Saratoga 2023: Trainers to watch

Saratoga Race Course photo by Josh Chicorelli

By Jarrod Horak

The 2023 Saratoga summer thoroughbred meet begins on Thursday, July 13. I covered the riders to watch at the Spa yesterday. Today, I will take a look at the top trainers to keep an eye on.  

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2022 Leading Trainers (wins): Chad Brown (42), Todd Pletcher (38), Christophe Clement (18), Mike Maker (17), Bill Mott (16)

2021 Leading Trainers (wins): Chad Brown (41), Todd Pletcher (31), Mike Maker (25), Steve Asmussen (19), Christophe Clement (17)

2022 Top Money Earning Trainers: Chad Brown ($6,182,875), Todd Pletcher ($5,228,755), Bill Mott ($3,262,117), Steve Asmussen ($2,558,096), Christophe Clement ($2,212,291)

2021 Top Money Earning Trainers: Chad Brown ($4,525,222), Todd Pletcher ($3,692,386), Steve Asmussen ($3,216,818), Brad Cox ($2,555,702), Bill Mott ($2,235,098)

2022 Highest In the Money Percentage – Wesley Ward (68%), Steve Asmussen (57%), Brad Cox (57%), Chad Brown (54%), Linda Rice (54%)

2021 Highest  In the Money Percentage – Linda Rice (66%), Chad Brown (56%), Todd Pletcher (55%), Brad Cox (54%), Christophe Clement (52%)

Top 3 Trainers to Watch

Brad Cox: He is currently 3-for-21 at Belmont (9 minor awards) and I am expecting him to make a much bigger impact at the Spa. He was one of the top “in the money” trainers the last two summers at Saratoga. He has a bunch of quality stakes horses in his barn including five Grade 1 winners, and he figures to unveil some promising juveniles this summer. 

Linda Rice: She had an outstanding “in the money” percentage at the Spa in 2021 (43 Top 3 finishes – 64 starters). She had 7 wins and a bunch of second and third place finishes that year, and doubled her Saratoga win output in 2022. She was the leading trainer at Saratoga in 2009. She currently leads Chad Brown 31-26 at the Belmont Park meet. Recently, she has had success claiming horses in Kentucky and winning with them in New York.  

Wesley Ward: He had a big Saratoga meet in 2022 (37 9-7-7). All of his recent starters competed at Belmont or Ellis Park, and he currently is 24 6-4-6 at Big Sandy. He usually has fast juvenile sprinters in his barn and Saratoga has a strong 2-year-old program. His sophomore filly Love Reigns (IRE) is targeting the Coronation Cup at the Spa on July 14. She won the Bolton Landing at Saratoga last summer and exits a victory in the Limestone at Keeneland.