Steve Asmussen


Born: Nov. 18, 1965

  • Asmussen led the nation in wins (630) and in earnings ($20+ million) in 2020. However, he settled for 2nd in the Oaklawn standings with 49 victories.

  • Asmussen would have success in the 3-year-old series, but with different runners. The stable started off the meet with a win in the Smarty Jones with Gold Street, while Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes (G2) winner Silver Prospector would capture the Southwest (G3). Runner up Basin would inherit the win in the Arkansas Derby (G1) after the disqualification of Charlatan.
  • Became only the second trainer in Thoroughbred racing history to win for the 9,000th time in his career, bringing home Troy Ounce in Race 2 Sept. 18, 2020 at Remington Park.
  • He collected his 10th leading trainer title in 2019 with 64 victories, the second-highest single-season total in Oaklawn history. Asmussen also topped the Oaklawn standings in 2007, 2008, 2010, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2016, 2017 and 2018.
  • Shattered his previous Oaklawn single-season record for purse earnings in 2019, amassing $5,644,609. Runners earned a then-record $3,448,729 in 2016.
  • Has had at least one Oaklawn stakes victory every year since 1996.
  • Asmussen won eight stakes races in 2019 at Oaklawn, three with Eclipse Award winner in Mitole (male sprinter) and Midnight Bisou (older female dirt runner). Mitole won the $500,000 Count Fleet Sprint Handicap (G3) and punctuated his racing career with a victory in the Breeders’ Cup Sprint (G1) Nov. 2 at Santa Anita. Midnight Bisou won the $350,000 Azeri Stakes (G2) and $750,000 Apple Blossom Handicap (G1). Asmussen also won Oaklawn’s signature race for 3-year-old fillies, the $500,000 Fantasy Stakes (G3), with Lady Apple and the first division of the $750,000 Rebel Stakes (G2) for 3-year-olds with Long Range Toddy.
  • Recorded his 500th career Oaklawn victory at the 2017 meeting when Hence broke his maiden in the seventh race Jan. 16. Hence went on to win the Sunland Derby (G3) and Iowa Derby (G3) in 2017.
  • Had a memorable 2016 highlighted by his induction into the National Museum of Racing Hall of Fame and third Triple Crown race victory with Creator in the Belmont Stakes (G1). Earlier, the Tapit colt provided the trainer with his third Arkansas Derby triumph.
  • Won his 7,000th North American race April 1, 2015, at Oaklawn with Drama Coach.
  • Trained three consecutive Horse of the Year winners in Curlin (2007 & ’08) and Rachel Alexandra (2009). Curlin won the 2007 Rebel and Arkansas Derby, while Rachel Alexandra won the Martha Washington and Fantasy (while trained by Hal Wiggins). Asmussen’s fourth Horse of the Year winner, Gun Runner, began his 2017 championship campaign with a runaway victory in Oaklawn’s $500,000 Razorback Handicap (G3). Saddled Gun Runner to win the Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) later in the year.
  • Curlin became his first Triple Crown race winner when he took the 2007 Preakness Stakes (G1). He won that same race two years later with the filly, Rachel Alexandra.
  • Eclipse Award-winning trainer in 2008 and 2009. Other champions he has trained are Untapable, My Miss Aurelia and Kodiak Kowboy.
  • Grew up in racing with a mother who trained and a father who rode. His parents still operate El Primero Training Center in Laredo, Texas. His brother, Cash, was a world-renown jockey before turning to training. Steve began training in 1986 and had his first Oaklawn starter in 1989.
Photo of Steve Asmussen