Steve Asmussen

Trainer > Steve Asmussen

Trainer Steve Asmussen

Born on November 18, 1965, in Gettysburg, South Dakota, horse trainer Steven Mark Asmussen comes from a racing family. His parents Keith and Marilyn Asmussen are horse trainers and operate El Primero Training Center in Laredo, Texas. His brother Cash is a retired Eclipse Award-winning jockey who retired to become a trainer. Before becoming one of the top thoroughbred trainers in the country, Steve actually started out riding horses, like his older brother Cash.

Steven’s stint as a jockey lasted a short three years and he was forced to train horses instead of ride them because of weight and height challenges. His horse training career started in 1986 in New Mexico. In his first year as a trainer he ran in 15 races at the Ruidoso Downs track in Ruidoso Down, New Mexico. He won only one time that first year – a maiden special weight race with Victory’s Help.

Since his inauspicious start in New Mexico, Asmussen has gone on to train some of the top horses and win some of the biggest races in the industry. His resume includes two Kentucky Oaks wins (2005 and 2014), three Arkansas Derby wins (2002, 2007, and 2016), a Breeders’ Cup win (2007 Breeders’ Cup Classic), and three Triple Crown leg victories (2007 and 2009 Preakness Stakes, and 2016 Belmont Stakes).

Notable horses Asmussen has trained over the years features an illustrious list that includes Curlin, Rachel Alexandra, Gun Runner, and Creator. Curlin (2007 and 2008) and Rachel Alexandra (2009) won Horse of the Year honors three years in a row. Asmussen has won the Eclipse Award for Outstanding Trainer twice in his career (2008 and 2009), and in 2016 he was inducted into the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame.

His Hall of Fame nomination was tabled for two years because of serious allegations of horse abuse the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) made against Asmussen and his assistant trainer Scott Blasi. While they were deemed guilty of minor infractions, all serious allegations were eventually dismissed.

Asmussen now calls Arlington, Texas home.

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Rachel Alexandra, Zenyatta, Asmussen & Dominguez to Hall of Fame