Bill Mott speaking after accepting the Eclipse Award for Outstanding Trainer 2011.

Bill Mott speaking after accepting the Eclipse Award for Outstanding Trainer 2011.

Wally Skalij

Mott Back on Top as Leading Trainer

Third Eclipse Award for Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott.

Trainer Bill Mott saved the best for last in 2011, and it helped him capture his third Eclipse Award as ouotstanding trainer in a tight race. He received 83 first-place votes while Bob Baffert garnered 60 votes. Third-place finisher Todd Pletcher landed 57 first-place votes.

Mott, 58, was the man at the 2011 Breeders’ Cup World Championships at Churchill Downs. He won the $2 million Breeders’ Cup Ladies’ Classic (gr. I) with Palides Investments’ 2011 champion 3-year-old filly Royal Delta Nov. 4, and the following day won the $5 million Breeders’ Cup Classic (gr. I) with WinStar Farm’s 4-year-old colt Drosselmeyer.

It was the start of a big November for Mott as six of his 15 graded-stakes victories on the year came during the month. He capped things off when Live Oak Plantation’s 3-year-old colt To Honor and Serve, seventh behind Drosselmeyer in the Classic, returned to win the grade I Cigar Mile Handicap in New York.

Though Mott has said his barn got off to a slow start early in 2011, his year-end totals were strong. Mott horses made 578 starts last year, with 101 wins, 82 seconds, and 81 thirds. Mott trainees earned a total of $10,731,249, which put him fourth in earnings behind Pletcher, Steve Asmussen, and Baffert, respectively.

Mott won the Eclipse Award for top trainer in 1995 and 1996. His 2011 earnings total is his highest since 1996. Through 2011 Mott has trained six champions: Ajina (3-year-old filly) in 1997; Cigar (top older male and Horse of the Year) in 1995-96; Escena (older female) in 1998; Theatrical (turf male) in 1987; Paradise Creek (turf male) in 1994, and Royal Delta. 

Mott, a native of South Dakota, won his first Triple Crown race when Drosselmeyer won the Belmont Stakes (gr. I) in 2010. Mott in 1998 became the youngest trainer ever inducted into the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame; he was 45