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10 of the Best Horse Trainers of All Time
Todd Pletcher (NYRA)

10 of the Best Horse Trainers of All Time

Horse trainers are rarely the stars of the track, which is usually dominated by jockeys and horses. But on the other hand, trainers are the true salt of equine sports and should be recognized for their enormous contribution to this beautiful tradition. It’s difficult to imagine how much heart, blood, sweat, and tears go into racehorse training, and it’s almost unbelievable how talented some people are when it comes to training the majestic thoroughbred.

With this in mind, here are some of the most incredible horse racing trainers of all time.

  1. Bob Baffert – If you ask a member of the general public to name a trainer, Bob Baffert is likely to be the first name that comes to mind. The white-haired horseman has trained Triple Crown winners, American Pharoah and Justify. He also trained several other runners who came close to winning the series: Silver Charm, Real Quiet, and Point Given all won two-thirds of the races.
  1. Paul Nichols – Paul Nichols is a ten-time Champion Jumps trainer who has won almost everything there is to win. He was in charge of training horse racing superstars such as Master Minded, Kauto Star, Azertyuiop, and Denman, to name a few. His abilities, however, do not end there. He has also trained Harry Fry and Dan Skelton, who have established successful careers as trainers.
  1. Willie Mullins – Willie Mullins will be remembered as one of the most outstanding racetrack trainers. Before training in 1988, Mullins worked for his father, Paddy Mullins, and Jim Bolger. He has won the Cheltenham Gold Cup four times, the Champion Hurdle four times, and the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle seven times. His stable stars have included Faugheen, Un De Sceaux, Annie Power, Tourist Attraction, and Hurricane Fly. Mullins, based in Ireland, has long been the driving force for the Irish at Cheltenham.
  1. Vincent O’Brien – Formerly a very successful jumps trainer, O’Brien decided to concentrate solely on flat racing in 1957, and his impact on flat racing has been immeasurable since then. A six-time Epsom Derby winner, including Nijinsky (1970), the last horse to complete the English Triple Crown, which requires a horse to win the 2000 Guineas, Derby, and St Leger. He finished his career with an incredible 141 Group 1 winners.
  1. John Sadler – John Sadler began training in 1978 and gradually rose through the ranks until he was one of the most respected trainers in the field by the mid-1980s. John Sadler began training in 1978 and gradually rose through the ranks until he was one of the most respected trainers in the field by the mid-1980s. Sadler has established himself as one of the most popular and effective West Coast trainers, with many of his horses proving formidable, including Flightline.
  1. Henry Cecil – Despite winning 25 English Classics and six Irish Classics, Henry Cecil had a humble demeanor that endeared him to the public in a way that few other trainers have. He had great success with fillies, winning six 1,000 Guineas and eight Oaks. He was a prodigy in the 1980s and 1990s, and many had written him off by the time Frankel arrived, though no one would have denied him his final fling with the highest-rated horse ever before he sadly died.
  1. Todd Pletcher – Todd Pletcher, trained by the world-famous D. Wayne Lukas, didn’t take long to establish himself as a leading trainer and would become one of the most successful of all time.
  1. D. Wayne Lukas – He is well-known for spearheading and bringing about significant changes in the equine industry. He has been one of the first American trainers to habitually ship horses across the country.
  1. Aidan O’Brien – Despite being unrelated, Aidan O’Brien took over from Vincent in 1994. Aidan also had six Derby victories, including Wings Of Eagle’s triumph in 2017. In addition, Aidan O’Brien set a new record with 26 Group 1 wins in a calendar year. The final figure was 28, which is unlikely to be surpassed anytime soon.
  1. Charlie Whittingham – Whittingham began training in 1950 and saddled his first champion, Porterhouse, within three years. Whittingham won 2,534 races and 252 stakes during his 49-year career, earning $109.2 million and becoming the leading trainer at Santa Anita and Hollywood Park.

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