Steve Asmussen, trainer of undefeated Tiz Wonderful.

Steve Asmussen, trainer of undefeated Tiz Wonderful.

Anne M. Eberhardt

Asmussen's Derby Dreams Shattered by Tiz Wonderful's Injury

You could hear the pain in trainer Steve Asmussen’s voice as he discussed his lost opportunity to win this year's Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands! (gr. I) following Tiz Wonderful’s injury suffered Friday, Jan. 19 at Fair Grounds.

The son of Tiznow , owned by Jess Jackson’s Stonestreet Stables, rapped his right front tendon, which will keep him out of action indefinitely.

“Hopefully, it won’t amount to a whole lot, but right now we’re going to monitor it,” Asmussen said. “We can’t take a shot with someone like him. We were going to work him for the first time (Saturday), and instead he’s walking the shed. It’s very unfortunate, because I’ve had horses fast enough for the Derby, but never one that could go that far; he was the first one.

“It just wasn’t meant to be. What’s so disappointing is that it had worked out so well. Everything had fallen together so beautifully. He had a two-turn win, he was undefeated, two of the best riders in the country (Garrett Gomez and John Velazquez) rode him, and he had plenty of graded earnings. We had so many bases covered. If you haven’t felt what this horse is capable of there’s no way to explain it.

“When I got back after being away for six months, the first thing I thought was, ‘I’m going to win the Derby this year. There’s no way they’re going to beat him.’ There isn’t a pimple on this horse. It’s unbelievable how sound he is. If there’s one thing the last year has taught me, it’s that you’re not supposed to understand everything that happens.”

Tiz Wonderful, who was bred in Kentucky by Dale Kalmar, is undefeated in three starts, winning the Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes (gr. II) and Iroquois Stakes (gr. III).