It will not be long before racing returns to the land of the Ozarks for one of the year’s most popular meets.
Oaklawn Park in Hot Springs, Ark., raises the curtain on its 2020 meet Jan. 24, bringing with it big fields and even bigger purses for three months of sensational racing.
Oaklawn is indeed unique among major tracks in that it does not have a turf course, but rest assured there will be more than enough competitive dirt races to make playing the races at the Arkansas track a fun experience.
To get ready for the Jan. 24 opening day, let’s take a look at the trainers who have been the dominant figures at the last two meets in 2019 and 2018.
At the top of the list is Steve Asmussen, who was the leading trainer in both 2018 and 2019. After winning 44 races in 2018, with a longer 2019 meet, he increased that total to 64.
Combined that’s 108 wins from 550 starters, which is also the highest number among trainers. Yet Asmussen’s edge did not reflect quantity and quantity alone. Combined during the last two years, Asmussen won races at a highly respectable 20% clip.
Second in both years was Robertino Diodoro, who won 48 races last year and 32 in 2018. That combined total of 80 wins came from 349 starters, giving him a better winning percentage than Asmussen with a mark of 23%.
Two trainers were next with 47 wins in the two years. Brad Cox won 27 races and then 20 to reach 47, while accumulating 202 starters and winning at a 23% clip. Karl Broberg won 33 races last year after a 14-win campaign in 2018 and he posted a 21% winning percentage.
Right behind them came Federico Villafranco, who notched a combined 45 wins with a 16% winning percentage.
Norman McKnight recorded 44 wins while winning at a sharp 24% rate.
Ron Moquett had 43 wins from 305 starts to post a 14% mark.
Finally, Ingrid Mason had 31 wins while reeling off victories at a pace of 15%.
We’ll soon see if history will repeat itself.