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Racing Dudes Beginners Series: The Importance of the Trainer
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Racing Dudes Beginners Series: The Importance of the Trainer

After three very busy weeks of Kentucky Derby prep races, our Racing Dudes Beginners Series returns this week.  We’ll be covering the most important aspect in racing this week; the trainer.  A trainer does it all.  They work extremely long hours, and seven days a week.  Taking care of a horse is like taking care of a child; they require constant attention.  Just like parents, some trainers are great and some are not.  In this article we’ll analyze the trainers that we follow and know the most about.  We’ll discuss their strategies, training methods and actions.  We’ll also give you some tips on how and when to bet them.

Todd A. Pletcher – When it comes to winning money, nobody has done it better than Pletcher over the last few years.  He operates a very large stable on the east cost.  His “home” tracks are Gulfstream, Belmont, and Saratoga; as well as a few starters at Keeneland, Churchill Downs, and Aqueduct.  Any time you see his name you have to respect the horse.  Pletcher’s strength is first time starters.  His two-year olds usually dominate in maiden races at Saratoga, and his first time out three-year olds dominate at Gulfstream.  Pletcher has done a great job of luring in deep pocket clients, and has a keen eye for picking out two-year olds in the sale rings around the country.  With all the positive that he does, there are a couple negatives.  He has gotten a reputation for getting young three-year olds injured, and sometimes his first time starters that run huge can’t reproduce that effort when they run again.  Still, this is a guy you have to bet on if you want to win.

Bob Baffert – The king of California is Bob Baffert.  He has dominates at Santa Anita, Hollywood, and Del Mar with a fairly large stable of nicely priced animals.  Like Pletcher, Baffert has a few owners with deep pockets that keep his cupboard full of fast horses.  Even though he wins in California, when he ships horses to other tracks is when you really have to watch out!  Baffert ships to win!  This year at Oaklawn Park Baffert won the Arkansas Derby (G1), the Rebel (G2), the Apple Blossom (G1), the Fantasy (G2), and both runnings of the Southwest (G3).  When outside of Califorina, Baffert is almost an automatic play.

Steven M. Asmussen – The man with the largest stable in the United States is Steve Asmussen.  It’s nothing for his horses to be running at five different tracks each day.  Asmussen employs several assistants to look over his barns, and most of them are pretty good horseman.  With Asmussen, you have to be cautious on when you bet him.  When analyzing a race, make sure that the horse running fits the race.  For example, if the horse has been running for a $50,000 tag and all the sudden it drops to $5,000 tag, STAY AWAY.  Asmussen has been known to drop horses way down in price when they have problems just to get rid of them.  Other trainers do this as well, but not to the extreme that he does.  With so many horses he can afford to lose one.  With that being said, most of the time he spots his horses to win, so he is one you simply cannot ignore.

Chad C. Brown – Here is a real up and coming guy that you need to watch.  Although his stable is not as large as the first three guys I’ve talked about, his horses are of high quality.  He’s already making a huge impact at a young age, and I look for him to get better and better.  Brown runs primarily on the east coast.  In the winters you can find him at Gulfstream, and the rest of the season he’ll race at Belmont and Saratoga in New York.

D. Wayne Lukas – This Hall of Fame trainer was the first guy to run multiple stables throughout the country.  He’s won every race you can imagine, and during the 1990’s he dominated the triple crown picture.  Many of his big money clients are now gone, and Lukas had cut his stable back tremendously.  He’s having a down year at the moment, but he is still a name you should respect.  When betting him though, you have to be very careful.  Lukas usually over spots his horses, and runs them in races that are above their heads.  The key with betting him is making sure the horse is entered in a class that makes sense.  He’s been known to put maidens in Graded stakes races.  That doesn’t mean he thinks they are good, it’s just him being crazy!  Also, much like Asmussen, watch his extreme class droppers…usually a bad sign.

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