9,000 winners for US trainer Steve Asmussen

Horse Racing

9,000 winners for US trainer Steve Asmussen

Tuesday, September 22, 2020

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Trainer Steve Asmussen became only the second trainer in US thoroughbred racing history to reach 9,000 wins in North America, bringing home Troy Ounce in the second race Friday night (September 18) at Remington Park.

“It's an awfully significant achievement,” said Asmussen. “I'm very proud, but as you know it takes a tremendous effort from a lot of people who work for me. Will we celebrate? Heck, yeah. Every day from here on out.”

Asmussen, 54, needs 446 more victories to become the winningest trainer in North American thoroughbred history. The late Dale Baird is the current leader, according to Equibase. He reached 9,445 in a career that spanned 1961-2007, primarily at Mountaineer Park.

If he maintains his current pace for a third-consecutive 400-win year, and presuming there is a full racing schedule for him to maintain, Asmussen could break Baird's record around this time in 2021.

Asmussen runs multiple strings of horses at multiple tracks around the country, simultaneously. When asked how many people are employed under him he said, “I have no idea.”

Inducted four years ago into the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame, Asmussen as a 20-year-old won his first race in the summer of 1986 at Ruidoso Downs with Victory's Halo breaking her maiden.

“Back then I was just worried about getting win number two,” he said. “That didn't come until the next year at Birmingham in Alabama.”

In the eight months between victories, he saddled only five starters. Asmussen has since added more than 43,000. Now he has his eyes firmly focused on career win number 9,446.

“It would be very significant to be the all-time winningest trainer,” Asmussen said. “Been thinking about that ever since they started keeping track of wins. That's why you send them out, to win. If it wasn't important, they wouldn't keep stats.”

When he started out Asmussen was a jockey, following the lead of his older brother and Eclipse Award winner, Cash. His second career proved to be far more fruitful.

“I won 63 races in 2 1/2 years as a rider,” Asmussen said with a laugh. “We've been talking about this 9,000th win in the barn all week and wondering what a graphics map would look like if you marked all the places where horses have won.”

Jockey Stewart Elliott was in the saddle for Asmussen, booting home Troy Ounce in the seven-furlong sprint on the dirt with US$7,500 claiming rivals, all searching for their third career score. Troy Ounce (4-5) won by three lengths and paid US$3.60 to win, US$2.60 to place and US$2.20 to show. He covered the distance in 1:23.65 over a fast track. The four-year-old colt by Goldencents out of the Eddington mare Lazaria Lass earned US$5,502 from the purse for owners L and N Racing of Tulsa, Oklahoma.

Troy Ounce improved his record to three wins from 18 starts and has earned US$86,472. He was bred in Kentucky by Martha Jane Holland and 3480 Equine.

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