Steve Asmussen

Rich Strike 'Looking Great' After Derby Shocker

RED TR-Racing's Rich Strike (Keen Ice) left Churchill Downs around 9:30 a.m. ET Sunday to head back to his main base at trainer Eric Reed's Mercury Equine Center in Lexington as a GI Kentucky Derby winner. "I couldn't sleep last night," Reed said after achieving his first Grade I victory and second graded victory in a career that began in 1985. "At four this morning I was wondering if this was real or if it was a dream. I got home and my kids and their friends were there with...

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Jackie's Warrior Just Too Fast in Churchill Downs

The sprint division will be going through champion Jackie's Warrior (Maclean's Music) once again if Satuday's tour-de-force victory in the GI Churchill Downs S. is any indication. A return winner in a sloppy renewal of Oaklawn's GIII Count Fleet Sprint H. Apr. 16, he was favored at even-money to register his fourth career Grade I victory. The J. Kirk and Judy Robison colorbearer took his usual spot up front and led his six rivals through much-easier-than-anticipated early fractions of :22.76 and :45.50. He cornered four wide and allowed GI Breeders'...

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Gun Runner's Society Glitters Against Allowance Foes

12th-Churchill Downs, $128,924, Alw (NW1X)/Opt. Clm ($80,000), 5-6, 3yo, f, 6 1/2f, 1:16.89, sy, 1 3/4 lengths. SOCIETY (f, 3, Gun Runner--Etiquette, by Tapit) graduated by a length on debut Oct. 21 at Keeneland for prior trainer Wayne Mackey and was given a 7-2 chance with first-time Lasix in this return to action. Away well, the homebred sped out to take control, zipping through a swift first quarter in :21.92. Showing the way into the lane, the chestnut was confronted by SP Ontheonesandtwos (Jimmy Creed) in the lane, but determinedly...

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Pauline's Pearl Prevails in La Troienne

Well-bred Pauline's Pearl, eighth in last year's GI Longines Kentucky Oaks, reached the highest level Friday while running down 2020 Oaks winner Shedaresthedevil. Off as the second choice having last finished runner-up in Oaklawn's Mar. 12 GII Azeri S.--one spot ahead of Shedaresthedevil and behind 2021 champion female sprinter Ce Ce (Elusive Quality)--the grey was briefly hung wide into the first turn before working her way inward slightly in midpack as Shedaresthedevil showed the way. She mounted a three-wide challenge after six furlongs in 1:11.78, and continued to grind away...

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Thursday's Derby Report: Big Two Sitting on Go

LOUISVILLE, KY - There's very good reason why trainers Steve Asmussen and Chad Brown have been so confident leading up to the first Saturday in May. Both Epicenter (Not This Time) and Zandon (Upstart) are sitting on huge efforts as they continue to power through their morning preparations two days out from the GI Kentucky Derby. Epicenter, getting back in his pre-dawn routine Thursday, trained with extremely good energy with a very strong gallop at 5:45 a.m. With the rising sun attempting to make its way through the clouds, another...

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Storming Into the Oaks

LOUISVILLE, KY - Not even some very unsettled weather can spoil this GI Longines Kentucky Oaks day. Arguably the best field ever assembled for the Oaks, any of the following 'big four' are worthy of top billing. Nest (Curlin) was given the slight nod at 5-2 on Mike Battaglia's morning-line, and she is certainly a deserving favorite. Campaigned in partnership by Repole Stable, Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners and Michael House, Nest has won her two starts for Hall of Famer Todd Pletcher this season by a combined margin of 14 1/4...

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Asmussen Front and 'Center' with Potential Derby Favorite

LOUISVILLE, KY -  As the all-time leading trainer at Churchill Downs, no one has won more races beneath the Twin Spires than Hall of Famer Steve Asmussen. Just not on the first Saturday in May. Heading into GI Kentucky Derby 148 with 7-2 morning-line second choice Epicenter (Not This Time), as expected, Asmussen's well-documented 23-0-2-2 record in the 'Run for the Roses' has been a major topic of discussion. "I don't know if it's healthy to want anything that much," Asmussen said. "I grew up in horseracing. We've been unbelievably...

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Wednesday's Derby Report: Crown Pride & Taiba Works Highlight Busy Morning

LOUISVILLE, KY - Crown Pride (Jpn) (Reach the Crown {Jpn}) had Wednesday morning's 'Dawn at the Downs' crowd buzzing just three days out from the GI Kentucky Derby. With the G2 UAE Derby winner continuing to warm up with his popular dressage-like jogging routine in the chute on a very cool and overcast morning, Todd Pletcher's troops of Charge It (Tapit), Mo Donegal (Uncle Mo) and Pioneer of Medina (Pioneerof the Nile) were the first to hit the track for the special Derby/Oaks training period at 7:30 a.m. Owner Jerry...

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Zandon Tabbed as 3-1 Kentucky Derby ML Favorite from Post 10

LOUISVILLE, KY - With all of the morning buzz surrounding Zandon (Upstart) since his dramatic come-from-behind victory in the GI Toyota Blue Grass S., Mike Battaglia installed the handsome dark bay as the 3-1 morning-line favorite for Saturday's GI Kentucky Derby after drawing right in the middle in post 10. The Jeff Drown colorbearer, a $170,000 Keeneland September Yearling purchase, has posted a pair of much-discussed breezes for Chad Brown following his breakthrough win at Keeneland, including a visually impressive five-furlong move in 1:00.40 (7/43) at Churchill Downs Apr. 29....

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Epicenter Puts in Final Derby Work

Winchell Thoroughbreds' Epicenter (Not This Time) put in his final work ahead of next week's GI Kentucky Derby with a five-furlong drill in 1:01.00 (3/6) at Churchill Downs Sunday. Over a muddy track, exercise rider Roberto Howell piloted the GII Louisiana Derby winner through splits of :12.60, :24.40, :36.20, :48.40 and he galloped out six furlongs in 1:13.80. "Honestly I have so much confidence in Epicenter right now I don't think you could overdo it [with a horse like him]," trainer Steve Asmussen Sunday. "He has taken a lot of...

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Louisiana Downs Appoints Mitch Dennison to General Manager of Racing

Louisville's Mitch Dennison has been named general manager of racing at Louisiana Downs. Dennison will oversee racing, mutuels, facility projects, and sponsorships at the Bossier City racetrack and casino. Dennison has served as an assistant to Hall of Famer Steve Asmussen for the past 13 years, overseeing strings at Ellis Park and Louisiana Downs. He had also previously been affiliated with the D. Wayne Lukas barn. Despite his experience on the backside of the track, Dennison said he had an eye on racetrack management. "I have been active in both...

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Sunday's Derby Doings

Trainer Steve Asmussen sent his GI Kentucky Derby and GI Kentucky Oaks hopefuls out to work at Churchill Downs Sunday morning. Winchell Thoroughbreds' Derby contender Epicenter (Not This Time) worked six furlongs in 1:12.20 (3/4), while Oaks hopeful Echo Zulu (Gun Runner) went the same distance in a bullet 1:11.80 (1/4). With exercise rider Wilson Fabian in the saddle, Echo Zulu broke to the inside of regular workmate King Ottoman (Curlin), who was ridden by former jockey Eddie Martin, Jr. Echo Zulu worked through eighth-mile fractions of :12.20, :23.80, :35.60...

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