The top of the North American trainer earnings list in 2021 looked much as it did in 2020.
Of the 10 trainers who led their peers in 2020 earnings, only the federally indicted Jason Servis did not also crack the top 10 in 2021. Brad Cox led the list, followed by Steve Asmussen and Chad Brown.
There was movement further down the trainer earnings list, especially among those based in Kentucky, where purse money continues to grow.
Horse Racing Nation examined Equibase data to find trainers who climbed the money list in 2021. We considered those in the top 50 of North American earnings this season and compared where they ranked among peers in 2020.
To be eligible for this list, trainers had to start at least one runner on North American soil. For those who did, earnings from the Saudi Cup and Dubai World Cup cards were also considered.
1. Chris Hartman
2021: 50th, $2.93 million
2020: 108th, $1.39 million
Up 58 spots
Highest-earning 2021 runner: Necker Island ($371,802)
Hartman made his Kentucky Derby debut in 2020 with Necker Island, saddling the son of Hard Spun to a ninth-place finish. He started that runner eight times in 2021, with a Bet on Sunshine Stakes win at Churchill Downs highlighting three wins. Hartman also won stakes races at Fair Grounds and Oaklawn Park.
2. Brian Lynch
2021: 42nd, $3.64 million
2020: 98th, $1.5 million
Up 56 spots
Highest-earning 2021 runner: Red Danger ($452,810)
Lynch tallied a trio of graded wins this season, including with Gift List in the Edgewood Stakes (G2). The filly blew past heavily favored Aunt Pearl down the Churchill stretch to score a 4 1/4-length win on the Kentucky Oaks undercard. Lynch won two $500,000 stakes during Kentucky Downs’ lucrative meet.
t-3. Carlos David
2021: 39th, $3.85 million
2020: 81st, $1.62 million
Up 42 spots
Highest-earning 2021 runner: Zenden ($948,040)
David earned his first Grade 1 win in March’s Dubai Golden Shaheen with Zenden, a long shot who set a six-furlong track record. But the sprinter broke down past the wire, suffering a fatal injury. Domestically, David scored stakes wins in 2021 at Colonial Downs, Gulfstream Park, Monmouth Park and Tampa Bay Downs.
t-3. Rusty Arnold
2021: 43rd, $3.59 million
2020: 85th, $1.59 million
Up 42 spots
Highest-earning 2021 runner: Gear Jockey ($777,800)
Arnold is another trainer who took advantage of big purses at Kentucky Downs as Gear Jockey captured the winner’s share of a $1 million prize in the Turf Sprint Stakes (G3). The Calumet Farm homebred finished the year with a sixth-place run in the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint. Arnold also won Grade 3 races in 2021 with Leinster and Navratilova.
5. Dallas Stewart
2021: 35th, $4.35 million
2020: 64th, $1.98 million
Up 29 spots
Highest-earning 2021 runner: Will’s Secret ($508,000)
Stewart started hard-knocking Chess Chief in seven graded-stakes races in 2021, and the son of Into Mischief delivered a New Orleans Classic Stakes (G2) win at Fair Grounds. Will’s Secret won the Honeybee Stakes (G3) at Oaklawn before competing in four Grade 1 races, including the Kentucky Oaks. Stewart started Title Ready in the Dubai World Cup (G1) off a Louisiana Stakes (G3) victory, but the Charles Fipke homebred finished 11th at Meydan Racecourse.
6. Wayne Catalano
2021: 49th, $2.99 million
2020: 76th, $1.65 million
Up 27 spots
Highest-earning 2021 runner: Aloha West ($1.31 million)
Catalano earned the fourth Breeders’ Cup triumph of his career when Aloha West flew up late to win the Sprint by a nose over Dr. Schivel. His previous Breeders’ Cup wins came in the 2011 Juvenile Fillies Turf (Stephanie’s Kitten), 2009 Juvenile Fillies (She Be Wild), and 2006 Juvenile Fillies (Dreaming of Anna). Catalano enters 2022 with 2,938 career victories.
7. Brendan Walsh
2021: 14th, $8.14 million
2020: 33rd, $3.5 million
Up 19 spots
Highest-earning 2021 runner: Maxfield ($1.51 million)
Walsh enjoyed a banner year in 2021, posting career bests in earnings and victories (81). His star Maxfield swept Churchill’s three major stakes for older dirt routers: the Alysheba (G2), Stephen Foster (G2) and Clark (G1). Walsh also scored on the international stage with Extravagant Kid, winning the Al Quoz Sprint (G1) on the Dubai World Cup card.
t-8. Rob Atras
2021: 37th, $3.97 million
2020: 54th, $2.09 million
Up 17 spots
Highest-earning 2021 runner: Maracuja ($457,400)
Atras’ first Grade 1 victory as a trainer came at Saratoga, where Maracuja won the Coaching Club American Oaks. The Honor Code filly dueled Kentucky Oaks heroine Malathaat down the stretch, gamely prevailing by a head at 15-1 odds. Atras also won the Toboggan Stakes (G3) with American Power and Tom Fool Handicap (G3) with Chateau.
t-8. Larry Rivelli
2021: 47th, $3.19 million
2020: 64th, $1.95 million
Up 17 spots
Highest-earning 2021 runner: One Timer ($163,000)
Rivelli likely will go down in Illinois racing history as the last person to win a training title at Arlington Park. His runners won 84 races in 2021 at the Chicago-area track, while second-place trainer Brittany Vanden Berg saddled 26 winners. Rivelli scored an Arlington Stakes (G3) victory with Bizzee Channel.
10. Phil D’Amato
2021: 18th, $7.46 million
2020: 34th, $3.46 million
Up 16 spots
Highest-earning 2021 runner: Going Global ($640,500)
D’Amato ranked eighth among his North American peers in 2021 with 15 graded-stakes wins. Going Global took five such races, including the Del Mar Oaks (G1), in a year where she produced an 8: 6-1-0 record. D’Amato’s top male runner was Say the Word, who scored Grade 2 wins in Keeneland’s Elkhorn Stakes and Del Mar’s Hollywood Turf Cup Stakes.