07/18/2006 12:00AM

Trainer profile: John Kimmel

John Kimmel has the top win rate at the current Belmont meeting, 37 percent.

From Miss Golden Circle's win in the 1994 Astarita through Pompeii's victory in the 2001 Personal Ensign, no trainer had a more successful run on the New York circuit than John Kimmel.

Miss Golden Circle would go on to win three more graded stakes sprints as an older filly. Kimmel, who graduated from the University of Pennsylvania Veterinary School in 1980 and saddled his first winner in 1987, also developed such important multiple stakes winners as Catinca, Crafty Friend, Flat Fleet Feet, Successful Appeal, and Hidden Lake, who won four Grade 1 stakes during her championship season of 1997.

During this extended run to glory Kimmel won six meet titles, including a share of the 1997 Saratoga crown with Bill Mott, and sent out 18 winners (Mott had 20) at the 1996 Saratoga meet. In 1999, he led all New York trainers with 71 wins, also led in stakes wins with 10, and ranked seventh nationally with more than $5.4 million in purse earnings. He was the leader with respect to earnings in New York for three straight years, 1997-99.

To be sure, Kimmel enjoyed a measure of success the past few years (Friends Lake won the $1 million Florida Derby in 2004, and Seeking the Ante won the Grade 2 Nassau County in 2005), but overall his numbers were down considerably. Things bottomed out when the stable barely surpassed 10 percent winners in 2004, winning 18 races from 179 starters and banking a mere $761,000 on the New York circuit.

Since then, however, the trend has been upward. Kimmel went 21 for 123 for slightly more than $1 million in earnings last year, and this year he is winning at better than a 20 percent clip overall. When Kimmel sent out Premium Tap to upset Sun King in the $65,000 Albert the Great Stakes at Belmont Park on July 7, it was the 1,000th winner of his career.

"I had no idea until just a few days ago that it was approaching," Kimmel, 52, said after the race. "It's unbelievable to think a thousand wins would go by so fast in the years I've been doing this. This will be one I remember, that's for sure. He's a beautifully made horse. We had a hard time in his 3-year-old year keeping him sound, but he's come together and we've been patient with him."

As the Belmont session entered its final stretch, Kimmel had won with 11 of his first 30 starters, a 37 percent win rate that was tops among all trainers with at least six wins.

"You're only as good as the players you have," said Kimmel. "We've been pretty patient with a lot of our horses, and many of them are coming around."

Kimmel saddled seven winners at Saratoga in 2005, and approaches the next go-round at the Spa with a barn full of momentum, headed by Premium Tap, who may take a run at the Whitney Handicap.

Kimmel has been well worth following at the betting windows for the past year and a half, showing profitable return-on-investment totals in about half of the statistical "Trainer Form" categories. Notably, his ROI hovers around the $3 mark with a large sample of turf runners.


HorseAge/SexLast raceFinishLast 3 BeyersCareer recordEarnings
Awesome Twist4COC75k/N3X19968899-4-1-0$124,891
Beautiful Daniele3FLate Bloomer48482754-1-1-036,187
Chestertown Slew4COC30k/N3X192917111-4-1-1136,105
Classy Charm4FMissy's Mirage181859220-5-4-1260,164
King Hoss4GClm35k38175687-1-1-229,280
Now More Than Ever3FAlwN1X17672566-2-3-076,318
Premium Tap4CAlbert the Great1102919612-4-3-1148,780
Stolen Star3FOC25k/N2X27389665-2-1-269,300
Truer Than True4COC75k/N1X67282733-1-0-131,600


First North American Start20.000.00
1st race with trainer80.253.30
+180 days since last race180.060.42
60-180 days since last race460.203.00
Second off layoff 45-180 days470.282.64
Second off layoff +180 days120.080.44
1st time starter410.050.38
2nd start as maiden340.263.74
Maiden special to maiden claimer80.251.45
1st time turf370.242.79
1st time blinkers90.113.31
1st time Lasix180.171.05
Dirt to turf420.192.30
Turf to dirt230.040.13
Blinkers on110.092.71
Blinkers off100.403.51
Sprint to route440.161.19
Route to sprint220.231.75
31-60 days since last race1340.212.25
Won last start630.162.10
Wet tracks360.192.23
Maiden claiming300.200.94
Maiden special weight1260.172.23
Graded stakes260.123.64
Debut in a maiden claiming race30.000.00
Debut at greater than/equal to 1 mile140.070.50

Trainer statistics reflect North American starts from Jan. 1, 2005 through July 16, 2006