LOUISVILLE, KY (June 26, 2017) – The race to capture the Churchill Downs’ 2017 Spring/Summer Meet’s “Training Title” is heating up like a summer day in Louisville.
In other words, it is getting hot. And, muggy. And, as the old-timers used to say, it’s getting “close.”
Going into this week’s final three twilights of the meet, trainers Steve Asmussen and Ian Wilkes – who have already squared off with their horses on the track throughout the meet — both have a legitimate shot at the crown.
Asmussen, who captured the Stephen Foster Handicap with Gun Runner as one of his highlights this meet, currently has 22 first place finishes in 92 starts, which gives him a four-win lead. He has an additional 12 seconds and 13 thirds.
Wilkes, who captured the Matt Winn Stakes on the same night with McCraken, has 18 wins in 78 starts. He has 8 seconds and 14 thirds.
Both trainers have earned over $1 million in purse money for their owners, since the meeting opened a week before this year’s Kentucky Derby.
“Everything has been good. You can’t complain. If you complain, there is something wrong,” said Wilkes, when contacted at his barn last week. “McCraken came back in the Matt Winn and ran like the horse I knew he was. I have been confident in him all along, but it was still great to see. I think he has great potential, but I have to let him do the running on the track and let him do the talking.
“Still it has been a great meet. Couldn’t really ask for much more.”
The meet will conclude with three race programs this week – starting on Wednesday with the first post at 5 p.m. Churchill Downs is promoting this special Wednesday card as the “Sunset Stretch Twilight Wednesday.” Another twilight program is scheduled for Thursday, with first post at 5 p.m.
The meet will conclude on Friday with a special, “Downs After Dark” program. First post is set for 6 p.m.
Here is a closer look at the Trainer Standings going into this week’s action:
Leading Trainers at Churchill Downs
Starting Date: 04/29/2017
Ending Date: 06/25/2017
|Steven M. Asmussen||92||22||12||13||$1,433,882|
|Ian R. Wilkes||78||18||8||14||$1,001,384|
|Thomas M. Amoss||61||16||7||8||$576,741|
|Dale L. Romans||88||15||17||10||$566,047|
|Brad H. Cox||76||15||15||17||$980,767|
|Michael J. Maker||67||13||7||9||$508,110|
|J. R. Caldwell||35||13||6||4||$230,353|
|Brendan P. Walsh||46||12||13||3||$611,084|
|Chris A. Hartman||51||9||11||10||$299,985|
|Michael A. Tomlinson||33||8||3||3||$273,447|
|Albert M. Stall, Jr.||30||8||1||2||$260,433|
|Kenneth G. McPeek||53||7||8||11||$494,304|
|Mark E. Casse||58||7||8||8||$698,425|
|Gregory D. Foley||34||7||5||3||$194,206|
|W. Bret Calhoun||30||7||4||1||$344,587|
|Philip A. Bauer||26||6||2||0||$181,048|
|George R. Arnold, II||40||5||8||8||$468,586|
|Jack C. Van Berg||62||4||10||9||$156,759|