Trainer Dale Baird to Receive Special Eclipse Award

Dale Baird, who has trained more winners than any Thoroughbred trainer in history, has been selected to receive a Special Eclipse Award.

The National Thoroughbred Racing Association said the award is presented to "honor outstanding individual achievements in or contributions to the sport of Thoroughbred racing."

Baird was the first person to train 7,000 winners...8,000 winners...9,000 winners. To date, he has sent out 9,021 horses to victory.

The 69-year-old Baird will be presented his award at the 34th annual Eclipse Awards Jan. 24 at the Regent Beverly Wilshire in Beverly Hills, Calif.

A Martinsville, Illinois native whose father was a horse trader, Baird learned the business on the country fair circuit, but did not get into training fulltime until 1960 following a two-year stint in the Army. He saddled his first winner at Ellis Park in 1961. He transferred his business to Waterford Park (now Mountaineer Park) in Chester, West Virginia on the Ohio River, where he has been based for the last 44 years, setting multiple training records, including leading the nation in wins 15 times between 1971 to 1999; becoming the first trainer to win 300 races in a year, when he won 305 in 1973; and becoming the first trainer to win 300 races in three consecutive years, which he did from 1979-1981. He also won the training title at Mountaineer 20 consecutive years until the streak was broken in 2001.

On Nov. 5, 2004 Baird won his 9000th race. Baird's closest rival is his close friend, Jack Van Berg, who has 6,343 victories. Baird has also been the nation's leading owner by wins 17 times.