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Monday, January 4, 2016

How Some Trainers Fared in 2015

Eight of the top 25 trainers on the 2015 money list saw their stables earn less than they had in 2014, including the top two. Ron Burke fell more than $3.4 million short of last year’s record haul, which amounts to a 12% drop. His charges made 217 fewer starts which generated 108 fewer wins. Rules limiting participation by a single trainer in the Levy and Matchmaker at Yonkers, as well as the stakes raced at the Gural tracks would account for some of that. Burke’s UTRS dropped from 0.356 to 0.341. That being said, he was still almost $12 million ahead of second place Jimmy Takter.

Takter’s earnings were off 3%, or about $415,000. His horses started 54 fewer times, accounting for nine fewer wins. Burke had 801 more wins than the trot master, but Takter’s six wins on Breeders Crown night, in addition to eleven other checks from his starters, amounted to a record $2.69 million banked on a single card and secured a second consecutive Trainer of the Year award for him.

Number three Rene Allard had a remarkable year. 186 more starts led to 114 more wins and $2.2 million more than his barn earned in 2014, when he finished eighth on the list. Allard got 40% of his wins and half his money from Yonkers Raceway, where he won at a remarkable 25.8% clip. Being excluded from the Gural tracks obviously didn’t put a strain on his bottom line. Allard took $3.1 million out of Yonkers; only nine other drivers in North America earned that much overall for the year. His UTRS jumped from 0.340 to 0.393, which is higher than that achieved but all but two trainers in the top 50—with one of them being low volume Clyde Francis.

Tony Alagna made a significant jump from number seven to number four, as his barn earned $673,000 more than in 2014. And that’s while winning 14 fewer races on 62 fewer starts. His UTRS remained at a strong 0.336.

Bamond Racing grabbed the fifth spot, although Jeff Bamond Jr was the trainer of record, while PJ Fraley filled that role in 2014. Bamond’s horses made 216 fewer starts, accounting for 34 fewer wins, but their bankroll grew by $304,000—up 7%. Like Allard, Bamond thrived at Yonkers, as he accrued 60% of his earnings and 77% of his wins at that track.

Gilbert Garcia-Herrera, who checked in at number six, up three spots from 2014, was very busy in 2015. His charges made 578 more starts, giving him 70 more wins and more than a million dollars more in purse money. The latter represents a 25% uptick from last year. Like Allard, his name has been permanently expunged from Jeff Gural’s holiday greeting card list, but he’s thriving nonetheless. He races quite a bit in Pennsylvania, but he was number five at Yonkers, the source of 36% of his earnings and 27% of his wins. With all those extra starts his UTRS dipped from 0.361 to 0.318.

Julie Miller dropped back one spot to seventh. Her barn earned $375,000 less than last year on 29 fewer wins. Her UTRS dropped from 0.348 to 0.311.

Ake Svanstedt, who advanced nine spots to number eight, upped his earnings by $1.1 million, or 34%, on 196 more starts and 34 more wins. There was life after Sebastian.

Brian Brown also made a dramatic leap, from number 22 in 2014 to number nine this year. His bankroll grew by 38%--up $1.3 million. Brown won 37 more races on 122 more starts and his UTRS increased from 0.345 to 0.375. Lost For Words couldn’t quite get over the hump in the open class, but he still banked almost $700,000.

Virgil Morgan Jr, who is reaping the benefits of the Midwestern revival, remained at number ten. His earnings increased by just about $700,000, or 11%.

Erv Miller dropped eight spots to number 11. He had 52 fewer wins on 236 fewer starts and his money was down by a third--$1.5 million less. Miller’s UTRS dropped from 0.387 to 0.287. When the highly regarded Travel Playlist hit the wall in his BC elimination and scratched out of the final it was a major disappointment for Miller.

Thanks to the likes of Doo Wop Hanover and Rockeyed Optimist, Steve Elliott saw his earnings jump an impressive 60%--$1.7 million more. The number 12 trainer had 37 more wins on 111 extra starts and saw his UTRS rise from 0.293 to 0.331.

Richard Moreau, the winner of the 2014 O’Brien as well as the training dash championship in Canada this year, dropped back one spot to number 13. Although his earnings jumped by almost $403,000—up 14%. Moreau’s horses only made ten more starts, but they won 32 more races, and his UTRS was up to 0.337 from 0.309.

Thanks to Horse of the Year Wiggle It Jiggleit Clyde Francis, who had no earnings as a trainer in 2014, earned $2.2 million in 2015. 98% of his haul came from Wiggle. Francis averaged seasonal earnings of less than $12,000 the other nine years he trained. He was number 18.

The fact that Bee A Magician won six more races and earned $560,000 more this year helped Nifty Norman jump 16 slots to number 19. His stable upped its earnings by $645,000, which amounts to a 31% increase over last year.

Number 20 Richard Banca, who is another one not welcome at any of Jeff Gural’s parties, saw his bankroll grow by a startling 77% in 2015. He upped his stake by $1.6 million. The forty-year-old Banca, who acquired 93% of his money at Yonkers, won 119 more races on 539 more starts. The number three trainer at Yonkers, he won at a superb 24.9% rate. It’s been a decade since he last eclipsed the $2 million mark.

Casie Coleman, who was number four on last year’s trainer’s money list, falls all the way to number 23 this year. Her earnings are down $2.6 million dollars, or 58%.

Dr. Ian Moore, whose State Treasurer just won a Dan Patch, moved up 25 spots to number 24. He realized a $622,000 gain in earnings—34%--and sported a splendid UTRS of 0.440.

Chris Beaver, who was successful in the Ohio and Ontario Sire Stakes programs, jumped 16 rungs to number 35. His account grew by $258,000.

Jim Campbell, who posted his 1,000 training win in July, saw his earnings go up by 27% this year, as he earned $430,650 more than he did in 2014. And his UTRS rose from 0.282 to 0.337.

Tom Fanning added $300,000 to his earnings—up 21% from last year—and landed in slot 39 on the money list.

Thanks to Wakizashi Hanover and Purrfect Bags Jo Ann Looney-King upped her earnings by a million dollars and moved up to slot 41.

About a third of the trainers on the top 50 money list were not on it last year.

Joe FitzGerald




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