New Orleanian Tom Amoss saddles 4,000th winner

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(Photos courtesy Skip Dickstein)

New Orleans native Tom Amoss became the 15th trainer in North American history to reach the milestone of 4,000 career wins when he sent out Isolate to victory Wednesday in the Tale of the Cat Stakes at Saratoga.

Tyler Gaffialone was the winning jockey for the historic Amoss win.

Amoss moved within one of the milestone Tuesday when he took an allowance optional claiming race with Sixtythreecaliber at Horseshoe Indianapolis, where wins 3,995 through 3,998 also came.

Amoss, 60, has more than 1,000 of his career wins at his hometown track, Fair Grounds, where he has been leading trainer 11 times and is a member of the Fair Grounds Racing Hall of Fame. He also has won training titles at Churchill Downs, Hoosier Park, Indiana Downs, Presque Isle Downs, Kentucky Downs and Ellis Park.

“My first winner was in 1987, Sportsman’s Park, maiden $7,500 (claiming race),” Amoss told the Saratoga Special last week. “I still have that picture in my basement – Prize Dream was the horse. I think about that start, all the people I’ve met along the way and how good the business has been to me.”

Ironically, that win by Prize Dream would be her only victory in 44 career starts, a trend far from the norm in Amoss’ career. In his career as a conditioner, which now spans five decades, he has won with one of every four starters; through Wednesday, his 4,000 wins have come from 16,031 starters, a win rate of 24.95 percent. Of the 10 trainers above Amoss on the wins list who have full career statistics available, no one has a higher win rate.

Amoss has saddled six Grade I winners, including Serengeti Empress in the 2019 Kentucky Oaks and multiple Grade I winner Heritage of Gold. He finished third in the 2013 Preakness with Mylute and has been in the money four times in Breeders’ Cup races.

The first of Amoss’ 55 graded stakes wins came at Fair Grounds when he saddled Festive to a victory in the 1990 New Orleans Handicap.

Since 2000, Amoss has won more than 100 races every year and ranked in the top 25 nationally in wins 16 times, including a career-best rank of seventh in 2013.

A graduate of Newman and LSU, Amoss started his career working for Hall of Famers Jack Van Berg – who ranks fourth on the career wins list with 6,523 – and New Orleans native Frank Brothers before taking out his trainer’s license 35 years ago.

In addition to his work on the backstretch, Amoss has been an on-air analyst for TVG, ESPN, Fox Sports and the New York Racing Association. He won the 2020 Big Sport of Turfdom Award from the Turf Publicists of America, given annually to a person or group who enhances coverage of Thoroughbred racing through cooperation with the media and Thoroughbred racing publicists.

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Lenny Vangilder


Lenny was involved in college athletics starting in the early 1980s, when he began working Tulane University sporting events while still attending Archbishop Rummel High School. He continued that relationship as a student at Loyola University, where he graduated in 1987. For the next 11 years, Vangilder worked in the sports information offices at Southwestern Louisiana (now UL-Lafayette) and Tulane;…

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