(Steve Asmussen leads the Trainer’s Title race at the current Churchill Downs meet / Photo Courtesy of Keeneland)

Steve Asmussen had big hopes when 2018 started. He still had the great Gun Runner in his shed row, for a little while, as he got ready for the finale in the Pegasus World Cup. He had a barn full of 3-year-old colts, many of whom had the credentials to become contenders for this year’s Triple Crown series. He a top end filly in Mia Mischief, who some considered a top filly, and many thought may end up in the Kentucky Oaks.

Well, Gun Runner soon departed the Asmussen barn for the greener pastures of stud duty at Three Chimneys Farm. Tenfold, with his third place finish in the Preakness Stakes, did emerge as the barn’s top 3-year-old, instead of Reride, Combatant, Tap Daddy, Zing Zang, and others. And, Mia Mischief did win on KY Oaks Day — but it was in impressive fashion in the G2 Eight Belles Stakes, instead.

Still, don’t ever discount the talented Hall of Fame trainer. Never.

After Sunday’s races were concluded, Team Asmussen has now started to pull away in the race for the Trainer’s Title at the current Churchill Downs’ Spring/Summer Meet. With just two weeks left, Asmussen has build a powerful resume of 22 wins, 13 seconds and 9 thirds in the first 82 mounts this meet.

That gives the native Texan a commanding 5-win lead over Louisville’s own Brad Cox, who has put up 17 wins, 10 seconds and 8 thirds in 62 saddle jobs this meet. Alone in third is Eddie Kenneally, who has an amazing record of 16-4-5 in only 37 mounts this meet. That has added up to a win percentage of .43%, and his horses have hit the board on a lofty 68%.

Fourth in the trainer’s standings is Ken McPeek, who has earned 14 wins, and one back, in fifth, is Ian Wilkes, who has 13.

Bob Baffert — who has just two wins in 15 starts this meet, but made it count with a victory in the Kentucky Derby with the great Triple Crown winner Justify — still leads the trainer’s colony in terms of purses won. Baffert’s horses have amassed over $1.563 million in purses. Cox is second in that category with over $1.442 million in purses won.

Here’s a closer look at the Top 25 Trainers this meet:

1 Bob Baffert 15 2 1 3 $1,563,131 13% 40%
2 Brad H. Cox 62 17 10 8 $1,442,045 27% 56%
3 Steven M. Asmussen 82 22 13 9 $915,158 27% 54%
4 Mark E. Casse 53 10 5 9 $878,764 19% 45%
5 Chad C. Brown 12 1 3 2 $856,988 8% 50%
6 Brendan P. Walsh 48 9 8 10 $666,796 19% 56%
7 Ian R. Wilkes 70 13 10 6 $623,689 19% 41%
8 George R. Arnold, II 29 8 5 3 $538,944 28% 55%
9 Todd A. Pletcher 17 2 2 1 $531,352 12% 29%
10 Kenneth G. McPeek 60 14 12 10 $523,813 23% 60%
11 William I. Mott 23 4 3 5 $489,187 17% 52%
12 Ben Colebrook 23 4 3 3 $467,040 17% 43%
13 Eddie Kenneally 37 16 4 5 $463,645 43% 68%
14 Dale L. Romans 43 11 6 3 $391,924 26% 47%
15 Michael J. Maker 59 10 9 7 $384,549 17% 44%
16 Doug F. O’Neill 7 1 1 1 $344,603 14% 43%
17 Albert M. Stall, Jr. 27 8 8 5 $301,523 30% 78%
18 Chris A. Hartman 41 8 2 8 $237,971 20% 44%
19 Michael A. Tomlinson 34 10 3 1 $223,632 29% 41%
20 Wayne M. Catalano 26 4 7 5 $220,004 15% 62%
21 D. Wayne Lukas 27 1 5 5 $216,716 4% 41%
22 Joe Sharp 24 6 0 5 $198,260 25% 46%
23 W. Bret Calhoun 23 4 1 2 $194,573 17% 30%
24 Wesley E. Hawley 11 2 2 0 $187,012 18% 36%
25 Dallas Stewart 32 3 4 5 $186,099 9% 38%