Naturally, the vast majority of fans get into horse racing to follow the horses. They are beautiful, fast, powerful, and unable to embroil themselves in controversy to the point of embarrassment. They are, rightfully, the stars of the show.
Jockeys also draw a lot of attention. Uncommonly strong, jockeys must keep their size down while still retaining enough muscle to control an animal ten times their weight. They are seen as partners to the horse, their flashiness adding to the drama of the sport.
It is the trainer, though, that is often responsible for most of the major decisions for each racehorse. They are responsible for conditioning the horse, as well as choosing racing goals and mapping out paths for their charges. Some trainers have specialties, and matching the right horse to the right trainer can make a big difference in performance.
Here are five of the top trainers in the United States in 2022, according to statistics such as money earned and win percentage.
William I. Mott
William I. “Bill” Mott has won the Eclipse Award for Outstanding Trainer three times (1995, 1996, and 2011) and was inducted into the Racing Hall of Fame in 1998. He has won one Kentucky Derby (2019, Country House) and one Belmont Stakes (2010, Drosselmeyer). He is most well known for training 1990s racing superstar Cigar, who won 16 straight races including the Breeders’ Cup Classic and the inaugural Dubai World Cup.
Bill Mott has had 395 starts and 74 wins in 2022, giving him a win percentage of 19%. His horses have won $10,186,560 this year, and his highlights have included Grade I wins for Casa Creed (Fourstardave Handicap), Obligatory (Derby City Distaff), Cody’s Wish (Forego Stakes), and Speaker’s Corner (Carter Handicap).
Brad H. Cox
Two-time Eclipse Award winning trainer (2020, 2021) Brad Cox is not yet eligible for the Racing Hall of Fame, but he has amassed a lot of success in a relatively short amount of time. Like Mott, Cox has one Kentucky Derby victory (Mandaloun, 2021) and one Belmont Stakes victory (Essential Quality, 2021). His most successful horses have been two-time Breeders’ Cup winners Knicks Go and Monomoy Girl. You can find more information about the Breeders Cup here: edge.twinspires.com/racing/breeders-cup/
The year 2022 has seen Cox make 588 starts and 145 wins for a win percentage of 25% and total purse victories of $15,684,399. His top horses this year have been Grade I winners Cyberknife (Haskell Stakes), Just One Time (Madison Stakes) and Matareya (Acorn Stakes).
Todd A. Pletcher
Recent Hall of Fame inductee Todd Pletcher has won an astounding seven Eclipse Awards for training (2004-2007, 2010, 2013, 2014). A protege of D. Wayne Lukas, Pletcher has won two Kentucky Derbies (2010, Super Saver, and 2017, Always Dreaming) and four editions of the Belmont Stakes (2007, Rags to Riches, 2013, Palace Malice, 2017, Tapwrit, and 2022, Mo Donegal). His dozen Breeders’ Cup victories are topped by Vino Rosso’s 2019 Classic victory.
This year, Pletcher has 156 wins from 659 starts, earning a win percentage of 24% and $19,673,573. He has trained several top horses this year, including championship contenders Malathaat (Grade I Personal Ensign Stakes), Life Is Good (Grade I Pegasus Cup), and a Belmont Stakes exacta with Mo Donegal and top filly Nest.
Steven M. Asmussen
Steve Asmussen is North America’s all-time winningest trainer. He has won two Eclipse Awards for training (2008 and 2009) and was inducted into the Racing Hall of Fame in 2016. Although a Kentucky Derby victory eludes him, he has won the Preakness Stakes twice (2007, Curlin, and 2009, Rachel Alexandra) and the Belmont Stakes once (2016, Creator). He has also trained Breeders’ Cup Classic winner and Dubai World Cup winner Gun Runner.
Asmussen’s 2022 has consisted of 1584 starts and 299 wins for a win percentage of 19%, with purse winnings of $20,956,459. His top horses of the year have been Kentucky Derby favorite Epicenter (Grade I Travers Stakes), top older mare Clairiere (Grade I Ogden Phipps Stakes), and outstanding sprinter Jackie’s Warrior (Grade I Churchill Downs Stakes).
Chad C. Brown
Chad Brown, like Brad Cox, is not yet eligible for the Racing Hall of Fame, but he has won four Eclipse Awards in his career (2016-2019) and two Preaknesses (2017, Cloud Computing, and 2022, Early Voting). Known primarily for his prowess on the turf, Brown campaigned 2019 Horse of the Year Bricks and Mortar as well as a total of thirteen winners of turf-run Breeders’ Cup races.
Although Brown is currently facing legal troubles following an alleged domestic dispute, he has had a very successful beginning to 2022, winning 181 races from 652 starts for a win percentage of 28%. His purse earnings of $22,223,167 top the United States trainer earnings for 2022 as of this writing. He trains top 2022 turf mares Bleecker Street (Grade I New York Stakes) and In Italian (Grade I Diana Stakes), as well as the top-notch dirt three-year-olds Early Voting (Preakness Stakes), Zandon (Grade I Blue Grass Stakes), and Jack Christopher (H. Allen Jerkens Memorial Stakes).