Why a 1-for-45 Record in the Kentucky Derby Does Not Necessarily Equate to Underachievement

As of May 1, 2017, at age 49, Todd Pletcher was, by one measure (total purse earnings), the most-successful trainer in thoroughbred horse racing history, with over $300 million in earnings. By another measure (career wins), Pletcher ranked 10th. He also received the Eclipse Award for Outstanding Trainer seven times from 2004 to 2014 (Eclipse awards are determined in annual voting by the National Thoroughbred Racing Association, Daily Racing Form, and National Turf Writers Association). However, before the running of the 2017 Kentucky Derby, the media were widely reporting his prior record in that event with the implication that it was notably subpar. Dick Jerardi, a veteran horse-racing journalist, wrote that “Pletcher is 1-for-45 in the Kentucky Derby. It is one of the more bizarre statistics in the sport.”

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