Todd Pletcher

Todd Pletcher

Pletcher in 2016
Occupation Thoroughbred Horse Trainer
Born (1967-06-26) June 26, 1967
Dallas, Texas
Career wins 4,000+ (ongoing)
Racing awards
  • Ashado – Top Older Female (2005); Top 3-Year-Old Filly (2004)
  • English Channel (horse) – Top Turf Male (2007)
  • Fleet Indian – Top Older Female (2006)
  • Lawyer Ron – Top Older Male (2007)
  • Left Bank – Top Older Male (2002)
  • Rags to Riches – Top 3-year-old filly (2007)
  • Speightstown – Top Sprinter (2004)
  • Wait a While – Top 3-Year-Old Filly (2006)
  • Uncle Mo – Top 2-Year-Old Colt (2010)


  • 2006 Saratoga, 24 victories
  • 2006 Belmont Fall, 15
  • 2005 Saratoga, 22
  • 2005 Belmont Fall, 23
  • 2005 Aqueduct Fall, 16
  • 2004 New York, 129
  • 2004 Saratoga, 35
  • 2004 Belmont Spring, 33
  • 2004 Belmont Fall, 23
  • 2003 New York, 134
  • 2003 Saratoga, 35
  • 2003 Belmont Spring, 40
  • 2003 Belmont Fall, 24
  • 2003 Aqueduct Fall, 15 (Tie)
  • 2002 Saratoga, 19
  • 2002 Belmont Spring, 30
  • 2002 Belmont Fall, 18 (Tie)
  • 2001 Belmont Fall, 17
  • 2001 Aqueduct Fall, 13
  • 1999 Belmont Spring, 18
  • 1998 Saratoga, 20
  • Received Eclipse Award as Top Trainer in 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2010, 2013 and 2014.
  • Presented with the Woody Stephens Award as Outstanding Trainer in 1998, 2002, 2005 and 2006 by the New York Turf Writers Association. He shared the award with Robert Frankel in 2002 and John Kimmel in 1998.
  • Presented with the Fourstardave Award for Outstanding Achievement in Saratoga in 1998 and 2003 by the New York Turf Writers Association.
Significant horses
Any Given Saturday, Ashado, Bluegrass Cat, Devil May Care, English Channel, Fleet Indian, Flower Alley, Harlem Rocker, Lawyer Ron, Liam's Map, Limehouse, Rags to Riches, Scat Daddy, Super Saver, Uncle Mo, Palace Malice, Stopchargingmaria, Rachel's Valentina,

Todd Pletcher (born June 26, 1967 in Dallas, Texas) is a leading American thoroughbred horse trainer. He has won four consecutive Eclipse Awards as outstanding Trainer of the Year while topping the leader board in purse earnings in 2004, 2005, and 2006. His horse Super Saver won the 2010 Kentucky Derby, the first of his 24 horses entered in his career to win the Run for the Roses. He also won the 2007 Belmont Stakes with filly Rags to Riches and the 2013 Belmont Stakes with Palace Malice.


Pletcher began working for his father, Jake, as a hot walker at the age of seven. During his summers off from junior and senior high school, he went to California, where he worked as a hot walker for Henry Moreno at Hollywood Park and Del Mar Racetracks.

He graduated from James Madison High School in San Antonio, Texas[1] in 1985 and began college at the University of Arizona in their Race Track Industry Program in the fall of that year. Between his sophomore and junior years, he worked as a groom for D. Wayne Lukas at Arlington Park near Chicago. He spent the following summer with another legendary Hall of Fame trainer, Charlie Whittingham, working as a groom at Hollywood Park. While attending the University of Arizona, Pletcher was an active member of Pi Kappa Alpha Fraternity.

He graduated from college with a Bachelor of Animal Science in May 1989 and traveled to New York immediately following graduation to work for Lukas as a foreman in the active stable. In 1991, he was promoted to assistant trainer for Lukas, splitting his time between New York and Florida. Pletcher was Lukas's East Coast Assistant until fall of 1995[2] where he was instrumental in the development of such great horses as Thunder Gulch, Harlan, Serena's Song, A Wild Ride, and Flanders. He took out his trainer's license in December 1995 and saddled his first winner, Majestic Number, in February 1996 at Gulfstream Park in Florida.

In 2004, he got his big break and trained three-year-old filly Ashado to a win in the Kentucky Oaks at Churchill Downs in Louisville. Later that year, Ashado won the Breeders' Cup Distaff. The filly went on to capture the Eclipse Awards for Outstanding Three-Year-Old of the year in 2004 and Best Older Female in 2005. Her stablemate, Speightstown, gave Pletcher a second Breeders' Cup win in 2004 in the Sprint division as well as a second Eclipse award when he was named Outstanding Sprint Horse that same year.

In 2005, Pletcher set a single season earnings record with purse earnings totaling $20,867,842 with trips to the winner's circle in ten Grade 1 races, including the Travers Stakes at Saratoga with Flower Alley and the Blue Grass Stakes at Keeneland Race Course with Bandini.[3]

Pletcher broke his own single-season earnings record on October 7, 2006, when Fleet Indian captured the Beldame Stakes at Belmont Park. That win proved to be the first in a day of multiple winners for Pletcher as Honey Ryder won the Flower Bowl Invitational, English Channel won the Joe Hirsch Turf Classic Invitational Stakes, and India won the Fitz Dixon Cotillion Breeders' Cup Handicap at Philadelphia Park. His purse earnings total $27,670,243.

Later that year, he broke the 19-year-old North American record for most stakes wins in a year, on October 14, when the two-year-old colt Scat Daddy won the $400,000 Champagne Stakes at Belmont Park, making it the 93rd stakes victory of the year for Pletcher. The record was set by his former boss and mentor, D. Wayne Lukas, in 1987. Pletcher's 93 stakes wins included 52 graded events and a career-best 17 Grade 1 wins.

Pletcher's season included a win with Bluegrass Cat in the $1,000,000 Haskell Invitational at Monmouth Park following the colt's second-place finishes in the Kentucky Derby and Belmont Stakes.[4]

In the 2007 Belmont Stakes, Pletcher earned his first win in a Triple Crown race when Rags to Riches became the first filly to win that race since 1905.[5]

After missing the winner's circle with 24 previous entries, Pletcher won his first Kentucky Derby on May 1, 2010 with Super Saver,[6] the 8-1 second choice, with jockey Calvin Borel aboard.

In 2013, Pletcher's Palace Malice, ridden by Mike Smith, won the 2013 Belmont Stakes.[7]

In May 2014, the 140th Kentucky Derby featured four of his horses:[8] Danza, Intense Holiday, Vinceremos and We Miss Artie.[9]

In May 2015, the 141th Kentucky Derby featured three more of his horses: Materiality, Itsaknockout, and Carpe Diem. They each finished 6th, 9th, and 10th, respectively. Another horse under his training,Stanford, was entered in the Kentucky Derby but was scratched- Pletcher believing he was not yet ready for a race of that stature.


Pletcher has amassed numerous training titles in New York, Kentucky and Florida, including five consecutive titles at the prestigious Saratoga Race Track summer meet. He has received several Fourstardave (for Special Achievement at Saratoga Race Course) and Woody Stevens (for outstanding trainer) Awards from the New York Turf Writers Association. He is also a recipient of six Eclipse Awards.[10]

Personal life

Pletcher and his wife, Tracy, live on Long Island, New York, with their three children.[1]


  1. 1 2 John Whisler. "Madison grad's five horses no guarantee at Kentucky Derby". San Antonio Express-News. Archived from the original on July 26, 2013. Retrieved June 24, 2013.
  2. Bill Finley (October 31, 2004). "Trainer Enjoys Breakthrough Day at Breeders' Cup". The New York Times. Retrieved May 4, 2014.
  3. "Bandini takes Blue Grass, next stop Kentucky Derby". Associated Press. May 3, 2005. Retrieved May 4, 2014.
  4. Mary Simon (February 28, 2013). "Bluegrass Cat: Leading New York sire by juvenile winners". Archived from the original on May 4, 2014. Retrieved May 4, 2014.
  5. Kevin Van Valkenburg (April 10, 2010). "Eskendereya looks like winner for Todd Pletcher". The Baltimore Sun. Archived from the original on May 4, 2014. Retrieved May 4, 2014.
  6. Becca Clemons (May 3, 2014). "Another busy Kentucky Derby day for Todd Pletcher". Archived from the original on May 3, 2014. Retrieved May 4, 2014.
  7. "Palace Belmont Stakes 2013: Palace Malice scores upset". Associated Press. Sporting News. June 8, 2013. Archived from the original on June 15, 2013. Retrieved May 4, 2014.
  8. Beth Harris (April 26, 2014). "140th Kentucky Derby could have four Todd Pletcher horse". Associated Press. The Boston Globe. Archived from the original on May 3, 2014. Retrieved May 4, 2014.
  9. "Kentucky Derby entry box full; trainer Todd Pletcher has 4 entries". Cape Breton Post. April 30, 2014. Retrieved May 4, 2014.
  10. "Kentucky Derby betting: Can Todd Pletcher get second win?". SB Nation. April 17, 2014. Archived from the original on May 4, 2014. Retrieved May 4, 2014.
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