02/08/2014 3:39PM

Turfway Park: Hammond becomes first female trainer to win 2,000 races

John Engelhardt
Kim Hammond has been training for almost 35 years.

Kim Hammond became the first female trainer in North America to win 2,000 Thoroughbred races when Big Smooth took the fourth race at Turfway Park Saturday.

Hammond, 56, nearing her 35th year as a trainer, is the winningest female trainer in the sport, ahead of such notable trainers as Christine Janks, Kathleen O’Connell, Stephanie Beattie, and Linda Rice.


Her 2,000th victory was typical of so many of Hammond’s wins, coming in a claiming race, where the bulk of her modest stable competes, mostly at smaller tracks across the country. Reflecting that, just four of her 2,000 winners have been in stakes races, with all four at Fairmount Park, where she got started as trainer.

In recent years, she has run more often at Turfway Park and in Indiana, where slots-fueled purses have made investing in the business worthwhile for connections with lesser-quality horses. She owns a small farm just outside of Indianapolis, and breeds and raises horses, in addition to training.

Hammond’s most successful years as a trainer came in 1998, when her stable amassed $837,216 in purse earnings and in 2004, when she won 97 races;  in 2013, she had 31 wins and $412,561 in earnings. She has been the leading trainer at a race meet twice: once at the long-defunct Bluegrass Downs in Paducah, Ky., and in the summer of 2003 at Ellis Park.

Big Smooth, owned by Joeseph Kasperki Jr. and ridden by Joseph Berrio, proved an emphatic winner of the fourth race at Turfway, a $5,000 claimer, pulling clear by seven lengths. He paid $15.80.

Turfway cancels  after fourth race Saturday  

Turfway canceled racing Saturday after the fourth race due to what Turfway announced was “adverse conditions on the track.”

Turfway has a synthetic Polytrack surface that has typically handled winter weather reasonably well, but the Northern Kentucky area, where the track is located, was hit with harsh winter weather this week.