Even if the Kentucky Derby is the only horse race you watch all year long and you consider yourself only a tepid fan of the sport, chances are you are familiar with the name Todd Pletcher. Over the past few years, Todd Pletcher has arguably been the most successful trainer in horseracing. His ultra-successful racing stable regularly sends horses to all three legs of the Triple Crown and the Breeders Cup Championships.
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Todd Pletcher was born in Dallas, Texas and grew up in a racing family. His father, Jake, trained quarterhorses on the racing circuits of the American Southwest, specifically Ruidoso Downs in New Mexico. Todd learned the business by starting as a hotwalker in his father’s stable and then working himself up to a groom during his summers off from high school. There were no shortcuts for Pletcher.
After graduating high school in 1985, Pletcher attended the University of Arizona Racetrack Industry Program in Tucson and then began a series of jobs that essentially apprenticed him with some of the best trainers in the history of racing. Pletcher was a foreman for the racing stable of D. Wayne Lukas and also worked for Charlie Whittingham. By 1989 the young horseman had graduated from college with a Bachelor of Animal Science, making him something of a rarity among trainers. Pletcher not only has the practical experience to succeed but is well-educated.
In December of 1995, Todd Pletcher obtained his own thoroughbred trainer’s license and saddled his first winner, a horse named Majestic Number, just two months later. From there on his rise among the ranks of horsemen was meteoric.
Since that time and up to the present writing of this article, Pletcher has won an astounding 1,014 stakes races all over the world. It is rare to see a major stakes race that does not include a Pletcher-trained entry in the field. While situated primarily on the East Coast, Pletcher has the capability to ship his horses anywhere in the country to compete. This makes him a force to be reckoned with on any racing circuit.
Among Pletcher’s more notable success stories is the filly Rags to Riches who in 2007 became the first filly to defeat males in the Belmont Stakes since 1905. The victory also marked Pletcher’s first win in a Triple Crown event. Pletcher also won his first Kentucky Derby in 2010 with Super Saver.
Pletcher has received a total of six Eclipse Awards, including the award for top trainer in four consecutive years from 2004-2007.
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