Another Milestone For Asmussen: 700 Career Wins At Oaklawn

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.

“Oaklawn’s been unbelievably good to us,” Asmussen said. “I think it’s propelled us to where we’re at. The opportunity to run this quality of horse for a good amount of money – there’s a lot of good people we work for to go out and continue to improve their stock. Everything feels like it’s headed in the right direction.”

Asmussen started his first horse at Oaklawn in 1989 and saddled his first winner in Hot Springs Feb. 9, 1996 (Honest J). Asmussen recorded his first Oaklawn stakes victory the following day with Valid Expectations in the $50,000 Mountain Valley for 3-year-old sprinters. Valid Expectations, Asmussen’s first nationally prominent runner, was ridden by older brother Cash Asmussen, an Eclipse Award-winning apprentice and champion jockey in France.

Steve Asmussen has at least one stakes victory every year in Hot Springs since 1996 and Silver State marked his Oaklawn-record 90thoverall. He set a single-season Oaklawn record for purse earnings in 2019 ($5,644,609). Asmussen, through Saturday, had started 3,408 horses in his Oaklawn career.

Some of Asmussen’s top horses to run at Oaklawn include champions Curlin, Untapable, Gun Runner, Mitole and Midnight Bisou – all stakes winners in Hot Springs.

The late Bob Holthus is the only other trainer in Oaklawn history with 700 career victories. Holthus, a nine-time Oaklawn training champion, recorded more than 850 in Hot Springs.

“Am I second? Dang, I’m second in a lot of categories, aren’t I?” Asmussen joked. “Second all-time in wins, second at Oaklawn in wins, second in money earned.”

Asmussen entered Sunday second in North American history career in purse earnings (more than $344 million), according to Equibase, racing’s official data gathering organization, and second in career victories (9,159), including two with Curlin in the United Arab Emirates in 2008. Asmussen is projected to surpass the late Dale Baird (9,445) for career victories this fall. A former jockey, Asmussen had his first starter, and victory, in 1986.

“I promise you this,” Asmussen said. “I don’t plan on stopping right on it (9,445), if that matters at all.”

Hall of Famer Henry Forrest (11) holds the record for most career Oaklawn training titles. Asmussen was Oaklawn’s leading trainer in 2007, 2008, 2010, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2019. His 64 victories in 2019 is the second-highest single-season total in Oaklawn history.

Saturday’s triple left Asmussen and Brad Cox (four victories) tied for the early lead in this year’s Oaklawn standings. Both are finalists for an Eclipse Award as the country’s outstanding trainer of 2020.

The post Another Milestone For Asmussen: 700 Career Wins At Oaklawn appeared first on Horse Racing News | Paulick Report.

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