Hall of Fame trainer Steve Asmussen has always been goal-oriented and has long had his sights set on the late Dale Baird’s career record of 9,445 wins. With a win on Friday at the Saratoga Race Course in Saratoga Springs, NY, Asmussen stands at 9,427 – or 18 by a draw and 19 by sole ownership.
With Asmussen, the record could be broken anywhere. Including Ellis Park in Henderson, Kentucky, where he is four times the chief trainer, Asmussen has six major divisions and ships to race other tracks. He had 12 horses entered to run on Saturday, including runner-up Preakness and first Ellis Park winner, Midnight Bourbon in the $ 1 million TVG.com Haskell, and eight for Sunday.
Asmussen has so far won three victories from 19 starters with four seconds (including two on Friday) and five thirds at this Ellis meeting. The winning trio ties Eric Foster to second place, with Brad Cox threatening to run away with the title after an 8v16 start.
Asmussen has a total of 116 wins at Ellis Park as of Friday, including winning with his first starter in 1994 when Willie Martinez rode Three Diamonds to a neck win in a $ 21,000 race. The trainer only ran a handful of horses at Ellis Park until 2004, when he won nine races, and in 2005, when his 19 victories earned Asmussen his first Pea Patch title. He wasn’t a fixture again until he re-established a sizeable division in Ellis Park in 2016 and won the training title with 16 wins. He followed in 2017 (18 wins) and 2019 (24 wins, of which he owned five to earn the title of owner as well).
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