Mike Maker scores 3,000th career win at Ellis Park

SARATOGA SPRINGS, NY—Veterans Conditioner mic maker secured his 3,000th career win when the Palatial Times defeated Race 5 on Friday at Ellis Park.

Maker celebrated victory when Gerardo Corrales piloted the son of Palace Malice to take the lead early down the straight and hold off a late challenge from Money for Mischief to win by 2 1/4 lengths.

“Each milestone is important, especially to the staff and clientele who have supported us over the years,” said Maker. “All credit to them, my name just came up as a coach.”

Maker, 53, began his racing adventures in his native Michigan when he walked for his father, George Maker, at Hazel Park Raceway and the now-defunct Detroit Race Course. Maker bought his first horse at age 13 with proceeds from his Detroit Free Press newspaper run and won his first start. After working as an assistant to his father, Maker took a job with Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas in 1993 and 10 years later, he started his own stable.

In 2004, Maker earned his first graded stakes win when Freefourinternet won the Grade 2 Hawthorne Handicap Gold Cup. Maker would earn his first Grade 1 in style when Furthest Land captured the 2009 Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile at Santa Anita.

Since then, Maker has conditioned two other Breeders’ Cup winners in 2011 Juvenile victor Hansen, who later received the Eclipse Award for Champion 2-Year-Old Colt, and Fire at Will in 2020 Juvenile Turf. Other notable Grade 1 Maker artists include Zulu Alpha, Bigger Picture, Henley’s Joy, Stately Victor, Admiral Kitten, Kitten’s Dumplings, Joha, King David, Al’s Gal, and Aquaphobia. He also trained Da Big Hoss to five graded stakes wins, capped off by a half-length victory in the 2016 Grade 2 Elkhorn.

“There have been so many good horses: Hansen, Zulu Alpha, Da Big Hoss, and so many more if I were to think about it,” said Maker, reflecting on his most memorable riders. “I wouldn’t want to discredit anyone. There are also many lesser horses that no one has ever heard of.”

Maker enjoyed a career year in 2021 in portfolios won [$14.9 million], ranking him as the fifth highest-earning coach in North America for the year. Last year he visited the winner’s circle of 13 rated events, including the Grade 2 Bowling Green with Cross Border and the Grade 2 Dinner Party with Somelikeithotbrown, both New York-raised millionaires. In total, Maker has nearly $140 million in total earnings on the stock market and more than 4,200 other results on the board.

Maker said he hopes to continue to make his mark on the industry.

“I still love the game,” Maker said.

NYRA Press Office
Photo: Mike Maker after Special Reserve won the 2021 Stoll Keenon Ogden Phoenix G2 at Keeneland. (Keeneland/Coady)

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