Steve Asmussen

Churchill Downs Spring Meet Concludes on a High

All-sources wagering on Churchill Downs' abbreviated 27-date Spring Meet totaled $240.5 million, which was a 53.3% increase from the 32 days of racing that followed last year's Kentucky Derby. Additionally, the average daily handle was up 81.7% from $4.9 million one year ago to $8.9 million this season. Shortened to seven weeks from May 16-June 28, the 2020 meet was staged under strict government-sanctioned protocols and without spectators because of the COVID-19 pandemic. This season, Churchill Downs experienced four of the track's six largest non-Derby, Oaks or Breeders' Cup betting...

[ Read More ]
July 2 Insights

Sponsored by Alex Nichols Agency HALF TO LA VERDAD DEBUTS AT ELLIS 4th-ELP, $37K, Msw, 2yo, 5f, 3:14p.m. FUEGO CALIENTE (Will Take Charge), a half-brother to the late champion La Verdad (Yes It's True), makes his career bow in this spot for Hall of Famer Steve Asmussen. His fleet-footed half-sister won 11 black-type races and an Eclipse Award over her lengthy career for Linda Rice, earning over $1.5-million. The bay succumbed to colic in May after producing her fourth foal, a colt by Into Mischief. Out of SP Noble Fire...

[ Read More ]
Midnight Bisou Back to Her Best GII Fleur de Lis

Champion Midnight Bisou (Midnight Lute) was back to her best form Saturday at Churchill Downs, winning the GII Fleur de Lis H. with ease in her first start back on U.S. soil since finishing an ultra-game second in the Saudi Cup in February. GI Kentucky Oaks victress Serengeti Empress (Alternation) jetted straight to the lead, while favored Midnight Bisou bided her time back in mid-pack through a brisk :23.18 first quarter. Inched closer by Mike Smith, Midnight Bisou moved up into third, while still several lengths off the pacesetter, as...

[ Read More ]
TDN Rising Star Cazadero takes the GIII Bashford Manor

Stonestreet Stables homebred Cazadero made good on his 'TDN Rising Star' tag with a dominant victory in the GIII Bashford Manor S. at Churchill Downs Saturday. Demolishing the field by 8 3/4 lengths in his five-panel unveiling beneath the Twin Spires May 29, the Steve Asmussen pupil was heavily favored to repeat in this first juvenile graded stakes of the season. Breaking sharply, Cazadero tracked from a two-wide fourth as longshot County Final (Oxbow) blazed through a :21.24 first quarter. Ranging up two wide on the far turn, the bay...

[ Read More ]
$875K Into Mischief Colt Graduates in Churchill Unveiling

4th-Churchill Downs, $80,750, Msw, 6-27, 2yo, 6f, 1:10.70, ft. WHISKEY DOUBLE (c, 2, Into Mischief--Lake Sebago {MSW, $243,225}, by Munnings), an $875,000 KEESEP buy, was sent off the 7-5 choice in this unveiling and settled in a stalking position as Medicine Tail (Kantharos) led through initial fractions of :21.81 and :45.78. Three wide turning for home, the Steve Asmussen trainee took aim in upper stretch and wore down the 7-2 shot late to score by 3/4 of a length. Windcracker (Super Saver) was third. The bay's dam is MSW Lake...

[ Read More ]
June 27 Insights

Sponsored by Alex Nichols Agency PAIR OF WELL-BRED DEBUTANTES IN CHURCHILL OPENER 1st-CD, $79K, Msw, 3yo/up, f/m, 6f, 1:00p.m. The appropriately named LUCKY FIND (Uncle Mo), a $50,000 KEESEP buy from a deep Helen Groves family, makes her career bow in this spot for Glen Hill Farm and Tom Proctor. Out of MSW Tea Time (Pulpit), the bay hails from the family of dual champion Covfefe (Into Mischief) and Grade I winners Arch (Kris S.) and Acoma (Empire Maker). Robert and Lawana Low homebred Sea Garden (Curlin) also debuts in...

[ Read More ]
Storm the Court Looks to Return to Winning Ways in Ohio Derby

Champion Storm the Court (Court Vision) seeks his first victory of the season in Saturday's GIII Ohio Derby. Clinching the Eclipse award with a narrow upset at 45-1 in the GI Breeders' Cup Juvenile, the bay checked in fourth to recently retired GI Arkansas Derby winner Nadal (Blame) in the GII San Vicente S. Feb. 9. Third to recent GI Santa Anita Derby runner-up Authentic (Into Mischief) in the GII San Felipe S. Mar. 7, he was sixth in Nadal's edition of the Arkansas Derby. Steve Asmussen saddles a live...

[ Read More ]
Rising Star Cazadero Headlines Bashford Manor

Stonestreet Stables homebred Cazadero (Street Sense) looks to make good on his 'TDN Rising Star'-worthy debut in the GIII Bashford Manor S. at Churchill Downs Saturday, the first graded event of the season for juveniles. The Steve Asmussen trainee demolished the field in his five-panel unveiling here, earning his diploma by 8 3/4 lengths May 29, good enough to earn an 81 Beyer Speed Figure. The Hall of Fame conditioner also saddles Hulen (Tapiture), a 1 1/2-length debut graduate beneath the Twin Spires June 12. Peter Miller ships Herd Immunity...

[ Read More ]
Maclean’s Music Firster Professional on Churchill Debut

3rd-Churchill Downs, $77,248, Msw, 6-19, 2yo, 5f, :57.49, ft. JACKIE'S WARRIOR (c, 2, Maclean's Music--Unicorn Girl, by A. P. Five Hundred) topped off a concise worktab with a bullet half-mile from the gate in :47 1/5 (1/35) at Keeneland June 9 and was made the 21-10 second favorite on debut. Hustled along early to contest the pace from the inside, Jackie's Warrior was taken hold of by Ricardo Santana, Jr. at the 3 1/2-furlong pole and switched out into the two path. Despite having lost some momentum in so doing,...

[ Read More ]
Jungle Runner on Track for Belmont

Calumet Farm's homebred Jungle Runner (Candy Ride {Arg}) posted a half-mile breeze in :50.50 (12/15) over the Belmont training track Tuesday in preparation for Saturday's GI Belmont S. Winner of the Clever Trevor S. at Remington Park last November, the bay colt is coming off an eighth-place effort in the May 2 GI Arkanas Derby. "It was a nice easy half in :50 and change," said Toby Sheets, assistant to trainer Steve Asmussen. "He galloped out in a minute. Not a big gallop out, but we're very happy with it....

[ Read More ]
She’s A Julie Back to Her Best in Phipps

Dismissed at 14-1 in Saturday's six-horse GI Ogden Phipps S. at Belmont, Steve Asmussen trainee She's a Julie (Elusive Quality) rediscovered her best form to narrowly defeat favored Point of Honor (Curlin) and earn a guaranteed spot into the GI Breeders' Cup Distaff later this season. Ollie's Candy (Candy Ride {Arg}) had to settle for third after chasing hot splits early. She's a Julie took the GI La Troienne S. on the GI Kentucky Oaks undercard some 13 months ago, but hadn't returned to the winner's circle since then and...

[ Read More ]
Asmussen Becomes All-Time Leading Trainer at Churchill

Hall of Famer Steve Asmussen surpassed Dale Romans as the winningest trainer in the history of Churchill Downs Friday, sending out Drop Dead Gorgeous (Strong Mandate) to win the opening race on the program. The victory was his 738th at the historic Louisville oval. "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...

[ Read More ]