Steve Asmussen
Trainer Bios

Steve Asmussen

Born: November 18, 1965 in Gettysburg, South Dakota

Record at Keeneland

Total Wins: 140

Stakes Wins: 7

Career Firsts

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: July 19, 1986, at Ruidoso Downs with Victory's Halo

Starters in the Toyota Blue Grass




2018 Zing Zang 9th





Big Truck



Storm Treasure





At Keeneland

Three-time leading trainer: 2015 Fall (tie), 2004 Spring and Fall meets (latter in a tie).

First Keeneland win came during the 1999 Spring Meet.

First Keeneland stakes win was the 2003 Lafayette (G3) with Posse. Seven stakes wins include 2019 Stoll Keenon Ogden Phoenix (G2) with Engage.


2016 inductee into the Racing Hall of Fame.

Two-time Eclipse Award-winning trainer (2008-2009).

Triple Crown wins (3): 2016 Belmont (G1) with Creator; Preakness (G1) with Rachel Alexandra (2009) and Curlin (2007).

Breeders’ Cup wins (7): 2007 Classic with Curlin; 2011 Juvenile Fillies with My Miss Aurelia and Turf Sprint with Regally Ready; 2012 Dirt Mile with Tapizar; 2014 Distaff with Untapable; 2016 Classic with Gun Runner; 2019 Sprint with Mitole.

North American career earnings exceed $327 million with 8,771 wins through Feb. 24, 2020, to rank second in both categories. Todd Pletcher is first with earnings exceeding $388 million. Only the late Dale Baird has more wins with 9,445.

Scored 8,000th win May 5, 2018, when Lookin At Lee won the third race at Churchill Downs.

Click here for his Equibase career record.


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 apprentice jockey who became a champion rider in Europe.

Working on the farm while growing up, Steve 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.