HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – Twelve-time defending Championship Meet leading trainer Todd Pletcher reached a personal milestone with his 4,000th career victory Friday at Gulfstream Park.
In his seventh try since winning his 3,999th race on Sunday, Pletcher hit the 4,000 mark with 4-year-old first-time starter Eagle Scout ($9.80) in the fifth race, a one-mile maiden event on the main track. Luis Saez was aboard for the historic victory.
Congratulations to Todd Pletcher on your 4000th win!!! https://t.co/D2lFIKpLo8
— TVG #KYDerby2016 (@TVG) March 18, 2016
The 48-year-old Pletcher becomes just the 10th trainer to win at least 4,000 races, a list that features five Hall of Famers including his mentor, D. Wayne Lukas. Pletcher spent parts of seven years with Lukas before going out on his own in December 1995.
“We’ve been blessed with a lot of great horses and a lot of great opportunities. There’s a lot of people to be thankful to. It’s fun,” Pletcher said. “I think the whole team enjoys these type of milestones. When you get to these larger numbers I think it makes you appreciative of every single one. Everyone is significant and every win is significant.”
According to Equibase statistics, Pletcher has won 767 races at Gulfstream Park including his first career victory with Majestic Number on Jan. 26, 1996, as well as his 3,000th with Spring Hill Farm on Feb. 11, 2012.
North America’s all-time leader with more than $311 million in purse earnings, Pletcher also owns 134 stakes victories at Gulfstream, 94 of those graded, including back-to-back editions of the $1 million Florida Derby (G1) with Constitution in 2014 and Materiality in 2015. He is one of only three trainers to win Gulfstream’s signature race three times, getting his first with Scat Daddy in 2007.
Pletcher has won an unprecedented 12 consecutive Championship Meet titles and is well on the way to a 13th with 54 wins at the current stand, 17 more than runner-up Jorge Navarro. He would break a tie with Arnold Winick, who led the Gulfstream trainer standings 12 times between 1959 and 1973.
“Gulfstream has been good to us over the years. For whatever reason, the style we train fits the style of this track,” he said. “Horses tend to get involved early and I think that’s an effective style. We’ve been fortunate over the years to have consistent success here.”
Over his career, Pletcher has been voted the Eclipse Award as leading trainer a record seven times (2004-07, 2010, 2013-14), his two most recent coming in ceremonies at Gulfstream’s Sport of Kings Theater. He has trained 10 horses to 11 year-end championships, including Hall of Fame mare Ashado.
Pletcher won the Kentucky Derby (G1) in 2010 with Super Saver, the Belmont Stakes (G1) in 2007 with filly Rags to Riches and 2013 with Palace Malice, and owns nine Breeders’ Cup victories.
“I’m proud of the fact that we’ve been able to develop a lot of stakes horses, and I think over 25 percent of those wins are in stakes,” Pletcher said, “and, the fact that we’ve developed some stallions that are doing well is even more important to us. When you see the Uncle Mos and Super Savers coming up, having a lasting impact on the breed, that’s what’s great.”
Entering Thursday, Pletcher ranked first nationally with $4.21 million in purse earnings and second with 71 wins. In addition to victories, he led the Championship Meet standings with $2.87 million in purses including graded stakes victories in the Donn Handicap (G1), Gulfstream Park Handicap (G2), W.L. McKnight (G3), Marshua’s River (G3), Hal’s Hope (G3) and Fred Hooper (G3).
The late Dale Baird leads all trainers with 9,445 career wins. Pletcher ranks 10th overall and eighth among active trainers behind Steve Asmussen (7,252), Jerry Hollendorfer (7,054), Jack Van Berg (6,468), King Leatherbury (6,465), Scott Lake (5,662), Lukas (4,748) and Bill Mott (4,616).
Source: Gulfstream Park