04/11/2013 12:22PM

Jockeys turned trainers: Five who made it, five who didn't

Barbara D. Livingston
Wayne Catalano was an accomplished rider in the late 70's and early 80's. As a trainer he has won three Breeders' Cup races and a perennial leader at Arlington Park.

Five outstanding jockeys who succeeded as trainers

Wayne Catalano
He rode nine years and won 1,792 races, including 349 in 1977, when he was second in the nation behind Steve Cauthen. Since taking out his first trainer’s license in 1983, he has won more than 2,300 races, including three in the Breeders’ Cup. He has led or tied for meet titles at Arlington Park 11 times.

Freddie Head
Riding until he was 50, the Frenchman won almost 3,000 races and four times he was first in the Arc de Triomphe. He is the only horsemen with wins as both a jockey and a trainer in the Breeders’ Cup. From 2008-10, he won the Mile with Goldikova as a trainer.

Johnny Longden
At 59, Longden ended his Hall of Fame career with 6,032 wins. He won the Kentucky Derby – and the Triple Crown – with Count Fleet in 1943. In 1969, he saddled Majestic Prince to win the Derby and the Preakness, then they finished second in the Belmont.
George Odom
He was enshrined in the Hall of Fame as a jockey, but a case could be made to put him in the trainers’ wing as well. He is one of only two horsemen to both ride (Delphi, 1904) and train (Pasteurized, 1938) winners of the Belmont. Among his 44 stakes winners as a trainer was Busher, voted Horse of the Year in 1945.   

James G. Rowe Sr.
Still the youngest trainer to win the Derby (he was 24 when he saddled Hindoo in 1881). He also won the Derby with Regret in 1915, and between 1893 and 1913, he saddled eight Belmont winners. Rowe rode back-to-back Belmont winners--Joe Daniels and Springbok in 1872-73. One of Rowe’s Belmont training winners was Colin, who was undefeated in 15 starts.

Five outstanding jockeys who didn't last as trainers

Braulio Baeza
A Hall of Fame rider, Baeza won one Kentucky Derby and three Belmonts.  His New York training career, starting in 1979, was derailed when two owners died and a group of Marylanders moved their horses back home. Working in the jockeys’ room at the New York tracks, Baeza was acquitted after charges of finagling with riders’ weights. The legal battle left him in limbo for three years; he’s now a minor official at Louisiana Downs.

Angel Cordero
Forced from the saddle because of injury, Hall of Famer Cordero won 87 races in seven years as a trainer, but he never landed an important horse.  “Johnny asked me three or four times to be his agent, and I finally said yes,” said Cordero, who books mounts for John Velazquez. Since they’ve been together, Velazquez’ mounts have averaged $16 million a year in purses.

Laverne Fator
Elected to the Hall of Fame with its first class in 1955, Fator was the best jockey to come out of Idaho until Gary Stevens came along. He retired in 1931 to train, but five years later, at 35, he died in a fall from a second-floor hospital window. He was awaiting surgery after being stricken with appendicitis.

Conn McCreary
He won the Kentucky Derby twice, with Pensive and Count Turf, and after a so-so training career, he worked in press boxes at Florida tracks and later managed a farm. McCreary’s best horse as a trainer may have been Irish Rebellion, who ran 114 times, but won only one stakes race.

Earl Sande
Immortalized by Damon Runyon’s poetry (“Never a handy guy like Sande, bootin’ them babies in”), Sande rode Gallant Fox, the Triple Crown champion, and two other Kentucky Derby winners. As a trainer, he won the Santa Anita Derby and Santa Anita Handicap with Stagehand, but went broke by over-investing in the horse, who was a dud as a stallion. Sande died poor, at 69, in an Oregon nursing home.