Los Pollos Hermanos and Jay Em Ess Stable’s Grade 1 winner Masochistic, who was retired on Sunday after finishing in front of just one rival in the Sensational Star Stakes for California-breds at Santa Anita, will begin his second career as a riding horse under the care of trainer Kristin Mulhall, the young trainer said Monday. The 8-year-old gelding joins 2016 Breeders’ Cup Mile (GI) winner Obviously, who was given to Mulhall last summer to begin his second career, also as a riding horse.
Mulhall picked up Masochistic at trainer Bob Baffert’s barn on Monday and hauled him to her Covina Hills home, where he’ll get some time to relax before embarking on the next stage of his life. He’ll also spend much of his time watching over her broodmares and riding horses, a mule or two, a pair of goats, a wolf hybrid and a handful of dogs, among other new friends.
“I knew for a while I was going to get him [when his racing career was over],” Mullhall said. “My friend [co-owner] Will [Shamlian of Los Pollos Hermanos] asked me a while ago if I’d take him and make him a trail horse and I said I would. He’s sound enough to do anything, but I think he earned an easy life just being a riding horse.
“There’s a good chance we may try to jump him because Will believes he’s an active horse and that he can jump and have a job, so if he does like it, we’ll let him do that. Otherwise he’ll just be a trail horse. We’re going to let him decide.”
Masochistic’s career was as controversial as it was successful. He debuted as a 4-year-old in March of 2014 in a California-bred maiden in the care of trainer A.C. Avila and finished fifth and was later disqualified to eighth after a post-race drug test revealed the presence of the tranquilizer Acepromazine. He returned almost two months later at Churchill Downs on Kentucky Derby Day where he won an open maiden special weight at odds of more than 2-1, triggering an investigation by the Kentucky Racing Commission into possible betting irregularities, though nothing was ever found.
He subsequently won three more allowance races before Samantha Sigel’s Jay Em Ess Stable purchased an interest in Masochistic in mid-2015 and transferred him to the care of her stable’s longtime trainer, Ron Ellis. Masochistic went on to win four races in Ellis’ care, including the Triple Bend Stakes (GI), Kona Gold Stakes (GI) and Pat O’Brien Stakes (GII) and was second in three other graded stakes, including the 2016 Breeders’ Cup Sprint (GI).
A post-race positive for the anabolic steroid stanozolol and its metabolite after finishing second in the Breeders’ Cup put Masochistic in the center of controversy again — even though Ellis followed recommended California Horse Racing Board Protocol for the use of stanozolol for training purposes, and the amount detected in his post-race sample was so minute (30 picograms per milliliter of stanozolol; a picogram is one trillionth of a gram), he was disqualified to last and Ellis received a fine and 60-day suspension. Masochistic was also declared ineligible for the 2017 Breeders’ Cup and, after two final starts in Ellis’ care, was sent to the farm for an extended break.
At the end of 2017, Masochistic was transferred to the care of trainer Bob Baffert, where he made his final two starts, going unplaced in the Don Valpredo Cal Cup Sprint and the Sensational Star. Overall, the bay son of Sought After and the Unsual Heat mare Trotinette amassed a record of 18-8-3-0 and earned $860,895.
For the time being, Masochistic will be let down from racetrack life and ponied on the trails around her home. Mulhall said she’ll fatten him up like every good trail horse and take her time to do much more than that.
“He’s such a cool horse,” Mulhall said. “I’ve followed his career and loved to watch him run. He’s going to make a great riding horse; he’s smart and he’s classy. I’m glad the owners trust me enough to have him.”