Trainers to watch and wager on at Churchill Downs' September meet

Profile Picture: Keeler Johnson

September 10th, 2019

The annual September meet at Churchill Downs kicks off on Friday, September 13 and the 2019-2020 Road to the Kentucky Derby begins a day later with the $200,000 Iroquois Stakes (G3).

There’s a lot to look forward to at this short but competitive meet, which runs through October 1. Planning to watch and wager on the races? Knowing which trainers excel under certain circumstances can help point you in winning directions.

To help you identify the trainers most likely to produce profitable plays, we’ve used Statsmaster to compile a list of trainers to watch based on the results of the last five September meets at Churchill Downs. Good luck with your wagers!
  • Keep your eyes peeled for short-priced runners trained by Tom Amoss. Over the last two years, Amoss has gone 5-for-5 with horses starting as the favorite.
  • Another successful trainer of favorites is Chris Hartman, who has gone 7-for-15 (47%) with such runners over the last four September meets.
  • Try to get a feel early for how horses trained by Dale Romans are faring. Between 2014 and 2016, Romans went 18-for-80 (22%) and won two September meet titles, but his stable has been slower over the last couple seasons, at just 2-for-48 (4%). If Romans gets off to a hot start, his stable might be set for a rebound.
  • Steve Asmussen has long been one of the leading trainers at Churchill Downs, but like Romans, his stable has been a little quiet at recent September meets. Asmussen went 5-for-31 (16%) in 2016, 4-for-36 (11%) in 2017 and 5-for-41 (12%) in 2018, so it might be wise to pick your spots with Asmussen's runners.
  • Brad Cox has been a steady presence near the top of the trainer standings and has ranked in the top three by wins at the last four September meets. His strike rate during this time frame has been 28%, so it’s safe to say he saddles a lot of winners.
  • Watch out for 2-year-olds trained by Cox. After he went 2-for-7 (29%) in 2016 and 3-for-12 (25%) in 2017, Cox upped his game to go 4-for-11 (36%) in 2018 for a +9% ROI. Even more impressive? Cox went 3-for-4 (75%) with his juvenile first-time starters in 2018.
  • Amoss was on fire during the 2018 September meet, where he went 7-for-17 (41%, +68% ROI) to lead all trainers by races won. Whether he can repeat this extraordinary win percentage in 2019 remains to be seen, but it might pay to keep a close eye on Amoss’ runners early in the meet.