Tag: Steve Asmussen

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 […]

Between them, Todd Pletcher (left) and Bob Baffert own eight Kentucky Derby victories. Pletcher (45) and Baffert (23) have the most Triple Crown early nominated horses for 2021. (Image: Doug Engle/AP File)

Essential Quality Leads 326-Strong Triple Crown Nomination Parade

Getting your horse a Triple Crown nomination used to be so simple that connections to this year’s 3-year-old hopefuls nominated 326 horses to compete in the three American Classic races this spring. Those 326 nominations represent a slight, 6.1% dip from last year’s 347 early nominees. Those connections paid $600 […]

Last time out, Shivaree set the Tampa Bay Downs stakes record en route to winning the Marion County Florida Sire Stakes. The runner-up in last year's Florida Derby returns to action Saturday in the Fred Hooper Stakes at Gulfstream Park. (Image: SV Photography)

The Pegasus Isn’t the Only Stakes Race This Weekend

Saturday brings us the first two Grade 1 stakes races of 2021: the Pegasus World Cup Invitational and the Pegasus World Cup Turf, coming to you from Gulfstream Park. The Florida track captures this weekend’s stakes spotlight with those two high-profile races, along with five other graded stakes on its […]

Winning the Breeders' Cup Classic two months after capturing the Kentucky Derby likely made Authentic the Horse of the Year. The 50th Eclipse Awards will be announced Jan. 28. (Image: Horsephotos.com)

Authentic, Improbable, Monomoy Girl Head Eclipse Awards Finalists

Horse of the Year candidates Authentic, Improbable, and Monomoy Girl headline the finalists for the 2020 Eclipse Awards, announced Saturday by the National Thoroughbred Racing Association, the National Turf Writers and Broadcasters (NTWAB), and the Daily Racing Form. The Eclipse Awards get their name from the iconic 18th-century racehorse and […]

Finite's last outing was this decisive Chilukki Stakes victory at Churchill Downs. She is a tepid 7/2 favorite in Saturday's Grade 1 La Brea Stakes at Santa Anita. (Image: Coady Photography)

It’s Finite vs. Baffert’s Infinite Depth in Wide Open La Brea Stakes

The tempting storyline in Saturday’s Grade 1 La Brea Stakes at Santa Anita Park is to look at the seven-furlong race through the quality vs. quantity prism. Steve Asmussen’s standout filly Finite vs. Bob Baffert’s quartet of Merneith, Golden Principal, Himiko and Provocation. Asmussen sending a multiple Grade 2 and […]

Charlatan returns to action for the first time in seven months on a stakes-packed opening day at Santa Anita Park. (Image: Horsephotos)

Unwrap Plenty of Stars in Santa Anita Park’s Boxing Day Opener

Santa Anita Park’s opening day marks the return of this year’s Pegasus World Cup champion for the first time in 10 months. And poor Mucho Gusto; he’s not remotely the headline attraction. For that, he can thank Nashville, Charlatan, and Independence Hall, who all smashed and grabbed Mucho Gusto’s spotlight […]

Outadore led the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf until the final eighth. He makes his dirt debut in Friday's Springboard Mile at Remington Park. (Image: Coady Photography)

Springboard Mile Takes Would-Be Derby Hopefuls Off the Beaten Path

Outadore and Cowan aren’t atop anyone’s Kentucky Derby betting lists. Nor is the Springboard Mile at Remington Park atop anyone’s top-tier Derby preps. But, the Oklahoma track’s top juvenile stakes race does offer yet another glimpse at 2-year-olds chasing Derby points. The $200,000 Listed stakes Springboard Mile headlines a 13-race, […]

Knicks Go broke the track record in the Breeders' Cup Dirt mile earlier this month. He could run the Cigar Mile at Aqueduct Dec. 5. (Image: Coady Photography/Keeneland)

Don’t Take a Holiday on These Late-Season Races

The Breeders’ Cup is in the rear-view mirror, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t any prime late-season races on the horizon. The end of the year may seem like a racing lull before the calendar flips, but don’t let the last two months of the horse racing season go by […]

While Jackie's Warrior is the clear favorite to win the 2021 Kentucky Derby, Essential Quality is a viable second favorite at 20/1. (Image: Coady Photography)

William Hill Makes Jackie’s Warrior 2021 Kentucky Derby Futures Favorite

William Hill Nevada opened the first domestic futures pool for the 2021 Kentucky Derby, installing Jackie’s Warrior as the top choice among the 115 2-year-olds listed on its futures board. The Breeders’ Cup Juvenile favorite, Jackie’s Warrior opened at 15/1. He’s currently 14/1 at Bovada, which opened the Steve Asmussen-trainee […]

Even without spectators, Keeneland managed more than $148.2 million in handle during its just-concluded Fall Meet. It plays host to the Breeders' Cup in two weeks. (Image: David Coyle/Team Coyle)

Keeneland Wraps Fall Meet with Modest Handle Decline

With the Breeders’ Cup looming in two weeks as Keeneland’s worldwide close-up, the Lexington, KY, track ended its Fall Meet Saturday with a modest 7.5% drop in all-sources handle from 2019. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Keeneland ran its 17-day Fall Meet without spectators. Yet the track recorded $148,229,708 in […]

Unbeaten in three races, including this Saratoga Special win, Jackie's Warrior is the favorite for Saturday's Champagne Stakes at Belmont Park. (Image: Coglianese Photo)

Champagne Stakes Uncorks Juvenile Horses in Vintage Race

The Champagne Stakes dates to 1867, making this a vintage race if there ever was a non-American Classic vintage race. Yet, it holds its vintage status while turning loose 2-year-olds upon the racing world. Call it a vintage race with fledgling racers. But while you’re at it, call Saturday’s Grade […]

The venerable Pimlico Race Course clubhouse will play host to a small group of owners for Saturday's 145th Preakness Stakes. (Image: Getty)

The Triple Crown Ends Here: Breaking Down the 2020 Preakness Stakes

It’s October 2020, which in this bizarre of all bizarre years, means it’s Preakness Stakes time. That there is no Triple Crown at stake does not mean there is nothing at stake in the third and final jewel of a wild, 15-week Triple Crown campaign. The 2020 American Classics trail […]