Asmussen, Baffert, Brown, Cox Dominating Grade 1 Competition

Four trainers – Steve Asmussen, Bob Baffert, Chad Brown and Brad Cox – have combined to win 41% of the 83 Grade 1 races won in North America so far this year, a marked increase in the success rate for racing’s elite “super trainers” from just a decade ago.

Asmussen and Cox have won nine G1 races each this year, with Baffert and Brown just one behind. Throw in Todd Pletcher’s six G1 wins and fully 40 of 83 (48%) of the sport’s most important races have been won this year by horses from one of five stables.

Going back a decade to 2011, the dominance was not as severe. When that racing year ended, Bob Baffert led all trainers with 11 G1 wins, but the trainer with the next highest number was Dale Romans, with six, followed by Todd Pletcher, H. Graham Motion and William Mott, with five apiece.

The combined 32 G1 races won by those five trainers accounted for 28% of the 116 G1 stakes run by the end of 2011.

Looking at all graded stakes run so far this year, Pletcher leads the way with 29, followed by Cox at 28, Brown at 27, Baffert at 26, and Asmussen at 20. The combined 110 graded race wins by those five trainers accounts for 28% of all the graded stakes run so far this year.

In 2011, the top six trainers, led by Pletcher’s 43 graded wins, combined to win 125 of the 486 graded races by year’s end, or 26%.

Anecdotally, it seems as though a handful of trainers are dominating North America’s best races – the Grade 1 events – like never before. These numbers, though they only represent a comparison from 10 years ago, would tend to back that up.

The charts below include all trainers with 10 or more graded stakes wins by year’s end in 2011 and through Oct. 10 in 2021.


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