Mark Ford reached a career milestoneon Saturdaynight (June 16) as he became the third youngest trainer to ever hit 3,000career victories.
Ford reached the milestone in the fourth race at Saratoga Casino and Raceway when My Gal Mykenna scored in a time of 1:56.1 in a $5,500 conditioned pace.
According to USTA records for trainers, which date back to 1991, Virgil Morgan Jr. was the youngest trainer to hit the 3,000 plateau, accomplishing that feat at the age of 39 years, two months, when he hit the milestone on Jan. 31, 2005. Bob Belcher (at the age of 40 years, four months) won his 3,000th race on Aug. 23, 2006.
Ford is currently 41 years, eight months, old.
Ford, on Aug. 7, 2010,became the first trainer to ever hit $40 million in career earnings before the age of 40. Ford wasjust the sixth trainer at the time to pass the $40 million career mark, joining Noel Daley, Bob McIntosh, Erv Miller, Brett Pelling and Jimmy Takter. Miller, at age 42, was previously the youngest to hit the milestone. Ford turned 40 in October of that year.
Ford has enjoyed tremendous success in recent seasons. After a run of eight consecutive campaigns with earnings of $3 million, his stable set a career high with $6.03 million in 2011. Earlier this year he went over the $50 million mark in lifetime earnings.
A native of West Virginia, Ford passed up an agricultural scholarship in England and instead traveled to Florida after high school to work with Clint Galbraith. He moved to the New York/New Jersey area in 1990 and eventually met Ted Wing, who became a big influence. Ford also credits Ray Schnittker with assistance on his road to stardom.
Ford first stepped into the national spotlight thanks to the pacing gelding Gallo Blue Chip, 2000 Horse of the Year and the richest pacer in the history of the sport with $4.26 million in earnings. He was named co-winner (along with Takter) of the 2000 Glen Garnsey Trainer of the Year Award by the United States Harness Writers' Association.
Ford, who owns a 200-horse training center in upstate New York, is also a director of the United States Trotting Association. (USTA)