The shortest-priced individual selection for the Kentucky Derby is the Unbridled’s Song colt Old Fashioned, winner of the Remsen late last year and of the Southwest Stakes at Oaklawn in his 3-year-old debut.
The gray colt was bred in Kentucky by Lorraine and Rod Rodriguez, who have had some uncommon good luck from a relatively short time in the Thoroughbred game.
On Friday, they spoke about their introduction to the sport and the pleasure they have received from their involvement with it in the following interview.
How did you acquire Collect Call?
She was at the Marshall Naify dispersal in Washington state. We wanted to get into racehorses, had been in the horse business, and she was our first purchase.
They had a video of her breaking her maiden, and she was a horse that stood out. The good ones always do.
What is Collect Call like as an individual?
Collect Call is a good-sized mare, although she is not big, not stocky-built like some Meadowlakes are. She has quite a presence to her and is quite a princess. She is not one who likes you to love all over her. She was very successful on the racetrack, and when the time came to breed her, Fusaichi Pegasus was our choice for her.
Roman Ruler won the Haskell, I think, just before we sold her yearling filly, and the yearling was just beautiful. All her foals are very good-looking. They all have a lot of body and a lot of eye appeal.
We had never sold a horse at sale until her yearling filly, and then we put Old Fashioned in the sale and he brought a very handsome price.
We breed and buy to race. But sometimes you have to do other things with them.
Rod Rodriguez (In Las Vegas at a handicapping tournament)
Do you board Collect Call in Kentucky?
We keep her at Taylor Made Farm. She has been there since we brought her to Kentucky and has stayed there.
How do you make the matings for Collect Call?
Taylor Made has made some general observations and suggestions. We always consider proven stallions and also the choice of new stars. That was the case with Fusiachi Pegasus, who was a new and successful young stallion.
We chose Empire Maker because he was a top performer, a young stallion, and it’s a tough choice with all the nice stallions out there.
We are going to use Curlin this year with Collect Call. She was supposed to be bred on Feb. 16 for the first time, and everything went well.
We would never hesitate breeding back to Unbridled’s Song. We have a lot of options.
Do you have any plans for the Ghostzapper or the new foal?
We are going to race the Ghostzapper and will ship him to our trainer Chris Paasch and will begin racing in Southern California.
We had him in the [Keeneland September] sale but we didn’t receive the bid we wanted [RNA at $635,000]. That is how we look at every one of them. If they bring an acceptable price, we sell, and if not, we are happy to race them.
Unlike a lot of breeders, who don’t plan to race, we have the option.
How many horses do you have in training?
We have about 15 in training in Southern and Northern California and about 15 more in stages of training.
How did you get into Thoroughbreds?
We were into Quarter Horses and cutting horses at our local ranch, and our vet suggested we might like going into Thoroughbreds. We had a percentage in one racehorse and then went to the Naify dispersal sales, where we bought five horses. Collect Call was the most successful, and we were very fortunate.
Do you breed many horses in Kentucky?
We have only a couple in Kentucky and the rest are in California at our farm, Cottonwood Creek Ranch. A couple of stallions at our farm raced for us, and we brought them back to our California farm and stand them there. The two stallions are Popular [by Saint Ballado] and Roman Dancer [by Polish Numbers]. Both were stakes winners and very nice horses. They have now produced some offspring and have had winners.
How many horses do you have in California?
We have probably another 40 to 50 horses there: weanlings, broodmares, yearlings. We have cattle on the ranch, and we are primarily interested in racing the horses.
What was your business prior to Thoroughbreds?
I was an automobile dealer, had several dealerships, and after I sold those out, went into real estate, and I am a commercial real estate developer.
My business path has been one of taking chances, and so far we’ve been very fortunate.
Do you have plans for further involvement or expansion with horse racing?
I am certainly happy with our involvement in it. As far as expanding, that is down the road. We will see how the home crops develop.