New trainer record set at Churchill Downs


Steve Asmussen moved into the top spot as the winningest trainer in Churchill Downs history last week, edging ahead of Dale Romans.

Asmussen captured his 738th victory at the thoroughbred racing track June 12 when his 4-year-old filly named Drop Dead Gorgeous proved prophetic with an 8½-length triumph.

Romans was the record holder since Nov. 12, 2017, when his wins surpassed Bill Mott. Mott had been the record-holding trainer for 31 years.

Asmussen, 54, has more than 8,800 overall wins on his résumé at all tracks.

Asmussen equaled Romans the day before and added another win immediately June 12. Asmussen grew up in horse racing. His mother was a trainer and his father was a jockey and a trainer, and he helped cleaning up around the stables from the time he was a child in Texas and New Mexico.

His older brother, Cash, was a jockey, and Steve followed into the sport in that manner initially while also obtaining his first trainer’s license at 20. Asmussen has won 22 Churchill Downs training titles.

The first races Asmussen won at Churchill Downs were recorded in 1993, and his first stakes race victory was in 1996. He has yet to win his first Kentucky Derby (though he did win a Kentucky Oaks), and the Hall of Fame trainer has twice had winning entries in the Preakness, won the Belmont Stakes and twice captured the Breeder’s Cup Classic.

“If anyone knows American horse racing, they know what Churchill Downs means to the sport,” Asmussen said. “This is a very significant honor. I know the people who have been in this spot before and been here consistently, and for us to have won the most races is a very proud accomplishment.”

Asmussen was selected for the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame in 2016.

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