Scott Lake made history at Laurel Park Dec. 15, becoming the sixth trainer in North American racing to win 5,000 races when Communicator wired the field in the opener.
Only Dale Baird (9,445), Jack Van Berg (6,405), King Leatherbury (6,313), Jerry Hollendorfer (5,830), and Steve Asmussen (5,684) have more first place finishes.
“We are really proud of what the barn has accomplished,” said Lake, 45, after reaching the milestone. “We owe it to all the owners, horses and my help. What is really cool is that we did our 3,000th at Philly, the 4,000th at Penn National, and the 5,000th here. Those are the three places we did most of the winning.”
At the turn of the century, Lake had fewer than 700 career victories but the barn has won 4,321 races from Jan. 1, 2000 to Dec. 8, 2010, including 972 at Laurel and Pimlico Race Course. He topped the Maryland standings in 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, and 2009, and will be second in 2010.
From 2000-2009, Lake finished first or second nationally in wins each year, leading in 2000, 2001, 2003, and 2006. He ranks ninth this year with 191 trips to the winners’ circle after downsizing his barn from 287 horses at eight different tracks to 70 runners at two locations.
“We had an unbelievable run,” added Lake, who won his first race at Penn National with Niminy Piminy in June 1987. “It will just take us a lot longer to get to 6,000 but I am a lot happier. Seventy horses is a good number for us.”
Some of his top runners include Shake You Down, who in 2003 won three graded races; Thunderello, the second place finisher in the 2002 Breeders’ Cup Sprint (gr. IT); My Cousin Matt, who captured the General George Handicap (gr. II) in 2003; and Leave It To Beezer, who went from the claiming ranks to a graded stakes winner when he won the Baltimore Breeders’ Cup (gr. III) in 2000.
Lake also saddled Flight to Eden to victory in the second race at Laurel on Dec. 15. Malcolm Franklin was aboard both winners.