Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott became only the seventh trainer in history to record 5,000 wins when Moon Over Miami notched a one-length score in the third race on Saturday at Churchill Downs.
Mott, who was inducted into racing’s Hall of Fame in 1998, took out his trainer’s license at age 16 in 1969. Throughout his storied career, the South Dakota native has won some of the world’s most prestigious races including the 2019 Kentucky Derby (Country House), 1996 Dubai World Cup (Cigar) and 2010 Belmont Stakes (Drosselmeyer).
Mott was at Belmont Park on Saturday but his longtime assistant trainer Kenny McCarthy and veteran exercise rider Penny Gardiner were on hand to accept the accolade.
“We’re so thrilled to achieve this milestone,” said McCarthy, who has worked under Mott for 25 years. “I know Bill is watching from New York but we are so happy, and a little relieved, to get this honor.”
Mott began his career under the tutelage of fellow Hall of Famer Jack Van Berg throughout most of the 1970s until he decided to open up his own stable in 1978. Over the next four decades, Mott trained six champions and 121 Grade I winners. Among the top horses under Mott’s care were 1995-96 Champion Older Horse and Horse of the Year Cigar, 2012-13 Champion Older Female Royal Delta and 1998 Champion Older Filly Escena.
Mott held the all-time trainer lead at Churchill Downs for more than 31 years until Dale Romans surpassed his mark in 2017.
Mott ranks seventh in all-time wins behind Dale Baird (9,445), Steve Asmussen (8,873), Jerry Hollendorfer (7,651), Van Berg (6,523), King Leatherbury (6,503) and Scott Lake (6,104).
About Churchill Downs Racetrack:
Churchill Downs Racetrack (“CDRT”), the world’s most legendary racetrack, has been the home of The Kentucky Derby, the longest continually held annual sporting event in the United States, since 1875. Located in Louisville, CDRT features a series of themed race days during Derby Week, including the Kentucky Oaks, and conducts Thoroughbred horse racing during three race meets in the Spring, September, and the Fall. CDRT is located on 175 acres and has a one-mile dirt track, a 7/8-mile turf track, a stabling area, and provides seating for approximately 60,000 guests. The saddling paddock and the stable area has barns sufficient to accommodate 1,400 horses and a 114-room dormitory for backstretch personnel. CDRT also has a year-round simulcast wagering facility.