There are few more commercially successful businesses in the world than horse racing. Each race that is staged across the planet will be allocated a prize pot that the connections of each runner can pick up, with the most prestigious races on the calendar offering bigger purses.
Throughout history, the prize money available to those connected to the sport has increased, meaning that some of the trainers that we see around the world now are able to take massive amounts of prize money if they managed to bag a winner. But, who are some of the most wealthiest trainers in horse racing?
1. Todd Pletcher
This year promises to be a massive one for trainer Todd Pletcher, as he has a number of leading contenders for the Kentucky Derby. The trainer has already amassed more than $457 million in prize money throughout his esteemed career, and he operates at a hugely proficient strike rate of 23%.
Pletcher has saddled some of the most successful horses throughout history, including Grade 1 winners such as Malathaat, Honey Ryder, and Ashado. However, his most successful runner in terms of prize money is English Channel, who won over $5.3 money throughout his career. His most lucrative pot was picked up with success in the G1 Breeders’ Cup Turf.
2. Steven Asmussen
Steven Asmussen sits second on the all-time money list of trainers, as he has picked up just over $410 million in prize money throughout his career. Asmussen operates at a 20% strike rate, and like Pletcher, he has helped guide a number of massive superstars to historic victories throughout his career.
His most successful runner in terms of prize money remains Gun Runner, who won a staggering $15.9 million throughout his career. The runner’s most successful victory came as he landed the G1 Pegasus World Cup Invitational. Another of Asmussen’s charges to have won over $10 million is Curlin, whose standout win remains the success in the G1 Dubai World Cup. Other Grade 1 winners that have returned huge prize money include Untapable, Epicenter, and Rachel Alexandra.
3. Bob Baffert
Bob Baffert remains one of the most successful trainers in the United States, according to TwinSpires. He continues to make headlines in the lead up to the Kentucky Derby, despite being unable to make entries following Medina Spirit’s disqualification in 2021. Overall, Baffert has won $342 million in prize money throughout his career, and he operates at a 23% strike-rate.
The Hall of Famer has seen two of his stars surpass the $10-million benchmark in terms of prize money. The most successful of those was Arrogate, who won over $17.4 million following victory in the G1 Pegasus World Cup Invitational. Country Grammer has won over $14.7 million. Triple Crown hero American Pharoah also ranks in the top three earners from the Baffert yard, as he won $8.6 million following his success in the G1 Breeders’ Cup Classic.
4. William Mott
William Mott is one of the most respected trainers in the United States, and he has already won a vast number of graded races throughout his career. That is evident from the fact that he has amassed over $327 million in prize money throughout his career. However, he strikes at a much lower rate than the top three earners at 19%.
Mott is yet to have a runner to surpass the $10 million benchmark, with his most commercially successful runner coming in the form of Cigar. The horse landed the G1 Breeders’ Cup Classic to take his career earnings to $7.5 million. Royal Delta also ranks high in terms of prize money, having won $4.8 million throughout his career. Other Grade 1 winners to have returned huge cash prizes for Mott include Channel Maker, Art Collector, and Drosselmeyer.
5. D. Wayne Lukas
D. Wayne Lukas has been a legendary figure in horse racing throughout his training career, which spun over 50 years. Overall, he has recorded over 5,000 winners to date, including victories in some of the world’s most prestigious races, including the Kentucky Derby, Belmont Stakes, and Preakness Stakes. Throughout his career, Lukas has won over $290 million in prize money, with his top two horses both making $3.9 million.
Cat Thief is his narrow top achiever in history, having landed the G1 Breeders’ Cup Classic. Meanwhile, Will Take Charge won just under $50,000 less during his career, which included victory in the G1 Travers Stakes. Lukas has won countless Grade 1s throughout his career, with horses such as Serena’s Song, Lady’s Secret, and Farma Way all winning healthy prize money throughout their respective careers.
6. Chad Brown
While dirt racing remains the most prominent in North America, one trainer that certainly impresses with his runners on the turf is Chad Brown. Throughout his career, Brown has won over $253 million in prize money, with the majority of his top performing stars coming on the turf,
Those include Bricks and Mortar, who landed victory in the G1 Pegasus World Cup Turf. Throughout his career, the equine star won over $7 million in his career. Other Grade 1 winners from the Brown yard to have landed massive prizes throughout their careers, include Sistercharlie, who landed the G1 Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf, and Big Blue Kitten, who captured the Joe Hirsch Turf Classic.
7. Robert Frankel
The only trainer in the top seven that is no longer running a yard is Robert Frankel. The legendary trainer won over $227 million in prize money throughout his career, and struck at a rate of 21%. Frankel held the record for the most single-season Grade 1s until 2017 when the accolade was taken by Irish trainer Aidan O’Brien. Frankel landed victories in a plethora of graded races throughout his career, including successes overseas in the Japan Cup and Queen’s Plate.
Medaglia d’Oro was his highest earning horse in history, with the runner collecting $5.7 million throughout his career. Other high earners from his yard included the great Ghostzapper, who landed G1 Breeders’ Cup Classic success, and Ginger Punch, who captured the G1 Breeders’ Cup Distaff.