The 4 Horsemen: Kent Taylor breaks down horse racing's top active trainers

The 4 Horsemen: Kent Taylor breaks down horse racing's top active trainers
Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert is going for his second Triple Crown in three years. (Source: John P. Wise/

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - The Mount Rushmore of current jockeys is right here. The Mount Rushmore of active trainers is below:

+ Bob Baffert 
Since his first trip to the Kentucky Derby in 1996 with Cavonier, he has proven to be a master at getting his horses a good foundation and ready to run on the first Saturday in May. Only Ben Jones has won more Kentucky Derbys, and his sixth victory came in 1952. Baffert has won with a speed horse like War Emblem (2002) and a versatile star like American Pharoah (2015). Those two wins were 13 years apart. If he wins the Derby, run to the window on Preakness Day -- Silver Charm (1997), Real Quiet (1998), War Emblem and American Pharoah all won the second jewel as well. He has had 27 starters, trailing only Wayne Lukas and Todd Pletcher. Justify is lightly raced, with just three career starts, but was impressive enough in winning the Santa Anita Derby that he figures to go off as the Kentucky Derby favorite.

+ Todd Pletcher  
For Pletcher, more is more. The seven-time Eclipse Award winner as the nation's top trainer has started 48 horses in the Run for the Roses. That's 48 starters over just an 18-year span. He's has won the race twice, with Super Saver in 2010 and Always Dreaming last year, but he might have his deepest group in 2018. Magnum Moon is a perfect 4-for-4. Audible would be the favorite just about any other year. Vino Rosso won the Wood Memorial and Noble Indy won the Louisiana Derby. Pletcher even trained Scat Daddy, the sire of other Derby contenders Justify and Mendelssohn. He's accomplished plenty, with the Triple Crown one thing that has eluded him. Hard to hold that against him though, since it's only been won once in the last 40 years.

+ Wayne Lukas 
For years Lukas has been the Kentucky Derby trainer. Like his former assistant, Pletcher, Lukas has started 48 horses in the sport's biggest race, but he has spread those starters over 37 years. Like Baffert, he has won the roses four times, with Winning Colors (1988), Thunder Gulch (1995), Grindstone (1996) and Charismatic (1999). He has a total of 14 Triple Crown race wins, including winning the Preakness Stakes six times. At 82, he's still going, and takes a shot this year with Bravazo. The winner of the Risen Star Stakes at the Fairgrounds broke his maiden at Churchill Downs last September.

+ Dale Romans 
Romans is the all-time winningest trainer at Churchill Downs. His 703 wins moved him past Hall of Famer Bill Mott last fall. Romans grew up at Churchill Downs and took out his trainer's license at age 18. He has had eight Kentucky Derby starters, with two third-place finishes, Paddy O'Prado (2010) and Dullahan (2012). Shackleford finished 4th in 2011 and then went on to win the Preakness Stakes. Romans has two shots in 2018 -- Free Drop Billy, who won his debut at Churchill Downs last June, and Promises Fulfilled, who also won his debut at Churchill, and outran Breeders' Cup Juvenile winner Good Magic to win the Grade II Fountain of Youth at Gulfstream Park in March. The Butler High grad has dreamed of winning the roses and says it's the one thing he still needs to check off his list.

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