Asmussen Gets 8,000th Career Win On Derby Day At Churchill Downs

Lookin At Lee, runner-up to Always Dreaming in the 2017 Kentucky Derby, gave Hall of Fame trainer Steve Asmussen career win No. 8,000 in Saturday’s third race at Churchill Downs on the Kentucky Derby undercard.

The victory in the allowance race by Lookin At Lee, owned by L and N Racing and ridden by Ricardo Santana Jr., was the first for the 4-year-old son of Lookin At Lucky since August 2016.

Asmussen, who will saddle Combatant later Saturday in the 144th running of the Kentucky Derby – one of the few major races he’s yet to win – is second on the all-time list of winningest trainers behind the late Dale Baird, who won 9,445 races. With Lookin At Lee’s victory, his career mark is 8,000 wins, 6,469 seconds and 5,485 thirds from 38,568 starters. His horses have earned $282 million.

Ricardo Santana Jr. guides Lookin At Lee to victory

Asmussen, a 52-year-old native of Gettysburg,  S.D., is the son of Keith and Marilyn Asmussen, both of them trainers who operate the El Primero Training Center in Laredo, Texas. Keith Asmussen is a former Quarter horse jockey as well. The younger Asmussen started out as a jockey but won only 63 races before outgrowing the profession, unlike his brother Cash, who won an Eclipse Award as outstanding apprentice and then had a highly successful career riding in France.

Asmussen took out his trainer’s license in 1986 and by 2000 was among the leading trainers in the country by wins, with strings at multiple tracks, mostly in the Midwest and South. In 2004, his 555 victories surpassed the single-season record of 496 held by the late Jack Van Berg. He shattered that record in 2008 with 621 wins and again in 2009 when he saddled 650 winners.

Asmussen was voted Eclipse Awards as outstanding trainer in 2008 and 2009 and three runners from his barn have won Horse of the Year honors: Curlin in both 2007 and 2008, Rachel Alexandra in 2009, and Gun Runner in  2017. Asmussen was inducted into the National Museum of Racing Hall of Fame in 2016.

The post Asmussen Gets 8,000th Career Win On Derby Day At Churchill Downs appeared first on Horse Racing News | Paulick Report.

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