Linda Toscano earned her stature among the best trainers in harness racing by compiling over 2,100 career wins and more than $52 million in earnings. She ranks 10th in all-time earnings among trainers, behind leader Ron Burke and fellow Hall of Famers Jimmy Takter and Robert McIntosh.
Born in 1955, Brooklyn native Toscano began her training career in 1985 after serving an apprenticeship with Buddy Regan. She gradually built up her stable and picked up her first divisional champion in 1995 with older trotting mare Giant Mermaid 4,1:54.4 ($365,039). 1995 also was Toscano’s first year training a two-year-old named Jet Laag p,6,1:49h ($1,001,746), who would go on to set a world record at the Delaware County Fairgrounds at the age of six.
Following a near million-dollar season in 1995, Toscano’s stable earned over $1.3 million the following year, and has done so 17 times since, including a run of 12 years with over $2 million that started in 2007. In 2012 her stable earned $6,718,028, and joined an elite list of trainers to reach that total, including six-time Trainer of the Year Jimmy Takter and three-time Trainer of the Year Ron Burke.
2012 was a special year for Toscano and her partner, husband Brad McNinch. The couple had three Dan Patch Award winners: Three-Year-Old Trotting Colt of the Year Market Share 5,1:50.2f ($3,792,101), Three-Year-Old Pacing Colt of the Year Heston Blue Chip p,3,1:48f ($1,781,881) and Horse of the Year Chapter Seven 4,1:50.1 ($1,954,966).
In addition to giving Toscano a victory in the 2012 Hambletonian, Market Share also posted the fourth-best single-season earnings performance for a trotter in North American history ($2,001,405). Market Share finished his career as the second richest North American trotter with lifetime earnings of $3,792,101.
While Heston Blue Chip didn’t produce the stellar numbers of his trotting counterpart, he went on to earn well over $1.7 million lifetime for Toscano, including a Breeders Crown win in 2012. Completing the Toscano hat trick for 2012 was Chapter Seven. After two strong seasons and a Breeders Crown win at age 3 in 2011, he would bring his game to a new level as a four-year-old, posting a 10-8-2-0 record, earning over $1 million and setting a lifetime mark of 1:50.1. Toscano’s accomplishments in 2012 earned her Trainer of the Year honors.
In addition to the Hambletonian and six Breeders Crown wins, Toscano has won the Canadian Trotting Classic, Nat Ray, Progress Pace, Monument Circle, TVG Trot, Zweig Memorial, American National, Titan Cup, Art Rooney, Golden Girls, and many other stakes races in her career. Toscano becomes the first woman trainer or driver in harness racing’s Hall of Fame.