"Michael Dickinson, the 48-year-old
Yorkshireman who was prematurely branded as a
failure as a trainer of Flat horses in
England, was being hailed across America
yesterday as an inspired master of his craft
after Da Hoss completed an almost miraculous
double in the Breeders' Cup Mile at Churchill
Downs in Kentucky."
"Da Hoss's comeback was a feat of training
that had hardened veterans tossing the word
genius freely in Dickinson's direction as he
cheerfully admitted that he was experiencing
'the most emotional day of my life'"
Hugh McIlvaney - The
"The most stunning performance of the day was
the victory of Da Hoss in the Mile - the
result of a virtuoso training job by Michael
"The most acclaimed horsemen in American
history - Charlie Whittingham, Woody
Stephens, Sunny Jim Fitzsimmons, Ben Jones -
never did anything like this."
Andrew Beyer - The
"There are horses and there are trainers.
I've been around the track only some 65
years. I didn't need to think it over when Da
Hoss, winner of the fourth race of the
Breeders' Cup, and his trainer Michael
Dickinson, entered the winner's circle after
the Cup Mile on the turf. Dickinson has to be
one of the world's best trainers, and Da Hoss
has to be one of the classiest and
Dave Feldman - Chicago
"...but his effort in bringing back the
injury-plagued Da Hoss to win a second
Breeders' Cup Mile ranks as one of the best
performances of the modern era."
J. A. McGrath - The
"What sort of alchemy has Dickinson been
"He is renown for an attention to details
that plays a big role in the management of
horses in his care."
"Rarely has there been a winning race to
approach this one that showed off such a
tremendous training feat and such courage
from a horse."
Maryjean Wall -
Lexington Herald Leader
"November 7, 1998 will be remembered as the
day Michael Dickinson pulled off one of the
great training feats in American racing
"The race provided the emotional highlight of
Breeders' Cup Day."
"To get a horse both physically and mentally
sharp after two years absence requires a
"At that point, no one would have been
surprised to see Da Hoss, with just one start
in two years, fade."
"The victory by Da Hoss was one of the most
remarkable training jobs of the modern era.
Trainer Michael Dickinson has been called a
genius. Now a lot of people understand why.
The indelible impression left from Breeders'
Cup 1998 was the courage and unexpected
triumph of Da Hoss. It was truly one for the
Mark Simon -
"I think he's a genius squared. He's a double
genius. He's a genius in a mind. He's a most
intelligent person, and he's a genius as a
race horse trainer as well. And which ever
way you look at Michael Dickinson, he just
plays the game by his own drummer. He doesn't
listen to what society tells him to do. He
does what he wants to do. And you saw the
results here today."
"Yet another Breeders' Cup winner. What a
training job that was. To bring a horse back
like that. It might never happen again."
"A phenomenal training job by a phenomenal
"I'll tell you, he can train one of my horses
any day of the week."
"He's go to be right up there with the best
"He doesn't have that many horses. So, you
won't see him atop the trainers standing. But
as far as horse flesh goes, you can only
equal him. You can't better him."
Trevor Denman - NBC
Analyst and Race Caller
"Unbelievable, sensational in victory here
"Oh my, this is the greatest comeback since
"He's had one race in two years."
Tom Durkin - Race
"We said Michael Dickinson was a mad genius.
How in the world can you have this horse
ready with one race in two years and win his
second Breeders' Cup Mile?"
"It was just an astounding performance."
"A wonderful training job by Michael
Dickinson. One of the all-time training
"The tradition holds true as Joan Wakefield
and Michael Dickinson score again in the
Breeders' Cup Mile."
"People were scoffing at him. People thought
'No way. He might even get in the race.' And
here he is off one race in two years winning
against the best in the world."
Tom Hammond - NBC
"Mr. Dickinson told me this horse was going
to be ready for today."
John Velazquez -
"Well, Dickinson proved once and for all he
is indeed a genius, as he sent out Da Hoss to
win the $1 million Breeders' Cup Mile."
"The eccentric genius of Michael Dickinson
and the courage of Da Hoss has melded
together to create one of the great chapters
in the annals of the Breeders' Cup."
Steve Haskin - Daily
"The outstanding individuals of the 15th
Breeders' Cup were Da Hoss, winner of the
Mile at 11-1, and his trainer, Michael
"Da Hoss and especially Dickinson made bids
for titles because of the dramatic victory in
the mile. One of the greatest training jobs
"Joe Hirsch - Daily
"Fresh was best. Da Hoss, trained by the
brilliant Michael Dickinson, had made just
one start in the two years since his victory
in the Breeders' Cup Mile."
Jay Privman - Daily
"More than 100 Breeders' Cup Races have been
run, but few have created the buzz that Da
Hoss's win did in the mile.
William Nack - Sports
"Da Hoss' success is a testament to the
ingenuity of his trainer and faith of his
The Horse, January
"Da Hoss' comeback from almost two years off
to win the Breeders' Cup Mile for the second
time is the feat of the year, for both horse
and trainer Michael Dickinson."
Post Time, 1999
"Miracle Worker... All the speed figures and
handicapping theories in the world can be
tossed out the window when it comes to horses
trained by Michael Dickinson... The feat will
go down in history as one of the greatest
training accomplishments of all time."
Ray Paulick - Daily
"Dickinson pulls a miracle."
Ed Gray - The Boston
Dickinson is proving to his American
contemporaries that he is among the best
trainers in the world."
Graham Rock -
"The rulebook was re-written when Da Hoss,
trained by Michael Dickinson, won the
Breeders' Cup Mile. You would have to search
racing history far and wide to come up with a
horse that even came close to matching this
"Year in Review, Best Training Job: Michael
Mike Watchmaker - Daily
John Pricci - The New
"One of the greatest training feats of all
Michael Hammersly -
Daily Racing Form
"It had never been done before, and few
believed trainer Michael Dickinson, who had
begun to be described in the media as "Mad
Genius", could pull it off."
Michele MacDonald -
"Volponi Award - Michael Dickinson: In
Italian, Volponi means "the old fox". That's
what it took to get Da Hoss ready for the
Paul Volponi adds his
twist to racing's top awards
"Trainer of the Year: Michael Dickinson, for
saddling the best-prepared individual ever
pointed toward a championship - ever."
The New York
"Dickinson's work with Da Hoss will be
remembered as one of the best training jobs
in Breeders' Cup history."
Bill Christine - Los
"As Michael Dickinson pointed out at the time
of his incredible first five home in the 1983
Cheltenham Gold Cup, getting just one horse
fit and well enough to rub at that meeting is
an achievement in itself. To have as many as
five runners in the season's most prestigious
steeplechase is extraordinary, and to see
those horses fill the first five places quite
astonishing. I'm sure such a feat will never
Vincent O'Brien -
"He can probably keep them a lot sounder than
we can at the race track. He has all day to
fool around with them. Here, we're in a
regiment of 'got to get them in and get them
out.'It gives him a big edge, and he's a
smart man, a great trainer."
Bobby Frankel - April
"In all walks of life there are fifferent
levels of achievement. Not all training
centers and not all trainers are created
equal. No trainer of record, with the
exception of Michael Dickinson, has achieved
more success from his or her training center
than Noel Hickey."
Irish Acres Farm - March
"For decades, nearly every high profile
trainer in the United States based their
operation at a racetrack. Owners routinely
sent those trainers the best horses and many
others followed this accepted path to
success. However, the recent accomplishments
of local trainer Michael Dickinson
spearheaded a dramatic change. Dickinson
proved private facilities could produce
quality runners and high-profile owners took
notice. Michael Dickinson is somebody who's
really put this style of training on the map,
before it was somewhat unprecedented in this
country. This may be a bit of an
exaggeration, but I think a lot of owners
didn't realize you could train very
successfully in a training facility. Most of
your top trainers have always trained at a
racetrack. That was the way it's been done
and I think that's changing a little bit in
this country. A lot of that is due to Michael
Dickinson and the success he's had in Fair
Graham Motion - October
"Really, this issue [condition of racetrack
surfaces] ties into the drug consortium -
this is the next step to protecting equine
athletes. If the same people on the
consortium turn their focus to racing
surfaces, then we might be able to make some
gains when it comes to the welfare of the
horse. This is the trainer Michael
Dickinson's favorite theme. He put money
where his thoughts were and built his own
facility that he trains over every day."
John Ward Jr. -
Thoroughbred Times, August 2004
17th 2006, Racing Post, United Kingdom. MWD
is awarded the Greatest Training Feat for
having the first five home in the 1983
Cheltenham Gold Cup.
"Michael Dickinson thoroughly deserves his
top spot. It was a very, very remarkable
"He was very intense about his horses - it's
not in my nature to approach the job like
that - and he was a great talent. It was a
great loss to British racing when he went to
train in the US."
"It was a shame that he went to Manton to
train two-year olds as well, as he would
undoubtedly have been champion trainer over
jumps and set the standard for a long time."
Ginger McCain -
"That man should move to Alaska because he
could win the Iditarod with a team of
Paul Randall - Maryland
"They should have saved some time and built
Michael Dickinson his own wing in the
National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame
back in 1998 after he trained Da Hoss to win
the Breeders' Cup Mile on only one prep race
following a two year absence. Now, if they
don't at least get Dickinson's plaque ready,
they may as well turn the property at the
corner of Union Avenue and Ludlow Street in
Saratoga Springs into a hamburger stand. That
is because Dickinson did it again Saturday.
Make no mistake, his victory with A Huevo in
the Grade I Frank J. De Francis Memorial Dash
was definitely of Da Hoss-like proportions.
...But it does little to temper the degree of
difficulty involved in this piece of training
Mike Watchmaker - Daily
Racing Form, November 2003
"Another Michael Dickinson miracle."
Dave Rodman - Laurel
Announcer, November 2003
"A Huevo paid $20.60 and would have paid more
- much more - had anyone but Dickinson
trained him. Bettors back Dickinson when
they'd scoff at another trainer. A horse
running in a Grade I stakes with a record
comparable to A Huevo's? Well, a horse with
that record wouldn't be running in a Grade I
stakes if it were trained by someone other
"With Tapit, he showed he can train a young
Tom Keyser - The Blood
Horse, November 2003
"They talk about him being the mad genius. If
anyone thinks this man isn't the best trainer
on the planet... He's the only person who
could have done this."
Owner Mark Hopkins -
Quoted by The Baltimore Sun, November
"The mad genius struck again."
David Grening - Daily
Racing Form, November 2003
"...the adjective 'orthodox' has rarely been
applied to Dickinson..."
Andrew Beyer - The
Washington Post, November 2003
"Throughout his career, Michael Dickinson has
proved capable of extraordinary
accomplishments. Dickinson has made his
reputation defying conventional wisdom. That
is the main reason no one seems ready to give
up on a horse with so many challenges in his
Bill Finley - New York
Times, March 2004
"Dickinson has tossed tradition aside in his
relentless pursuit of perfection."
Associated Press -
Lewiston Morning Tribune, April 2004
"When Michael Dickinson brough his unorthodox
philosophies from across the Atlantic, his
eccentric confidence amused and baffled
American racegoers. Here was an enigma who
refused to train at a racetrack, but could
turn cripples into graded stakes winners. The
years have not diminished the sideways
glances at his unusual methods, but no one
dares doubt him when he unveils a new star."
Kathleen Donovan -
Pacemaker, April 2004
"No one ever knows what to expect from
Dickinson. He once won a race with a horse
off a two-year layoff, which was a pretty big
deal, except he also won with a horse that
had been on five years' R & R. For sheer
madness, it's tough to top the tale of how he
won a Breeders' Cup race using a secret
weapon of 5-inch stiletto heels. No, he
wasn't wearing them, but he had a friend don
them to scout the racing surface for
Hal Habib - Palm Beach
Post, March 2004
"The only other Grade I of the month, the De
Francis Memorial Dash on November 15, at
Laurel, provided one of the most heartwarming
stories - and most amazing training feats -
of the year. English readers, though, will be
familiar with the infinite patience and
training wizardry of Michael Dickinson and he
never gave up on A Huevo. The 17-hand gelding
returned to the races in August, won in
September, and simply dominated a good field
in the De Francis. Shake You Down, third in
the Breeders' Cup Sprint, was not fast enough
to keep up but held on for second."
John Sparkman -
Pacemaker, January 2004
"Tapit also has had the advantage of training
at Dickinson's Tapeta Farm in Maryland, with
its all weather surface and open, uphill
gallops. Dickinson, who's meticulous about
details and uncompromising about the welfare
of his horses, has earned a reputation over
the years for performing racetrack miracles."
Dallas Morning News,
"It is the true meaning of confidence when
one knows he will excel at something that has
never before been accomplished."
The Blood Horse, October
"This science has been slow to reach the
horseracing wolrd. But, there are a few
pioneers among us, and Michael Dickinson of
Tapeta Farm in Maryland is one of them. His
passion for winning is matched only by his
passion to create the perfect training
Jay Leimbach - Canadian
Thoroughbred, March 2003
"If you have a trainer as brilliant as
Michael Dickinson working for you, you should
listen to him."
Daily Racing Form, March
"...but he's in the hands of the masterful
Michael Dickinson, so bettors weren't
reluctant to take the short price - he put in
a nice five furlong drill last week and
should be poised to pounce when the real
running begins; beat him to collect."
Daily Racing Form
"Trained by the legendary Michael Dickinson,
A Huevo was the beneficiary of his
conditioner's remarkable patience and
Thoroughbred Breeders Association, April
"A Huevo was still one more he brought back
from the dead."
Bill Finley -
"Michael Dickinson has had many stakes
winners over the years. Up until a few years
ago, Dickinson was known primarily as a 'turf
trainer' but that label no longer applies. At
one time, the majority of his runners were
European-breds, so they were naturally suited
to grass. With a healthy respect for
pedigrees, Dickinson's major strength has
always been knowing where to place his
horses, and his lofty win percentage over the
years has consistently been between 20 and 40
percent. If his runners have turf pedigrees
and are bred to route, he does not begin
their careers on dirt at six furlongs like
many trainers do."
Lauren Stich - Daily
Racing Form, November 2003
"Dickinson out to make more magic in
Hollywood Turf Cup."
Today, November 2003
"Michael Dickinson has been called the Mad
Genius on more than one occasion. He showed
off his genius side once again on Saturday by
winning the Grade I De Francis Dash with A
Huevo, who knocked off the brilliant Shake
You Down by 1-3/4 lengths in 1:08 4/5. Not
bad for a West Virginia-bred who was laid up
for 3-1/2 years, and was making only his
third start back. This is not the first time
Dickinson has pulled off such a feat. Who can
forget Da Hoss, who won his second Breeders'
Cup Mile (gr.1T) off one prep following a
year layoff. And then there is Cetewayo, a
rare complete horse who is still competitive
in graded stakes at age 9, and was a Grade I
winner at age 8, despite nagging problems
throughout his career."
Steve Haskins -
Racing.Bloodhorse.com, November 2003
"In the wake of Da Hoss's Breeders' Cup Mile
and countless other amazing layoff winners
from Michael Dickinson's headquarters at
Tapeta Farm, it stands to reason that
Cetewayo wouldn't be in this race unless he
was doing extraordinarily well."
Dave Litfin - Daily
Racing Form, June 2000
"One other note about this race. Da Hoss's
victory in last year's Mile at Churchill in
just his second start after a two-year layoff
was something to behold. But the fact that he
come back leads me to believe it was more of
an all-star job by Michael Dickinson."
Mike Watchmaker - Daily
Racing Form, November 1999
"Trainer Michael Dickinson has done it
The Blood Horse
"...But, there is a giant wild card in this
Derby, and that is Michael Dickinson...
Factor in Dickinson's amazing work with Da
Hoss and A Huevo, just to mention two
examples, and the strong feeling is Tapit and
Michael Dickinson are a duo that can break a
bunch of Derby Rules."
Mike Watchmaker - Daily
"...the horse has obviously responded
beautifully to the unorthodox training of
world-class horseman Michael Dickinson."
Steve Davidowitz - The
"Dickinson does things the average horse
trainers simply don't do."
John Scheinman - The
"This was more than just another
logic-defying conquest by the man they call
the "Mad Genius". Although some perceive
Michael Dickinson to be a graduate of Hogwart
School, performing Harry Potter like feats of
Steve Haskins - The
"This is strictly a faith play. When trainer
Michael Dickinson was convinced Da Hoss was
going to win the 1998 Breeders' Cup Mile, I
did not bother with past performances. I just
went to the windows."
Dick Jerardi - Daily