Regally Ready in the 2011 Breeders' Cup.

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Regally Ready in the 2011 Breeders' Cup.
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Skip Dickstein

Asmussen String Arrives at Santa Anita

Eclipse Award-winning trainer to operate with a 40-horse stable again in 2011-12.

Eclipse Award-winning trainer Steve Asmussen returned to Santa Anita Nov. 29 with a stable of approximately 40 horses to begin preparation for a second season in Southern California this winter.

Assistant trainer Scott Blasi will once again oversee Asmussen’s operation at Barn 27, which will include managing recent Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint (gr. IIT) winner Regally Ready.

The Asmussen stable started 52 horses at the 2010/2011 Santa Anita meeting, winning 13 races, including four stakes. This year's winter/spring meet begins on the traditional Dec. 26 date.

“We were very happy with how things went here last year,” said Blasi. “Steve said last year that we wanted to do a better job on the top end of racing and coming here helped us meet that goal. We race all over the country and there’s no better place to be than Santa Anita. The weather is fantastic and the purses are great. We’re just now settling in and hopefully, we’ll be ready to roll by opening day.

“Right now, we’re just monitoring all the horses and making sure they’ve handled the ship well. We’ll make sure everyone is eating up and we’ll just go from there. We’ll probably have a few horses ready to breeze by next week.”

Blasi said that highly regarded 3-year-olds Rothko, a colt by Arch who has won his past three races, and Wine Police, a son of champion sprinter Speightstown  who was a minor stakes winner last September at Saratoga, are both being considered for the opening day Malibu Stakes (gr. I) at seven furlongs.

Asmussen, America’s leading trainer by number of winners on five different occasions (2002, 2004, 2005, 2008, and 2009), was honored as America’s Eclipse Award winning trainer in 2008 and in 2009.

A former jockey, Asmussen is best known as the trainer of two-time Horse of the Year Curlin , who won the honor in 2007 and 2008, and the brilliant filly, Rachel Alexandra, who was named Horse of the Year in 2009.