Asmussen Looks to “Lock Up” Trainer’s Title at Churchill Downs

(Trainer Steve Asmussen, new locks and all, now appears headed to another Trainer’s Title at Churchill Downs / Photo Courtesy of Keeneland)

Much has been made over the social media world these past few days about Steve Asmussen’s newest hair style, which had to be part of a massive weight-loss plan. The Hall of Fame trainer recently chose to cut the wavy locks back to a “big boy” corporate management style, and now would fit into the Wall Street mode.

But if trimming the hair follicles rendered Samson powerless, it doesn’t seem to be having the same impact on Mr. Asmussen. Going into this week’s final three days of the Churchill Downs’ Spring/Summer meeting, Asmussen looks poised to capture another Trainer’s Title and add that belt to his already-impressive resume.

After Sunday’s racing was concluded, Asmussen’s barn had totaled 24 wins in just 99 mounts, for an impressive win percentage of .24%. His record of 24-17-13 adds up to a “In The Money” percentage of .55%. And, he will take a commanding 5-win lead into the final furlong of this year’s meet.

In second place is Louisville native Brad Cox, who has a record of 19-11-8 in only 67 starts here. That factors out to a win percentage of .28% and “ITM” rate o .57%. Cox’s horses — led by KY Oaks champion Monomoy Girl — have totaled over $1.03 million in purses. That puts the Cox string in second place in total purses earned, just $60,000 behind meet leader Bob Baffert — who had the sonic boom boost with KY Derby winner Justify.

The third leading trainer here this meet is local favorite Ian Wilkes, who has put up 17 wins in 82 stats this meet. His record of 17-10-7 equals .21% in the win column, and .41% on the board.

Here’s a closer look at the Top 25 trainers at Churchill Downs this meet:

1Bob Baffert15213$1,563,13113%40%
2Brad H. Cox6719118$1,503,87528%57%
3Steven M. Asmussen99241713$1,034,56124%55%
4Mark E. Casse571089$913,03018%47%
5Chad C. Brown12132$856,9888%50%
6Ian R. Wilkes8217107$764,13921%41%
7Brendan P. Walsh5510910$718,15118%53%
8George R. Arnold, II35964$601,01226%54%
9Kenneth G. McPeek62151210$546,56324%60%
10Ben Colebrook29633$539,76921%41%
11Todd A. Pletcher17221$531,35212%29%
12William I. Mott26445$494,15715%50%
13Eddie Kenneally421646$474,31138%62%
14Michael J. Maker641298$419,38919%45%
15Dale L. Romans481263$413,18125%44%
16Doug F. O’Neill7111$344,60314%43%
17Albert M. Stall, Jr.30895$306,87327%73%
18Chris A. Hartman461028$275,77522%43%
19Wayne M. Catalano34587$262,74115%59%
20Michael A. Tomlinson411153$262,62827%46%
21Dallas Stewart39378$223,2848%46%
22D. Wayne Lukas31155$222,0173%35%
23W. Bret Calhoun28413$204,24814%29%
24Joe Sharp29605$203,09321%38%
25Wesley E. Hawley12220$187,30217%33%

(Statistical source: Equibase)

The horse broke well today,” Gaffalione said. “I had the horse inside, Dunph, going to the lead and then (Gun It) showed a little bit of speed. When I saw they were intent on going I just tried to get him back and got him to relax. He came back to me nicely and settled well down the backside. Got a little keen going into the far turn and wanted to move a little early. But I didn’t want to take too much away from him so I tried to sit as long as I could. He was waiting on horses down the lane but I kept him at task and there was plenty of horse there.”

“Mark (Casse, the trainer) and his team have done a great job,” Gaffalione said. “They’ve had a ton of confidence in this horse the whole way. It’s just an honor to be able to ride the horse. He’s just so professional, trains great and he’s a pleasure to be around.”

Tyler Gaffalione, Rode of War of Will to victory in the G2 Risen Star Stakes at the Fair Grounds
  • Gene McLean

    Gene McLean

    Gene McLean began his professional career in 1977 as a sportswriter and columnist for the Lexington Herald-Leader in Lexington, Ky., and was recognized as one of the state’s best writers, winning the prestigious “Sportswriter of the Year” honor in 1985. Now the President and Publisher of The Pressbox, McLean sets ...

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