Tag: Steve Asmussen

Gregorian Chant (2) won three consecutive sprints earlier this season. He tackles Santa Anita Park's unique downhill turf course for the first time Friday in the Grade 2 Eddie D Stakes. (Image: Benoit Photo)

It’s All Downhill For These Sprinters in Santa Anita’s Eddie D Stakes

Unlike some of its stakes brethren on Santa Anita Park’s opening day, the Grade 2 Eddie D Stakes doesn’t offer a Breeders’ Cup “Win and You’re In” spot. It does, however, offer something no other track in North America offers its contestants: a trip down the iconic Santa Anita Hillside […]

A beaming Steve Asmussen escorts Stellar Tap and Ricardo Santana Jr. to the Saratoga winner's circle after the juvenile made the conditioner the winningest trainer in North American history. Stellar Tap is the 3/1 morning-line favorite to win the Grade 3 Iroquois Stakes at Churchill Downs. (Image: Chelsea Durand/Coglianese Photos)

The 2022 Kentucky Derby Trail Begins Here, With the Iroquois Stakes

The Grade 3 Iroquois Stakes open the gate for the 2022 Kentucky Derby trail. But perhaps winning the first points race on the Derby trail is a poisoned chalice. Win the 1 1/16-mile Iroquois, named after the first American horse to win the Epsom Derby – along with the Native […]

Happy Saver (right) shakes pursuer Mystic Guide in deep stretch of last year's Grade 1 Jockey Club Gold Cup. Happy Saver seeks to be the 11th repeat champion of one of the New York Racing Association's most historic events. (Image: Chelsea Durand/NYRA)

Happy Saver Leads Chase Toward Jockey Club Gold Cup History

The Jockey Club Gold Cup trophy carries the names of four Triple Crown winners: Gallant Fox (1930), Whirlaway (1942), Citation (1948) and Affirmed (1979). You’ll find Hall of Famers like Man o’ War (1920), Hill Prince (1950), Sword Dancer (1959), Buckpasser (1966), Damascus (1967), Forego (1974), John Henry (1981), Easy […]

Trainer Steve Asmussen (center) celebrates with his family and connections of Stellar Tap, who gave the trainer his record 9,446th victory Saturday at Saratoga. (Image: Chelsea Durand/NYRA Photo)

Steve Asmussen Gallops Past North America’s Training Record

Steve Asmussen used Saturday’s Whitney Day at Saratoga as his record-breaking canvas, becoming North America’s winningest Thoroughbred trainer by claiming his 9,446th career race. That leapfrogged the 14-year-old mark of 9,445 set by the late Dale Baird. Stellar Tap did the honors for the Hall of Fame trainer. Owned by […]

Leave Knicks Go and Joel Rosario along and they wire the field, as they did in last year's Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile. The 5-year-old is the 6/5 favorite to beat a small but deep field in Saturday's Grade 1 Whitney at Saratoga. (Image: Coady Photography)

The Whitney: Quality Over Quantity Makes This the Year’s Best Race

The cliché “quality over quantity” washes over this year’s Grade 1 Whitney Stakes at Saratoga like the wake from Knicks Go’s last race. It floods the zone like Maxfield’s last two outings and Silver State’s last trip around Belmont Park. If you’re going to send only five horses around Saratoga’s […]

Louisiana Derby winner Hot Rod Charlie hasn't finished worse than third in his last six races. He looks for his first Grade 1 victory as the 6/5 favorite in Saturday's Haskell Stakes at Monmouth Park. (Image: Jamie Newell/TwinSpires.com)

A Triple Crown Placers War by the Jersey Shore Headlines Haskell Stakes

The first thought that comes to mind when you see Mandaloun, Midnight Bourbon and Hot Rod Charlie lined up as the three headliners for Saturday’s Grade 1 Haskell Stakes is that deja-vu sense of familiarity. You’ve seen these three clash repeatedly, but there’s something else about them that stands out. […]

Super Stock seeks a Texas Derby title to go with his Arkansas Derby victory last month. The inaugural Texas Derby is Memorial Day at Lone Star Park. (Image: Coady Photography)

Super Stock Chases Return to Form in Inaugural Texas Derby

We last saw Super Stock finishing a distant 16th in the Kentucky Derby. We’ll next see him back not in the final Triple Crown jewel – the Belmont Stakes – but in the inaugural Texas Derby. The 3-year-old Arkansas Derby winner is one of 10 expected sophomores in the $300,000 […]

Midnight Bourbon could be one of only two horses to run all three 2021 Triple Crown races.(Image: AP Photo)

Belmont Stakes Field Remains in Flux as Connections Ponder Options

While the Belmont Stakes field remains an early work in progress, several trainers with possible sights on the final jewel of the Triple Crown have either indicated interest or put their horses through workouts with that June 5 race in mind. The Belmont Stakes field of possibles starts with Kentucky […]

It's been a wild week for Kentucky Derby winner and Preakness Stakes morning-line favorite Medina Spirit. But the colt has no idea what controversy is. (Image: Maryland Jockey Club)

It’s Been A Spirited Week: Breaking Down the 2021 Preakness Stakes

Before we break down the field for the second jewel of the Triple Crown, we’ll dispense with the news everyone waited for concerning Saturday’s 146th Preakness Stakes from Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore. Both Kentucky Derby winner Medina Spirit and Concert Tour passed their three pre-race drug tests, meaning they […]

Maryland-bred Jaxon Traveler returns to his home state as the favorite for the Grade 3 Chick Lang Stakes. The one-time 60/1 futures choice to win the Kentucky Derby found a different path to success. (Image: Maryland Jockey Club)

Taking the Shorter Trail, Jaxon Traveler Puts the Odds in His Favor

Last November, Jaxon Traveler occupied the fast lane of Kentucky Derby prospects. At 60/1, he kept double-digit futures odds company with the likes of 45/1 Highly Motivated, 50/1 Hot Rod Charlie, 75/1 Midnight Bourbon, and 75/1 Keepmeinmind. Jaxon Traveler’s odds were lower than Hidden Stash and Super Stock (both 100/1). […]

The results of Tuesday's post-position draw for Saturday's 146th Preakness Stakes. (Image: Maryland Jockey Club)

Amid Controversy, Derby Champ Medina Spirit Named Preakness Favorite

As controversy about his Preakness Stakes appearance swirled around him, Kentucky Derby champion Medina Spirit seized the familiar favorite status Derby champions get coming into the Preakness. The Derby winner became the 9/5 morning-line favorite for Saturday’s second jewel of the Triple Crown. Along with favorite status, which nearly all […]

Midnight Bourbon finished sixth in the Kentucky Derby. It's the first time he missed the board in eight career races. (Image: Churchill Downs/Coady Photography)

Midnight Bourbon Joins Preakness Stakes Field

Midnight Bourbon, who finished sixth in the Kentucky Derby, will run the 146th Preakness Stakes, trainer Steve Asmussen announced Thursday. With the announcement, the Tiznow colt becomes only the third Derby horse committing to the Preakness. He joins winner Medina Spirit and Keepmeinmind in the May 15 field. Midnight Bourbon […]

The Kentucky Derby is only Rock Your World's second start on dirt. He is the fastest horse in the field based on speed figures. (Image: Churchill Downs/Coady Photography)

Almost Back to Normalcy: Breaking Down the 2021 Kentucky Derby

Welcome to the 2021 Kentucky Derby. And welcome back to what a normal Kentucky Derby looks like. Almost. The crowds? Well, they’re back – about 40,000. That’s a quarter of what normally turns Churchill Downs into a sporting bacchanalia. But there’s people in the stands. We’ll take it. The horses? […]

Silver State emerged from a six-wide cavalry charge to capture Saturday's Grade 2 Oaklawn Handicap. That was his fifth consecutive victory dating to last October. (Image: Coady Photography)

Silver State Shows a Golden — and Quiet — Touch Worth Watching

While you were paying attention to the Kentucky Derby trail, Silver State was winning races. While you were paying attention to the adventures of Charlatan, Maxfield, Knicks Go, Monomoy Girl, and Swiss Skydiver, Silver State was joining them in the millionaire’s club. The 4-year-old punched his membership ticket to that […]

Clairiere (1) and Joe Talamo ran down Travel Column and Florent Geroux to win last month's Rachel Alexandra Stakes. The two top 3-year-olds tangle for the third consecutive race Saturday in the Grade 2 Fair Grounds Oaks. (Image: Lou Hodges Jr./Hodges Photography)

It’s Clairiere and Travel Column 3.0 in Fair Grounds Oaks

Clairiere and Travel Column. Travel Column and Clairiere. The two 3-year-old fillies are becoming linked in many ways as they prepare for Saturday’s Grade 2 Fair Grounds Oaks. The two staked their grounds as the top 3-year-olds this spring, seizing attention from last year’s Champion 2-Year-Old, Vequist, along with contenders […]

Yes, Essential Quality is No. 1 in the Kentucky Derby Future Pool 4. The Tapit colt opens at 7/2 when the KDFW's Pool 4 begins Friday. (Image: Coady Photography)

No Surprise: Essential Quality Opens as 7/2 Favorite in KDFW Pool 4

Essential Quality turned his Southwest Stakes victory on Saturday into 7/2 favored status for the Kentucky Derby Future Wager (KDFW) Pool 4. The KDFW’s Pool 4 runs concurrently with the Kentucky Oaks Future Wager’s sole pool. Clariere opens as the 5/1 favorite for that pool. The KDFW opens Friday at […]

Undefeated Essential Quality makes his 3-year-old debut in Saturday's Southwest Stakes at Oaklawn Park. He's the 3/2 favorite in the Grade 3 Kentucky Derby prep.  (Image: Oaklawn Park)

Southwest Stakes: Answering One Question Picks Your Winner

From a betting standpoint, Saturday’s Grade 3 Southwest Stakes at Oaklawn Park lacks value. Do you want 3/2 Essential Quality or 8/5 Jackie’s Warrior? There are five other horses in the field, but this isn’t a rhetorical question. From a watching standpoint, the 1 1/16-mile Southwest lacks nothing. How can […]

Mandaloun won his first two races, including this maiden-breaker at Keeneland last October. He looks to rebound off a disappointing third last out as the 9/2 favorite in the Risen Star Saturday. (Image: Coady Photography)

Risen Star: Your First Win-And-You’re-In Derby Race for 2021

The Risen Star Stakes is, to paraphrase Drew Carey from the old “Whose Line Is It Anyway?” improv show, the race where the points begin to matter. Saturday’s 1 1/8-mile Grade 2 Risen Star at Fair Grounds is the season’s first Kentucky Derby prep offering 50-20-10-5 qualifying points to the […]