Trainer Steve Asmussen breaks his single-season Oaklawn record for purse earnings.
Hall of Fame trainer Steve Asmussen broke his single-season Oaklawn Park record for purse earnings when Sianara and Miner’s Queen ran 1-2, respectively, in the seventh race April 28, a maiden special weight sprint for fillies and mares, 3 and up, valued at $93,000.
Asmussen’s runners collected $74,400 for the finish, pushing his total past the record $5,644,609 set in 2019 when he won 64 races, second-highest single-season total in Oaklawn history. Wednesday was the 48th day of the weather-shortened 51-day meeting that ends Saturday. Asmussen finished Wednesday with $5,686,643 in purse earnings at the meet.
Steve Asmussen became the second trainer to reach 700 career victories at Oaklawn when even-money favorite Swiftsure captured Saturday’s seventh race at under Ricardo Santana Jr.
Asmussen entered the 2021 Oaklawn meeting that began Friday with 696 career victories at the Hot Springs, Ark., track. He saddled one winner Friday and added victories in Saturday’s fourth race with favored Jalen Journey ($4.40) and sixth race, the $150,000 Fifth Season Stakes, with favored Silver State ($3.80) before reaching the career milestone with Swiftsure ($4).
A two-time Eclipse Award winner (2008 and 2009) as the nation’s outstanding trainer, Asmussen, 55, was inducted into the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame in 2016. He is seeking his record-tying 11th Oaklawn training title.
1 of 15 Victories at Pimlico in Graded Stakes, Seeks Third Preakness Win
BALTIMORE – Steve Asmussen last week became only the second trainer to win 9,000 races, the landmark win coming on Troy Ounce in the second race at Oklahoma City’s Remington Park. That left him 446 victories — since whittled to 437 heading into Friday’s racing — shy of becoming the sport’s all-time winningest trainer, with the late Dale Baird accruing 9,445 in a career spanning 1961-2007.
Only 15 of Asmussen’s wins have come at Pimlico Race Course, but they’ve accounted for 11 graded stakes and more than $3.3 million in purses, including Preakness (G1) victories in 2007 with two-time Horse of the Year Curlin and two years later with the filly and 2009 Horse of the Year Rachel Alexandra. Asmussen’s Pimlico wins have come out of 57 starters after going 0 for 10 from 1998 through 2006.
Now Asmussen will try to win the Preakness for the third time with a trio of horses: George Hall and SportBLX Thoroughbreds’ Max Player, Winchell Thoroughbreds’ Pneumatic and Calumet Farm’s Excession.
Asmussen also plans to run Winchell Thoroughbreds’ Tenfold in the Pimlico Special (G3), a race he won last year after finishing a close third in the 2018 Preakness to eventual Triple Crown winner Justify. Asmussen has nominated horses to other stakes at Pimlico and expects to again be a presence at Old Hilltop.
“We think we will have a lot of live action for the weekend, and I expect a couple of winners to add to the total,” said Asmussen, the 2017 and 2018 winner of Pimlico’s $50,000 bonus to the trainer whose horses earn the most points racing in the Preakness festival’s stakes. “At this stage, we’re just blessed with some extremely talented horses and it is an important event for us. Preakness weekend has always been a big deal to us, and we’ve been fortunate to have fastest-enough horses to run in the races they offer.”
Max Player officially entered the Preakness picture on Wednesday, two days after a sparkling workout of 1:00 1/5 at Churchill Downs, the fastest of 21 works that day at the distance. While Asmussen is well-known for putting a significant work into his horses 12 days before a race, he is not a trainer who drills his horses or goes in expecting an extremely fast work. So when his horses do that, handicappers have learned to pay extra attention.
“He’s an extremely impressive horse and I think he’s doing really well,” Asmussen said. “His work Monday was excellent. His gallop-out was huge. He came out of it in very good shape, went back to the track with a whole lot of energy. Very exciting horse at the right time.
Hall sent Max Player to Steve Asmussen a couple of weeks before the Kentucky Derby (G1), in which he closed from well back to be fifth. The colt had previously been trained by New York-based Linda Rice, including winning Aqueduct’s Withers (G3) and finishing third in the Belmont (G1) and Travers Stakes (G1), both won by Derby runner-up Tiz the Law.
“We’ve secured Paco Lopez to ride him,” Asmussen said. “We’re hoping he’s able to stay a little closer, not give himself a margin that is impossible to overcome with the Preakness being a little shorter than the Derby. But he is doing really well. He’s a very clean-legged, good-moving horse with a great attitude.”
Excession hasn’t raced since he was second by a fast-closing three-quarters of a length at 82-1 odds in Oaklawn Park’s Rebel Stakes (G2). That March 14 race was won by Nadal, who before being injured was one of the top choices for the Kentucky Derby.
A son of Belmont Stakes winner Union Rags, Excession will be ridden by Sheldon Russell, won of Maryland’s leading riders.
“He needed some time after the Rebel,” Asmussen said of Excession. “He’s been working well recently. His race against Nadal was very impressive. Just a weird year that he’s allowed him to take a break and come back” and still make a Triple Crown race.
Pneumatic won Monmouth Park’s TVG.com Pegasus Stakes in his last start to run his record to 3 for 5, with a fourth in the Belmont Stakes. Asmussen also is shooting for a third victory in the $250,000 Pimlico Special (G3), including a repeat with Tenfold. That son of Curlin loves Pimlico, having finished a close third in the foggy running of the 2018 Preakness Stakes won by Triple Crown hero Justify.
Like Pneumatic, Tenfold is owned by Asmussen’s long-time client Winchell Thoroughbreds.
Joe Bravo, who was aboard for the Pegasus, will be back on Pneumatic for the Preakness, Asmussen said. “We feel great about how he’s doing, knowing that this is by far the toughest race he’s ever been in.
“I believe it’s quite obvious there are some extremely talented 3-year-olds left that are doing very well. It ought to be a great race. Pneumatic, coming off his lifetime best, deserves the opportunity.”
Tenfold has ground out $1.1 million the hard way, winning last year’s Pimlico Special and Saratoga’s Jim Dandy (G2) in 2018 while earning many more checks by finishing second, third and fourth in 19 career races. When he returns to Pimlico, Tenfold will be attempting to win for the first time since the 2019 Special 10 races ago.
“Solid horse. Right now it’s not easy to find lucrative purses for horses that need to run as far as he does,” Asmussen said. “The Pimlico Special was probably equal to his Jim Dandy victory. He’s a Grade 2 winner of a million dollars. He’s a pretty damn good horse.”
In his last two starts, Tenfold shipped to California for a third in Santa Anita’s Hollywood Gold Cup (G1) then second in the Charles Town Classic (G2). “He’s huge,” Asmussen said at Churchill Downs. “I don’t think the tight turns of the Charles Town Classic suited him. But this year’s calendar has made finding a suitable spot for most horses difficult.”
Pneumatic and Tenfold will ship in from Saratoga, where their training is being overseen by Asmussen chief assistant Scott Blasi.
Asmussen currently is the meet-leading trainer at Churchill Downs (where he became the all-time win leader in June), Lone Star Park, Remington Park and Louisiana Downs. The record-breaking and goal-oriented horseman isn’t shy about acknowledging he wants to be racing’s all-time win leader.
“I read it or I heard it somewhere that if they don’t want it to be important, then why do they keep count?” he said with a laugh. “Right now, after reaching a goal as significant as 9,000 wins, you feel a great amount of gratitude for the opportunities that we’ve been given and the effort that all the help has put into it to get it done.”
At his current strike rate, Asmussen figures to be the sport’s all-time win leader within 1 1/2 years. Then what?
“The open-ended, unanswered question of what’s next, then every victory you lift your arms and say, ‘new world record,’” he said cheerfully. “Every one you win, if you get fortunate enough to get to it, and afterward, you’re the only one who ever did it.”
Jockey Joel Dominguez Clinches His First Leading Rider Title
Bossier City, LA – The 2020 Thoroughbred racing season at Harrah’s Louisiana Downs, which got underway one month late due to COVID-19, wrapped up on Saturday, September 26. Eleven races were contested today: three from Tuesday, September 22 and eight races from the Wednesday, September 23 card which were canceled due to heavy rain from Tropical Storm Beta.
Steve Asmussen Wins Both Leading Trainer and Owner Titles
It’s been quite a summer for Hall of Fame conditioner Steve Asmussen who claimed both leading trainer and owner of the meet titles at Harrah’s Louisiana Downs.
As a trainer, Asmussen started 124 runners, winning 41 races and adding 22 seconds and 23 thirds. He sent a combination of maidens, claimers and allowance entrants, doing well on both the main track and Franks Turf Course. Rue Lala, owned by William and Corinne Heiligbrodt in partnership with Spendthrift Farm LLC, broke her maiden here impressively on September 5 and wheeled back in the $50,000 Louisiana Cup Juvenile Fillies, finishing a game second to multiple stakes winner Mirabeau.
“She is a very nice Louisiana-bred,” said Asmussen. “The Heiligbrodts were one of my first owners and their support means a great deal to me.”
Asmussen credited the racing officials at Louisiana Downs as well as the track surfaces.
“Louisiana Downs stepped up when other tracks were trying to figure out when they might be able to open,” stated Asmussen. “They have excellent track surfaces, which is one of the reasons we support Louisiana Downs and are proud of this accomplishment.”
For the second year in a row, Karl Broberg, finished second with 38 wins. However, Broberg did edge Asmussen in purses with his runners banking $448,275 over $423,440 earned by Asmussen’s string. Shane Wilson who had not stabled at Louisiana Downs for the past eight years, won 32 races and 2019 leading conditioner Joey Foster rounded out the top four, saddling 24 winners.
Asmussen was able to top his fellow owners with 19 wins from 52 starts. His horses won 37% of their starts with earnings of $147,835.
Wayne T. Davis finished second in the owner standings with 17 wins. His horses earned $188,405 and are conditioned by Shane Wilson. End Zone Athletics, Inc. won 16 of their 75 starts with Tri-Star Racing LLC and M and M Racing finishing in a tie for fourth with nine victories each.
September has been not only successful, but historical for Asmussen as on Friday, September 17, he won his 9,000th career victory with Troy Ounce at Remington Park. He is now second to Dale Baird, who holds the North American record for training wins with 9,445. Over the summer, Asmussen has won races at Saratoga, Churchill Downs, Ellis Park, Kentucky Downs, Lone Star Park, Remington Park and Harrah’s Louisiana Downs.
“I believe I won one previous title at Louisiana Downs, but it might have been a year that the Fair Grounds meet was run in Shreveport,” he said.
Asmussen credits assistants Mitch Dennison, who coordinated the Louisiana Downs entries and other duties from his Kentucky base and Misty Drinkwater, who is in her second year of handling the day-to-day duties at Harrah’s Louisiana Downs.
“Misty deserves a great deal of credit,” added Asmussen. “She is extremely organized and does a fabulous job with our Louisiana runners.”
Joel Dominguez Wins His First Leading Rider Title
Jockey Joel Dominguez has made the most of his four-year tenure at Harrah’s Louisiana Downs.
The 30-year-old native of Durango, Mexico began in 2017 as an apprentice, winning 31 races that year and returning in 2018, losing his bug, but finishing third in the standings as he transitioned to the journeyman ranks. He improved to second last year, but powered to the lead early in the 2020 meet and built an unsurpassable lead over his fellow riders. Dominguez completed the meet with a record of 71 wins, 59 seconds, 50 thirds and $903,325 in purses.
He rode first call for Steve Asmussen this season, who he galloped for in Kentucky when he first came to the United States. His highlights this meet included winning four races on the July 25 card, which included three wins for Asmussen and one for trainer James “Sweet” Hodges.
On Saturday, September 19, Dominguez won two of the six Louisiana Cup Stakes, coming from off the pace aboard Budro Talking for Keith Austin in the Turf Classic and finishing the card with an upset aboard Saltee Stark from the barn of Joe O. Duhon in the Louisiana Cup Sprint.
“I want to thank Steve and all the trainers who put me on mounts,” said Dominguez. “When I was in Kentucky, I worked for Steve and trainer Neil Howard. Steve began to trust me galloping some of his top horses; I remember the first time I worked Rachel Alexandra. That was very special and gave me so much confidence! Neil helped me get my license and we still stay in touch.”
Dominguez paid his dues in Kentucky and his work ethic is applauded by Asmussen.
“Joel is an excellent horseman and has turned into a great jockey,” he said.
Dominguez’ agent is former jockey, Don Simington and the two have a strong bond.
“Don gives me great advice and feedback,” explained Dominguez. “I admire that he is the first one to arrive in the morning and the last to leave. Trainers know him well and he works hard to book me on good horses.”
Dominguez extended his gratitude to his wife Janet, and sons, Andy and Joel Jr. and expressed his thanks to others.
“I also want to thank the Louisiana Downs racing office staff for their hard work as well as my valet Oscar Lara,” added Dominguez. “Mitch and Misty have been great to work with and I appreciate the hard work of all the grooms, hot walkers and exercise riders. I would not have won this title without so many people helping me!”
Last year’s top jockey Carlos Lozada finished with 40 wins, tying for second in the standings with Jose Andres Guerrero. Next was Jack Gilligan with 37 victories and Gerardo Mora, who won 35 races.
Dominguez will ride next at Delta Downs when their 2020-2021 Thoroughbred season gets underway.
“We thank each of our horsemen for their support since the live racing season began on June 6,” said David Heitzmann, Director of Racing at Harrah’s Louisiana Downs. “This has been a very challenging year due to COVID-19 and a very volatile Hurricane season which has impacted so many people in our state. We look forward to a much better 2021 for our racing industry.”
Harrah’s Louisiana Downs to Offer Training and Stall Space to Horsemen
Harrah’s Louisiana Downs is pleased to offer horsemen an opportunity to train and stable their Thoroughbreds during the months of October through March.
When the Evangeline Training Center closed in 2018, officials acknowledged that many Louisiana Thoroughbred trainers were in need of a facility to stable and train their racehorses. The Bossier City-Shreveport metroplex offers convenient proximity for shipping to Delta Downs in Vinton, Louisiana; Fair Grounds in New Orleans; Remington Park in Oklahoma as well as upcoming live meets at Sam Houston Race Park and Oaklawn Park in Hot Springs, Arkansas.
Space and availability for Thoroughbreds is limited and will be allocated on a first-come, first-served basis. Horsemen are encouraged to contact David Heitzmann, Harrah’s Louisiana Downs Director of Racing at (318) 741-2511 or (318) 741-2512 for rates and information.
About Harrah’s Louisiana Downs
Located near Shreveport in Bossier City, Louisiana, Louisiana Downs opened in 1974 and was purchased by Caesars Entertainment in December, 2002. With annual Thoroughbred and Quarter Horse racing seasons, the track is committed to presenting the highest quality racing programs paired with its 150,000 square foot entertainment complex offering casino gambling, dining and plasma screen televisions for sports and simulcast racing.
Trainer Steve Asmussen became only the second trainer in Thoroughbred racing history to win for the 9,000th time in his career, bringing home Troy Ounce in Race 2 Sept. 18 at Remington Park.
He needs 446 more victories to become the all-time winningest trainer in North American Thoroughbred history. The current leader is Dale Baird, who went to the winner’s circle 9,445 times in his career.
Bossier City, LA – Jockey Joel Dominguez is still smiling as he reflects on winning four races on Saturday’s seven-race card at Harrah’s Louisiana Downs.
His successful afternoon began in race two with Don Guillermo ($8) for trainer James “Sweet” Hodges and three for Hall of Fame conditioner Steve Asmussen; All Bizness ($3); American Dream ($5) and Curlin Beauty ($11.80). Curlin Beauty, a 4-year-old daughter of Curlin, drew off to an eight-length score in her third career effort, but it was American Dream is a filly by Triple Crown champion American Pharoah that really impressed her rider.
“She’s still learning, but what a powerful filly,” stated Dominguez.
The 30-year-old Dominguez was born in Durango, Mexico, but never rode as a child. He was very athletic, playing soccer and was a standout boxer in his weight class. His experience in the saddle began in Kentucky, galloping for both Asmussen and veteran Kentucky-based conditioner, Neil Howard.
“Riding for Steve this meet means a great deal to me,” stated Dominguez. “When I was in Kentucky, I worked hard and tried to learn everything. As I progressed, Steve began to trust me galloping some of his top horses; I remember the first time I worked Rachel Alexandra. That was very special and gave me so much confidence!”
This is the fourth year Dominguez has been based at Harrah’s Louisiana Downs. He began in 2017 as an apprentice, winning 31 races that year and returning in 2018, losing his bug on May 22, but transitioning smoothly to the journeyman ranks. Maybe more than smoothly as he won six races on the June 23, 2018 card at Louisiana Downs. But winning four races in this very challenging 2020 live racing season was an even bigger accomplishment.
“It hasn’t been easy,” he responded when asked about the impact of COVID-19. “When we were in quarantine, I just tried to get things done at the house and spend time with my family (wife Janet and two sons). I was missing getting on horses.”
The resumption of live racing on June 6 was a big relief to Dominguez and he has been winning plenty of races for this season for Asmussen. Misty Drinkwater is serving as assistant again this year and she appreciates what Dominguez brings to the Asmussen barn.
“He’s hard working and very professional, “she said. “We get along very well and he has been a big part of our team here.”
Dominguez is represented by former jockey, Don Simington and the two have a strong bond.
“Don gives me great advice and feedback,” explained Dominguez. “I admire that he is the first one to arrive in the morning and the last to leave. Trainers know him well and he works hard to book me on good horses.”
Dominguez won 91 races here last year, finishing second in the standings to Carlos Lozada who made 96 trips to the winner’s circle. He appreciates that the racing officials at Harrah’s Louisiana Downs have worked hard to maintain the recommended protocols for COVID-19.
“I ride with a mask and shield protector,” he said. “Everyone here is trying to make it safe for us, so each of the riders are making adjustments and doing what we need to do.”
Charity Golf Tournament Set for Thursday, August 20
Harrah’s Louisiana Downs will host a Charity Golf Tournament at Northwood Hills Golf Club in Shreveport, Louisiana on Thursday, August 20.
The event will benefit Chaplain Jimmy Sistrunk and The Backside Benevolence Fund, which provides valuable assistance to the Louisiana racing community and backstretch workers.
The sign in for the event’s Four Person Scramble kicks off at 10:00 a.m. with tee off at 10:30 a.m. The fee is $80 per personor $320 for a four-person team. The fee includes green fees, golf cart, lunch, and t-shirt/cap.
Attendees can register in person in the Louisiana Downs Racing office, or by mail. Checks should be payable to The Backside Benevolence Fund and mailed to: Jennifer Sokol, Harrah’s Louisiana Downs, 8000 East Texas Street, Bossier City, Louisiana, 71111.
The deadline for registration is August 13. For further information, please contact Jennifer Sokol at (318) 741-2512.
Louisiana Downs Trainer, Jockey and Owner Standings
Through July 25, Karl Broberg tops the trainer standings with 23 wins since the meet began on June 6. Steve Asmussen is second with 18 victories. Last year’s leading conditioner Joey Foster is tied with Shane Wilson for third; both have 13 winners. Joe O. Duhon and Ronnie P. Ward are tied with nine wins each.
Joel Dominguez, aided by his four-bagger on Saturday, has taken the lead in the jockey standings with 30 wins. Jack Gilligan, who rides first-call for Broberg, is second with 26 trips to the winner’s circle. Last year’s leading jockey Carlos Lozada has ridden 22 winners to date and Jose Guerrero rounds out the top four with 19 victories.
Steve Asmussen has moved into the lead in the owner standings with seven wins from 18 starts. End Zone Athletics Inc. has moved into the lead in the owner standings with 12 wins from 23 starts. End Zone Athletics, Inc and Wayne T. Davis are tied for second with nine wins and horses owned by Ronnie P. Ward have won six races to date.
Post Times and Racing Dates
The 2020 Thoroughbred racing season at Harrah’s Louisiana Downs got underway on Saturday, June 6. The 64-day meet will run Saturday, Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday through September 23. Post time is 3:05 pm (Central).
About Harrah’s Louisiana Downs
Located near Shreveport in Bossier City, Louisiana, Louisiana Downs opened in 1974 and was purchased by Caesars Entertainment in December, 2002. With annual Thoroughbred and Quarter Horse racing seasons, the track is committed to presenting the highest quality racing programs paired with its 150,000 square foot entertainment complex offering casino gambling, dining and plasma screen televisions for sports and simulcast racing
Hall of Fame horseman Steve Asmussen surpassed South Louisville native Dale Romans as the all-time leading trainer in Churchill Downs history when 4-year-old filly Drop Dead Gorgeous cruised to a 8 ½-length victory in Friday’s opener for win No. 738 beneath the historic Twin Spires.
“If anyone knows American horse racing, they know what Churchill Downs means to the sport,” Asmussen said. “This is a very significant honor. I know the people who have been in this spot before, and been here consistently, and for us to have won the most races is a very proud accomplishment.”
Asmussen, 54, tied Romans for the title on Thursday. Romans was the record-holder since Nov. 12, 2017 when he surpassed Hall of Famer Bill Mott, who was Churchill Downs’ all-time leader for more than 31 years.
Asmussen also won Friday’s second race with 2-year-old colt Hulen for win No. 739.
Born Nov. 18, 1965 in Gettysburg, S.D., Asmussen was destined for horse racing. His mother Marilyn (aka “Sis”) was a trainer and his father Keith was a jockey and trainer. For more than 50 years, they’ve managed one of the Southwest’s premier equine facilities known for boarding and breaking young horses, the Asmussen Horse Center and El Primero Training Center in Laredo, Texas.
Asmussen’s older brother Cash was the 1979 Eclipse Award-winning apprentice, a champion jockey in France and a winner of more than 3,000 races before his retirement in 2001.
Asmussen helped his parents around the stable by mucking stalls and walking horses at an early age. He’d later follow in his brother’s footsteps as a jockey and won his first race on April 4, 1982. He rode in New Mexico, California and New York and won 63 races and $687,224 before he was forced to retire from riding because he grew too big (note: today he stands over 6’0 tall and is about twice his former riding weight).
Asmussen took out his trainer’s license in 1986 and saddled his first winner on July 19, 1986 at Ruidoso Downs in New Mexico at age 20.
Asmussen started some 2-year-olds during the 1987 Spring Meet but didn’t win his first race at Churchill Downs until six years later when 3-year-old gelding Snake Eyes, owned by Bradley M. Shannon, won a $41,420 allowance at 1 1/16 miles on turf under Pat Day on May 16, 1993. He paid $6 to win as the 2-1 favorite.
Asmussen’s first Churchill Downs stakes winner came with a horse that helped put him on the national map. Valid Expectations was a $596,092-earner, who in 1996, gave Asmussen his first two graded stakes wins: the Grade III Derby Trial on April 27 at Churchill Downs and later the Grade III Sport Page Handicap against elders at Aqueduct.
Since then, Asmussen has had a Hall of Fame career and was enshrined in 2016. A key player in his powerhouse operation is chief assistant Scott Blasi, a native of Caney, Kansas, who began working with Asmussen in 1996 and oversees his Churchill Downs stable at Barn 38.
Team Asmussen first brought a string to Churchill Downs for the 1996 Fall Meet and has been stabled at the Louisville racetrack annually since the fall of 1997. The first of his record 22 Churchill Downs training titles came at the 2001 Fall Meet.
Asmussen is a two-time Eclipse Award-winning trainer and two-time national leader in money-won: 2008-09. He has trained North America’s Horse of the Year four times: Curlin (2007-08), Rachel Alexandra (2009) and Gun Runner (2017).
Top money-earning horses trained by Asmussen include Gun Runner ($15,988,500), Curlin ($10,374,000), Midnight Bisou ($6,709,000), Untapable ($3,926,625), Mitole($3,104,910), Rachel Alexandra ($2,548,376), My Miss Aurelia ($2,437,000), Regally Ready ($1,836,948), Creator ($1,610,320), Tapiture ($1,536,820), Zanjero ($1,507,487), Pyro ($1,469,883), Lookin At Lee ($1,338,135), Haynesfield ($1,319,481), Justin Phillip($1,293,437), Snapper Sinclair ($1,233,674), Mia Mischief ($1,224,934), Lady Tak($1,160,782), Tenfold ($1,094,390) and She’s a Julie ($1,022,880).
Asmussen also is a nine-time winner of the national training title in races won (2002, ’04-05, ’07-11 and ’13), including a record 650 wins in 2009. On Feb. 7, 2004, he won a North American record 10 races, including three stakes, from 16 starters at five racetracks (Delta Downs, Fair Grounds, Oaklawn Park, Sam Houston Race Park and Sunland Park).
His biggest wins include the Preakness twice (Curlin in 2007 and Rachel Alexandra in 2009), the Belmont Stakes (Creator in 2016), the Breeders’ Cup Classic twice (Curlinin 2007 and Gun Runner in 2017) and Dubai World Cup (Curlin in 2008).
At Churchill Downs, Asmussen seeks his first Kentucky Derby win – he’s finished second twice with Nehro (2011) and Lookin At Lee (2017) in 20 starts – but has won the Longines Kentucky Oaks twice with Summerly (2005) and Untapable (2014). Overall, he’s won 79 stakes races at Churchill Downs, which ranks second only behind Mott’s 95. He’s a two-time winner of the Stephen Foster (Curlin in 2008 and Gun Runner in 2017) and one-time winner of the Clark (Gun Runner in 2016).
Asmussen is rapidly closing on another significant career milestone. At the start of Friday, Asmussen had 8,867 career wins, which ranked second and was 578 victories behind all-time North American win-leader Dale Baird’s 9,445.