Steve Asmussen

You are here

    Steve Asmussen
    Steve Asmussen
    record at keeneland
    total wins:99
    stakes wins:5
    First Grade 1 Win:
    1999 Mother Goose at Belmont Park with Dreams Gallore.
    First Stakes Win:
    1987 Bessemer Stakes at Birmingham Race Course with Scout Command.
    First Graded Stakes Win:
    1996 Derby Trial (G3) at Churchill Downs with Valid Expectations.
    First Career Win:
    1986 at Ruidoso Downs.
    November 18, 1965 in Gettysburg, S.D.

    At Keeneland (through 2014):

    • Leading trainer at the 2004 Spring and Fall meets, the latter in a tie.
    • First Keeneland win came during the 1999 Spring Meet.
    • First Keeneland stakes win was the 2003 Lafayette (G3) with Posse.
    • Five stakes wins include the 2004 Coolmore Lexington (G2) with Quintons Gold Rush.

    Starters in the Toyota Blue Grass (G1):








    Big Truck



    Storm Treasure







    • Two-time Eclipse Award-winning trainer (2009 and 2008).
    • Triple Crown wins (2): Preakness (G1) with Rachel Alexandra (2009) and Curlin (2007).
    • Breeders’ Cup wins (5): 2014 Distaff (G1) with Untapable; 2012 Dirt Mile (G1) with Tapizar; 2011 Juvenile Fillies (G1) with My Miss Aurelia; 2011 Turf Sprint (G2) with Regally Ready; 2007 Classic (G1) with Curlin.
    • Fifth among active trainers by career earnings with more than $225 million as of early February 2015. Leading active trainer by wins through that time with more than 6,900. Second only to the late Dale Baird, who won 9,445 races.
    • Second-leading trainer in North America in 2014 by wins with 1,294 and fifth in earnings with $12,537,551. Won four Grade 1 races with champion 3-year-old filly Untapable, including the Kentucky Oaks and Breeders’ Cup Distaff.
    • Leading trainer in 2014 at Fair Grounds, Oaklawn Park, Remington Park, Sam Houston and Churchill Downs (spring and September, the latter in a tie).
    • Won 307 races in 2013 – more than any other trainer – and was fourth by earnings with $11,925,991. Highlights included victories by Justin Phillip in the Alfred G. Vanderbilt (G1), Tapiture in the Kentucky Jockey Club (G2) and Cluster of Stars in the Gallant Bloom (G2) and Distaff (G2).
    • Passed Racing Hall of Famer Jack Van Berg to take second place on the list of winningest North American trainers with victory No. 6,418 on March 28, 2013, at Fair Grounds with Jake Jourdan. (All-time leader is Dale Baird, who won 9,445 races.)
    • Set a record for single-season victories in 2009 with 650 wins, breaking his own record of 621 established in 2008. Leading trainer by wins in 2013 (307), 2011 (348), 2010 (506), 2007 (488), 2005 (473), 2004 (555) and 2002 (407).
    • Twice leading trainer by earnings – 2009 with $21.8 million and 2008 with $24.2 million. Ranked second in 2011, 2010 and 2007.
    • Trained his first champions in 2007 – Horse of the Year and champion 3-year-old male Curlin and Canadian champion 2-year-old colt Kodiak Kowboy. Curlin repeated as Horse of the Year in 2008 (year he won Dubai World Cup, G1) and was champion older male. In 2009, he trained two more – Horse of the Year and champion 3-year-old filly Rachel Alexandra and champion sprinter Kodiak Kowboy. In 2011, he trained champion 2-year-old filly My Miss Aurelia.
    • Won 6,000th race on Nov. 18, 2011, at Remington Park on his 46th birthday.
    • Won 5,000th race on Sept. 11, 2009, at Woodbine; 4,000th on Feb. 17, 2008, at Oaklawn Park; 3,000th on Aug. 5, 2005, at Saratoga.
    • All-time leading trainer at Lone Star Park (11 titles), where he set a single-season record of 117 victories in 2009. Also won titles at Churchill Downs (14, including 2014 spring), Aqueduct (2010 spring), Fair Grounds (12, including a tie in 2012-2013), Ellis Park, Retama Park, Sam Houston, Remington Park (10, including 2013) and Oaklawn Park (2007-2008, 2010 and 2012-2013).
    • Inducted into the Fair Grounds Hall of Fame in 2011.


    The Asmussen family has long been involved in racing. Steve’s parents, Keith and Marilyn, operate El Primero Training Center in Laredo, Texas. Keith is a former jockey who rode the Quarter Horse Vespero to win the 1978 Kansas Futurity at Ruidoso Downs. Marilyn trained Vespero and became the first woman to train the winner of a major race for the sprinters. Steve’s brother, Cash, is an Eclipse Award-winning jockey who became a champion rider in Europe.

    Working on the farm while growing up, Steve began riding at age 16 and was a jockey for a little over two years. “No one would believe me if I didn’t have the pictures to prove it,” he told Daily Racing Form. “My parents were 5’5” and 5’2”. I don’t know what happened.” He grew to be more than six feet tall. Steve returned to the family training center to break yearlings and in 1986 began training on his own in New Mexico with some of his family’s horses.



Keeneland Association, Inc. 4201 Versailles Road
Lexington, Kentucky 40510
Telephone: (859) 254-3412 Toll Free: (800) 456-3412 Fax: (859) 255-2484

©1999-2015 Keeneland Association, Inc. All Rights Reserved