Phil Sims: Racing to Success
Friday, February 15, 2013 Share on Facebook RSS Feeds
Trainer Phil Sims is having a tremendous 2013 as a trainer.  Currently stabled at Oaklawn Park in Hot Springs, Arkansas, Sims is winning at a 28% clip and rate of 57% in the money finishes.  Though having only saddled 14 horses so far in 2013 it seems to appear that Sims may be “on track” to have a career year.  Sims’ success is not unexpected as this KY horseman has been training racehorses for over 30 years and has spent his whole life working with animals.

Phil Sims was raised on a Central Kentucky farm where his family kept beef cattle, broodmares, and also grew its own hay and straw bedding.  His early exposure to horses gave him the necessary background when he began training in his early 20s.  In those early years Sims started out working with yearlings out of his family’s broodmares that weren’t sold at auction. 



It is clear that Sims’ owners appreciate his “hands on” approach to training and many have remained loyal to him over the years.  Some of the owners that had horses with him when he started training 30 years ago are still with him today.  Though currently based out of Oaklawn for the winter, Sims also maintains a stable at Keeneland year round.  His Oaklawn-based stable has 15 runners and his Keeneland barn maintains about 20 horses. 

In terms of his training program, Sims says, “…I am a hands on trainer and I treat each horse as an individual”.  He goes on to explain, “Keeping horses happy is a very important part of my training philosophy”.  As such he tends not to rush his 2 year olds and say many of his runners make their first starts at age 3.  Sims currently owns a farm in Central Kentucky and incorporates it into his training program by using his own facilities to break the young horses and also lay up any recovering runners.

Sims’ training methods are clearly working because his horses are winning.  Not only does Sims pick appropriate spots for his horses’ class and ability but he also has them prepared to win at first asking and first off a layoff.  His stable may consist of modestly bred horses but he knows how to make the most with what he has.  The best example of “getting the most from his horses” is his best runner, the Grade 1 winning mare HOT CHA CHA. 

HOT CHA CHA won the 2009 Grade 1 Queen Elizabeth II Stakes at Keeneland Racecourse.  The mare maintained her good turf form for two seasons having taken the Grade 3 Bourbonette Stakes at Turfway in March of 2009 and won or placed in 11 more graded stakes through the Grade 1 Juddmonte Spinster at Keeneland Racecourse in October of 2010.  HOT CHA CHA finished her career 14 of 19 in the money, once again show that Sims is very adept at placing his horses in races where they can compete and routinely make money for his owners.



Horsemen always need good help managing the barn and its runners.  In Sims’ case, that help comes in the form of his oldest son Matthew who serves as his main assistant.  Sims also has a younger son, Blake, who is still in high school but who chips in with horse chores on the weekends in the summer.

Phil Sims is a true Kentucky horseman and a man who has spent his whole life dedicated to caring for, training, and developing equine athletes.  In 2012, Sims was elected to the Board of Directors of the Kentucky Thoroughbred Association/Kentucky Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders and it believes he makes a wonderful trainer representative.  Sims says of his membership in KTA/KTOB, “I do believe that being a member of KTA/KTOB is a very important way to promote horse racing and the breeding industry in Kentucky as well as the entire country”.  Based on his horse knowledge and classy reputation, Phil Sims is a wonderful example of how “Kentucky Stands for Quality” and Kentucky Thoroughbred Association and Kentucky Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders are so proud to have him on its Board.

Brisnet.com 5101 Trainer Report for Phil Sims


Start-by-start race records for all a trainer's runners for the past two years











  Runners Starts Wins Win % Place Show In the Money In the Money % Earnings
Last two yrs. 36 184 32 17.39% 32 21 85 46.20% $996,629.00
2013 15 19 6 31.58% 3 3 12 63.16% $213,305.00










Last two yrs. Avg. start/horse 5.11
2013 Avg. earnings/start $11,226.58



Avg. earnings/runner $27,684.14

Avg. earnings/runner $14,220.33




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