01/06/2015 1:26PM

Ramon Preciado enjoys breakthrough year

Ramon Preciado won the Parx training title in 2014.

It has been a long climb for Ramon Preciado, who in 2014 won his first training title by sending out 118 winners at Parx Racing.

Preciado had been knocking on the door at Parx for many years, finishing in the top five in the trainers’ standings annually since 2009. In 2013, Patricia Farro beat him by six winners, 86-80. This year, Preciado returned the favor, defeating Farro by five.

Preciado won a career-high 137 races in 2014, and his stable earned $3.49 million in purses, more than ever before. For the year, he won with 28 percent of his starters. At Parx, he went 118 for 392, a 30 percent clip. To top it off, Preciado raced Handsup Moneydown, the winningest horse in North America.

“This was my best year,” Preciado said. “We always try to put the horses where they belong, where they can do good.”

What makes Preciado’s title remarkable is not that he finally did it, but how far he has come to reach the top.

Preciado, 48, is the younger brother of Parx trainer Lupe Preciado. When Ramon came to the United States in 1981 from Jalisco, Mexico, he worked for a number of trainers, including Stan Hough, Angel Penna, and his brother.

He eventually settled in as the assistant to Philadelphia Park horseman Robert Camac, who developed 28-time winner Fire Plug (an earner of $705,000), 18-time winner Cagey Exuberance ($765,000), and 12-time winner Wide Country ($819,000).

But on Dec. 6, 2001, at age 61, Camac and his wife, Maryann, were shot and killed at their New Jersey farm by Wade Russell, a son of Maryann’s from a previous marriage.

“It was very sad,” Preciado said. “Mr. Camac was a good person and a good trainer. I learned from him.”

After Camac’s stable was disbanded, Preciado was left with one horse to train, Go Rail Go. Preciado won three allowance races in a row with him and slowly began to build.

There have been stakes runners over the years, but Preciado’s bread and butter has long been claiming and starter-allowance horses. Since Jan. 6, 2014, he has won first off the claim with 18 of 53 horses (34 percent).

On Oct. 22, 2013, Preciado claimed a 4-year-old, Handsup Moneydown, on his own behalf out of a $7,500 nonwinners-of-two claiming race. Handsup Moneydown has since won 12 of 18 starts and $274,000.

The 11 races Handsup Moneydown won in 2014 was tops in the country, completing a year of firsts for his trainer.

Alejandro J More than 1 year ago
#1 Ramon Preciado
Michael Infurna More than 1 year ago
30% winning rate, not too shabby!!. Right up there with Jamie Ness, Jorge Navarro, Rudy Rodriguez and a host of other hard working trainers who know how to spot their horses!! BTW,Todd Pletcher only won with 24% of his starters in 2014.
kmunster2003 More than 1 year ago
You hit right on the head. Poor Barclay Tagg, Patrick Kelly, Steve Knapp and others who win at less than10 percent, Thet don't know how to place their horses properly and are very Lazy. That's why they win at such a poor level. Ha!
Anton Kachur More than 1 year ago
RP just pays attention and works harder than most. He also has excellent clients that are realistic when it comes to what level their horses should run. The claiming game at Parx can be very profitable due to the purses. With all the wrong doings that have taken place at Penn National over the years Trainers in Pennsylvania are always under the Microscope so....It's hard work...Not the feed or The Vet.
Julian Brown More than 1 year ago
Bruce Alexander More than 1 year ago
34 % off claim must have better oats and hay than other trainers
kmunster2003 More than 1 year ago
Bruce; I agree with you strongly. It's like the previous trainer is so incompetent and these "trainers'" know so much more and can improve the horse 5-10 lengths . high win"off the claim" is racing-speak for new pharmacology. Take care . Kevin M
H Got Lucky More than 1 year ago
Yes Kevin...claiming has been around for Bout 100 years. If it didn't work, they wouldn't have it. And yes, some trainers are better than others. It's funny because everyone thinks that anyone more successful must be cheating. Maybe Bruce Alexander and all the haters should wake up at 4 am and ask mr. Preciado if you can take notes. Maybe you will learn something..I am involved at parx. All the top trainers and owners do well because they win on entry day....their best weapon is the condition book....
Bessie Gruwell More than 1 year ago
Are the 34% of wins off the claim, also off a drop ? You don't need better oats and hay if you have the advantage of dropping the horse off of the claim.