Who will be awarded Outstanding Trainer of the Year?

The Eclipse Award for Outstanding Trainer looks highly competitive this year, with four huge names on the 2021 Road to the Kentucky Derby in the running...

There are four outstanding trainers who have 10 of the top 2021 Triple Crown contenders between them. They have combined for over 71,000 starts, almost 16,000 wins, and have earnings of just short of a billion dollars. Between them, they also have 11 Eclipse Awards for Outstanding Trainer of the Year.

It's a solid bet that one of these 10 horses will win the Kentucky Derby, with all of them having a good chance in the Preakness and the Belmont Stakes too. Brad Cox, Bob Baffert, Steve Asmussen and Chad Brown have all distinguished themselves as giants in the thoroughbred horse training world.

Brad Cox

Trainer Brad Cox at the 2020 Longines Kentucky Oaks
Trainer Brad Cox at the 2020 Longines Kentucky Oaks

Brad Cox has two horses that, by some accounts, are the top two Derby contenders. Although Cox has yet to see one of his horses in the winner's circle at a Triple Crown race, Essential Quality or Mandaloun may change that in 2021. Mandaloun, by winning the Risen Star Stakes on February 13, ran his qualifying point total to 52 and assured a spot in the Kentucky Derby.

Essential Quality has yet to lose a race and a win at the Southwest Stakes at Oaklawn on Saturday will see him reach 40 points, which is usually good enough for a Derby invitation.

A third contender, Caddo River, won the Smarty Jones at Oaklawn and can pick up another 50 points in the Rebel at the same track on March 13.

Bob Baffert

Bob Baffert trained American Pharoah and Justify to Triple Crown success
Bob Baffert trained American Pharoah and Justify to Triple Crown success

The legendary Bob Baffert has 16 Triple Crown race wins, including Justify's sweep of all three races in 2018. Although Baffert's contenders have run a light schedule so far, Life is Good appears to be the cream of his 2021 crop. Concert Tour and Medina Spirit are also highly regarded and the trio are a combined 6-5-1-0.

Steve Asmussen

Steve Asmussen's horses have won an incredible 9,200 races during his 35-year career. He has three Triple Crown race wins, including the 2007 Preakness Stakes with Curlin, the two-time Horse of the Year.

Jackie's Warrior, with four wins and a fourth-place finish in five races, will be in the field at the Southwest Stakes this coming weekend.

Asmussen's other prospect is Midnight Bourbon. He is coming off a third-place finish at the Risen Star and is expected to run in the Louisiana Derby on March 20. Midnight Bourbon has been busy as his next race will be his seventh overall and fifth career stakes entry.

Chad Brown

With Highly Motivated and Risk Taking in his stables, Chad Brown, the 2016-19 Trainer of the Year, is looking to add to his lone Triple Crown race win. Cloud Computing crossed the finish line first at the Preakness in 2017.

Both of his 2021 contenders won their last races, with Risk Taking particularly impressive in his victory at the Withers Stakes at Aqueduct. Highly Motivated will probably be in the field at the Gotham Stakes at Aqueduct on March 6, with 50 points going to the winner. Brown has yet to announce what the next outing will be for Risk Taking, but it's speculated that it will be 100-40-20-10 point Wood Memorial at Aqueduct on April 3.

Latest Horse-racing Videos