For photos from the Meadowlands contact

Monday, August 15, 2016

How The Super Trainer Arose

In the past, you have heard me talk how the big stables are hurting the sport.  Today, I bring you another voice on this subject confirming what I have said in the past.   Zocalli discusses how the big stables have managed to corner the racing market in the Northeast portion of the country, through their numbers managing to have horses for seemingly every stakes race and quite honestly most overnight classes.  To try to compete against these trainers means picking up the scraps.  For an owner, it is a game you can't enter.  For a bettor, it means fewer wagering options in states which still couple all trainer entries, in other situations, it means reduced payoffs as some handicappers will just look for these trainers when wagering; let's face it, super trainers tend to get the super drivers.

How did we get here?  Part of it is human nature, people want to win and if they see trainers doing better than their own trainers, it is just a matter of time before these owners are bring their horses over to a new trainer.  Once we got racinos and slot-fueled purses, the willingness to give a smaller trainer a chance reduced, there was more to lose so owners flocked to the major trainers.  As successful as these trainers are, they can't train every horse so their rates increased, leaving those with cheaper stock on the sidelines.

So, you may say, what about the Meadowlands, purses aren't slot-fueled there?  True, but let's face it, purses in the lower teens there is still better than racing at some tracks, even those with slots.  Besides, with a stakes program which surpasses (surpassed?) many slot tracks, these trainers have set up their shingles there.

Forget about trying to attract new owners for a second.  There is another problem we face, the lack of trainers.  As smaller trainers are forced to cut back or leave the sport, they certainly aren't encouraging their children to go into the business.  Once these super trainers retire, who is going to replace them?

It likely will never happen, but I can't help but wish we did something like done in Macau; the club approves X number of trainers to race there and those who wish to race there have to choose one of those trainers.  Once a trainer's stable was full, you had to choose another trainer to train your horse.

Just in case you missed it over the weekend, an equine friend of mine, Tristan, was euthanized.  If you are so inclined you may read the article here.


Anonymous said...

I was under the impression that, in harness racing, the driver got 5% of the purse and the trainer also got 5%. I have no doubt that Mr. Zocalli is correct but from whence did these additional training fees come in? Perhaps my naitivite is showing never having been a horse owner myself. The 5%/5%/90% split seems to keep everyone honest, no? Is the game not played that way?

Pacingguy said...

The trainer gets 5% of the winnings but in addition is able to charge a daily training fee, room, board, vet bills, shipping and paddock fees, etc. as well.