Asmussen Inching Closer to 10,000 Career Victories

Oaklawn Barn Notes by Robert Yates

Contact: Jennifer Hoyt, or (501) 363-4305

Saturday, February 18, 2023

Hall of Fame Trainer, Steve Asmussen with his parents Marilyn and Keith

Photo Credit: Coady Photography

Asmussen Inching Closer to 10,000 Career Victories

Hall of Fame trainer and perennial Oaklawn champion Steve Asmussen entered Saturday with 9,997 career North American victories, according to Equibase, racing’s official data gathering organization.

Asmussen, 57, is already North America’s all-time winningest trainer. He entered Saturday with 9,999 career worldwide victories. Asmussen’s North American total reflects his victories in the United States and Canada. Asmussen also won two races in 2008 in the United Arab Emirates with Curlin, who captured Oaklawn’s $300,000 Rebel Stakes (G3) and $1 million Arkansas Derby (G2) as a 3-year-old in 2007 at Oaklawn. Curlin was named Horse of the Year in 2007 and 2008.

Asmussen had 26 horses entered Saturday at four tracks – Fair Grounds (nine), Oaklawn (eight), Sam Houston Race Park (eight) and Turfway Park (one).

Asmussen entered Saturday with 832 career victories at Oaklawn (No. 2 all time). The late Bob Holthus (867) is Oaklawn’s all-time winningest trainer. Asmussen has collected a record 12 Oaklawn training titles (2007, 2008, 2010, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2021 and 2021-2022).

Brad Cox, Oaklawn’s third-leading trainer last season, entered Saturday with 1,997 career victories, according to Equibase, after winning a race Friday night at Turfway Park.

Cox had 19 horses entered at three tracks Saturday. Four of Cox’s entrants were at Oaklawn, including 2-1 program favorite West Will Power in the $600,000 Razorback Handicap (G3).

Cox entered Saturday with 275 career victories at Oaklawn.

Disarm Returns Sunday

Triple Crown nominee Disarm is scheduled to make his two-turn and 3-year-old debut in Sunday’s eighth race at Oaklawn, a $103,000 entry-level allowance at 1 mile.

A son of 2017 Horse of the Year Gun Runner, Disarm is unraced since a powerful 6 ¼-length maiden special weight victory at 7 furlongs Aug. 6 at Saratoga. The fifth-place finisher in that race, Rocket Can, returned to win the $250,000 Holy Bull Stakes (G3) at 1 1/16 miles in his 3-year-old debut Feb. 4 at Gulfstream Park.

“A lot of buzz about him,” said Hall of Famer Steve Asmussen, who trains Disarm for his breeder, Winchell Thoroughbreds (Ron and Joan Winchell). “Rocket Can won the Holy Bull and he came out of that maiden race. Obviously, everybody was wondering where he (Disarm) went. So, he here is.”

Owing to a physical setback, Disarm didn’t return to the work tab until Jan. 9 at Fair Grounds. Asked if this is Disarm’s audition for a stakes race, Asmussen said: “That is correct.”

Disarm, the 8-5 program favorite, is scheduled to break from post 4 under Ricardo Santana Jr. The field also features Triple Crown nominees Two Eagles River for 2015 Oaklawn training champion Chris Hartman and Arman for Southern California-based trainer Peter Miller. Both horses were scratched from an entry-level allowance spot Saturday to run Sunday.

Probable post time for Sunday’s eighth race is 4:10 p.m. (Central).

Jordan and Jordan

A riding double Friday gave Kylee Jordan nine victories at the 2022-2023 Oaklawn meeting, one more than her total last season when she debuted in Hot Springs as an apprentice jockey.

“It was a really good day,” Jordan, 20, said Saturday morning. “Very good day.”

Jordan won the third race aboard Penetrator ($18.20) for trainer Todd Jordan and the fourth race aboard Uncle Ray ($17) for owner/trainer F. Dewaine Loy. Penetrator was significant because it marked the first career Oaklawn victory for Todd Jordan, who has a small string this season in Hot Springs. He’s also Kylee Jordan’s father.

“Really glad I got a win for him here,” Kylee Jordan said.

Penetrator was making his first start since Todd Jordan claimed the 4-year-old Point of Entry colt for $16,000 out of a third-place finish Jan. 27 at Oaklawn. Penetrator resurfaced Friday for a $25,000 claiming price.

“I knew he was doing good,” Kylee Jordan said. “I was pretty excited about him. I jogged him the day before and he was feeling really good. I didn’t think he would win, honestly. I mean, there were a lot of horses dropping down and the race kind of came up a little bit tough. But I knew dad’s horse would run good. All of his horses have been running pretty good here.”

Friday’s double helped boost Jordan’s purse earnings at the meet to $432,981. She amassed $327,095 last season. Seven of her eight victories at the 2021-2022 meeting came after she returned from a dislocated shoulder suffered in a late December spill. She resumed riding in late January.

“A lot better than last year,” Jordan said, describing her 2022-2023 meeting.

Jordan said she will once again ride at Oaklawn and Will Rogers Downs this spring. Will Rogers opens March 6 and races Mondays and Tuesdays (dark days at Oaklawn) next month. Jordan said she’s already made the 4 ½-hour drive from Hot Springs to Claremore, Okla., twice this month to work horses at Will Rogers Downs.

“That’s the plan,” Jordan said, referring to double duty. “I’ve been going over the last couple of weeks. I went over there on Mondays. I worked 12 horses the first Monday and 13 horses the second Monday, I think.”

Oaklawn’s 2022-2023 meeting ends May 6. Will Rogers Downs will race until May 17.

Jordan’s career took off last year at Will Rogers Downs, where she captured her first career riding title. She added her second riding title last year at Prairie Meadows in her native Iowa.

Finish Lines

Silk Trade’s victory in Friday’s sixth race represented jockey Ricardo Santana Jr.’s 698th in his Oaklawn career. … Silk Trade ($7.20) moved trainer Norm Casse to 10 for 18 at the 2022-2023 Oaklawn meeting and 15 for 39 the last two seasons in Hot Springs. … Millionaire multiple Grade 2 winner C Z Rocket finished second in Friday’s eighth race, a $108,000 allowance sprint for older horses that marked the gelding’s 9-year-old debut. … Favored Pout ($4.60) gave Hall of Fame trainer Nick Zito his first victory of the meeting in Friday’s second race. … Iowa-bred sensation Tyler’s Tribe returned to the work tab Saturday morning at Oaklawn, covering 3 furlongs in :36.40 for co-owner/trainer Tim Martin of Hot Springs. Tyler’s Tribe, who breezed over a fast track, galloped out a half-mile in :49.60. Tyler’s Tribe was freshened following a third-place finish in the $150,000 Advent Stakes for 2-year-old sprinters Dec. 9 at Oaklawn. Martin said the multiple stakes winner bled during the 5 ½-furlong race.