Race Horse Trainers

No other form of betting beats the sheer excitement of having a bet on horse racing. Every year, hundreds of thousands of people tune in for a race that only takes a few minutes. In preparation for these prestigious events, experienced trainers groom and guide horses for the run of their lives.

Horse trainers have a tremendous amount of influence in this sport, and they are always factors in handicapping horse racing. There are great race horse trainers who are nearly always worth wagering on, because they know how to create champions. Their methods are usually kept top secret, but you get to see the results on the track.

Here, we will showcase some of the best horse race trainers in the world. So the next time you plan to wager on a racing event, take a look at the names of the trainers. You might find that some of them have already shaped horse racing legends throughout their careers.

What is a Horse Trainer?

If you are new to watching and betting on the ponies, then you might be curious as to what a horse trainer actually does.

A horse trainer is someone who trains horses for racing. This usually involves feeding the horses, exercising them and getting them to tip-top shape. There are other horse trainers who specialize in show jumping, reining, dressage, endurance riding, tent pegging, vaulting, polo and rodeo.

A horse trainer’s job is to prepare a horse to accept riders and run at top speed. A trainer helps a horse to adapt to wearing bridles and saddles, as well as help them understand riding commands.

A horse trainer analyses a horse’s behaviour and creates a racing strategy based on it. Some horses are more spirited than others, while others are more aggressive or more nervous. If need be, a trainer will correct some of these behaviours, so that it would not negatively impact a horse’s performance on racing events.

Top Race Horse Trainers in the World

Winning a horse race involves a three-way partnership – the horse, the jockey and the trainer must all work together in order to arrive at victory on the race track. When it comes to race horse training, trainers have to engage in diligent planning, in order to prepare a horse to run his best race at the right time.

Top horse trainers exhibit great knowledge of horses and good instincts. Here are some of the best horse racing trainers in the world.

Mark Johnston

Mark Johnston graduated as a veterinary surgeon, and worked alongside other trainers like Tommy Craig, Charles Milbank and John Russell. Soon, he began to train horses himself, and took his first win at Carlisle with Hinari Video. In 1988, he purchased Kingsley House, in Middleham, North Yorkshire and has been training horses there ever since. Today, the property boasts an on-site equine swimming pool, horse jacuzzi, lunging rings, three sand rings, and an undercover six-horse electronic horse walker. There are, of course, veterinary amenities available at Kingsley House as well.

Johnston is known for training his horses' front running style.

Most Notable Horses Trained:

  • Marina Park
  • Bijou d'Inde
  • Lend a Hand
  • Fruits of Love
  • Land of Dreams
  • Attraction
  • Shamardal
  • Mister Baileys
  • Double Trigger
  • Princely Heir

William Mott

William Mott is best known for his work on the famous racehorse Cigar, who was hailed the Champion Older Male and Eclipse Award for Horse of the Year in 1995. Mott started his career at a very young age, and started winning with his trained Thoroughbreds when he was 15-years-old. In fact, he was only in high school when he first won the South Dakota Futurity.

In 1982, Mott set a record number of 54 wins at a single meeting at Churchill Downs. He was inducted into the National Museum Racing and Hall of Fame in 1998, at the age of 45.

Most Notable Horses Trained:

  • Cigar
  • Kosmic
  • Tour Paradise
  • Creek Taylor's
  • Special Escena
  • Ajina Fraise
  • Theatrical
  • Favorite Trick
  • Court Vision

Aidan O’Brian

Aidan O'Brien is Ireland's most successful race horse trainers, and is definitely one of the best in the world today. He broke records when he sent out two winners on his first day in the National Hunt as a trainer. He broke further records in his second season when he broke the previous number of wins by a trainer in a year.

Most Notable Horses Trained:

  • Johannesburg
  • Dylan Thomas
  • George Washington
  • Yeats
  • Desert Song
  • Holy Roman Emperor
  • One Cool Cat
  • Desert King
  • Horatio
  • Scorpion

Bob Baffert

Bob Baffert is one of the most successful American race horse trainers in the industry, with trained horses of his that have won many races, including three Kentucky Derbies, five Preakness Stakes, two Kentucky Oaks and one Belmont Stakes.

Baffert started out his career training American Quarter Horses. He then started training Thoroughbreds in 1991. Soon, he became the top money-winning trainer in the US. Baffert received the United States Leading Trainer by Earnings award four times. He also won the Eclipse Award for Outstanding Trainer three years in a row.

In 2007, Baffert was inducted into the Lone Star Parks Hall of Fame. That same year, he joined the Board of Directors of the Thoroughbred Owners of California.

No race horse coach in recent years has ever come close as Baffert to winning the US Triple Crown. Baffert won the first two legs of the Triple Crown with Silver Charm and War Emblem. He has exceptional talent for choosing horses with unseen gifts, and has been called “a horse whisper” by GQ magazine.

Most Notable Horses Trained:

  • Captain Steve
  • Congaree
  • Point Given
  • Real Quiet
  • Silverbulletday
  • Silver Charm
  • Thirty Slews
  • Vindication
  • War Emblem
  • Midnight Lute

Christophe Clement

Christophe Clement's incredible horse training career includes over 130 graded stakes winners, and 5,000 lifetime starters. He was born in Paris, France. Clement claims that his training talents came from his father (who was also a leading horse trainer in France), and to growing up in Chantilly yard.

In 1991, Clement opened his own stable with only six horses. But with the first horse he saddled, Spectaculaire, he won the Belmont Stakes that same year.

Most Notable Horses Trained:

  • Mauralakana
  • Gio Ponti
  • Sporting Art
  • Rutherienne
  • In Summation
  • Satan's Circus
  • Forbidden Apple
  • Vacare
  • Meribel
  • Coretta

Lee Freedman

Lee Freedman is arguably the leading race horse trainer in Australia today. He has many famous wins to his credit, including five Melbourne Cup wins, four Golden Slippers, four Caulfield Cups, two Cox Plates, and a sprint win at the 2007 Royal Ascot in England with Miss Andretti.

Freedman was born in Sydney, and comes from a long line of horse racing professionals. His father, Tony Freedman, began training and breeding horses after retiring, while his great grandfather, Bill “Midge” Mclachlan, was one of the finest riders of Australia in the 1900s.

Most Notable Horses Trained:

  • Super Impose
  • Doriemus
  • Schillaci
  • Mannerism
  • Mahogany
  • Subzero
  • Bint Marscay
  • Danzero
  • Makybe Diva
  • Miss Andretti

Todd Pletcher

Todd Pletcher was born in Texas on June 26, 1967. At a young age, he was already exposed to the world of horse racing. He started out as a hot walker for his father, Jake Pletcher, when he was around seven years old. While he was studying in college towards a degree in Animal Science, he worked as a groom.

After graduating, Pletcher moved to New York as a foreman for D. Wayne Lukas. He was the promoted in 1991 to assistant trainer. By the time 1995 rolled around, Pletcher had received his trainer's license.

Only a year later, Pletcher had his first winner. Majestic number came in 1996, and he was just the beginning of Pletcher’s winning streak. With Scat Daddy, Pletcher broke the most stakes won record in North America. That win with Scat Daddy was Pletcher’s 93rd stakes win, which was made up of 17 Grade One victories and 52 graded events.

Pletcher’s next great accomplishment was with Rags to Riches. In 2007, Rags to Riches became the first filly since 1905 to win the Belmont Stakes.

Most Notable Horses Trained:

  • Rags To Riches
  • Bluegrass Cat
  • Ashado
  • Fleet Indian
  • Honey Ryder
  • English Channel
  • India
  • Scat Daddy
  • Flower Alley
  • Majestic Number

Andre Fabre

Arguably the greatest living trainer in France, Andre Fabre has won four Breeders Cups and countless Group One races. He studied to be a lawyer, but followed a career in horse racing instead. He started out in the business as a groom and then a schooling rider. He then became one of France's top jump jockey, winning over 250 races.

As a titan of flat thoroughbred horse racing, Fabre trained Hurricane Run and Manduro who became the World's Top Ranked Horse in 2005 and 2007 respectively. In 2011, Fabre fulfilled his lifelong dream of winning the Epsom Derby with Pour Moi.

Most Notable Horses Trained:

  • Hurricane Run
  • Swain
  • Trempolino
  • Peintre Celebre
  • Rail Link
  • Arcangues
  • Thewayyouare
  • Shirocco
  • Crystal Glitters
  • Manduro

John Lyons

John Lyons is the most popular American horse trainers who advocate natural horsemanship. His approach to training horses is to create a relationship between the horse and the jockey through operant conditioning. Operant conditioning is a way of learning through reinforcements to increase favourable behaviour, and punishments to decrease unfavourable behaviour.

Lyons is recognized as “America’s Most Trusted Horseman”. He has won many awards in the field of horsemanship. These awards include Equitana USA’s Modern Masters Award for Outstanding Horsemanship, and the University of Louisville’s John W. Galbreath Award for outstanding contributions to the horse industry.