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DeVaux Earns MJC's Top Preakness Weekend Trainer Bonus

DeVaux is the first female to claim top honors.

Cherie DeVaux

Cherie DeVaux

TOBA/Jay Moran

Her first career three-win day, all in stakes, helped earn Cherie DeVaux the top prize of $50,000 in the Maryland Jockey Club's $100,000 trainer bonus offered to horsemen for their participation in stakes races over Preakness weekend, May 17 and 18, at Pimlico Race Course.

DeVaux is the first female to claim top honors. A former assistant to trainers Chuck Simon and Chad Brown, the upstate New York native went out on her own in 2018 and has won 170 races and more than $14 million in purses. DeVaux owns 11 graded-stakes victories including She Feels Pretty in the 2023 Natalma (G1) and Vahva in the May 4 Derby City Distaff (G1).

On the weekend, DeVaux started horses in five stakes and won with all three of her runners on Friday's Black-Eyed Susan (G2) Day program—Pyrenees in the $250,000 Pimlico Special (G3), She Feels Pretty in the $100,000 Hilltop, and Shotgun Hottie in the $100,000 Allaire du Pont Distaff. Her two starters on Saturday's Preakness Stakes (G1) card were Blissful, who ran fourth in the $150,000 Gallorette (G3) and Beatbox, eighth in the $500,000 Dinner Party (G3).

DeVaux finished with a total of 34 points, four more than runner-up and four-time top bonus winner, Hall of Famer Steve Asmussen.

To be eligible for the bonus, trainers had to run a minimum of five horses in the 15 stakes, eight graded, worth $4.3 million in purses offered during Preakness weekend. Points were accumulated for finishing first (10), second (seven), third (five), fourth (three) and fifth through last (one).

The trainer with the most points earned $50,000, followed by $25,000 for second, $12,000 for third, $7,000 for fourth, $4,000 for fifth, and $2,000 for sixth.

This marked the eighth straight year the MJC has offered the trainer bonus program. Asmussen earned the top prize in 2017, 2018, 2021 and 2022. Brad Cox (2019), Mike Maker (2020), and Graham Motion (2023) have also led the standings.

Asmussen has won more races than any trainer in Thoroughbred history with over 10,500. He did not register a victory over Preakness weekend but ran second in the Hilltop with Just Better; respectively third and fourth with Harlocap and Red Route One in the Pimlico Special; fifth with High Class in the $100,000 The Very One; eighth with Recharge in the $300,000 Black-Eyed Susan (G2); 11th with Closing Act in the $150,000 Miss Preakness (G3)—all on Friday—second with Cats by Five in the $200,000 Chick Lang (G3), third with Imperial Gun in the $100,000 Sir Barton, and fifth with Jaxon Traveler in the $100,000 Maryland Sprint (G3) Saturday.

Laurel Park-based Mike Trombetta finished third with 28 points. He won and was third in the five-furlong The Very One with Future Is Now and Hollywood Walk, respectively; was third in the Black-Eyed Susan with Call Another Play and fifth with Turf Rocket in the Hilltop on Friday, and second with Crystal Quest in Saturday's $100,000 James W. Murphy.

Brittany Russell, Maryland's leading trainer by wins in 2023 who has strings at Pimlico, Laurel Park, and the Fair Hill Training Center in Elkton, Md., finished fourth with 23 points. She had Cap Classique run fourth in the Miss Preakness, Be Better run fifth in the Pimlico Special, and Bosserati run ninth in The Very One Friday, and saw Apple Picker win the $100,000 Skipat, Prince of Jericho finish third in the Maryland Sprint, and Massif run fourth in the Murphy.   

Motion finished fifth with 19 points. He ran seven horses in six stakes, the best result being Five Towns' runner-up finish in the Gallorette. Hall of Famer D. Wayne Lukas rounded out the top finishers with 16 points, highlighted by his seventh career triumph in the $2 million Preakness, middle jewel of the Triple Crown, with Seize the Grey.

Bonus money totaling $50,000 was also offered for trainers having the most points in non-stakes races during Preakness weekend. Points were accumulated in similar fashion with $25,000 going to the leader, $10,000 to second, $7,500 to third, $4,000 to fourth, $2,500 to fifth, and $1,000 to sixth.

Trainers needed to have a minimum of three starts to qualify for the bonus.

Russell earned the top prize with 48 points, followed by Kieron Magee (25), Motion (23), Anthony Aguirre Jr. (15), Anthony Farrior (14), and Trombetta (13).

This press release has been edited for content and style by BloodHorse Staff.