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The Conscience of Thoroughbred Racing

WHAT’S NEXT FOR MR 9,000 AND COUNTING?

By Newswriter — Steve Asmussen has been around the horse racing game for many years and only one trainer in history has saddled more winners than he – the late Dale Baird. But now that he has 9004 victories to his credit, and if the trends hold true, Asmussen will surpass Baird’s record of 9,445 in roughly a year’s time.

Not all of Asmussen’s horses are big stakes winners but there is one on the horizon, Midnight Bisou, that’s as classy as they come and as a three-year-old won five stakes races including the Santa Anita Oaks, Mother Goose, and Cotillion Stakes. Last year, as a four-year-old, she won seven consecutive stakes races including the Grade I Apple Blossom, Ogden Phipps, and Personal Ensign.

Asmussen has had her in his stable since 2018 upon taking over for trainer Will Spawr and there is talk of sending the little lady to Keeneland for the Breeder’s Cup. Most of the best online sportsbooks offer odds on horse races, including the Breeder’s Cup.

“That has yet to be determined,” Asmussen said in the conversation that will be available Friday on the Ron Flatter Racing Pod at VSiN.com/podcasts. “It was uncharted territory for her to go to Saudi Arabia and represent so well. We’re fortunate to be on the ride that is Midnight Bisou. It’s unbelievably unique, special, irreplaceable.”

Asmussen has been training for over 30 years and has saddled six Breeder’s Cup winners to complement a pair of Preakness winners, Curlin (2007), and Rachel Alexandra (2009), as well as a Belmont Stakes champion, Creator, back in 2016.

Horse racing is in the Asmussen bloodlines, so much so that even his son, Keith James Asmussen, decided to leave his studies at the University of Texas, to become an apprentice jockey at Lone Star Park. This summer alone the 22-year-old tallied five wins with the first coming in July when he guided Inis Gulaire to the winner’s circle.

“It’s a dream come true,” the young apprenticed gushed. “You know Lone Star has been open for 24 years and…my earliest memories are of coming here, so to get a win here is just surreal.”

Steve Asmussen reflected on his Hall-of-Fame career and the fact his family is intertwined with it, “Racing is extremely unique in that, while you’re in the middle of it, I wasn’t aware of how unbelievably fortunate I was to be that involved with my family in something that we all loved and cared about,” Asmussen said. “I’m extremely grateful to have been fortunate enough to grow up in a horse-racing family. To have success while we’re having such a good time is icing on the cake.”

Keeneland Plans State-of-the-Art Facilities

Keeneland and the majority owners of Kentucky Downs announced their filing of an application for a racing license and a proposed state-of-the-art racing facility in Corbin and a related track extension in Williamsburg.

Kentucky Downs partner, Ron Winchell, stated, “Horse racing is an extremely vital part of the Commonwealth’s economy. With the addition of a new race track and related amenities in southeastern Kentucky, it will help to continue the momentum we have created for the state and our industry in recent years.”

Keeneland President and CEO Bill Thomason commented, “Keeneland has dedicated resources to this region and project for many years and we look forward to working alongside our partners at Kentucky Downs to bring this project to life. This project will strengthen Kentucky’s vital horse industry and positively impact the Commonwealth and the local communities by stimulating significant economic growth, generating hundreds of new jobs, and enhancing tourism and hospitality.”

Corbin Mayor Suzie Razmus said, “Corbin is thrilled to be a part of this endeavor. The new racing facility will be a welcome addition to our city’s already long list of sites and attractions for local residents and visitors.”

Similarly, Williamsburg mayor, Roddy Harrison, was equally as enthused, “We are proud of the significant investment this partnership is committed to making in our community, and are excited to see the infusion of tourism, economic development, and new jobs it will bring to Williamsburg and Whitley County.”

The Kentucky Horse Racing Commission must grant its approval before the project can commence.

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