If I have this right, Sharilyn, you almost didn’t think your husband was going to show up for your first date. As you are sitting here and the wild path that life takes, can you reflect on the minute decisions that lead to a Derby win, if you will?

SHARILYN GASAWAY: It’s pretty amazing. My husband [Brent Gasaway] and I ‑‑ well, we weren’t married at the time, but we had been dating. And he was late to pick me up because he was at the races. And so I wasn’t going to go to dinner with him because I was just going to eat something at home. I didn’t know. My mom knew he was going to ask me to marry him that night. I guess it worked out okay. (laughter)

He has always, always, always loved horses. And when I quit working full‑time, he was like, Hey, could we get part of a horse? That’s what it started about 15 years ago, about the same time that Lance [Gasaway] and his dad got into the business, too. It’s been a wild ride for sure.

But this is the most amazing thing ever. We’re just beside ourselves.

JIM MULVIHILL: Lance, can you tell us a little bit more about your cousin Brent [Gasaway] and the Hambys and how the group came together and how you ended up with Kenny [McPeek] as your trainer? Give us that background.

LANCE GASAWAY: Starting off, Brent, he’s my first cousin. He’s just family. Our dads are brothers.  Brent is over here.

So Kenny, we started our relationship, I don’t know, three or four years after we were in the business and I got with Kenny. And we started doing a few horses and ended up with Ma’am. It was a private purchase. And we even separated. He got a little ornery a couple of times. (laughter)

KENNY McPEEK: Noooo.

LANCE GASAWAY: We always stayed friends. And every time I would come to Kentucky, I would come out and see him and go to Magdalena.

The way we got Ma’am, it was actually me and my brother [Greg] and Daniel Hamby and my dad [Clint]. And after we retired her, my dad and brother decided they wanted out. My dad said, Hey, I don’t want to get into the breeding, I’m too old. I would never see them run. This would have been the first one right here.

And my brother, he’s got some allergies. He can’t enjoy going to the barn and being around them. It breaks him out. That’s what keeps him away from them. He still bets them every weekend, not a problem.

But anyway, we started buying horses. And then when we decided to retire Ma’am, Banks and I, Daniel Hamby, decided we needed another partner to go with us. So we got Brent and Sharilyn [Gasaway] to join us. That’s how we formed that partnership.

JIM MULVIHILL: Brian, I understand you were supposed to be on a 6:00 a.m. flight to New Orleans tomorrow for the jazz fest. Do you think you are going to make that flight?

BRIAN J. HERNANDEZ, JR.: I think we will have to reschedule now.

JIM MULVIHILL: What will you all do to celebrate this evening? All of you?

BRIAN J. HERNANDEZ, JR.: I have no idea yet. I have never won the Derby before. (laughter)

LANCE GASAWAY: Probably going to drink a lot of alcohol.

KENNY McPEEK: I’m going to go back to the barn and hug all the staff and the family. Last night was similar. It was about staff and family. My house is wide open if anybody wants to come over. It will probably get loud. (laughter)

JIM MULVIHILL: What’s the address? (laughter)

KENNY McPEEK: Sherri, should I tell them? (laughter)

Kenny, this is your tenth Derby, I think, and Brian [Hernandez] is the only jockey you have used more than once. Wonder if you could give us a little sense for the history of your relationship on why you’ve clicked. And if Brian would weigh in on the same question. 

KENNY McPEEK: Well, the older you get, I don’t get enamored with all the, I guess you could say, the big‑namers. I have ridden a lot of them. I rode Pat Day in his prime. Jerry Bailey rode my first Kentucky Derby horse. Did a fantastic job. And Tejano Run when he was second in ’95, I would have thought it would finally take me this long to knock it down. I thought I would do it before today.

With Brian [Hernandez] ‑‑ he’s not here right now but Frank Bernis is Brian’s agent. And there’s nothing complicated about either one of them. It’s all business, business, business and there’s no drama; and I like no drama, especially the older I get. I want to know that somebody is there, that we’re ‑‑ you don’t have to beg them to come.  You don’t have to worry about them not showing up, conflicts, and things like that.

But more than anything, I put Brian on horses on a daily basis, good horses and average horses, and he does a good job on every one of them. I have rarely come back and said, “That was horrible.” No, I don’t have that.

And then I’ll get outside the box and maybe I will go to Saratoga and I will ride some other riders and go, “Boy, I miss Brian. I miss Brian,” because he doesn’t make very many mistakes.

And I don’t want you to write that at all. I don’t want anybody to know how good Brian is. (laughter)

But I guess the cat’s out of the bag, isn’t it?

JIM MULVIHILL: He gives great feedback, too. How much does that matter after the races? Has that ever played in with this horse?

KENNY McPEEK: It’s all calm conversation every time. It’s really simple conversations after every race.

Many times I know I didn’t put him on a good‑enough horse, and sometimes he might say if something didn’t go right. But rarely is there one of those, “Wow, that was just ridiculously bad.” No, that never happens, never happens.

That’s what I want. I want continuity. I want to be able to know that he knows the horse and that the horse responds well to him.  Look, the ones ‑‑ the horses that are good enough, he gets there.

JIM MULVIHILL: And Brian, that question was for you as well regarding Kenny.

BRIAN J. HERNANDEZ, JR.: I have just been fortunate. Like Kenny [McPeek] said, a big part of this goes back to my agent Frank [Bernis]. We got together 12 years ago, and we were ‑‑ at the time, we were both kind of struggling, just kind of making ends meet. We made a pretty good career for the last seven, eight years riding for Kenny.

Like he said, it’s been no drama. We go out for a maiden 30 or the Kentucky Derby. There’s not many instructions given. It’s more kind of he lets me go out there and ride my race.

I’m fortunate enough that the guys back at the barn, they have these horses so well‑prepared and so ready to go that we have learned the program. With the first‑timers and the horses like that, we know they don’t need to win the first time out. If they are really, really good, they will overcome just the little things that ‑‑ they will get in trouble and stuff like that and they will be able to overcome it.

But for the most part, it’s all about developing the horse which is something we ‑‑ I have kind of learned my whole career just riding. That makes it a lot more fun. It makes it enjoyable to go out there every morning and just watch these horses develop and be a part of watching them get better and better. That’s a testament to the job that Kenny and all those guys do back in the barn.

I was hoping you could talk, with this being a homebred, who did the breaking for you before Kenny [McPeek]?And when did you first get a whiff of, hey, this could be a good one?

LANCE GASAWAY: So Kenny and them broke the horse down at his farm in Ocala [Florida] down there. Did a great job breaking the horse. Then first time out, we ran at Keeneland. And I had a horse back in ’20 that ran at Keeneland first time and won, Wells Bayou. Beat him. I still got the $100, too, in a frame.

But, you know, typically, when you run first or second at Keeneland, you typically know you got a good horse first out. And like Kenny [McPeek] said, I know we talked about it a lot on how he prepares the horses. He sacrifices his win percentages to run before the horse is probably ready, probably 75% ready and then instead of ‑‑ he’s told me before, he believes a race is better than three workouts.

So we knew we were running second in a 6 1/2 furlong race first time out, we thought we had something pretty good.

Can you talk about how the horse was named Mystik Dan?

LANCE GASAWAY: So our partner Daniel Hamby, this was the first one, so it was his turn to name the horse. So his dad had a tape company named Mystik, and his dad’s name was Dan. So we came up with Mystik Dan.

What is your exercise rider’s first name?

KENNY McPEEK: Martine Reyes. Because Robbie Albarado got on a couple of horses during the week. But Brian [Hernandez] actually got on Mystik Dan Tuesday and Wednesday.

Your regular exercise rider, maybe not during the Derby. He was very excited.

KENNY McPEEK: I have about 20 of those. But you will have to ‑‑ Kelly was his last name. Albert Kelly from Jamaica. Kelly doesn’t gallop this horse. Martine Reyes typically gets on him and Robbie Albarado, who has worked with us since after Swiss Skydiver, whenever he retired. Brian got on him, but Martine typically gets on the colt.

Arkansas got Kentucky’s coach. Now they have its biggest race. What do you think about that?

LANCE GASAWAY: It looks like we are taking over Kentucky. (laughter)

We’re happy to have Coach [John] Calipari there. I think he’s a great coach. And winning this race, what can I say? It’s unbelievable.

With having the benefit of a farm here in Kentucky and also in Florida, we came from Florida, do you think that gives you added benefits of training in both places, especially through the winter and inclement weather?

KENNY McPEEK: Well, I don’t know if I can make a short answer. Look, everybody remembers I took a season off back in 2005 and I stepped back. My mother [Ann] was terminally ill.

During that period, I bought Magdalena Farm in Lexington and I wanted to consolidate things, where we had a base of operations,  because we were too stretched out and we didn’t have a base and we needed some more structure.

So when I stepped back, my mom subsequently passed away. And that was a real ‑‑ almost traumatic when you lose a parent. And she was younger.

But then I learned how to run Magdalena. What I learned was it’s a racing stable with just a lot of grass to cut.

And then we went through a stage, and Sherri [McPeek] and I went to Ocala and I had horses ‑‑ I want to say we were a little extended in the sense that we had them in different spots. And I felt like if we could put them in one pocket, it would be a lot better. The operation would run a lot better.

So we looked at eight farms in Ocala. And we found seven or eight that were okay. But we found one, Silverleaf Hills Training Center, that was amazing. And through a series of events ‑‑ actually Wayne Lukas built it. Thanks, Wayne.

And so that’s where the young horses start. And so the young horses are given their basic routines down there. I can go in and watch all my older horses that are getting a little break down there. I can watch the younger horses, and then I don’t have to run around.

At one point in time, I had horses at Gulfstream, Payson Park. I had horses at Barry Berkelhammer’s place. Had horses with Dominic Brennan, Art Fisher. It was a lot to deal with. But when I have consolidated them, it’s made it better.

And Lance touched on it. At one point in time, I kind of started going back to Gulfstream more. And so I wasn’t racing in Arkansas. I wasn’t mad at him and he wasn’t mad at me. I just wasn’t on the circuit anymore.

But when I’ve come back, it aligned things up a lot better. And I’ve not been racing in South Florida for several years now, and I don’t see myself ‑‑ I see myself basing at Fair Grounds and Hot Springs. And the logistics of moving horses from South Florida into Kentucky and then Louisiana into Arkansas and back and forth, I mean, I have got a great team of people that help me move those horses. I have got guys that run the trucks. I have got guys on each base. Without them, it doesn’t happen.

But the operation, it really is flowing really well.

BRENT GASAWAY: How did you get into racing?

SHARILYN GASAWAY: It’s all because of you. He took me to the barn one morning and that was the end of it.

BRENT GASAWAY: And how much did that hat cost?

SHARILYN GASAWAY: (laughter). That’s enough questions.

KENNY McPEEK: You all know that Brent kissed me today.

SHARILYN GASAWAY: I’m sorry. (laughter)

JIM MULVIHILL: What time will you be at the barn tomorrow?

KENNY McPEEK: I don’t know. It depends on my wife.

JIM MULVIHILL: Give us a range.

KENNY McPEEK: We figured 7:30 was a good number. Somebody already said that out there that 7:30 would be a good number.

He’s going to save the boots because they have got the paint from the rail on it. And Thorpedo Anna and Mystik Dan ran in the same bridle.

JIM MULVIHILL: What are you going to do with that?

KENNY McPEEK: I don’t know. I was thinking of auctioning it off for charity. What do you think it’s worth?

JIM MULVIHILL: I’m sure we will find out.

KENNY McPEEK: Wouldn’t that be something? Might have to find a good charity to auction it off. That’s a pretty lucky bridle.

JIM MULVIHILL: Which charity will that be?

KENNY McPEEK: I don’t know. We’ll have to see. I got to get back there and make sure nobody swipes it. (laughter)