Trainer Scott Lake and jockey Julien Leparoux concluded the 2006 racing season at the top of the North American charts for races won, while Maggi Moss was the leading owner.
Lake, based on the East Coast, won with 528 out of 2,158 starters this year for a success rate of 24%. His runners finished in the money 56%, bringing in $9,565,656 to put the 41-year-old trainer 4th in the nation by earnings.
However, Lake’s season was marred by multiple clenbuterol positives found in his starters in New York and Delaware, and he was forced to turn his horses over to assistants as he ended the year by serving two 30-day suspensions.
Leparoux, who rode first-call for trainer Patrick Biancone at tracks from Saratoga to Santa Anita this year, began 2006 as an apprentice based in Kentucky. His 403 winners among 1,740 starters earned $12,485,527 in purses to put him 8th in the nation by earnings.
The Frenchman won five riding titles between Turfway Park, Keeneland, and Churchill Downs. After losing his apprentice status in September, Leparoux maintained a 23% win rate and finished in the money 52%.
His top mounts included Gorella, winner of the Beverly D. Handicap (gr. IT), Asi Siempre, winner of the Juddmonte Spinster (gr. I), and Fleur de Lis Handicap (gr. II) winner Happy Ticket.
Steve Bass, the 23-year-old jockey’s agent, said Leparoux will travel between Turfway Park and Santa Anita this winter.
"It’s been an unbelievable year, and we want to thank every trainer and owner who put us on their horses," Bass said. "Obviously, Patrick Biancone played a big influence, but every single person who supported us is appreciated. Julien accomplished a lot this year, and he’s been riding some really nice 2-year-olds, so we’re looking forward to another great racing season."
Moss, based in Des Moines, Iowa, races her horses at tracks throughout the United States and has risen through the ranks by claiming horses while teaming up with trainer Randy Morse. From 754 starters, her horses won 209 races for a 28% win rate this year, earning $3,943,419 and finishing in the money 57%.
"I'm full-time with the horses now," Moss told the Oklahoma-based Journal Record earlier this year. "I'm not in this as a hobby; this is a big-time business."
Todd Pletcher led North American trainers in earnings with a record-setting $26,820,243. He eclipsed D. Wayne Lukas’ 1987 record for single-season stakes wins when 4-year-old Safari Queen won the $150,000 Long Island Handicap (gr. IIT) on Nov. 4 to give Pletcher his 54th graded stakes win for the year.
Pletcher sent out 1,168 starters in 2006 for 294 wins, giving the 39-year-old trainer a 25% success rate while his starters finished in the money 58%.
Pletcher is currently serving a 45-day suspension from the New York State Racing and Wagering Board for a mepivacaine positive, although he is fighting the matter in federal court.
Doug O’Neill finished second with earnings of $11,247,756 from 163 wins and 968 starts. Rounding out the list of top 10 trainers by North American earnings in 2006 were: Robert Frankel, $9,786,673 (139 wins/585 starts); Scott Lake, $9,565,656 (528/2,158); Kiaran McLaughlin, $8,499,166 (80/406); Bob Baffert, $8,136,567 (91/392); Richard Dutrow Jr., $7,844,557 (156/686); William Mott, $7,831,106 (120/640); Steven Asmussen, $7,715,373 (241/1,141); and Scott Blasi, $6,717,636 (198/998).Jockey Garrett Gomez topped all jockeys in earnings with $20,098,722 in North American purses alone as he brought home 261 winners from 1,270 starts.
Gomez’s top mounts this year included unbeaten Cigar Mile (gr. I) winner Discreet Cat, Yellow Ribbon (gr. IT) winner Wait a While, and Citation Handicap (gr. IT) victor Ashkal Way. His win rate for the year was 21%, while his mounts finished in the money 55% of the time.
"We had a great year," said the jockey’s agent, Ron Anderson, who picked up Gomez’s book in late February after the retirement of his former client, Jerry Bailey.
"I feel lucky to have ended up with Garrett; he’s not only a good rider, he’s a great rider. Timing means a lot in this industry, and we’re thankful for all the opportunities we’ve had."
Anderson said 35-year-old Gomez plans to ride at Santa Anita through the winter before shifting his tack eastward to ride at Keeneland, Belmont Park, and Saratoga.
Leading all North American owners in earnings was Darley Stable with $6,437,822 in purses and 62 winners from 292 starters, the most noteworthy being Preakness Stakes (gr. I) victor Bernardini. The Thomas Albertrani-trained colt won 6 of 8 starts to earn $3,060,480 this year.
Runner-up was Live Oak Plantation, whose color-bearers won 59 races from 244 starts and earned $5,263,594. Rounding out the list of top 10 owners by North American earnings in 2006 were: Shadwell Stable, $5,084,218 (22 wins/133 starts); Stronach Stables, $4,765,089 (114/470); Lael Stables, $4,333,045 (28/109); Maggi Moss, $3,956,619 (211/756); Melnyk Racing Stables, Inc., $3,809,389 (87/389); J. Paul Reddam, $3,793,967 (28/155); Frank Carl Calabrese, $3,227,507 (128/388); and Robert L. Cole, Jr., $3,143,922 (190/456).
Breeders’ Cup Classic (gr. I) winner Invasor (ARG), owned by Shadwell Stable, was the top money-earner of 2006 with $3,690,000 in purses. Following Invasor (ARG) was Bernardini with $3,060,480 and Lava Man with $2,770,000.Racing’s Leaders from Equibase