Stellar meet for Luke Plano at Running Aces
By Darin Gagne, for Running Aces Casino, Hotel & Racetrack
September 16, 2022
Driver Luke Plano is no stranger to success, but the meet he has had at Running Aces this season is nothing short of sensational. The 42 year-old grew up in the sport and has been driving since age 20 and has amassed just under 4,000 wins as a driver, while posting career purse earnings of over $16 million. He will be presented with the hardware as the 2022 Leading Driver at the Minnesota track on Friday night. This season at Running Aces, he has notched 102 winners so far from 442 trips to the gate, striking at an impressive 23 percent rate. He has also posted 71 seconds and 76 thirds and boasts a hefty (.377) UDRS rating. He is just the third driver to win over 100 races in a single season at Running Aces (Nick Roland has done it twice and Steve Wiseman once).
Last Sunday night (September 11) Plano piloted All American N to his fourth straight win in the Open Handicap trot in race six, and in doing so he proceeded to eclipse the $1 million mark in purse earnings this season at Aces, becoming the first driver to achieve that high water mark in a single season at Running Aces.
I caught up with Luke recently and asked him to reflect on his historic season, and here is what he shared with me: “The biggest contributing factor to the level of success for me this summer at Running Aces has been opportunity. I have had the opportunity to drive for some top stables, including a large variety of different trainers that have put me up on very live horses.” Plano continued: “I have been fortunate to have the assignment on several horses who have basically dominated their class throughout the summer, I have been lucky to have a lot of horsepower to work with, so that makes my job a little easier.”
Some of the top horses that Plano has piloted regularly this season include Caliber, All American N, and Curvsreasyondaeyes for the Alvarez/Hernandez barn, Iron Sharpens Iron for trainer Dan Roland, and Hottieonthehorizon for trainer Rick Lancaster to name just a few. Iron Sharpens Iron with Plano in the bike lowered or re-wrote the freshman male trotting track record three different times this summer.
Plano also trains a stable of his own along with his wife Nikki Hudson and they have had a pretty good meet with their barn as well and added “We had a pretty good campaign with our own barn, we have about a dozen horses and they all have had a great meet here and basically came with their A-game just about every week, so we are very happy with that.”
This will be the first Running Aces title for Plano, who has recorded numerous driving titles at Cal-Expo in Sacramento, and will be back at the California track for the upcoming fall and winter meet.
Live Racing continues at Running Aces on Friday and Saturday (Sept. 16/17) for the Champions weekend.