Thoroughbred Racing Fan Association, Inc.
WHAT TRAINER HOLDS THE RECORD FOR THE MOST CONSECUTIVE WINS IN THE SANTA ANITA DERBY?
Like some horror films this story has a bad ending. In the competitive world of Thoroughbred horse racing pressure is on every trainer to have a high win percentage. Without it a trainer is unlikely to attract serious horses. Handicappers often use a 20%-win rate as a benchmark for considering a horse in a race. The trainer who holds the record for most Santa Anita Derby wins once boasted a win rate of 30%. He would appear on the southern California circuit with no-name horses that would unexpectedly win. It made people wonder what he was doing. But he kept winning. In this period, he put his horses across the finish line in the prestigious Santa Anita Derby first in three consecutive years. In 2003 he won with Buddy Gil. In 2004 he won with Castledale. In 2005 he won with Buzzards Bay. Doing this against some of the best trainers in the world competing not just for purse money, but for a position in the gate of the upcoming Kentucky Derby. The Washington Post had an article on the Friday before the 2005 Kentucky Derby questions how this trainer had become so successful. They posited there must be more to the wins than just good training. This point was supported by many. In the previous January he was caught when a post-race drug test revealed too high levels of carbon dioxide in his horse’s system. The officials speculated that this could only occur after “Milkshaking” –forcing extreme quantities of baking soda into the horse to reduce muscle fatigue (Discussed in Doc For ThoroFan article). Subsequently his horses were placed in detention barn for 24-hours prior to every race for a month. During this period, his horses won at half his normal rate.
The trainer who holds the record, legally or otherwise, for the most consecutive Santa Anita Derby wins was Jeff Mullins.