Steve Asmussen Sets Record, Becomes Winningest Trainer With 9,446 Career Victories
Horsephotos/Getty Images. Pictured: Trainer Steve Asmussen, center, and jockey Ricardo Santana Jr. following a race at Pimlico Race Course.
Thoroughbred horse racing has a new leader in wins for a trainer.
Steve Asmussen became the sport’s leader for career victories Saturday, picking up his 9,446th win with Stellar Tap in the fifth race at Saratoga Race Course in Saratoga Springs, N.Y.
Asmussen, who was inducted into the National Horse Racing Museum & Hall of Fame in 2016, was at The Spa to watch regular jockey Ricardo Santana Jr. pilot home the son of champion sire Tapit in a $100,000 Maiden Special Weight event for 2-year-old horses.
Stellar Tap, who went off at 5-1 odds, paid $13.00 in a relatively easy triumph over the legendary dirt track.
|1 — Steve Asmussen *||9,446|
|2 — Dale Baird||9,445|
|3 — Jerry Hollendorfer *||7,695|
|4 — Jack C. Van Berg||6,523|
|5 — King T. Leatherbury *||6,507|
|6 — Scott Lake *||6,194|
|7 — Todd Pletcher *||5,157|
|8 — William Mott *||5,130|
|9 – D. Wayne Lukas *||4,853|
|10 — Richard Hazelton||4,745|
* Denotes still active | Statistics courtesy of Equibase
He entered the day tied with Dale Baird, who held the record for 14 years. Barring any setbacks, Asmussen has a legitimate shot at eventually reaching the 10,000-win plateau due to the large amount of horses under his guidance across North American tracks.
The two-time Eclipse Award winner for Outstanding Trainer has already saddled close to 1,600 horses this year.
There’s a distinct likelihood he could break his personal-best mark of 2,278 entrants, which occurred during the 2020 season. Two years ago, Asmussen had 2,209 runners in another banner campaign and hasn’t sent fewer than 1,909 horses to the starting gate since 2017.
Born in Gettysburg, S.D, the 65-year-old veteran horseman has seen his horses earn more than a whopping $361 million in his storied 35-year career.
Steve Asmussen makes history as all-time leading trainer with Stellar Tap and Ricardo Santana Jr! pic.twitter.com/jzTSp7CirI
— NYRA Bets (@NYRABets) August 7, 2021
Asmussen has yet to win the Kentucky Derby, but did take the 2007 and 2009 editions of Preakness Stakes — the second jewel of horse racing’s Triple Crown — with standout Curlin and star filly Rachel Alexandra, respectively. He also won the 2016 Belmont Stakes with Creator.
Asmussen has won six Breeders’ Cup races, including the 2007 and 2017 editions of the Classic with the aforementioned Curlin and Gun Runner, respectively. To date, Gun Runner won the most purse money of any horse Asmussen has trained, earning just under $16 million in a career that saw the talented horse get better with age and win 12 of 19 races.