Top Trainers to Watch at Santa Anita and Oaklawn this Winter

Steve Asmussen is a perennial leading trainer at Oaklawn Park in Arkansas.
Steve Asmussen is a perennial leading trainer at Oaklawn Park in Arkansas. (Eclipse Sportswire)

OK, with the official start of winter another week closer, let’s move on to part two of our look at trainers’ stats at some upcoming winter meets.

In this story, we’ll discuss Santa Anita Park and Oaklawn Park, starting at Santa Anita.

If you look at the statistics for the last winter meet at “The Great Race Place” and compare it to the results of the last three years, there are different takes.

Bob Baffert
Bob Baffert (Eclipse Sportswire)

At the last winter meet, Bob Baffert won the title with 37 wins, outdistancing Peter Miller and Richard Baltas who tied for second with 30. Behind them came Phil D’Amato with 21 wins and Jerry Hollendorfer with 20.

Now, when you combine the stats for the last three winter meets, there’s a different leader.

In that equation, it’s Miller who leads the pack with 88 wins, one more than D’Amato with 87, and who should be watched most closely this winter.

Interestingly, those two trainers reached those numbers in a diverse manner. In Miller’s case, he had 65 wins the last two years, while D’Amato, who had 41 wins in 2016, had only 46.

After them, Hollendorfer had 84 during the three-year period while Baffert had 79, Baltas 78, and Doug O’Neill had 74.

At Oaklawn, it’s Steve Asmussen’s world and welcome to it.

Asmussen has won the last three training titles at Oaklawn and owns nine championships at the Arkansas track.

During those last three meets, Asmussen has won at least 41 races, with 44 wins earlier this year after 41 wins in 2017 and 46 in 2016.

Aside from Asmussen’s reign at the top of the standings there has also been some consistency right behind him.

Robertino Diodoro was second last winter with 32 and also took the place spot in 2017 with 31 wins.

Third at the last Oaklawn meet was Ron Moquett with 28 wins and Brad Cox was right behind with 27.

Cox, who was third in 2017 with 26 wins, has the best batting average of that group. He won at a 25 percent clip last winter and 28 percent at the previous meet.

So, what’s the point of this?

It’s that the game’s biggest names never take time off. Even in winter, which is considered the mundane part of the racing season by some observers, following some of the game’s top trainers can be as lucrative during skiing season it usually is during baseball season.

Now, go have some fun in racing’s winter wonderland.

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