Q&A: Bob Edwards

by Patty Wolfe

Bob Edwards and his family have experienced the ride of a lifetime in their initial foray into the racing industry, capturing an unprecedented three Breeders’ Cup events in two years. A pharmaceutical executive whose involvement in racing began as a casual fan, Edwards and his e Five Racing stable enter new territory Saturday as champion and 2017 GI Breeders’ Cup Juvenile hero Good Magic (Curlin) begins his road to the GI Kentucky Derby in the GII Fountain of Youth S. at Gulfstream. Edwards sat down with the TDN‘s Patty Wolfe to discuss Saturday’s race and what lies ahead for e Five in 2018.

TDN: It’s a unique accomplishment for an owner to win two Breeders’ Cup events in the same year, but it’s particularly exceptional to win a championship race with a maiden. What was Good Magic’s victory in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile like for you?

BE: As you know, we’ve actually broken our maidens before in stakes races, but this was extra special because it was the Breeders’ Cup. It was just kind of hard to fathom. We were in the paddock, we had the whole crew…It was just unbelievable once he broke away, he just took off. Everybody was just kind of in shock, and Chris came and gave me a big hug and we started jumping around, and then the camera all switched from Bob Baffert and went over to us, because he was in the paddock as well. So just as I had came in, he had saw me and he came up and said, “Congratulations, Bob.” It was very classy.

TDN: So much attention in the racing world is devoted to the road to the Kentucky Derby this time this year. Do you have any added nerves campaigning a horse who now has “champion” attached to his name?

BE: All I’m doing is thinking about today. I try not to think in the future, because it just compounds the stress. Fortunately I have a day job or two to keep me busy, so it’s just day by day. I try not to think about the Derby, although we have to plan for the Derby to get a house for the derby, and to get tickets for the Derby and get everybody situated for the Derby. It is a lot to think about, but I try to compartmentalize all the stress and just move forward.

TDN: Good Magic is considered the leader of the 3-year-old division by many. Do you follow the other Derby preps to scout out the competition?

BE: I watch them, and I know Chad watches them with a different eye than I do. There are a lot of things I can’t control, so to get worked up over a horse that ran a great prep race, we’ll see him in the Derby if we get there, and let the day play out. There are a lot of factors that happen to get to there, and there are a lot of great horses, and it’s going to be a great race. I don’t necessarily look at somebody as a competitor, I just like watching the sport. I like the sport, it’s exciting. You like watching people win, you like watching the owners, you like when the jockeys win. So it is exciting to see these big prep races, and you are looking at competition–but there’s nothing I can do to change it.

TDN: What would you like to see from Good Magic in his return to action?

BE: I’d like to see him stay sound, obviously. He’s got a brilliant career ahead of him. I’d love to see him win–love to see him win big races as everybody would. It’s great for the sport, it’s great for his sire, it’s great for all the connections. This is a sport where there are so many connections, everybody has a part. It’s the owners, the breeders, the jockeys, the trainers, the bloodstock agent, and the consignors. Everybody’s got a piece of the action–or skin in the game at some level–and his win would help all these people.

TDN: Is the Fountain of Youth a stepping stone more than anything?

BE: Indeed, yes it is a stepping stone. It’s getting him back on the track, getting him back on the track in great company. He’s in good form right now, but he’s not going to be at his best on day one–he’s coming off a nice rest. We rested him and that was the plan after the Breeders’ Cup. Chad has done a great job managing him. He went up to Stonestreet where Ian Brennan and his crew took very special care of him. When he came back down he looked unbelievable. After a month with Chad he looks phenomenal–everybody’s seen him breeze, he looks like he’s the part. He’s getting bigger and he’s getting stronger. He looks like a champion and he’s expected to be a champion because he won the Eclipse Award.

TDN: It seems like racing is something your entire family embraces and enjoys. Will they all be on hand for the Fountain of Youth?

BE: Absolutely. We have a full box at Gulfstream Park. My mom and my wife’s parents will be there, as well as our kids. There will be cousins, friends, assorted friends and family. It will probably be 25 or 30 deep in the box, and then the Stonestreet crew is coming as well. Unfortunately, I don’t believe Barbara [Banke]’s going to make it–I think she’s got some work she has to do, but hopefully she can.

TDN: You live not too far away from Palm Meadows. How often do you go out and see Good Magic train?

BE: I go up at least once a week. [My daughter] Cassidy’s been up a few times during the week just to kind of check on things and see everybody. But definitely once a week. I don’t like to get involved too much–Chad’s got a big enterprise, he does a phenomenal job and he’s got a great crew, so I talk to him more than I see him.

TDN: Chad Brown has seen a rapid rise to the top of the sport in recent years, and e Five has enjoyed a great deal of success of its own in a short period of time. How much confidence does it give you to have someone like Chad in your corner?

BE: Well, we won three Breeders’ Cups together in the last two years–he’s a student of the game. Obviously he’s young, he has a phenomenal staff, he has great horses and they’re getting better every year. This year he maybe even has better talent than last year. He’s a force to reckon with–he takes great care of his horses, he takes great pride in that. He’s a taskmaster, he’s a condition book expert. Everything you want from a trainer is Chad, and we have a good relationship both personally and as a trainer.

TDN: I understand Rushing Fall (More Than Ready) spent some recovery time at Stonestreet before returning to Chad last month–how is she doing?

BE: I think she had her second breeze last Saturday–she looks great. Same thing, she’s stretching out, she’s getting bigger, she looks the part. Getting ready for Keeneland.

TDN: Racing is a relatively new endeavor to you, but you’ve put a lot of hard work into it. Is having a champion in your second year of buying horses expected or a surprise, or a combination of the two?

BE: It’s a huge surprise. It’s not supposed to happen this way, I’ve been told this a lot. Maybe it’s just we’re getting hooked so we can stay in longer. It’s a lot of fun, but it obviously makes it more fun to have winners. To win any race is very exciting as an owner. It’s the same energy when they come out of the gate and when they come past the finish line. The same adrenaline is there. So yes, we are winning at the highest level and it’s very exciting, but any time we win is exciting.