CA Trainer Directory
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Michael Van Pender only broke onto the Southern California horse racing scene in 2005. In what is considered one of the most competitive circuits in the world, Pender has done more with less in a very short time. Within two years, Pender set his mark by taking down the Pasadena Stakes, then quickly followed that with a win in the Grade 3 Will Rogers Handicap with three year old colt Polonius. His resume continued to build as he won the prestigious 2010 Grade 2 Strub Stakes and San Gabriel Stakes at Santa Anita with multiple graded stakes winning colt Jeranimo. But the fall of 2011 was big. It started with back-to-back weekend victories in October, when Jeranimo won the G2 Oak Tree Mile, and Ultimate Eagle the G2 Oak Tree Derby. Jeranimo then went on to be Pender’s first Breeders Cup runner, as he competed and ran a close 7th in the BC Mile at Churchill Downs. As if all that was not enough for a 30-day span, Thanksgiving weekend gave Pender and his team much to be thankful for. Jeranimo captured the G2 Citation Handicap on Saturday, and Ultimate Eagle captured his, Pender’s and owner BJ Wright’s first Grade 1 race, winning the G1 Hollywood Derby on Sunday. Ultimate Eagle continued his rise, as he won the G2 Strub on dirt at Santa Anita in February 2012 as well. Pender has had numerous other runners who have gone on to win races in the allowance and claiming ranks as well. - Masters degree in Psychology from Pepperdine University - Undergraduate BA in Psychology from University of California at Santa Barbara. - Recorded his first win as a trainer at Santa Anita on Feb. 23, 2005 with Orange Em. - Bought Polonius for $150,000 at the Barretts March sale. In June (three months later) in his first start, he was a stylish maiden winner in wire to wire fashion by six lengths. Offers were made up to 600k. Eight months later, as a three year old, Polonius won the Pasadena Stakes and was ranked among the top five 3 year-olds in the country. Offers were made up to 2.5 million. - Jeranimo was purchased for $70,000 at the Barretts May 2008 sale. He has amassed over 800K in earnings, has captured three G2 races and a 2nd place in a G1, both on synthetic and turf, and currently has his sights set on a repeat appearance in the 2012 Breeders Cup Mile. - Purchased Ultimate Eagle for $70,000 at the Ocala March 2010 sale. After a near death bout with colic as a 2YO, he came to the races as a 3YO in May 2011 with several subpar performances on a synthetic surface. “The Eagle” was then switched to turf, given blinkers and Martin Pedroza, and rattled off 4 victories – a maiden special and allowance race at Del Mar, then the G2 Oak Tree Derby and G1 Hollywood Derby. From debut to G1 winner in six months. - Nominated and put on the ballot by his peers to fill a seat on the California Thoroughbred Trainers board..
Statistical data provided by Equibase.