The Kentucky Derby, often called “The Most Exciting Two Minutes In Sports,” is a showcase of the finest thoroughbreds and a testament to the expertise, dedication, and passion of the trainers behind them.

As we approach the 2024 Kentucky Derby, anticipation builds to witness the culmination of years of preparation by some of the industry’s most respected trainers.

Below, we will introduce you to the top 5 trainers participating in the next Derby. Their stories of triumph, perseverance, and unwavering commitment to their horses are not just inspiring. They provide insight into the soul of horse racing.

Todd Pletcher

You will read that trainers significantly affect horses’ odds in every  guide. That’s why we must discuss the trainers of the five most talked-about horse racing picks for the 2024 Kentucky Derby, starting with Todd Pletcher.

Pletcher is a towering figure in horse racing and is celebrated for his remarkable achievements and contributions to the sport.

A masterful horse trainer, Pletcher’s name is synonymous with excellence, dedication, and an unyielding passion for achieving greatness on the racetrack. Born into a family deeply entrenched in horse racing, Todd’s journey to success was fueled by an early exposure to the sport, laying the foundation for a decorated career.

Among his numerous accolades, Todd Pletcher’s seven Eclipse Awards for Outstanding Trainer highlight his dominance and excellence in horse training. Perhaps even more indicative of his impact on horse racing are his victories in the Kentucky Derby and the Belmont Stakes, showcasing his ability to prepare and lead horses to win on racing’s biggest stages.

Beyond his achievements and awards, Pletcher is known for his commitment to the racing community and his efforts to promote the welfare of horses, both during their racing careers and afterwards.

Chad Brown

Chad Brown is the next trainer on the list. Brown’s initial foray into the horse world occurred during high school when he worked alongside Standardbred trainer Paul Kelley at Saratoga Raceway.

His career path then led him to an internship with a veterinarian, followed by a significant role in the stable of Hall of Fame trainer Bobby Frankel in 2002. Brown quickly increased the ranks within Frankel’s prestigious team, eventually managing a division before venturing solo in November 2007.

Since then, Brown’s career has catapulted to the forefront of the racing industry, marked by a victorious debut at Saratoga Race Course and a win with his first Breeders’ Cup entrant, Maram, in 2008.

In 2011, Brown marked a significant milestone in his career by securing his inaugural Grade 1 victory. He trained Stacelita, the champion thoroughbred who triumphed in the Beverly D. This achievement led to Brown earning 16th place nationally, amassing over $5.2 million from purse winnings.

Steve Asmussen

Steve Asmussen stands as a towering figure in horse racing, and his name is synonymous with excellence, resilience, and dedication. Asmussen’s passion for the sport was kindled at a young age, setting him on a path to become one of the most successful and respected trainers in the history of thoroughbred racing.

 His career is studded with remarkable achievements, including multiple Eclipse Awards for Outstanding Trainer and a record-setting number of wins that cements his status as a living legend in the racing community.

Steve Asmussen’s unparalleled understanding of horses, honed over decades of hands-on experience and observation, sets him apart. This deep connection allows him to craft highly individualized training programs that cater to each horse’s unique needs and potential, unlocking their capability to achieve greatness on the track.

Brad Cox

Brad Cox, the relatively new face among legendary trainers, made a statement by finishing second in his Kentucky Derby debut.

A skilled horse trainer with an undeniable passion for horse racing, Cox has quickly ascended the ranks to become one of the leading figures in the industry. With a career that began in the small town of Louisville, Kentucky, Cox’s humble beginnings belie his monumental impact on horse racing.

From his early days working at Churchill Downs, Cox immersed himself in the intricacies of horse training, dedicating countless hours to understanding the physical and psychological needs of his equine athletes.

His meticulous attention to detail and progressive approach to training have resulted in a track record marked by high-profile wins and consistent performances. Cox’s horses are known for their resilience, speed, and agility, showcasing his ability to bring out the best in each horse he trains.

Among his many achievements, Cox has made headlines for his success in prestigious races such as the Kentucky Oaks and Breeders’ Cup, earning accolades and respect from peers and racing fans.

Yoshito Yahagi

Yoshito Yahagi, a prominent trainer from Japan, achieved a historic feat by guiding the country’s first two victors at the Breeders’ Cup World Championships. The victories came when Loves Only You triumphed in the Maker’s Mark Filly, Mare Turf, and Marche Lorraine secured a surprising win in the Longines Distaff on November 6, 2021, at Del Mar.

Yahagi is known for training notable horses such as Lys Gracieux, the 2019 Cox Plate victor, and Contrail, the 2020 Japanese Triple Crown winner. In 2023, Yahagi ventured to the United States with Kentucky Derby contender Continuar but ultimately chose not to compete due to less-than-optimal training results.

Recently, he has been campaigning another hopeful for the Kentucky Derby, Forever Young. He clinched the UAE Derby and earned a total Road to the Kentucky Derby points of 100 and an odds to win the Kentucky Derby at 12-1.


The 2024 Kentucky Derby is a race of speed and strength and a battle of wits and strategy among the world’s top trainers. Each trainer brings a unique approach to preparing and handling their thoroughbreds, promising a highly competitive race.

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