Tag: Steve Asmussen

Ricardo Santana rode Brad Cox's Coach to victory in the Pippin Stakes at Oaklawn Park in December. After a fall slump, the eight-time Oaklawn riding champion is enjoying a resurgence. (Image: Coady Photography)

After Fall Slump, Santana is Back in the Saddle

Last summer, Ricardo Santana Jr. piloted Stellar Tap to a Saratoga allowance victory that made trainer Steve Asmussen the winningest trainer in North American history. That Santana was the jockey for Asmussen’s record-breaking race made perfect sense. As Asmussen’s go-to rider, he was enjoying a breakout Saratoga meet, winning 35 […]

Pappacap leads the Kentucky Derby points list with 12. He comes into Saturday's Grade 3 Lecomte Stakes at Fair Grounds as the 8/5 morning-line favorite. (Image: Benoit Photo)

Derby Points Leader Pappacap Finds Epicenter in the Lecomte Stakes

The Grade 3 Lecomte Stakes gives you current Kentucky Derby points leader Pappacap. It gives you one of the most exciting 3-year-olds in the country, Epicenter. And it gives you recent alumni Triple Crown success. The 1 1/16-mile Lecomte also gives you Derby preps for the first time in three […]

Mandaloun finished second to Medina Spirit in last year's controversial Kentucky Derby. He takes on rival Midnight Bourbon for the sixth time in the Grade 3 Louisiana Stakes at Fair Grounds Saturday. (Image: Coady Photography)

Cue Round Six for Mandaloun, Midnight Bourbon in Louisiana Stakes

The Louisiana Stakes, starring Mandaloun vs. Midnight Bourbon, sounds like deja vu all over again. And again. And again. And again. And, yes, again. This latest duel — the sixth between the newly minted 4-year-olds and 2021 Triple Crown rivals — returns the pair to Fair Grounds and the $150,000 […]

The 51st Eclipse Awards winners will be announced Feb. 10. Sixteen of the 17 finalist categories were announced Saturday. (Image: NTRA)

Few Surprises Revealed as Eclipse Award Finalists Announced

The National Thoroughbred Racing Association, National Turf Writers and Broadcasters, and the Daily Racing Form announced the finalists for the 2021 Eclipse Awards on Saturday. The list of finalists did not include Horse of the Year candidates, for which Knicks Go is a virtual certainty. Instead, finalists in 16 of […]

Home Brew finds himself the favorite in a deep, record-sized Smarty Jones field. The mile-race is Oaklawn Park's first of four Kentucky Derby preps. (Image Coady Photography)

Oaklawn’s Smarty Jones Packs In, Sends Out a Record-Sized Field

Whichever candidate wins Saturday’s Smarty Jones Stakes at Oaklawn Park will get themselves a dress rehearsal for the Kentucky Derby and its cavalry-charge-sized field. Because, barring any scratches, the Smarty Jones will send out the largest field in event history with 14 horses. The one-mile Smarty Jones, the first of […]

Epicenter captured thi Churchill Downs maiden special weight last month. He is the 5/2 favorite to win the inaugural Gun Runner Stakes at Fair Grounds, Sunday. (Image: Coady Photography)

Inaugural Gun Runner Stakes Provides Epicenter of Week’s Derby Preps

There’s a certain symmetry, a certain karmic presence in Steve Asmussen sending out Epicenter as the 5/2 favorite for the inaugural running of the 1 1/16-mile Gun Runner Stakes at Fair Grounds. Whether Epicenter can follow in the hoofprints of Gun Runner – one of Asmussen’s best horses – remains […]

Bye Bye Bobby (5) pulled away in the stretch for a debut victory in last month's Zia Park Juvenile. He gives horseplayers a closer's option in Friday night's Springboard Mile at Remington Park. (Image: Coady Photography)

Off to Oklahoma for This Week’s Derby Prep: the Springboard Mile

Before you dive into this week’s Kentucky Derby prep — Friday night’s Springboard Mile at Remington Park — a couple of caveats are in order. First, no Springboard Mile alum has ever won the Derby. That shouldn’t be surprising, given Remington Park’s off-the-beaten-path locale in Oklahoma. But don’t look at […]

Nashville reeled off a record time winning the Perryville Stakes last November. He returns for the first time in nearly a year in a Friday Oaklawn Park allowance race. (Image: Keeneland/Coady Photography)

After a Year Away, Nashville Returns to Play an Oaklawn Park Allowance

It’s only an allowance sprint, not Nashville’s usual company. But the standout sprinter returns for the first time in nearly a year Friday afternoon, taking on six rivals in an Oaklawn Park 5 1/2-furlong dash. You’ll find Nashville on the rail in Oaklawn’s eighth race. As of now, he’s the […]

Jackie's Warrior and Joel Rosario used this Grade 2 Gallant Bob romp as a Breeders' Cup Sprint tune-up. After finishing a disappointing sixth, Jackie's Warrior suffered a bone chip that puts him on teh shelf until 2022. (Image: Chad B. Harmon)

Jackie’s Warrior Has Bone Chip Removed, Will Return in 2022

Standout sprinter Jackie’s Warrior joined other 2021 stars on the operating table last week, undergoing surgery for a bone chip in his left knee at Rood and Riddle Equine Hospital in Kentucky. Dr. Larry Bramlage, who this week performed shin surgery on 2-year-old star Jack Christopher, did the procedure. The […]

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 […]