Brad Cox Profile
|Born||Mar 30, 1980|
After landing four wins at the 2020 Breeders' Cup, trainer Cox is eyeing glory in the 2021 Kentucky Derby.
Brad Cox is one of the leading trainers in Thoroughbred horse racing. Starting out as an assistant to fellow trainer Dallas Stewart, he began his independent career in 2005. Cox has trained many top winners including Chocolate Ride, Call Pat, Spelling Again and Carve.
Cox has a career record of more than 1,500 wins from over 6,000 starts. His total earnings are above $80million.
Not the usual introduction to racing
Brad Cox is unlike many of the other top trainers as he never belonged to a family involved in horse racing. While his father would wager on events, especially those including Hall of Fame jockey Pat Day, Cox never received any hands-on experience.
The trainer eventually went to the Churchill backstretch as a teenager, always paying attention. During that time, he became a hotwalker and a groom for various trainers, such as Frank Brothers and William Fires.
"It's a tough business," Cox once said. "As far as coming to work every day, I enjoyed it. I had no problem getting up in the mornings. It wasn't a job for me, and it's still not a job for me. It's something I love to do. I've always said getting up seven days a week is half the battle."
Those early days laid the foundation for Cox to go on to become one of the sport's leading trainers.
Cox first started working for Burt Kessinger and Jimmy Baker, and he went on to become an assistant trainer for Dallas Stewart. He worked with Stewart for four years, where he learned all about the training program started by D. Wayne Lukas, which was then used by names like Todd Pletcher, Kiaran McLaughlin and Stewart himself.
He ventured out alone in 2004, attempting to establish a small stable, and he became an independent trainer in 2005.
Cox set his sights on Oaklawn in 2009, which he believed would build momentum to make his way as a rising trainer. During that time, he ran horses that he took through claiming races and he rebuilt the stable on two separate occasions.
Cox really started to have his major breakthroughs in 2018 when he became the leading trainer at Fair Grounds. During the meet that concluded on March 31, he trained 54 winners.
His next big moment came in the Longines Kentucky Oaks, where Cox entered three horses, including the legendary Monomoy Girl. She provided the trainer with his first Grade 1 win when she took the Central Bank Ashland Stakes at Keeneland in April.
In the Kentucky Oaks, Monomoy Girl managed to hold off Wonder Gadot in the stretch to score the victory, which provided Cox with his second Grade 1 win. Monomoy Girl was responsible for more than just those two Grade 1 wins, as she went on to earn the trainer his first Breeders' Cup success too. In the Distaff, she outran Wow Cat, who was closing quickly towards the finishing at Churchill Downs.
In 2019, Cox was responsible for training three-year-old filly Covfefe, who went on to set a track record with her win in the Adena Springs Miss Preakness Stakes. The filly finished the six furlongs in 1:07.70.
Cox also won the Grade 1 Alcibiades Stakes later that year with British Idiom. The filly went on to claim the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies on Novmber 1, which was just one day before Covfefe won the 2019 Filly and Mare Sprint, coming in as the 6/4 favourite.
2020 was another big year for Cox as Monomoy Girl made her return. She went three-for-three into September and her victories included two graded stakes races.
The trainer entered long shot Shedaresthedevil in the Longines Kentucky Oaks, which the filly won to keep his success going through October.
All of that led to a highly-impressive performance in that year's Breeders' Cup World Championships, which saw Cox win four of the event's races to bring his total to seven. Those victories came in the Juvenile Fillies Turf with Aunt Pearl, the Juvenile with Essential Quality, the Dirt Mile with Knicks Go, and the Distaff with his top runner, Monomoy Girl.
The Breeders' Cup success led to Cox winning his first-ever Eclipse Award as Outstanding Trainer, and he closed out 2020 ranking second by purse earnings among North American trainers, having brought in just under $19million.
Cox also ranked second among graded stakes winners with a total of 30 victories.
2021 Road to the Kentucky Derby
Brad Cox is one of the most important names on the 2021 Road to the Kentucky Derby. He trains leading runner Essential Quality, who has sat consistently at the top of the standings. He also trains Mandaloun, who is another one of the potential contenders for the race.
Godolphin's Essential Quality is a three-year-old Tapit colt with a perfect record of four wins from four races. He has earnings of over $1.7million. Some of those Derby qualifying race victories include the Claiborne Breeders' Futurity (G1) at Keeneland, the Breeders' Cup Juvenile (G1) at Keeneland and the Southwest Stakes (G3) at Oaklawn Park.
Mandaloun is a three-year-old Into Mischief colt owned by Juddmonte Farms. He has a record of 3-0-1 from four starts and his earnings are north of $350,000. The runner's biggest performances include victory in the Risen Star Stakes at Fair Grounds on February 13 and a third-placed finish at the same course in the Lecomte Stakes on January 16.
With Essential Quality and Mandaloun, it looks like 2021 could be the biggest year for Brad Cox when it comes to Triple Crown races. His best performance in the series came back in 2019 when Owendale finished third in that year's Preakness Stakes (G1).