BigDaddy News

Horse Racing News

McPeek Reaches Career Win 2,000, Reflects on Success

Trainer Ken McPeek saddled his 2,000th career winner when the 3-year-old Justify   filly Winnable  was victorious in her debut Feb. 21 at Turfway Park.

It was the 117th debut winner (8.3%) from 1,414 starters for McPeek. A Stoneleigh Farm homebred, Winnable is out of the Curlin   mare Mischievousmaximus .

McPeek, as agent, famously purchased Curlin for $57,000 from the back books of the 2005 Keeneland September Yearling Sale. Curlin went on to be a two-time divisional champion, two-time Horse of the Year, and was voted into the Racing Hall of Fame, in addition to being an important stallion.

“Not many people have (won 2,000 races) I suppose,” McPeek said. “The interesting thing about this filly that won last night is that Joe Murphy (of Stoneleigh Farm)—his father J.B. Murphy was one of my first clients. He gave me a horse in 1987, and I’ve been associated with the family since. I’m proud of that.

“The other thing about this win was that it happened at Turfway Park, a place where I cut my teeth and won a lot of races.”

Sign up for

McPeek, 61, got his training license in 1985. He has won 15% of his 13,319 career starts, with earnings of $117,262,004 according to Equibase. His horses have won 117 graded stakes and a total of 261 black-type stakes races.

His best year by total earnings was 2023 when his stable hit for $10,773,078, 11th most in North America.

McPeek has trained two classic winners. His training success combined with an ability to identify and purchase gifted horses at public auction, often for modest prices, have set him apart from his contemporaries.

McPeek purchased Swiss Skydiver  at the 2018 Keeneland September Yearling Sale for $35,000. In 2020 he conditioned the Daredevil   filly to become the sixth filly to win the Preakness Stakes (G1). She also was voted champion 3-year-old filly.

Another key year for McPeek was 2002 when his $6,647,289 earnings ranked seventh nationally. His 2002 stable was an incredible group that included Belmont Stakes (G1) winner Sarava , multiple grade 1 winners Take Charge Lady  and Harlan’s Holiday , and grade 2 winner Repent .

“That was a fantastic crop of horses. I only had about 20 horses in training at Gulfstream Park that winter,” McPeek said. “I was getting a little bit bigger budget than I had in previous years, and it seemed like the stars aligned.”

Take Charge Lady went on to be a highly influential broodmare and was voted 2013 Kentucky Broodmare of the Year. Harlan’s Holiday was a very successful stallion in Kentucky and is the sire of five-time champion general sire Into Mischief  .

“Take Charge Lady and Harlan’s Holiday have been powerful influences in pedigrees,” McPeek said. “Repent was a stallion, too, and he was the broodmare sire of that great champion filly (Midnight Bisou). I’ve been fortunate to contribute to the breed over the course of my career. It’s neat stuff.

“The thing is, I think I’m just now figuring it all out. We have such a good operation and such good people that help me. I’m proud of who I work with and my client base.”

Leave feedback about this

  • Quality
  • Price
  • Service


Add Field


Add Field
Choose Image
Choose Video

Want To Earn From Skills ?

Bonus On New ID