Through the first 13 days of the 38-day Spring Meet, Texas native J.R. Caldwell is making his presence known at Churchill Downs with an impressive nine victories in 14 starts (64.3%), including a trio of wins on Saturday's 11-race card.
“We are very blessed for the opportunity we've had so far in Kentucky,” Caldwell said. “We love it here.”
This is Caldwell's second try on the Kentucky circuit. He had a full stable during Churchill Downs' 2015 Spring Meet but could only manage three victories from 48 starters and did not return in 2016.
“Our goal is to build our Arkansas and Kentucky divisions,” Caldwell said.
Along with his string of horses at Churchill Downs, Caldwell has horses at Texas' Lone Star Park and Louisiana's Evangeline Downs. Caldwell stays primarily in Texas and has left his Kentucky division under the watchful eye of assistant trainer Kylie Salisbury in Barn 21.
“We plan on staying the entire year in Kentucky,” Caldwell said. “Now we just need a (Kentucky) Derby horse and clients to keep in Kentucky with fast horses.”
Caldwell currently has 558 career victories through 3,866 starters (14.4%) and earnings of $9,116,528.
None of Caldwell's well-placed Spring Meet winners have been higher than odds of 4-1: Bold Shot ($3.80 payoff for $2 to win), Greeleys Charm ($6.40), Cheyenne Blues ($7.40), Ship Disturber ($10.80), Dan the Go to Man ($10.60), Learning Curve ($3.80), Merilore ($4.20), Manhattan Mischief ($2.40) and Bob's Gone Wild ($6.60).
Caldwell's Spring Meet record heading into Sunday's action was 14-9-1-1—$143,235, which led all trainers. He was followed by Brad Cox (30-8-2-4—$613,856), Steve Asmussen (40-7-4-5—$681,922), Mark Casse (35-6-3-3—$554,767) and Ian Wilkes (26-6-2-3—$492,427).
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