Trainer Bios

Neil J. Howard

Born: February 23, 1949 in Riverdale, N.Y.

Record at Keeneland

Total Wins: 163

Stakes Wins: 20

Career Firsts

First Grade 1 Win: 1989 Hopeful at Saratoga with Summer Squall

First Stakes Win: 1980 Ohio Open Championship at Beulah Park with Hasty Tam

First Graded Stakes Win: 1984 Schuylerville (G3) at Saratoga with Weekend Delight

First Career Win: May 27 1979, at River Downs with Knock Knock Bird

Starters in the Toyota Blue Grass











Lil’s Lad



Line in the Sand



Summer Squall


At Keeneland

Won the 2016 Ben Ali (G3) during the Spring Meet with Eagle.

Tied as the leading trainer of the 1994 Spring Meet at Keeneland with D. Wayne Lukas with seven wins each.

First Keeneland stakes win was the 1990 Blue Grass (G2) with Summer Squall, who was second in the Kentucky Derby (G1) and won the Preakness (G1).

Scored career win No. 1,000 on Oct. 12, 2005, at Keeneland with Soul Search.

Won the 1992 Ashland (G1) with Prospectors Delite.

Has five wins in the Ben Ali (G3) and four wins in the Fayette (G2).


Triple Crown win: 1990 Preakness (G1) with Summer Squall.

Trained 2003 Horse of the Year Mineshaft to win seven stakes during the season. Four were Grade 1 races.

North American career earnings exceed $52 million with 1,223 wins through January 29, 2018.

2017 earnings were $865,760 with 13 wins, including the Lecomte (G3) with Guest Suite.

2016 earnings were $1,125,072 with 15 wins, including the Ben Ali (G3) at Keeneland with Eagle and the Alaire DuPont Distaff (G3) at Pimlico with Ahh Chocolate.

2015 earnings were $982,170 with 18 wins, including the Falls City (G2) with Ahh Chocolate and Louisville Handicap (G3) with Xtra Luck.

After being the private trainer for Will Farish’s Lane’s End Farm since 1984, Howard opened a public stable in 2010.

Won the 2000 Kentucky Oaks (G1) with Secret Status.

Leading trainer at Churchill Downs (fall 1997, 1998-tie).

Saddled six consecutive winners during a six-day span at Churchill Downs in 1997.

Won 10 stakes with Weekend Delight between 1984 and 1987.


Neil spent two years in the Navy after finishing high school. “I was riding show horses and went to Waterford Park to look for horses to buy for showing,” he said. “Soon after that, I was at Belmont Park looking for a job.”

He got his first job working for trainer John Cotter in 1969 and later worked for Racing Hall of Fame trainer Woody Stephens and his brother, Bill. While he groomed horses for Bill in South Carolina during the winter, Cannonade and Judger were yearlings turning 2. He next worked for Joe Cantey and spent seven years with Hall of Famer Mack Miller.

In 1979, Neil took out his trainer’s license and competed at River Downs and Beulah Park in Ohio. He won his first race that year with Knock Knock Bird at River Downs.