Any trainer can send out a horse capable of winning a race, but most of the time they are just as clueless as to which horse will win a race as you or I. Dick Mitchell said it best when he wrote, “If you ever want to become a zillionaire, all you have to do is open up a race-betting window that caters exclusively to trainers. The only group less informed than trainers are owners. Trainers are single-dimensioned. They only know about their horse. The rest of the field is mostly a mystery to them. I love it when I hear a punter say, ‘They’re shooting with the four-horse today.’ What the hell do you think the other eleven barns are doing – trying to lose?”
That pretty much sums up my beliefs on the subject of trainers. The only way an incompetent trainer can eke out a living in this business is by catering to owners who cannot grasp the fact that the nag they bought to impress their friends will never win a race. Eventually, these owners grow tired of hearing excuses as to why their horse has never finished in the money, tired of paying bills and having nothing to show for the money they have spent, and they leave the industry to make room for other dreamers.
Training horses to win is not an exact science, and the difference between a competent trainer and one who caters to owners with fanciful dreams and no grasp of reality is often the quality of his guesswork. A good trainer relies on instinct and his ability to learn from his hands-on, in-the-trenches experience while a poor trainer relies on his ability to string a dreamer along for as long as he can.
If I were to spend any time focusing on trainers, it would be to ferret out those trainers who have no ability. Fortunately, the horses under their care seldom demonstrate any prowess for racing and reflect such in their past performance records.