Bill Mott started his training career early in life. Mott owned and trained his first horse, a $320 mare named My Assets, who he ran at unrecognized meets in South Dakota, winning his first race at a recognized track with her at now-defunct Park Jefferson. Aided by purse earnings from My Assets, he spent $2,000 on a horse named Kosmic Tour, who won the South Dakota Futurity at Park Jefferson before Mott was out of high school.
Bill Mott started his training career early in life. Mott owned and trained his first horse, a $320 mare named My Assets, who he ran at unrecognized meets in South Dakota, winning his first race at a recognized track with her at now-defunct Park Jefferson. Aided by purse earnings from My Assets, he spent $2,000 on a horse named Kosmic Tour, who won the South Dakota Futurity at Park Jefferson before Mott was out of high school. After high school, he worked for three years under Hall of Fame trainer Jack Van Berg, before going out on his own in the fall of 1978 and as they say, the rest is history:
Mott will always be best remembered for his training of Cigar, winner of a record-tying 16 consecutive races in 1995-96. The streak included victories in the 1995 Breeders' Cup Classic and the inaugural Dubai World Cup, and ended with the Arlington-Citation Challenge. Said Mott of Cigar, "He's the best horse I've ever trained. He may be the best horse anyone has ever trained."
Cigar's streak ended in the Grade 1 Pacific Classic, and he closed his racing career running third in the 1996 Breeders' Cup Classic. Until passed by Curlin in 1998, Cigar retired as the highest money-earner of all-time with purses of $9,999,815. After a public retirement ceremony at Madison Square Garden in New York, Cigar was to join the stallion band at Ashford in Versailles, Ky., but due to infertility, lived out his days as a star attraction at the Kentucky Horse Park.
Mott has trained seven year-end champions: Ajina, the top 3-year-old filly of 1987; Cigar, the top older male and Horse of the Year in 1995 and 1996; Escena, the top older female of 1998; Theatrical, the top turf male of 1987; Paradise Creek, the top turf male of 1994; Royal Delta, the top 3-year-old filly of 2011 and top older female in 2012 and 2013; and Close Hatches, the top older female of 2014.
In 2010, Mott picked up his first Triple Crown victory with Drosselmeyer's upset of the Belmont Stakes at odds of 13-1. Mott has had only 14 Triple Crown starters: seven in the Kentucky Derby, two in the Preakness and five in the Belmont. In 2011 Mott won his first Breeders' Cup Classic with Drosselmeyer at odds of 14-1.
In 1998, at the age of 45, Mott became the youngest trainer ever inducted into the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame in Saratoga Springs, N.Y., an honor previously held by Allen Jerkens. Became the ninth trainer in North American Thoroughbred history to reach 4,000 wins with Mystic at Saratoga Race Course on Aug. 7, 2010.
When Victory Gallop won the 1998 Belmont Stakes, Mott saddled the horse for trainer Elliott Walden, who was sidelined with a leg injury. Walden is now the racing manager for WinStar Farm, which owns Drosselmeyer.
Was voted back-to-back Eclipse Awards as top trainer in 1995 and 1996 and again in 2011, and was the recipient of the New York Turf Writers Association Outstanding Trainer Award in 1995, 1995 and 2000. Along with Cigar, late owner Allen Paulson and jockey Jerry Bailey, won the Turf Publicists of America Big Sport of Turfdom Award in 1996.
Mott has won nine training titles at Saratoga, 10 titles at Belmont Park, nine at Gulfstream Park and five at Keeneland. .He is the all-time winningest trainer at Churchill Downs, and set the record for number of victories at a single Churchill Downs meeting, 54, during the 1984 spring meet.
Currently has a stable of approximately 100 horses, based primarily in New York and Kentucky. Mott trained champion Royal Delta, two-time winner of the Breeders' Cup Ladies Classic. Mott was also responsible for the career of 2014 Eclipse champion Close Hatches. In 2016, he picked up his 10th career Breeders' Cup win when Tourist prevailed in the Breeders' Cup Mile.
Mott was a major player on the 2019 Kentucky Derby trail with two horses that earned enough qualifying points for the run for the roses – Wood Memorial Stakes Presented by NYRA Bets winner Tacitus and Risen Star Stakes Presented by Lamarque Ford runner-up Country House. On May 4, 2019, Mott secured that elusive Kentucky Derby victory when Country House won the first jewel of the Triple Crown after Maximum Security was disqualified.