Dennis Cardoza & Mike Pegram

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Shakin It Up, Malibu, Santa Anita, 26th December 2013

Trained by Bob Baffert, Sire: Midnight Lute. Dam: Silver Bullet

Thoroughbred owner and breeder Dennis Cardoza, who represented the 18th District of California in the U.S. House of Representatives from 2003 through 2012 when he retired, has a life-long love of horses. “My first exposure with horse racing was when my mom used to watch the races from the Fresno Fair,” he said in a 2011 press release. “The local dairy used to deliver milk and include a tear-off sheet for betting races. If you were able to pick a winner that day, you’d get a free carton of cottage cheese. If you picked two winners, you’d get butter or other dairy supplies for up to a year.”

He is one of a million of us who fell in love with Secretariat. “In the foyer of my home is a painting of Secretariat’s Belmont stretch run,” he said. “I remember watching the race with my mom in 1973. “I always wanted to own horses.”

Now he owns many Thoroughbreds, including broodmares and babies. He has horses with several trainers: Bob Baffert, Ron Ellis and Rene Amescua in California and Tim Keefe and Tim Tullock in Maryland.

His fondness for horses carried over into his career in the California Assembly and then in Washington whenever he dealt with racing issues.

In early August, 2011, Cardoza was named to the board of directors of the Thoroughbred Owners of California, replacing Donald Valpredo, who resigned. “For my entire career, my colleagues and friends know me as a consensus builder,” he said. “If ever there was an industry that needed consensus, it is this one. It’s too grand a sport to not live up to its majestic history. My goal is to help it recapture the greatness of Thoroughbred racing.”