Leading trainer Charlie Stewart is already off to a great start in defending his 2011 Leading Trainer title at Hooiser Park Racing & Casino. Stewart headed the 2011 trainer’s title with 46 wins and $304,825 in earnings for the meet. The 24-year-old was also the youngest trainer to ever accomplish that feat for any breed at Hoosier Park. It was Stewart’s first training title. Ryan Bellamy finished a close second with 34 wins while North America’s leading trainer, Ron Burke wasn’t far behind him with 33 wins.
“It was quite an honor to be the leading trainer last year because there are a lot of great trainers here,” Stewart said of his title. “I didn’t expect to win it, but it was nice to be recognized in such great company. I’m looking forward to this year and am hoping my horses will be as competitive as they were last year.”
An Indiana Native, Stewart has been training horses since he was 14. Working with racehorses has been a family affair as Stewart’s mother, Gay Bankson, trains thoroughbreds. However, he got a taste of working with Standardbreds when he worked for well-known trainer Modie Beeman as a teenager. Beeman lived less than a mile away from Stewart’s childhood home.
With 267 career wins and over a million dollars in earnings recorded as a trainer, Stewart ended 2011 with 82 wins and over $600,000 in purse earnings. Stewart has posted back to back seasons with his training bankroll surpassing the $600,000 mark.
He spent his winter racing his stable of fifteen around the Canadian circuit. While most his starts were recorded at Woodbine, he also started horses at Flamboro Raceway and Georgian Downs. He looks for his horses to be race tight kicking off the Hoosier Park meet.
“I’m very excited to be back at Hoosier,” Stewart said. “I had a good winter in Canada and my horses raced well but I’m glad to be back. Hopefully, we can keep that momentum going and get off to a good start here. This has always been my favorite place to race.”