LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — Hall of Famer Steve Asmussen became the all-time leading trainer at Churchill Downs on Friday, saddling Drop Dead Gorgeous to a win in the first race for his 738th victory beneath the Twin Spires.
Asmussen overtook Louisville native Dale Romans, who held the record since Nov. 12, 2017, when he surpassed Hall of Famer Bill Mott, who was the historic track’s leading trainer for over 31 years.
“If anyone knows American horse racing, they know what Churchill Downs means to the sport,” Asmussen said. “This is a very significant honor. I know the people who have been in this spot before, and been here consistently, and for us to have won the most races is a very proud accomplishment.”
Asmussen quickly added to his total, winning the second race with Hulen.
The 54-year-old from Gettsyburg, North Dakota, comes from a racing family. His older brother, Cash, was a champion jockey in France, his mother was a trainer and his father was a jockey and trainer.
Asmussen took out his trainer’s license in 1986 and saddled his first winner that year at age 20. He first brought horses to Churchill Downs in 1996. He has won 22 training titles at the track.
Among his top horses have been four Horse of the Year honorees: Curlin (twice), Rachel Alexandra (2009) and Gun Runner (2017). Asmussen has won the Preakness twice, Belmont Stakes, the Breeders’ Cup Classic twice and Dubai World Cup.