Looking at where drivers and trainers rank now, a week into October, for wins and money as compared with this point in the season last year, we see mixed results. Ron Burke’s high end aged stock has disappointed; perhaps that’s one of the reasons he’s about 100 wins and $2.6 million behind his record setting pace of 2014. He needs about $9.5 million in the last quarter of the season to reach his $28.4 million record; that would represent a third of what his stable earned in all of 2014.
We still have the second week of the Lexington meet, the Breeders Crown, the Fall Final Four, Matron and others, but December is pretty much a dead month, so it will be a chore to make up all that ground over the course of the next seven weeks.
Number two Jimmy Takter is having another great year, but he’s still more than $960,000 short of where he was a week into October in 2014. Patrick has been retired, Cerry isn’t herself and Nuncio is racing in Europe.
Since the leader on the driver board, Yannick Gingras, works primarily for those two trainers, it’s no surprise that his bottom line is suffering. Like Burke, Yannick is down about 100 wins, and he’s light $3 million. He needs almost $7.5 million to reach last year’s record total. That 43% shortfall would be very tough to make up in such a short period of time.
Rene Allard, who is not a major presence on the Grand Circuit, is ahead of last year by 65 or so wins and up more than $1.4 million. His brother Simon is also up by almost 50 wins and a million dollars.
Jeff Bamond is fourth on the trainers list, but PJ Fraley was the trainer of record for that stable last year. Jeff is $390,000 ahead of what PJ had banked to this point.
Second place driver David Miller has 40 more wins but he’s up $1.3 million, while third place Tim Tetrick is right about where he was—showing 17 fewer wins but only $3,300 or so off what he had a week into October of 2014.
Many of the Yonkers drivers are ahead of last year in the money column. Jason Bartlett only has a handful more wins, but he’s ahead $1.7 million; Sears is down more than 50 wins, but he’s still up more than $330,000; George Brennan is down 60 wins, but ahead $9,000. Dan Dube has 100 plus more wins than he had last October and he’s ahead of the game a nifty $2.6 million. Tyler Buter has 80 more wins and is up more than $2 million. Mark MacDonald is short 25 wins but he’s ahead $330,000. Sylvain Filion is the only WEG based driver with more money than MacDonald. That’s a telling stat.
Filion is up more than 100 wins, but he only has an extra $350,000 to show for it. Doug McNair is up more than 50 wins and $340,000. Randy Waples has about the same number of wins, but he’s short $320,000. Jody Jamieson is down almost 80 wins and $940,000. While James MacDonald is off 100 wins and more than $650,000. So, for the most part, the WEG drivers aren’t faring very well in comparison to 2014.
Trainer Tony Alagna is down a dozen wins, but up about $50,000. He’s currently in fifth and with Casie Coleman and Erv Miller dropping back, he’s in a position to improve on last season’s seventh place finish. Miller is off about 50 wins and $1.3 million, while Coleman, who is also short 50 or so wins, is short $2 million.
Steve Elliott, the trainer of four-year-old star Doo Wop Hanover, is already 29 wins and $960,000 ahead of what he did in all of last year.
Ake Svanstedt is ahead of his 2014 pace, as he has won 37 more races and his charges have earned a half million more to this point.
George Napolitano Jr, who is only a dozen wins from the top in the dash race, continues to have a tremendous year. He’s 75 wins ahead of last year and up more than $890,000. Scott Zeron is also thriving; his win total is up by 24 and his money by more than $840,000.
Brett Miller, on the other hand, is down $840,000 and 100 wins. As Burke and Takter have cooled off, so have their regular drivers. Matt kakaley is down a million dollars and more than 70 wins.
Some criticize Ronnie Wrenn Jr for racking up the wins but not earning a commensurate amount of money. Well, he’s only 7 wins ahead of last year right now, but he’s got an extra $825,000 in the piggy bank.
Corey Callahan, who is fifth in the dash race and sixth in dollars, has more than 70 extra wins and $1.1 million beyond what he had on this day last year. The King of the NYSS, Jim Morrill Jr, is up a little more than that, despite 17 fewer wins.
A couple of more trainers who are killing it are Brian Brown, who has 43 more wins than he did one year ago and has banked $1.1 million more, and Virgil Morgan Jr, who has earned $950,000 more than last year on 31 more wins. BAM’s trainer Nifty Norman is $720,000 ahead on 17 more wins. And Jim Campbell is plus $280,000 on 17 more wins.
So the guys at the top of the totem pole, Burke, Takter and Gingras are still wildly successful, but for one reason or another not to the degree they were in 2014. One or all may get hot over the next several weeks and catch up to themselves, but it won’t be easy. In addition, there are plenty of success stories from across the spectrum, from the likes of Steve Elliott, Jeff Bamond, Jim Campbell, Dan Dube, Tyler Buter and Scott Zeron.