02/26/2013 3:39PM

Oaklawn Park: Leading trainer Richard sending out 39 percent winners

Coady Photography
Aprehender wins the $60,000 King Cotton Stakes for Oaklawn's leading trainer, Chris Richard.

The outstanding meet that leading trainer Chris Richard is having has been months in the making. Richard, with clients like Maggi Moss, the current leading owner at Oaklawn, began claiming horses for the Hot Springs season last fall at Remington Park.

Richard will head into Thursday’s card at Oaklawn with a 16-for-41 mark at the meet, or a 39 percent win rate. His charges have earned $311,648 at the meet. It is the fastest start Richard has ever had at Oaklawn, where last year he finished seventh in the standings by going 17 for 65.

“I think we had more horses ready to run than I had in the past, that was one of keys,” Richard said of the fast start. “And we just made some really good claims in Oklahoma, at Remington, and freshened those horses up. We’ve had a lot of good luck. The races we were pointing for went. We didn’t have any bad racing luck. Everything has worked out from top to bottom.”

Richard has 25 to 27 horses at Oaklawn, a number that fluctuates depending on claims made and runners lost to claims. Some of the top Remington claims for Richard and Moss include Runaway Pepper, who has won three times since being taken for $20,000, and Breckenridge, a two-time winner off a $10,000 claim who finished third in last weekend’s $60,000 Nodouble Breeders’ for Arkansas-breds.

But Richard’s barn is not limited to the claiming set. Apprehender won the $60,000 King Cotton at Oaklawn on Jan. 26 and is being pointed for the $75,000 Hot Springs here March 23, the trainer said. Lulu Wong, a $32,000 claim who finished second in the $60,000 Spring Fever at Oaklawn on Feb. 17, and Behavioral, third in an Oaklawn allowance last week in her first start since August, are both candidates for the $100,000 Carousel here April 11.

Richard, a 41-year-old native of Lake Charles, La., has won three training titles at Prairie Meadows in Altoona, Iowa, where he will be based after Oaklawn. He set a record for trainer wins in a season at Prairie in 2011, when his stable went 65 for 193. Richard broke his own record last year at Prairie, by going 76 for 231.

Richard is a graduate of Texas A&M University, and holds a bachelor’s degree in animal equine science and a master’s degree in equine nutrition/exercise physiology. He spent five years working as an assistant trainer for Tom Amoss before launching his own stable, with his first win as a trainer coming at Turfway Park on Dec. 13, 1998. Overall, Richard has won 533 races from 2,268 career starts, for stable earnings of $10,792,573.

Moss has gone 9 for 16 this meet at Oaklawn. She and Richard will team with a pair of recent claims in the second and seventh races at Oaklawn on Thursday.