New Texas Thoroughbred Owner Landon Jordan Goes All In - Horse Racing News | Paulick Report
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New Texas Thoroughbred Owner Landon Jordan Goes All In

Landon Jordan’s 2-year-old filly Free Drop Maddy after jogging recently at Churchill Downs

Landon Jordan describes himself as an “adrenaline type of guy.”

So when he was looking for a new endeavor a couple of years ago to channel that desire for excitement, Jordan jumped into a sport he'd followed casually since he was a teenager: horse racing. Actually, it was a plunge into racehorse ownership.

Jordan — a former professional drag-racing driver who owns several management companies dealing primarily in real estate and healthcare — for years has attended the races at Lone Star Park, the horse track closest to his residence in Mansfield, Texas.

“I can remember being 17, 18, 19 years old when they had a horse track in Weatherford,” he said in a phone interview, referencing the old Trinity Meadows. “I went over there and watched those horses run. That track closed, but then Grand Prairie opened. When Lone Star opened, I got more into coming out and watching the horses race. I always enjoyed it.

“For years I had show dogs, mainly French bulldogs and English bulldogs. I'd kind of done that, had some dogs in Westminster and what not. I thought I'd try something different. I went to Lone Star and started paying attention to the racing program, kind of watched some of the better owners, who they used, that nature.”

Jordan said he learned from his early mistakes in the dog-show world how to find the right trainer. His research led him to two well-known trainers. The first he contacted was Bret Calhoun. They hit it off immediately, and he never called the second.

“Bret explained to me that there are three ways to do this deal,” he said. “You can buy horses of racing age. You can buy (yearlings) at an auction or you can claim — or we can go out and try to buy some horses privately. I think Bret decided for me – and I agreed – that the best option was to purchase them out of the 2-year-old sales and see how they do as 2- and 3-year-olds.”

Jordan buys under the name Mansfield Racing, a shoutout to his hometown just south of Arlington, Tex. Last year he bought a pair of 2-year-old fillies: Lady Got Moves (a $100,000 Ocala Breeders' Sales April purchase) and Jj's American Diva ($55,000 at OBS in June).

“He just wanted to get more and more involved,” Calhoun said. “So we kept looking at horses, the yearling sales and then at the 2-year-old sales again this year. He ended up building quite a stable in a short period of time. We're pretty excited about what he's got in the barn. He's been very patient for a new owner. He's let us bring his horses along at the pace they needed to be. Hopefully in the next couple of months we're going to turn quite a few of them loose.”

Jordan's 2021 2-year-old purchases, Lady Got Moves and Jj's American Diva, became Jordan's first starters at his home track. Though they haven't won, they've run well.

“They're fillies that were kind of late-maturing,” Calhoun said. “They're going to be horses he can go watch run regularly, and they're going to win some races. I think the best is yet to come with this next crop, his 2-year-olds this year. I think there's a lot of upside to what he's got in the barn right now.”

That includes the sales-topper at the April 6 TTA Two-Year-Olds in Training Sale, with Jordan paying $200,000 for a Louisiana-bred daughter of Free Drop Billy. Free Drop Maddy debuted June 10 at Churchill Downs, breaking a step slow from the rail then setting a resolute pace only to give way late to finish second behind a filly with a prior start.

The goal for Free Drop Maddy is the $150,000 Texas Thoroughbred Association Futurity July 17 at Lone Star Park.

“We like her a lot,” Calhoun said. “We knew we didn't have her 100 percent the other day. She'd gotten sick about a month and half ago and we missed a couple of works. But she's very, very fast. She's in the Texas Thoroughbred Association Futurity, and that's something that's important to Landon and me as well. So we wanted to get a race under her belt. We knew she could potentially win that day. But she drew the 1 hole and didn't get away as good as we'd have liked. Usually she's really quick from there. End of the day, it set us up very well for the sales futurity at Lone Star Park.”

Jordan also bought the highest-priced colt to sell at the TTA Two-Year-Olds In Training auction, going to $125,000 for a Kentucky-bred son of McCraken. Now named Release McCraken, that colt is training at Lone Star Park.

“We're not in any hurry to get him started, but we've liked everything we've seen from him,” Calhoun said.

Jordan purchased two other colts at that sale, plus a colt apiece at last year's TTA Yearling Sale and at Keeneland's September auction.

“I think he's setting himself up for a lot of success,” Calhoun said. “He seems like he really, really enjoys it. He's like everybody else: He wants the action. I think mid-summer, late summer, he's going to have a lot of action.”

When he embarked on his horse-ownership adventure, Jordan wasn't aware that legislation passed in 2019 was going to greatly enhance Texas purses.

“I was really ready to come in and start playing regardless of that,” he said. “But certainly I was told shortly after that was the case, and I realized it obviously was a good time to do it.”

Calhoun also facilitated Jordan last year buying a piece of the now 3-year-old filly Hidden Connection after her debut victory by 7 1/2 lengths at Colonial Downs and before she won Churchill Downs' Grade 3 Pocahontas by 9 1/4. Hidden Connection finished fourth in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies at Del Mar, then this year lost the Grade 2 Fair Grounds Oaks by a nose to then-unbeaten champion Echo Zulu before finishing off the board in the Kentucky Oaks.

“I got to go to the Breeders' Cup the very first year I was in it,” Jordan said of horse ownership. “And that probably hooked me more than anything. It was a great experience, going out to California and watching the race. It was fantastic.”

Just thinking about racing horses at Lone Star had Jordan's excitement going into overdrive.

“I actually came from the world of race cars,” he said in the spring. “I drove on the North, South Carolina drag-racing circuit. I'm an adrenaline type of guy.”

Jordan said new owners need to do their homework, same as they would in whatever business venture makes it possible for them to own racehorses.

“Before you jump in, do your research and contact somebody who knows what the heck they're doing,” he said. “I learned that from dogs. You went out and bought some dogs, and then you found a trainer. You try to do it that way and you can make some pretty bad decisions. Whereas, the first thing Bret did was meet with me, walked me through the way this was going to work. Shortly after that he got me ahold of (bloodstock agent) Josh Stevens, and Josh buys the horses for me. Because to be quite honest, I wouldn't know a good horse if it ran over the top of me.

“With a little bit of time, you'll get more knowledge. You'll learn. But I would certainly recommend getting involved with somebody who knows what the heck they're doing so you have a good experience, which I have so far.”

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