Bobby Zen

In 2023, when Porta Fortuna (Caravaggio) went to Ascot for a shot at the G3 Albany Stakes, which she would go on to win, the other partners in the ownership group tried to convince Mark Taylor to come along on the trip. Taylor Made’s Medallion Racing had bought Porta Fortuna along with Barry Fowler, Steve Weston and Dean Reeves after her two-year-old debut win at the Curragh last April, and had already been rewarded with three graded stakes wins, including the G1 Juddmonte Cheveley Park Stakes, and a second in the G1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf and the G1 Qipco 1000 Guineas.

The hard-working Taylor demurred, citing his busy schedule. This year, as she was pointing towards the Group 1 Coronation Stakes at Ascot, Taylor said he realized these experiences don’t come along every day, and he decided to make time.

“I was always getting cajoled to come (to England),” he said, “going back to when we had consignments at Tattersalls a few years before Covid. A lot of people were telling me I had to come and it just never worked out for me. So this year, with Porta Fortuna running, I just thought, `you know, you are busy, but this may never happen again to have a horse with this kind of a chance to actually win a Group 1 at Ascot.’ So I made it happen.”

And how was it? Taylor was asked. “It was beyond my wildest expectations,” he said.

Not only did the filly come away with her second Royal Ascot win, but Taylor will head home Sunday ready to apply lessons learned at Ascot to his sales consignments at Taylor Made.

Anyone who knows the Taylors knows their commitment to customer service, and of the many Ascot experiences he appreciated, it was their care for their customers that resonated most strongly with him.

“However they have it done it, everybody who works there genuinely takes an interest in the customer experience,” he said. “Sometimes, the server at your table is really trying to do a great job and is really professional, but the people you meet on your way to the restroom when you’re confused about where you’re going have no clue what they’re talking about.” That wasn’t the case at Ascot, and Taylor said he will try to replicate that depth of helpfulness at Taylor Made.

“What I really took away from it for our organization is more training and spending more time getting each level (of employee) to really put themselves in the customer’s shoes, and say, `how can I make this an incredible experience for them and let the person know I care. Even if I can’t solve your problem, I’m doing everything I can.’ It just really jumped out at me. A couple of times we were a little confused about where to go and the people we ran into grabbed us like they were our personal ambassadors. They would say, `okay, I’m not 100% sure, but I’m going to figure this out for you.’ So even if we hadn’t won the race, it would have been a great learning experience for me.”

But of course…they also won the race.

The Medallion partnership gathers one group of around 25 investors every year, asking them to put up a minimum investment of $50,000. Around a dozen Medallion partners were able to attend Ascot, along with Reeves and Weston. “It was a bucket-list experience for them,” said Taylor. “It was young people. It’s older people. It’s a hodgepodge, but everyone was like-minded that they like to travel. They like to bet horses. They like to learn more about every aspect of racing. It’s a great entrance to the sport or a next level from where they have been before. Winning at Ascot and then having the King present the trophy? That’s delivering on the promise of the brand. We’re going to try to take you to the highest levels of Thoroughbred racing, and there was never a day that put an exclamation point on it like Friday.”

With only six people allowed up on the stand for the presentation with King Charles, Taylor “abdicated” his spot, he said, momentarily unaware of the pun. “I wanted to get every customer I could up there,” he said. “The customer is king. That’s another bad pun, but it’s true. That’s what we have build our whole brand on. That comes from my dad, and it comes from Duncan. It’s all about putting the customer first.”

Taylor is conducting his interview by phone as he stands on the streets of London’s West End after taking in a production of Mamma Mia. “I’m so backwards and unexposed to anything Broadway,” he said. “Every time I go to New York, I’m always at the races or at a track. So my wife kind of dragged me here, but it was really fun. It was great. We don’t get away that much, especially with my schedule, and anything we’re doing is usually revolving around racing, which this was, too, but we actually got a day to just check out and do whatever we wanted to do. So it was nice.”

Porta Fortuna will head back to trainer Donnacha O’Brien’s home base to regroup for this year’s ultimate goal in the Breeders’ Cup, and the team will “work backwards” from there on the rest of her schedule, Taylor said.

As for Taylor, he’ll fly home Sunday to return, he says, to his day job. And next time, his partners might not have to try so hard to persuade him to travel.

“This,” he said, “was a blast.”


The post `This Was a Blast’: Taylor on Royal Ascot High After Porta Fortuna Win appeared first on TDN | Thoroughbred Daily News | Horse Racing News, Results and Video | Thoroughbred Breeding and Auctions.

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