The CEO of U.S. Concrete wanted the intense competition, and now it's here.
Bill Sandbrook is the majority owner of thoroughbred Decorated Invader, who is favored at 4-to-1 to win the Juvenile Turf race in the 2019 Breeder's Cup taking place Friday and Saturday at Santa Anita Park in Arcadia, California.
With a 60% stake in Decorated Invader, Sandbrook could take home roughly $300,000 of the $1 million purse if the horse is victorious. That prize money isn't bad considering the executive paid $120,000 to the investment group that owns the thoroughbred horse, giving him majority ownership.
According to Equibase, a company that provides racing information to thoroughbred racetracks, the 2-year-old colt has earned $180,375 in 2019, finishing with two first-place wins in three starts.
"My heart is going to be pounding" when Decorated Invader heads to the gates to start the race, Sandbrook said in an interview. He was named CEO of U.S. Concrete in 2011.
"The adrenaline that you get is similar to an athlete," Sandbrook said. "Everything is going to happen in the next two minutes, and you've got two minutes. It's not a football game that lasts three and a half hours. It's not 100 plays in a baseball game. The next two minutes, you know it's going to make or break your expectations."
Should Decorated Invader win the race, Sandbrook said "decisions will have to be made" on the next steps, which will be discussions about entry into the Kentucky Derby next May. Decorated Invader will be eligible as that race is for 3-year-olds only. But the colt is a turf horse and Churchill Downs — where the first leg of the Triple Crown is run — is a dirt track. Trainer Christophe Clement and other officials will need to transition him to dirt if Decorated Invader runs at the Derby.
"We don't know how he's going to take the dirt, so we'll have some decisions there," Sandbrook said, adding if the Derby isn't an option Decorated Invader will still compete in other "lucrative turf races."
Asked if he's used any lessons he's learned in the board room to owning a horse, Sandbrook said he surrounded himself with smarter people, especially in technical areas, and avoids micromanaging.
"I try to get the best people around me and let them do their thing," Sandbrook said.
Shares of U.S. Concrete are up 60% over the last 12 months, closing Thursday at $52.26 a share. Though credited with reviving the company, Sandbrook said he still feels U.S. Concrete is at a "B-minus" performance level.
"I'm not satisfied," Sandbrook said. "I'm still a cheerleader, but I don't let my (staff) or myself rest on our laurels because I know there is more to be had."