What Trainers Are In the 2017 Kentucky Derby?
Kentucky Derby Trainers
If you want to learn more about the trainers who have contenders running in the Kentucky Derby, then you have come to the right place!
STEVE ASMUSSEN (HENCE, LOOKIN AT LEE, UNTRAPPED):
A Hall of Fame trainer, Asmussen is also a dual winner of the Eclipse Award for outstanding trainer. Is the second-leading trainer of all time by wins. Yet to train a Derby winner, though he went close with Curlin (2007) and Gun Runner (2016); he has won the Preakness Stakes twice, with Curlin and Rachel Alexandra, and the Belmont Stakes with Creator last year.
CHAD BROWN (PRACTICAL JOKE):
The reigning Eclipse Award winner for outstanding trainer. Best known as an outstanding trainer of turf horses, particularly fillies and mares, but he has shown with horses such as Wavell Avenue and Practical Joke that he knows what he’s doing with dirt runners. Multiple Breeders’ Cup winner but yet to win a Triple Crown race.
MARK CASSE (CLASSIC EMPIRE, STATE OF HONOR):
American-Canadian trainer who has won Canada’s Sovereign Award for outstanding trainer nine times. Has won multiple grade I races in North America, and trained dual Eclipse Award winner Tepin to win the Queen Anne Stakes at Royal Ascot in England in 2016. Yet to win a Triple Crown race.
KEITH DESORMEAUX (SONNETEER):
Brother of leading jockey Kent Desormeaux. Has risen in the training ranks in recent years, especially through the deeds of Texas Red, the 2014 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile winner, and Exaggerator, who followed his Kentucky Derby second place finish last year with victory in the Preakness Stakes.
JERRY HOLLENDORFER (BATTLE OF MIDWAY):
California-based Hall of Fame trainer whose success rate is higher than ever. Trained Eclipse Award winners Blind Luck, Shared Belief, and Songbird. Yet to win a Triple Crown race, though he has won the Kentucky Oaks three times.
MIKE MAKER (FAST AND ACCURATE):
Trained Hansen, who won the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile and then contested the Kentucky Derby for owner Dr. Kendall Hansen, who also owns Fast and Accurate. Has been in the top 20 trainers by earnings every year since 2011.
GRAHAM MOTION (IRISH WAR CRY):
English-born trainer who has been one of the best conditioners based in Maryland for more than two decades. Prepared Animal Kingdom to win the 2011 Kentucky Derby and 2013 Dubai World Cup, as well as 2014 Eclipse Award-winning turf star Main Sequence.
DOUG O’NEILL (IRAP):
California-based trainer who knows how to win the Kentucky Derby, having done so twice. Prepared I’ll Have Another to win the Derby and the Preakness in 2012, and Champion 2-year-old male Nyquist to win the 2016 Derby.
TODD PLETCHER (ALWAYS DREAMING, PATCH, TAPWRIT, MASTER PLAN):
One of the most dominant trainers in North America, he’s almost always near the top in season earnings and has won seven Eclipse Awards. Has brought numerous horses to the Derby, and won the classic in 2010 with Super Saver. Has also won the Belmont Stakes twice.
DALE ROMANS (J BOYS ECHO):
A Louisville local who was the Eclipse Award-winning trainer in 2012, Romans won the Preakness Stakes with Shackleford in 2011 and has had a number of near-misses in the Derby: third in 2010 with Paddy O’Prado, fourth with Shackleford in 2011, third with Dullahan in 2012. Also produced Keen Ice to deliver American Pharoah his only 3-year-old defeat in the Travers Stakes.
ANTONIO SANO (GUNNEVERA):
A Venezuelan immigrant who arrived in the United States eight years ago, Sano has already produced four graded stakes winners from his stable. By far the best is his Derby contender Gunnevera, a $16,000 purchase whose Peacock Racing Stables ownership team is made up of a Spaniard and two Venezuelans. The most notable Venezuelan in U.S. racing, Javier Castellano, will ride for them.
JOE SHARP (GIRVIN):
Worked for Mike Stidham and Mike Maker before setting up on his own in September 2014 with his wife, former leading jockey Rosie Napravnik, working as assistant trainer. Produced his first graded stakes winner within a year when Sandbar won the Maryland Sprint Handicap in 2015, and has been prominent at the Fair Grounds winter meets. Girvin is his best horse to date.
JOHN SHIREFFS (GORMLEY, ROYAL MO):
Astute trainer who has been preparing horses in California since 1978. Knows how to win the Kentucky Derby, having done so with Giacomo (at 50-1 odds) in 2005. Best-known as the trainer of champion mare Zenyatta, who, like Gormley and Royal Mo, is owned by Jerry and Ann Moss.
SAEED BIN SUROOR (THUNDER SNOW):
The main Dubai and European trainer for Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al Maktoum’s powerful Godolphin team since 1995. Has been champion British trainer four times; though he has yet to win an American Triple Crown race, he has won 12 British classics, and numerous American grade I races.
IAN WILKES (MCCRAKEN):
Born and raised in Australia, Wilkes took a job as an assistant to Hall of Fame trainer Carl Nafzger in 1990, and was with him when Street Sense won the 2007 Kentucky Derby. Won the Breeders’ Cup Classic in 2012 with Fort Larned and has impressed many with his handling of 2017 Derby contender McCraken.