10/19/2016 11:26AM

John W. Baird poised to hit 2,000 wins


John W. Baird has sent out a steady stream of winners since 1982, first at Fairmount Park and Hawthorne Race Course in his native Illinois and then for the last 20 years or so at Mountaineer Park in West Virginia.

As of Wednesday morning, Baird needed one victory to reach 2,000 winners.

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Baird is the younger brother of Dale Baird, the winningest trainer in North American history, who racked up 9,445 victories before being killed in an automobile accident in 2007. The Baird boys grew up in Martinsville, a town of 1,400 in rural southern Illinois, not far from the Indiana state line. John Baird, 71, was 10 years younger than Dale.

John Baird has scored 808 of his victories at Fairmount Park and another 49 at Hawthorne. He has 1,092 Mountaineer victories.

“I don’t get too excited about 2,000 wins, but it is kind of satisfying,” Baird said. “I just like to run horses.”

A former president of the Mountaineer Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association, Baird is now a member of that organization’s board.

“What I’m more proud of than 2,000 wins is that I’ve never had a bad test,” Baird said. “I’ve had a few Bute overages, but never a bad test.”

Baird’s son J. Michael Baird and Dale’s son Bart Baird also are trainers at Mountaineer.