Asmussen Sets Winning Record
It can be said that Steve Asmussen was born to train horses, and prepared from a young age for the challenges of the horse racing industry. His experience and lifelong history with horses has seen Asmussen train some of the racing greats, including Curlin and Pyro. However, this year, and more specifically on Sunday, 23 November 2008, Steve Asmussen surpassed his own standing record for victories achieved in one year. Steven Asmussen now has five hundred and fifty-seven wins for 2008, and more than four thousand for his career.
Born in 1965, Steve Asmussen grew up in a family with a passion for horses and horse racing. Both his parents were trainers and ran the well known El Primero Training Centre in Laredo. With his brother becoming an Eclipse award winning jockey, it was no surprise that the sixteen year old Asmussen would be racing from an early age. Unfortunately, his career as a jockey was short lived, as his weight and his height did not allow him to continue on this path. His career as a horse trainer therefore began in 1986, when he began working in New Mexico as a trainer for American Quarter Horses and for Thoroughbreds. In 1996, Steve Asmussen found glory in a horse named Valid Expectations, who won the Grade Three Derby Trail Stakes and went on to win multiple stakes races. Some of the most memorable victories in his career include the Kentucky Oaks, Lexington Stakes, Breeder’s Cup Classic, Preakness Stakes, Jockey Club Gold Cup, Woodward Stakes and the Stephen Foster Handicap.
In 2004, Asmussen broke the record for the most victories in a year, which was held since 1976 by Jack Van Berg for 496 victories, by raking in 555. On Saturday, the 22nd of November 2008, Union Strike equaled that number during the tenth race hosted by Fair Grounds Racecourse. On Sunday, Prophesy surpassed the record with his victory at the Remington Park Racecourse, with Foam taking Oklahoma City by storm later that day, pushing Asmussen’s victories for the year to 557.
Asmussen sang the praises of all his horses, from the claimers to the Grade 1 champions, for their outstanding efforts and said that he was grateful for the help he was given and the opportunities that came his way, which assisted him in having a record breaking year. Even though big names like Pyro and Curlin will long be remembered, Asmussen was quoted saying: “The success we've had with the Curlins and the Pyros has been fantastic. But we came from a small, Midwestern track, and I like to think that we remember where we came from."