Here´s a little bit of time management inspiration for you heading into the weekend. For the majority of you who probably aren´t major horse racing fans like I am, you may not be aware that the Breeders´ Cup, horse racing´s Super Bowl, World Series and Stanley Cup all on one day, takes place on Saturday, November 4 in Louisville, Kentucky at the famous Churchill Downs, home of the Kentucky Derby. It´s an incredibly exciting event with an amazing field this year which has been capturing most of my thoughts for more than a week.
There are 104 horses running in eight races on the day. One trainer, Todd Pletcher, is responsible for training 17 of them. That´s an absolutely staggering number of horses to run on one day. No other trainer has ever entered more than 14 in one Breeders´ Cup. There are 13 different people who own the 17 horses.
Pletcher has more than 200 horses in training. He currently has main stables in New York, Kentucky, New Jersey and Florida, smaller operations in other locations, and he is about to establish a new stable in California. He has assistant trainers in each location who look after the day to day operations, a huge number of grooms and riders to keep the horse happy and fit, and veterinarians and blacksmiths to keep the horses healthy. He has an office staff in Saratoga, New York where all of the incredible logistics of his operation are run — from entering all the horses in their races to flying them around the country and around the world.
Pletcher is essentially the CEO of his major operation, but it´s more than just that. When all of his owners, who are trusting him with horses often worth millions of dollars, want to know how their horses are doing, or how their latest exercise run went, they don´t call one of the assistants or the grooms. They call Pletcher. That means he has to be on top of how all of his 200 horses are doing so that he can maintain the trust and the relationship with his clients. Each client spends thousands of dollars per month on each horse to keep it with Pletcher, so they demand the fullest attention. Whenever anything goes wrong, he is the one expected to fix it.
It gets worse for Pletcher. Whenever one of his horses is running in a major stakes race, which can occur in any corner of the country, Pletcher has to be there to saddle the horse, be with the owners and make sure that everything goes well. That means that he almost always has to be on the road, so keeping up is even harder for him.
In other words, Todd Pletcher may be the best manager of time in the entire country. He has incredible challenges to overcome, so big, in fact, that no other trainer in the country even tries to have a racing operation the size of Pletcher´s. He is given credit for having a near photographic memory, an endless supply of energy and communications and organizational skills which are second to none.
Pletcher manages to juggle all of his responsibilities pretty well. He´s won $24 million in purses so far this year, breaking the record he set last year. He has also set records this year for the number of stakes races won, and is about to break the record for graded stakes victories. He´s the kind of guy that you either need to hate with bitter jealousy or admire and aspire to be like.