NEW YORK (AP) — Joe Torre sat in the third-base dugout at Citi Field watching the rain fall. As much as he was looking forward to another three-game series in New York, he was thinking ahead to the Kentucky Derby this weekend.
Someone asked him about Homeboykris, suggesting he was a 50-1 choice.
"My horse? 72-1," Torre quickly corrected, reminding everyone that odds on Homeboykris had risen from 40-1 in December.
He may be used to managing favorites in the dugout, but at the track he's a long shot.
Torre's next game in New York was pushed back when the Los Angeles Dodgers' matchup with the Mets was postponed by rain Monday night. The teams will play a traditional single-admission doubleheader Tuesday, with the first game starting at 4:10 p.m.
While the pressure of managing the Yankees became a grind from 1996-07, especially when he failed to win the World Series after leading New York to four titles in his first five seasons, Torre is more relaxed since taking over the Dodgers before the 2008 season.
Horse racing is a pleasant diversion. He attended the Breeder's Cup twice at Santa Anita, but can't find time during the baseball season to go to the track because he gets to the ballpark so early.
He grew fond of horses because of his Yankees bench coach, Don Zimmer. Torre remembered back to his first season managing the Yankees, when Zimmer invited him to Pimlico on a trip to Camden Yards.
"I said, 'No. Here's a couple hundred bucks,'" Torre recalled. "And I don't know if it was calculated or not — he brought me back more than I gave him. So he sort of hooked me at that point in time."
Torre visited Homeboykris last week for the first time, making a trip to Churchill Downs when the Dodgers were in Cincinnati. He purchased a 10 percent stake in the horse shortly after Homeboykris won the Champagne Stakes for 2-year-olds at Belmont Park last October. Louis Lazzinnaro and Jack Mandato, a supporter of Torre's Safe at Home Foundation, had owned Homeboykris, so Torre bought in.
"Just to be with those guys," Torre said.
Torre had co-owned Vineyard Haven with trainer Bobby Frankel and Lazzinnaro, who owns restaurants in Queens and Saratoga Springs. Vineyard Haven was sold to Godolphin Racing in 2008 for $12 million.
When Torre first became manager of the Dodgers, he lived in California for three months with Frankel, a Hall of Fame trainer who died of cancer last November at age 68.
Torre had high hopes for Sis City, a filly he owned who was a 3-5 favorite in the 2005 Kentucky Oaks. Sis City, like Homeboykris trained by Rick Dutrow Jr., was ridden by Jerry Bailey and finished fourth.
"She didn't get out of the gate, and I knew there was nothing there," Torre said. "Jerry Bailey did apologize for beating my horse. I said, 'Well, you and three other ones beat my horse.' So it wasn't only you."
He says he owns six or seven horses now. He lets his wife and daughter pick the names, and his daughter selected the racing colors of light blue with a red star.
Torre thinks he'll see more races live and hang around stables when he retires from baseball.
"I think I could because I like the people that I'm around," he said. "I'm not going to pretend that I'm going to get really smart at this thing."
Back to baseball, he said he hasn't seen old Yankee Stadium since the walls and stands started to get knocked down during the offseason.
"I've been hearing about it. You knew it was eventually going to happen. It's sad," he said.
He hasn't been to the new Yankee Stadium, which opened in April 2009. He almost went during the 2008-09 offseason but instead attended a brunch for old Yankees who attended his foundation's dinner.
Then again, he almost got there last October, when the Dodgers advanced to the NL championship series before losing to the Philadelphia Phillies.
"That would have been a better way," he said. "I was trying to use it as motivation for my players when we fell behind 3-1. I said, 'I'll put up with all the aggravation. Just get us there.' But it wasn't to be."
NOTES: Johan Santana will pitch the first game against the Dodgers' Hiroki Kuroda, who was to have started Monday. Oliver Perez, who also was pushed back by the rainout, starts the second game for the Mets against Charlie Haeger. The Dodgers likely will bring in a pitcher to start Wednesday against John Maine (0-1), whose previous outing was cut short because of pain in his left (non-pitching) arm. ... Dodgers RHP Vicente Padilla, who went on the DL on Saturday, was diagnosed with irritation of the radial nerve in his forearm. The Dodgers said the injury is not common for pitchers and will be treated with rest and nerve medication. The team does not know low long Padilla will be sidelined. ... Dodgers OF Manny Ramirez, on the DL with a strained right calf, was to be examined by Dodgers team physician Dr. Neal ElAttrache.