Steve Asmussen's record-smashing national success in 2004 carried over to Kentucky as the Texas-born trainer earned his first Kentucky Thoroughbred Media "Trainer of the Year" award.
Asmussen was the only newcomer on the roster of 2004 KTM honorees that includes repeat winners in jockey Rafael Bejarano and owners Kenneth and Sarah Ramsey. The Kentucky Thoroughbred Media awards, which are being bestowed for the 15th consecutive year, honor the trainer, jockey, and owner who collect the largest number of victories during the calendar year at Kentucky racetracks.
The awards are co-sponsored by KTM and The Jockey Club Information Systems. The latter provides statistical information that determines each year's honorees. The awards are based on total victories in each category at Churchill Downs, Ellis Park, Keeneland, Kentucky Downs and Turfway Park.
Asmussen, Bejarano, and the Ramseys will receive their KTM awards March 26 at Turfway during the racing program headlined by the $500,000 Lane's End Stakes (gr. II).
The KTM "Trainer of the Year" award earned by Asmussen is the first for a trainer other than D. Wayne Lukas or Bernard Flint; it snapped a string of six consecutive awards earned by Flint. Asmussen, who smashed Jack Van Berg's record for wins in a single year by saddling 555 winners in 2004, sent 83 horses into winner's circles at Kentucky tracks. He finished ahead of Dale Romans, who saddled 76 winners, and Flint, who collected 66 victories.
Bejarano collected his second KTM "Jockey of the Year" award by piloting 406 winners at Kentucky tracks in a year in which he earned riding titles at Churchill, Ellis Park, Keeneland, Kentucky Downs, and Turfway. He easily outdistanced runner-up John McKee (136), Willie Martinez (126), and Pat Day (122) in 2004 victories at Kentucky tracks. Bejarano had won 255 Kentucky races in earning his 2003 KTM award.
The Ramseys, honored with an Eclipse Award as racing's leading owners in 2004, were honored as KTM "Owner of the Year" for the fifth consecutive year. Their horses won 46 races at Kentucky tracks in 2004. Richard, Elaine, and Bert Klein were runners-up with 26 winners, while Overbrook Farm won 22 races.
Kentucky Thoroughbred Media is an organization of print and electronic journalists, photojournalists, and publicists who work in Kentucky's racing and breeding industries. The Jockey Club Information Systems is a multimedia information and service provider incorporated as a wholly owned subsidiary of The Jockey Club.