Asmussen equals Baird’s all-time record with No.9,445 win – Horse Racing News


Hall of Fame member Steve Asmussen equaled the late Dale Baird as North America’s most successful thoroughbred trainer as Mike McCarty’s 4-year-old Shanghai’s Dream won race six Friday at Ellis Park in Henderson, Ky.

The victory was 9,445 (out of 45,905 starts) for Asmussen in a career that officially began with a ninth-place Track Ambassador in an inaugural $ 2,100 race at Ruidoso Downs on June 5, 1986.

Earlier in the afternoon, Asmussen won Saratoga’s fourth race as Jalen Journey gained 8 1/2 lengths. Jalen Journey and Shanghai’s Dream were the only two horses the team raced on Friday. They have three at Ellis Park on Saturday, as well as six at Saratoga, two at Louisiana Downs and three at Monmouth Park.

Asmussen watched the Ellis Park simulcast from Saratoga Racecourse in upstate New York, surrounded by family and a media group, as Shanghai’s Dream rallied in the last of the five under Rafael Bejarano for the historic match triumph to beat Orient Magic 43-1 by three-quarter length.

Steve Asmussen watched Saratoga’s historic win

“That’s how I feel about it, it was meant to be,” Asmussen, four-time top coach at Ellis Park, said by phone. “An incredibly important victory for me and the family. To be able to share the lead, to come closer, all the amazing support I had and best wishes, to be able to arrive at 9,445 – which we have been striving for for quite some time – to be surrounded by my family, That what could be better?

“We had a winner in the fourth race at Saratoga to win one. And then, of course, the only other horse today ties the record, and we have several chances tomorrow to be left alone, so to speak.

Including at Ellis Park.

Shanghai Dream gets the job done under Rafael Bejarano, giving Steve Asmussen career victory No.9,445

Asmussen leads second-choice Archidust in Saturday’s Ellis final, the $ 100,000 Kentucky Downs TVG Preview Turf Sprint and Still Chargingmaria in the $ 100,000 Kentucky Downs TVG Preview Dueling Grounds Oaks as the preview weekend Kentucky Downs TVG starts up. He also has a horse that runs in a no-stakes race on the undercard.

“We have two good chances in the stakes so we’ll see what we can do,” Asmussen said.

On Sunday, the last of its five participants at Ellis is Henley’s Joy in the Kentucky Downs TVG Preview Turf Cup at $ 125,000.

Darren Fleming, who is overseeing Operation Ellis Asmussen this summer, has worked for the trainer since 1994. He says his boss and longtime friend – Asmussen named one of his sons Darren for Fleming – just held on. a wish made before even then.

“We were talking over lunch and he said he wanted to be the best,” said Fleming, who worked in the Louisiana Downs racing office at the time, before starting work for Asmussen. “He was going to be the best and win the most of all time. “

And Fleming thought?

“Hmm. Me too,” he laughed. “We were kids back then. But he had that goal, and he usually did what he said he was going to do… I don’t think he did. he changed a lot. He was exactly the same when he was young. Like everything mattered, was regimented, wanted it to be done that way. He had the same ideas back then. I think he has them a lot. refined and improved a lot.

Asmussen recalls this conversation in the early 1990s, saying, “Darren said to his wife, ‘He will or he will die trying.’ I didn’t know if it was a compliment or not.

Fleming thinks it was probably around 5,000 wins that he started to think Asmussen could outdo Baird. “When the numbers went up and you thought it was achievable,” he said. “Then every year it got closer. “

After the race, Fleming said, “It’s good that it happened in Kentucky. I mean, he’s done a lot of good here and it makes him feel good.

What did Asmussen say when they spoke over the phone immediately after the race? “He said, ‘Now I can go to Disneyland,’” Fleming reported.

Longtime aide Darren Fleming holds sign commemorating Steve Asmussen’s record-breaking victory

Asmussen said it was appropriate for his longtime assistant to saddle the horse that matched the mark, given how much he relied on key assistants like Fleming and Scott Blasi.

“The importance of this is that we are doing it collectively, and we are doing it as hard as we can at every level,” said Asmussen, the most successful coach of all time at Churchill Downs. “I think it’s extremely important. For anyone who thinks it’s easy to win races at less important places, you have to try it – jump in. Growing up with racehorses in South Texas, starting in New Mexico in mixed competitions, I honestly believe that being tied with Dale Baird and hitting 9,445 is so important to me because I realize how how hard it is to win a horse race.

“We will be celebrating this as a family for a while. It is a wonderful feeling to achieve this and to be surrounded by people who love you.

Turf writer Jennie Rees interviewed Asmussen when he was 11 years younger than Dale Baird. Take a look below:

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