(Trainer David Vance / Coady Photography)
Veteran trainer David Vance, one of the fixtures on the Kentucky and Arkansas racing circuits, has announced his retirement following a remarkable 58-year career.
“It’s been a great run but I’ve decided it’s time to retire,” Vance said. “Horse racing is in my blood and it’s all I’ve known my entire life. I’ve told myself I’d train as long as I physically could and now is the time to retire. I’m proud our family will remain involved in training horses with my son, Tommy, and daughter, Trisha, who are third-generation trainers.”
Vance was most known as the conditioner of 2000 Champion 2-year-old Filly Caressing. Owned by Vance’s longtime client Carl Pollard, Caressing won the 2000 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (GI) en route to her season-ending championship honor. Some of Vance’s other top runners include Pollard’s Grade I winnerMy Trusty Cat and accomplished Kiss Moon and Kiss the Devil.
“Dad has accomplished a lot of things as a trainer but I most admire his courage, hard work and determination for achieving those accolades,” Tommy said. “Throughout his career he’s never had more than 40 horses in his care at one time and won thousands of races doing so.”
Vance will close his career with 3,193 documented wins, according to Equibase, which ranks 32nd all-time in North America. Vance is ranked 11th in all-time wins at Churchill Downs with 380.
Vance, who will turn 83 in August, is a lifelong horseman who began training on his own in 1965. As a teenager, Vance was a jockey and one of the leading riders in the 1950s at the now defunct Thunderbird Downs in Las Vegas. Along with his brief career in the saddle, Vance was the assistant to his father, Richard, until he started his own stable.
It didn’t take long for Vance to find success as a trainer when he won his first of four Churchill Downs leading trainer titles in the 1967 Spring Meet. His other three titles came in the 1980-’81 Spring Meets and the 1994 Fall Meet. Vance has also won multiple training titles at Garden State Park, Keystone Park and Oaklawn Park.