Incredible Crown accomplishments

A look at some of the best trainer and driver achievements in Breeders Crown history.

by Bob Heyden

Let’s take a deeper look at some of the incredible driver and trainer achievements in Breeders Crown history. First, the trainers:

• There have been four trainers that have earned more than
$1 million in a single Breeders Crown year. They are: Jimmy Takter (four times), Ron Burke (3), Tony Alagna (1) and Nancy Takter (1).

• In 2014, Ron Burke set the record for Crown starts in a single year: 26 2-4-4, $1,354,500. Burke also has the second highest total with 20 in 2020 and a record of 1-0-6 that year.

• Bulldog Hanover’s trainer Jack Darling has not won a Breeders Crown, He is 0-for-12.

• Scott McEneny won the 2YOCP Breeders Crown in 2000 with Bettors Delight. In 2019, Nancy Takter won the 2019 2YOCP Breeders Crown with Tall Dark Stranger. Both McEneny and Takter wound up third that year in Crown earnings.

• Oh brother! Two brothers landed in the top 10 in the 1997 Breeders Crown series. Alan Riegle was fifth and Bruce Riegle eighth. Both won their only Crown start that year. Alan with Take Flight 2YOFP and Bruce with Stienams Place 3YOFP.

• The three busiest trainers in 2021 were a combined 1-for-33. Nifty Norman was 1-for-10, Burke was 0-for-10 and Alagna was 0-for-13.

• Gary Machiz is the only trainer to lead in money at the end of a year in the Breeders Crown with just one starter —1999 Tyberwood ($420,860).

• Leading money-winning trainers in the Breeders Crown series came from the following countries: USA (17), Sweden (11), Canada (5), Norway (3) and New Zealand (2)

• Marcus Melander at four years currently holds the longest active streak in winning a Breeders Crown.

• Burke is 11 finals short of tying Jimmy Takter’s all-time mark of 197.

• Brett Pelling can tie Chuck Sylvester for fourth place if he can win his 13th Crown in 2022.

• Joe Holloway if he wins a Crown, can be the quickest to double digit Crown wins lifetime. His record is: 44 9-5-7. Bob McIntosh holds the record with 48 starts to reach double digit wins.


• The three best Crown single seasons by earnings were turned in by: John Campbell (2001), $1,684,292, Brian Sears (2005), $1,647,026 and Tim Tetrick (2012) $1,627,400.

• Campbell (1989-1993) and Sears (2005-2009) are the only two drivers to lead five straight Crown seasons.

• David Miller’s 2015 season of five driving wins in the Breeders Crown is the all-time best. But, his earnings total that year is only 19th best all-time among single seasons: $1,123,575.

• In 2013, top five money-winning drivers in North America won all 12 Crowns at Pocono: Ron Pierce 11 3-3-0, Tetrick 11 3-0-3, Yannick Gingras 11 3-1-1, David Miller 9 2-2-1 and Sears 9 1-1-1.

• Dexter Dunn and Andy McCarthy have been the Crown leaders the last three seasons with a combined 59 13-5-7. McCarthy’s.650 UDRS in 2019 is the all-time best in the Breeders Crown and he’s the only driver to win four Crowns in any year with fewer than eight drives (7). Dunn has led the past two years. Todd McCarthy was 7 0-0-1 in 2021 in his debut year. (third with Allywag Hanover at 2-5 in the open pace).

• Right place, right time. In 2011, during the snowstorm that kept many drivers from getting to Woodbine, Dave Palone was the top money-winning driver at 9 2-2-0, $916,250.

• Three times a driver has landed in the top 5 in money at the end of a Breeders Crown year with just one drive. Jeff Mallet in 1984, Herve Filion in 1985 and Tom Harmer and Clint Galbraith in 1987. Yet, 35 years later, it has not happened again.

• Jimmy Morrill, Jr. has a quiet Crown bio of 45 3-5-4, but he did drive the fastest ever Crown winner, Won The West who stopped the clock in 1:47 in 2009.

• These seven drivers raced just once in the Breeders Crown but wound up in the winner’s circle: Giampaolo Minnucci (Varenne in 2001), Jeff Mallet (Dragons Lair in 1984), Dan Noble (Ocean Rock in 2021), Italo Tamborino (Incredible Abe in 1994), Ted Jacobs (Eager Seelster in 1994), Kelly Sheppard (Swing Back in 1993) and Orjan Kihlstrom (Commander Crowe in 2014).

• Fourteen times a driver has made the top five in Crown earnings without winning a race, but only John Campbell has led at year’s end doing so — 1999 11 0-3-2, $761,161.

• Only Dunn (.383) and Gingras (.309) are over .300 among the top 20 drivers by Crown earnings.