Birthdate: February 14, 1966.
Birthplace: Los Angeles, California
Residence: Arcadia, California
Family: wife, Andrea; daughter, Megan; son, Matthew
Trainer Michael Pender did not take the standard route to the stable area. Although introduced to the sport at a young age as a fan by his mother, Pender earned degrees in psychology—a B.A. from the University of California at Santa Barbara and an M.A. from Pepperdine University—and taught high school English and American history at La Canada Flintridge for 15 years before making the switch to the track in 2004.
Pender long yearned for a career in racing. “I started shortening my teaching hours and built a horse-racing syndicate called El Presidio Farms with 40 or 50 people and 15 horses,” Pender said of the transition.
Pender saddled his first winner, Orange ’Em, in 2005 and rose to prominence with owner B.J. Wright, coach of the Pop Warner League football team once played quarterback for in Glendale, California.
Polonius became Pender and Wright’s first stakes and graded stakes winner in 2008. Jeranimo was a four-time Grade 2 stakes winner in 2010 and 2011. Ultimate Eagle sandwiched a victory in the Grade 1 Hollywood Derby in 2011 between two Grade 2 scores.