Trainers Who Win Early in the Woodbine Thoroughbred Meet

Which trainers actually had a winner in the first five days of the meet each year for the three years selected? Here is the list…

By Art Parker

It is often hard to gauge trainer effectiveness at the beginning of a long meeting. Some trainers come with runners ready to go and others are more patient to strike. Trying to determine what trainers show up with fit horses and good intentions makes things hard for a horseplayer.

Woodbine

is no different. The long meet at Canada’s premier track starts April 21 and lasts until December 16. The Toronto track doesn’t swing into a full week schedule with four days of racing per week until mid-May.

 

Wager on WoodbineThe very early part of the meet, which some may view as a workout meet. The first few days offers almost nothing but sprint races, most of which are short at 5 furlongs or 5 ½ furlongs. I suppose there are several reasons for this, but I imagine the track gives trainers a chance to get a work into some of their horses coming off the winter months. Also, several trainers have a reduced amount of stock on hand since they are camped out at Keeneland, Gulfstream or other southern venues.

So the question at Woodbine is who shows up and of those who has the guns loaded?

I examined the first five days of the last three meets (2015, 2016 and 2017). There were some not so surprising revelations but some others that got my attention. The first thing I wanted to find out is consistency. Which trainers actually had a winner in the first five days of the meet each year for the three years selected? Here is the list and total winners including maiden wins (number of maiden wins in parenthesis)

Mike Depaulo – 10 wins (2)

Mark Casse – 8 wins (1)

Nick Gonzalez – 8 wins (5)

Norm McKnight -7 wins (4)

Bob Tiller – 6 wins (4)

John Ross – 4 wins (1)

Roger Attfield – 3 wins (1)

Kevin Attard – 3 wins (2)

These eight trainers are the only ones that meet the specifications. During the time period Woodbine held 140 races. These trainers won 49 races, or 35%. Of the 51 maiden races, this group won 20, or 39%.  Noteworthy stats, to say the least.

Here are the other trainers in the same time period that averaged at least one winner per year but failed to score in all years:

Vito Armata – 4 wins (1)

Josie Carroll – 3 wins (2)

Dave Cotey – 3 wins (2)

Denise McClachrie – 4 wins (3)

Nick Noswenko – 4 wins

William Tharennos – 5 wins (3)

Wesley Ward – 4 wins (2)

Add the two groups together and 15 trainers collectively won 76 races, or 54%. The same two groups won 33 of 51 maiden races, or 65%.

All trainers do some things better than others. That is true with the Woodbine trainers mentioned. Casse, Depaulo, Ross, Armata and Noswenko seem to have greater success with their horses who are winners, where Gonzalez, McKnight, Tiller, McClachrie, Tharennos (and others to a lesser degree) have demonstrated that their maidens are ready for battle.