03/16/2013 4:16PM

Fair Grounds: Mike Maker trains 1,000th winner

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Trainer Mike Maker won the 1,000th race of his career when Magical Season captured the third race Saturday at Fair Grounds in New Orleans.

Maker, who turned 44 on Feb. 9, first had a trainer’s license as a 24-year-old in 1993, but after winning 13 races from 94 starters that year, he became an assistant to trainer Wayne Lukas, a position Maker held for 10 years.

Back on his own again, Maker won 14 races in 2004, and since that time has improved his lot nearly every year. By 2006, Maker had become firmly established, winning 51 races, and by 2008, Maker began achieving triple-digit yearly win totals. While Maker reached 154 wins in 2009, it is only in the last two seasons that his operation has moved significantly forward with respect to quality. Maker won seven graded stakes in 2011 and eight in 2012, the highest-totals of his career, and ranked 12th in North America last year in stakes wins.

Maker has been leading trainer at Keeneland, Churchill Downs, Turfway Park, Ellis Park, and Kentucky Downs. He has been the 10th-leading North American trainer by wins the last two calendar years, and his stable had the 12th-highest amount of purse earnings in 2010.

Maker has strings this winter at Fair Grounds, Turfway, and in south Florida.