- Top horse trainers have won millions of dollars in prize money, with William Mott, Todd Pletcher, and Bob Baffert leading the pack.
- Steven Asmussen and D. Wayne Lukas are also among the most profitable trainers in horse racing history.
- Robert Frankel, Chad Brown, Jerry Hollendorfer, Claude R. McGaughey III, and Barclay Tagg are other notable trainers with impressive earnings.
- Josie Carroll and Ralph Nicks are up-and-coming trainers who have seen success in recent years.
- Horse racing can be a lucrative industry for those who have the right skills and a bit of luck.
If you know what you’re doing, then it can be good to be a horse trainer. While every trainer will reach varying levels of success, the professionals on this list are at the top of their game, and they are raking in some major funds with millions in prize money and other assets. To show you what we mean, we present the richest horse trainers in the world in no particular order.
In addition to being one of the most respected horse trainers on the planet, William Mott is also one of the richest horse trainers in the world. In fact, he’s won so much that he’s pulled in more than $327 million in prize money, and that’s considering the fact that he has a low strike (win) rate of 19%. Several of his horses are multi-million dollar earners that have made their mark on many races.
Currently, Mott runs a stable of 100+ horses of various skill levels, so there will likely be more winning in his future.
It’s fair to say that while Todd Pletcher is one of the richest horse trainers in the world, things are only going to get better for this noteworthy trainer. At this point, Pletcher has already taken in more than $450 million in prize money, which is partly due to his remarkable win rate of 23%. During his time, Pletcher has trained some great horses, including Honey Ryder and Ashado. His success will likely continue this year as he oversees a vast operation of some 200 horses with divisions at the nation’s leading tracks.
When most people think about horse racing, one of the first people that comes to mind is super trainer Bob Baffert. All in all, Baffert has won about $342 million in prize money during his long and lustrous career. He’s trained many horses, and a couple of them have passed the $10 million mark in prize money. One of his horses, Arrogate has pulled in over $17 million.
The bad news is that Babbert is no longer able to make entries into the Kentucky Derby for the foreseeable future since one of his horses, Medina Spirit, was disqualified in 2021. It was during that year that the horse won, but it was soon discovered that Medina Spirit tested positive for the steroid betamethasone. However, Baffert’s profitable journey is far from over in other races.
At the time of this writing, Steven Asmussen is the second most profitable horse trainer of all time with career winnings of close to $410 million in prize money. This guy rarely loses, and he currently sits at a 20% win rate because of the many superstar horses that he has led to victory. Asmussen is well known for one particular horse named Gun Runner that has been responsible for close to $16 million in winnings, including a major victory during the G1 Pegasus World Cup Invitational, among many other wins.
D. Wayne Lukas
It’s no surprise that D. Wayne Lukas is on this list. After all, he’s been in the business for over 50 years, and he has the winnings to prove it. Believe it or not, he’s racked up over 5,000 wins so far with no signs of stopping. He’s won the Kentucky Derby, Belmont Stakes, and more. The years have been good to him, and he’s pulled in over $290 million in prize money through it all. Two of his horses have brought in close to $4 million dollars on their own. Some of his most famous horses include Lady’s Secret and Serena’s Song.
During his extended career, Robert Frankel has won more than $227 million in prize money while achieving a 21% win rate. He passed away at the age of 68 after battling lymphoma and leukemia. During his career, Frankel won many different races, including the Queen’s Plate, Japan Cup, and more. One of his most notable horses was Medaglia d’Oro, who brought in more than $5.7 million during his career.
Another of the richest horse trainers in the world is the great Chad Brown. He is famous for his horses who have won on the turf, including Bricks and Mortar, who won the G1 Pegasus World Cup Turf and brought in $7 million in winnings. Other notable horses include Big Blue Kitten and Sistercharlie. Chad Brown is still going strong to this day, and so far, he has amassed over $253 in prize money.
Over the course of his career, Jerry Hollendorfer has won over $206 million, and that number is growing over time. He’s won in several races with his stable of amazing horses, including Blind Luck, Shared Belief, and Songbird. Hollendorfer is also notable for being the most successful trainer in the history of Northern California. Although, in June 2019, Hollendorfer was banned forever from Stronach Group facilities, owners of Santa Anita Park, following the death of four of his horses in a six-month period at the track. At 76 years old, he is still going strong, and in 2011, he was introduced into the US Racing Hall of Fame.
Claude R. McGaughey III
Currently, the 10th of the richest horse trainers in the world is Claude R. McGaughey, or “Shug” as he goes with friends and Family. Shug has been going strong since 1979, and he has won more than 240 races in that time. At this point, he’s won more than $167 million in prize money with an incredible stable of horses. He has nine victories in the Breeder’s Cup, which is a record second only to the aforementioned D. Wayne Lukas. In 2004, he made it into the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame.
Although they aren’t on the top of the list yet, there are many rising stars that are making a big impression on the sport of horse racing. At some point, they could also be some of the richest horse trainers in the world.
First, we have Barclay Tagg, one of the rising stars that is on his way to becoming one of the richest horse trainers in the world. Though not in the top 10, Tagg has been finding great success in recent years. In 2020 alone, he won over $3 million, which is up from the $1.55 million he won in 2019. One of his most noteworthy horses is Tiz the Law, a horse that has won the Belmont Stakes, among other victories. He has a couple of other awesome horses, too, including Highland Glory.
Although not in the top 10 richest just yet, Josie Carroll could end up being there soon if she keeps up her winning ways. In 2020, Carroll won close to $3 million, and she has a duo of horses (Mighty Heart and Belichick) that have won multiple races in recent years. She could have won more money, but COVID-19 restrictions shut down some of the races.
Mr. Nicks is another of the rising stars in the horse racing scene, and he seems to make more money every year. In 2020 alone, he pulled in $2.3 million, which is up from the $2.1 million he made in 2019. Nicks has found success in the Florida Derby and Tampa Bay Downs. His top earner in 2020 was the horse Shivaree, which won $334,355 in 2020. His horses include Seazan and Liam’s Lucky Charm.
This is just a selection of some of the richest horse trainers in the world. The fact is that the sport can be very profitable for those who win, and these professionals have proven just how great horse racing can be. With the right intuition, the best jockey, and a little luck, anyone who loves horses could one day find their name on this list.
Summary of the Top 12 Richest Horse Trainers in the World
|Rank||Horse Trainer||Amount Earned|
|1||William Mott||327 million career earnings|
|2||Todd Pletcher||450 million career earnings|
|3||Bob Baffert||342 million career earnings|
|4||Steven Asmussen||410 million career earnings|
|5||D. Wayne Lukas||290 million career earnings|
|6||Robert Frankel||227 million career earnings|
|7||Chad Brown||253 million career earnings|
|8||Jerry Hollendorfer||206 million career earnings|
|9||Claude R. McGaughey III||167 million career earnings|
|10||Barclay Tagg||3 million in 2020|
|11||Josie Carroll||3 million in 2020|
|12||Ralph Nicks||2.3 million in 2020|
The photo featured at the top of this post is © Lukas Gojda/Shutterstock.com
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