Yesterday, I took a look at the most winningest jockeys in the history of the Kentucky Derby. However in truth, that’s only part of the story in regards to the people involved in a horse winning the run for the roses. One can’t ignore the incredible importance and stress placed on the horse’s trainer. With that in mind, I thought I’d take some time to honor those individuals as I did with the jockeys previously.
Without question the most successful Kentucky Derby trainers is Ben A. Jones, throughout the first half of the 20th century Jones was the individual in regards to horse racing, winning six Derby’s throughout the 30’s to the 50’s, these horses include Lawrin, Whirlaway, Pensive, Citation, Ponder, and Hill Gail.
Second place is a tie between Henry J. Thompson and D. Wayne Lukas, who have both won four Derbys. Thompson won four throughout the 20’s and 30’s with Bubbling Over, Burgoo King, Behave Yourself, and Brokers Tip. Meanwhile Lukas dominated the second half of the century with four Derby wins beginning in 1988 with Winning Colors, Lukas followed that up with wins from Thunder Gulch, Grindstone, and Charismatic.
During this year’s Derby lead-up there was a lot of discussion about legendary trainer, Bob Baffert who had a very serious health scare recently. Despite not being able to take home another Derby championship Baffert’s record of training three Derby winners still makes him among the most notable trainers in the events history. His victories include 1997’s Charm, 1998’s Real Quiet, and most recently 2002’s War Emblem. Tied with Baffert with three victories is James “Sunny Jim” Fitzsimmons who was a legend in the early years of the race, Fitzsimmons won in 1930 with Gallant Fox, 1935 with Omaha, and 1939 with Johnstown. Also during this era of racing Max Hirsch made a name for himself winning three Derbies of his own, beginning in 1936 with Bold Venture. Hirsch followed that up in 1946 with Assault and in 1950 with Middleground.
Image courtesy of Southern Gaming