Kids Rule and South Beach Dancer line up at Fair Grounds tomorrow as Mike Stidham’s last grasp chances to add to his season’s impressive haul. But as 2014 draws towards its bitter-sweet finale, we should sit back and reflect upon what has been in many ways one of Stidham’s most glittering years as a trainer.
Stidham has amassed 80 winners from 443 runners at an impressive 18% strike-rate. And his earnings tally currently stands at the $3,345,603 mark – his largest end-of-year total since he took out his license over thirty-five years ago.
Currently sitting #39 on the nation’s trainer’s standings (out of more then 6000 licensed trainers in the country), a large portion of Stidham’s earnings have been garnered through some fantastic stake-winning performances. And where-oh-where to begin!
Arguably Stidham’s flag-bearer this year, Istanford–owned by Dawn and Ike Thrash, and Janet and Sam Alley–finished the season with scintillating victories in the Sandy Blue Handicap at Del Mar, the Grade III Arlington Classic Stakes and the Grade II San Clemente Handicap, also at Del Mar.
Mark Breen’s Jessica’s Star was another to make his mark early in the year, and the highlight from his four-race victory haul this year was a tremendous success in the Grade III Ohio Derby.
Like Baby, no-one puts Her Emmynency in the corner, and Dan and Ike Thrash’s stunning daughter of Successful Appeal added a win in the Surfer Stakes at Del Mar to an agonizingly narrow defeat in the Grade I Del Mar Debutante Stakes. She’s sure to be a major player in 2015.
Other stake-winning performers for Stidham this season included I Dazzle, who notched a stake-race double throughout a highly rewarding season, Stellaris, the ever-green Ground Transport and Pirate’s Trove, whose two stake wins were achieved up at Woodbine.
2014 also saw Stidham achieve the momentous feat of sending out his 1500th career winner, when Star’s Woman flashed passed the post first in a race up at Golden Gate in November.
With so many memorable days and so many wondrous moments to choose from, fans of the stable may feel a little over-stuffed as they look back over the year. But with a barn chock-full with talent–both established stars and young pretenders alike–2015 promises a lot more of the same.
So from everybody at the Stidham stable, Happy New Year!