Asmussen’s “Sunday Service” Boosts His Lead in Ellis Park Trainer’s Race

(Ellis Park / Photo by Holly M. Smith)

All meet long, Hall of Fame trainer Steve Asmussen has been committed to running his horses at Ellis Park and the little “Pea Patch” by the river.

After Sunday’s races were in the record book, Asmussen’s barn has started a whopping total of 117 horses in the abbreviated summer meet that is normally held in sauna-like conditions. To put that number in perspective a bit, that total is more saddle jobs than the barns of the next three leading trainers — combined.

Going into the final days of the 2019 meet, trainers Brad Cox (46), Dale Romans (30), and Brendan Walsh (38) have combined to start a total of 114 horses at Ellis this summer.

And, one must admit, effort and perseverance does pay off. And, apparently, so do talented horses.

On Sunday, Asmussen and his connections won 3 races — including both the TwinSpires.com Ellis Park Juvenile with the mucho-talented colt Rowdy Yates and the TwinSpires.com Ellis Park Juvenile with Green Destiny. And, on the backs of those horses and their efforts, Asmussen and his barn operation have inched out their lead for this meet’s Trainer’s Title to 4 wins.

Of the 117 starters to date, Asmussen has amassed a record of 18 wins, 16 seconds and 16 thirds and his horses have totaled over $626,304 in purse money. That gives the Texas-native a 4-win lead over Cox, who has a resume of 14 wins, 6 seconds and 8 thirds in 46 starts.

Romans and Mike Maker are 10 wins back and tied for third with 8 wins each.

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

1Steven M. Asmussen117181616$626,30415%43%
2Brad H. Cox461468$533,70430%61%
3Dale L. Romans30846$278,75027%60%
4Brendan P. Walsh38565$260,05413%42%
5Michael J. Maker328102$244,06125%63%
6Mark E. Casse26714$230,03327%46%
7Ian R. Wilkes34435$212,65212%35%
8George R. Arnold, II22510$183,77523%27%
9Peter Miller20262$180,22610%50%
10Kenneth G. McPeek33456$165,66012%45%
11Ron Moquett21422$155,36819%38%
12Victoria H. Oliver18323$139,20117%44%
13Paul J. McGee10411$136,18040%60%
14Joe Sharp28343$135,71011%36%
15Gregory D. Foley21233$127,99810%38%
16J. Larry Jones17331$124,68418%41%
17Daniel C. Peitz15433$122,30027%67%
18Eddie Kenneally17236$109,62112%65%
19Norman McKnight23760$109,17630%57%
20Dallas Stewart21311$103,34514%24%
21John Alexander Ortiz12303$103,21025%50%
22Ben Colebrook19331$102,34716%37%
23Brian A. Lynch19142$91,6645%37%
24Bernard S. Flint9212$79,58522%56%
25J. Keith Desormeaux9202$78,76522%44%

(Statistics Courtesy of 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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