In an era where most of the nation’s elite trainers specialize by training one particular group of runners or another - turf horses or stakes types, for example - Mike Maker is the exception. He has, and still does, train and win with them all.
Maker, 44, has won or shared training titles at every track in Kentucky. And this spring at Keeneland, he did what no trainer there had ever done: win 25 races at either a spring or fall meet. In doing so, he surpassed the prior mark of 22 victories set at the 1989 fall meet by his former boss and mentor, D. Wayne Lukas.
"It's a real honor to do this," Maker told Daily Racing Form.
Besides the volume of his victories, which now total over 1,000 for his career, Maker has shown he can shine, too, on racing’s biggest stage. Two years after pulling a big upset with 21-to-1 Furthest Land in the 2009 Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile, Maker once again played the spoiler when his undefeated Hansen led gate to wire to win the 2011 Juvenile, a head in front of favored Union Rags.
Hansen went on to become Maker’s first champion when he earned the Eclipse Award for top 2-year-old male. He would finish ninth the following year in the Kentucky Derby and now stands at Ashford Stud in Versailles, Ky.
Based in Louisville, Maker has more than 100 horses in training while racing throughout the year in Kentucky, in the spring through fall in New York, and during the winter and early spring in Louisiana and Florida.
With 103 victories from 384 starters through June 6, Maker is on pace in 2013 to surpass his career-best year in 2012, when his stable won 159 races from 737 starts, earning over $6.8 million.