Top trainers vie for 2019 Eclipse Award

January 2nd, 2020

Who will win the 2019 Eclipse Award for outstanding trainer? There are plenty of accomplished candidates to choose from, a testament to the quality of racing (and training) in 2019.

Chad Brown, who has won the last three titles, will be favored to win his fourth straight January 23. But the award features three finalists, and the battle for the remaining two spots will be competitive. A large group of successful trainers will be in the mix.

Let’s review the achievements of the top five trainers of 2019 by earnings, usually the best metric for determining overall success at the highest level of the sport.

(All data as recorded by Equibase.com through December 26)

1. Chad Brown

Wins: 218 from 814 starts (27%)

Earnings: $30,993,754

With 20 grade 1 wins in 2019, Chad Brown dominated the high end of racing in 2019, particularly on turf. Five of those top-level triumphs came courtesy of Bricks and Mortar, whose victory in the Breeders’ Cup Turf (G1) cemented his status as the favorite for . Brown also saddled Uni to win the Breeders’ Cup Mile (G1) and Structor to claim the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf (G1). His win rate was among the highest of the season.

2. Steve Asmussen

Wins: 431 from 2,186 starts (20%)

Earnings: $27,389,450

Asmussen, a two-time Eclipse Award winner, won 11 grade 1 races in 2019, including the Breeders’ Cup Sprint (G1) with shoo-in champion male sprinter Mitole. Another Asmussen runner, Midnight Bisou, went 7-for-8 against graded stakes company and seems almost certain to secure the Eclipse Award as champion older dirt mare. He ranks second in the nation by wins, well ahead of Brad Cox (fourth) and Chad Brown (fifth).

3. Todd Pletcher

Wins: 173 from 778 starts (22%)

Earnings: $17,693,009

Compared to Brown and Asmussen, Pletcher had a quiet year, with just two grade 1 victories to his credit. But those top-level triumphs came courtesy of Vino Rosso, who enjoyed success in the Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) and Gold Cup at Santa Anita (G1) to make a run at the Eclipse Award for champion older dirt male. Pletcher also enjoyed international success in 2019. He saddled Coal Front to win the Godolphin Mile (G2) in Dubai.

4. Brad Cox

Wins: 229 from 931 starts (25%)

Earnings: $17,395,573

A rising star in the training ranks, Cox won five grade 1 races in 2019 and nabbed a pair of Breeders’ Cup victories with Covfefe (Filly & Mare Sprint) and British Idiom (Juveniles Fillies). Both Covfefe and British Idiom are expected to win Eclipse Awards in their respective divisions, so Cox should match Asmussen with a pair of champions in his stable.

5. Mark Casse

Wins: 197 from 1,175 starts (17%)

Earnings: $16,159,343

Although Casse failed to saddle a Breeders’ Cup winner in 2019, he more than compensated by winning two-thirds of the Triple Crown with War of Will (Preakness Stakes) and Sir Winston (Belmont Stakes). Two of his five grade 1 wins this season were posted by Got Stormy, the runner-up in the Breeders’ Cup Mile and a contender for champion turf female honors at the Eclipse Awards.

Who would receive your vote for outstanding trainer?