Michael Matz
Trainer Bios

Michael Matz

Born: January 23, 1951 in Collegeville, Penn.

Record at Keeneland

Total Wins: 39

Stakes Wins: 4

Career Firsts

First Grade 1 Win: 2003 Secretariat at Arlington Park won by Kicken Kris

First Stakes Win: 1998 Silver Spoon at Delaware Park with Camella

First Graded Stakes Win: 2000 Pebbles (G3) at Belmont Park with Lady Dora

First Career Win: 1997

Starters in the Toyota Blue Grass


Year

Horse

Finish

2008

Visionaire

5th

At Keeneland


First Keeneland win came during the 2001 Spring Fall Meet.

Trained Barbaro here during the 2006 Spring Meet. The colt worked five furlongs in 1:01.40 on April 23 before moving to Churchill Downs to continue preparations for his win in the Kentucky Derby (G1).

First Keeneland stakes win was the 2007 Stonerside Beaumont (G2) with Street Sounds. Also won the 2008 Rood & Riddle Dowager with Herboriste (GB), 2011 JPMorgan Chase Jessamine (G3) with Somali Lemonade and 2014 Jenny Wiley (G1) with Hard Not to Like.

Career


Triple Crown wins (2): 2006 Kentucky Derby (G1) with Barbaro; 2012 Belmont (G1) with Union Rags.

Breeders’ Cup win: 2006 Distaff with Round Pond.

North American career earnings near $40 million with 744 wins through Dec. 2, 2018.

2017 earnings were $1,767,197 from 37 wins, including the Forward Gal (G2) and Charles Town Oaks (G3) with Tequilita.

2016 earnings were $1,687,864 with 35 wins, including the Indiana Grand Stakes with Queen Caroline.

2015 earnings were $1,412,821 with 26 victories.

2014 earnings were $2,523,369 with 36 wins, including the Jenny Wiley (G1) at Keeneland with Hard Not to Like and the Diana (G1) at Saratoga with Somali Lemonade.

Awarded the Mr. Fitz Award, along with “Team Barbaro,” by the National Turf Writers Association in 2006.

Member of the U.S. Olympic Equestrian Team in 1976, 1992 and 1996, earning a team silver medal in show jumping in 1996.

Chosen to carry the American flag into Atlanta’s Centennial Olympic Stadium during the closing ceremonies in 1996.

Retired from show jumping as the leading money-winning rider in the sport’s American history, with more than $1.7 million.

Inducted into the Show Jumping Hall of Fame in 2005.

Background


Michael turned to training racehorses after an exceptional career in show jumping on the national and international stage. Chosen for the U.S. Olympic Equestrian Team three times, he won a team silver medal in 1996 along with Peter Leone, Leslie Burr-Howard and Anne Kursinski. For the 1996 games, he also received the honor of carrying the American flag into the Centennial Olympic Stadium in Atlanta.

He competed in three World Championships, winning two bronze medals in 1978 for individual and team show jumping, and in 1986, he won a team gold medal. At the Pan-American Games, he won eight medals, including team gold and individual bronze in 1975, team and individual gold in 1979, team gold and individual bronze in 1983 and individual gold and team bronze in 1995.

Six times he won the U.S. National Show Jumping Championship and for 20 years, he won at least one major competition each year. He retired as the leading money-winning U.S. show jumper in history with more than $1.7 million and he was inducted into the Show Jumping Hall of Fame in 2005. The induction ceremony the following April coincided with the Florida Derby (G1) that Barbaro won, forcing Michael to miss the event.

He was chosen to carry the American flag on account of his stellar equestrian career and the role he played on July 19, 1989. That day, he and his future wife, D.D. Alexander, were returning from judging a horse show in Hawaii when they missed their connection from Denver to Philadelphia. Given the choice of two flights 20 minutes apart, they decided to take United Flight 232. The plane crashed in Sioux City, Iowa, after the engines failed, killing 112 passengers. Michael and Alexander survived the crash. Michael led three siblings to safety from the wreckage and re-entered the burning plane to find an 11-month-old girl and bring her to safety. He has kept in touch with the siblings, who were in attendance at Churchill Downs for Barbaro’s Derby victory.

D.D. Matz is the daughter of noted horsewoman Helen Kleberg Groves and granddaughter of Robert Kleberg, who owned King Ranch and Triple Crown winner Assault.