Trainer Steve Asmussen

Trainer Steve Asmussen

Anne M. Eberhardt

Asmussen Collects 5,000th Win

Trainer is fifth on all-time list

Trainer Steve Asmussen registered the 5,000th win of his training career when Passion Rules captured the 7th race at Woodbine Sept. 11.  Asmussen, trainer of Rachel Alexandra, is the fifth trainer to reach the 5,000-win plateau.

The others are Dale Baird (9,445 wins), Jack Van Berg (6,393), King Leatherbury (6,279), and Jerry Hollendorfer (5,459). Scott Lake is sixth on the all-time list with 4,745 wins through Sept. 10.

The 43-year-old resident of Arlington, Texas, had 14 scheduled starters at five different tracks on the day he reached the milestone. Besides Rachel Alexandra, Asmussen is best known for his accomplishments with two-time Horse of the Year Curlin. Asmussen won the 2008 Eclipse Award as the nation's top trainer.

Assistant trainer Hank Gensler, who heads Asmussen's Woodbine operation, saddled Passion Rules, a 10-length winner ridden by Luis Contreras.

"If I know Steve, he's very happy right now," said Gensler. "In 10 minutes, he'll be thinking about winning 5,001."

Asmussen trainees are stabled at racetracks throughout the United States. In 2008, the native of Gettysburg, S.D., set up his first Canadian division at Woodbine and tallied 40 victories.

Gensler, who has been part of the Asmussen team for two years, said he's happy for the entire group, which includes assistants Scott Blasi, Kristen Crawford, Toby Sheets, Darren Fleming and Tony Mathiason.

"It's a big team," he said. "That's the way everybody looks at it. We swap horses a lot. Everybody does a great job. I'm happy that we got it done."

Passion Rules, who is owned by Vinery Stables, was Asmussen's 462nd triumph of 2009.