Scores four wins on Louisiana Derby Preview Day,
including a 13-1 Risen Star Upset with Angel of Empire
New Orleans (Saturday, Feb. 18, 2023) – Trainer Brad Cox sent out his 2,000th career North American winner Saturday at Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots, saddling Spendthrift Farm, Steve Landers Racing, Martin Schwartz, Michael Dubb, Ten Strike Racing, Jim Bakke, Titletown Racing, Kueber Racing, Big Easy Racing, Winners Win, Michael Caruso, and WinStar Farm’s Bishops Bay (1-2 favorite) to a three-quarters of a length victory over stablemate First Mission in Race 5.
“I want to thank the team, the owners, and the horses,” Cox said. “It’s been a great run and it’s been a long road. I’m glad to have two colts who showed up here and ran well, I’m proud of both. I think they have bright futures.”
The 42-year-old native of Louisville, Ky. closed to within three victories of the milestone entering Saturday. Beginning with Comparative in Race 2, then Merlazza in Race 4, the Cox barn quickly won with their first two entries on the card. Having two entries in Race 5, there was no doubt in the homestretch that Cox was about to hit 2,000–the only question was which horse would be the one to do it for him as his other entry First Mission headed Bishops Bay with one-sixteenth to go. With Florent Geroux aboard, the Uncle Mo Colt Bishops Bay battled back against his workmate, beating him to the wire.
Steve Asmussen had two entries in Race 5 as well, and sitting at 9,999 career wins, he and Cox were in the paddock at Fair Grounds with the potential to saddle their milestone winner. After posting a win at both Sam Houston and Oaklawn earlier in the day, Asmussen was unable to score another.
“It’s an amazing number that Steve is about to hit,” Cox said. “I have no shot of catching him. He works as hard as anybody. To do what we do every day, trying to develop horses, it’s a tough game. To do it for as long as he has, as well as he has, it’s amazing.”
Cox started working in racing under trainers Burk Kessinger, and Jimmy Baker. Later he became the assistant trainer under Dallas Stewart. Brad started his first horse in 2004, and has since gone on to win each leg of the Triple Crown and the Longines Kentucky Oaks twice. He has racked up nine Breeders Cup victories, including the Classic with Knicks Go (2021) and the Distaff twice with Monomoy Girl (2018 and 2020).
“I knew we were getting close a couple of races back, and I’m glad to give it over with,” Cox. “Honestly, I just wanted to get it over with. We’ve got some live shots later in the day so we’re hopeful to keep it rolling.”
Later in the card, Cox would score a 13-1 upset in the Risen Star (G2) presented by Lamarque Ford-Lincoln, giving him four wins on the day.
Already with four training titles at Fair Grounds, Cox sits in second in the 2022-23 standings with 27 wins, two behind Bret Calhoun.