Horse racing is a sport where it is certainly a results-based business. That means that trainers can’t have long spells without success as it will have a damaging impact on the number of runners that they are able to run.
While many trainers will be dreaming of winning the Kentucky Derby, the other races throughout the season ensure that they are able to build up their earnings consistently throughout the campaign. But, which trainers in the U.S. have amassed the most in prize money throughout their careers?
The money king in U.S. racing remains Todd Pletcher, who has amassed more than $50 million in prize money more than the trainer sitting second.
Pletcher has sent out over 24,000 starters according to Equibase, and has landed 5,489 winners over that period. That gives him a very credible strike rate of 23% at present. Overall, he has won prize money of just over $452 million to date.
Pletcher’s most successful runner is English Channel, who has won $5.3 million throughout his career.
The biggest victory that he achieved came in the G1 Breeders’ Cup Turf. Other profitable runners for the trainer include Vino Rosso and Life Is Good, who have both won over $4 million in earnings throughout their careers.
Second on the list of all-time prize money earners is Steven Asmussen. According to Equibase, the trainer has sent over 49,120 runners, and has claimed victory on 9,992 starts. That still gives him a very prominent strike rate of 20% in his career. In total, he has amassed just over $400 million in prize money, meaning that he is the only other trainer in the U.S. to have broken that considerable barrier.
Asmussen’s most profitable runner is Gun Runner, who landed the G1 Pegasus World Cup. That victory saw the runners price earnings throughout his career reach $15.9 million. Curlin is another profitable runner for Asmussen, having took his earnings to $10.3 million following victory in the Dubai World Cup. Midnight Bisou has also won over $6.9 million in her career, with her standout win being in the G1 Cotillion Stakes.
Many would have expected Bob Baffert to play a more prominent role in this list following the record number of wins that he has achieved in the Kentucky Derby. However, he only ranks third on the all-time earnings list of current trainers in the United States. To date, he has won over $340 million in prize money throughout his career, and it ensures that he still operates at a hugely successful 23% strike rate.
Baffert has sent over 3,280 winners to date, with his most successful runner in terms of prize money being Arrogate. This runner has won more than $17.4 million in prize money, which included Grade 1 success in the Pegasus World Cup. However, Country Grammer could take over at the top of that chart with success in the G1 Saudi Cup, as this star has won $11.1 million to date.
The Triple Crown hero American Pharoah is third on the list with $8.6 million won in prize money. Bob was also the trainer of the last Triple Crown winner, Justify, who won all three races in 2018.
William Mott is yet to add to his Classic wins since victory in the 2019 Kentucky Derby, but he remains the fourth most successful current trainer in the United States based on prize money won. Mott has won over $325 million throughout his career, as he has had 5,283 winners from 27,197 starters. This season, he has already broke the $2 million mark in prize money won.
Mott’s most successful runner in terms of prize money in Cigar, who previously landed the G1 Breeders’ Cup Classic.
This runner has won $7.5 million in prize money for Mott. Royal Delta is the second most lucrative winner for Mott, as she won $4.8 million throughout her career, which included success in the G1 Breeders’ Cup Ladies’ Classic. Other horses in the top five earners for Mott include Tacitus, Channel Maker, and Drosselmeyer.
D. Wayne Lukas
Legendary trainer D. Wayne Lukas ranks fifth in terms of prize money won throughout his career. The 87-year-old has landed six victories in the Preakness Stakes and four wins in the Kentucky Derby, but despite his age, he continues to churn out winners from his respected yard. In total, he has won more than $288 million in prize money throughout his career. Lukas has had 4,891 winners from 29,807 starters throughout his career.
His top earning horse in history is Cat Thief, who famously landed the G1 Breeders’ Cup Classic. Cat Thief won just under $4 million throughout his career. Will Take Charge ranks second overall, having won $3.9 million, which includes victory in the G1 Travers. Spain and Serena’s Song were his top two performing mares, having won $3.3 and $3.2 million, respectively.