For the second year in a row, Todd Pletcher has found himself on top of the North American trainers’ earnings list. Pletcher’s horses started 1,016 races, winning 254 of those, with over 17 million dollars in earnings. Steve Asmussen, who led all trainers with 348 winners, placed second in earnings with over 16 million while the legendary Bob Baffert finished third with 14 million in only 503 starts.
Pletcher, who began his career as a trainer under D. Wayne Lukas in 1991, continues to build on a legacy of winning and is fast becoming one of the top trainers in racing history. In his early years with Lukas, Pletcher played a large role in the training of such thoroughbreds as Thunder Gulch and Serena’s Song, but didn’t start developing horses on his own until 1995. The next year he got his first win at Gulfstream Park from Majestic Number. It wasn’t until 2004 that Pletcher came into prominence as he trained Kentucky Oaks winner, Ashado, who went on to win an Eclipse Award as the Outstanding 3-Year-Old of the Year. Ashado also gave him his first Breeders’ Cup win the same year. In 2005, Pletcher made it known that he was going to be a giant in horse racing as he set a single season earnings record of nearly 21 million dollars. That record didn’t stand long however. Pletcher himself topped his previous year’s earnings by more than 6 million dollars in 2006.
In 2007, he trained Rags to Riches to a Belmont Stakes win, for his first victory in a Triple Crown Race. Rags to Riches became the first filly to win the third leg of the Triple Crown since 1905. It took only three more years for Pletcher to make it to the winner’s circle at Churchill Downs after the Kentucky Derby, as Super Saver, ridden by Calvin Borel, took him to racing’s pinnacle. Pletcher had previously started 24 horses in the Kentucky Derby before the victory in 2010.
In all, Pletcher has trained nine horses to Eclipse Awards and has won five awards as Outstanding Trainer. His most recent win came in 2010, after Steve Asmussen interrupted his string of four in a row from 2004 to 2007. At only 44 years of age, Pletcher has established himself among the great trainers of the day. He is only one of two trainers (Robert J. Frankel) to have won the Outstanding Trainer Award five times. In all, Pletcher’s thoroughbreds have won 22% of the races they have started and his career earnings stand at well over 208 million dollars.