Steve Asmussen and Rachel Alexandra, the great mare he trained to Horse of the Year honors, as well as Horse of the Year Zenyatta and jockey Ramon Dominguez will be inducted this year into the National Museum of Racing's Hall of Fame.
The four were selected in the contemporary category and will be inducted Friday, Aug. 12, at 10:30 a.m. (ET) at the Fasig-Tipton sales pavilion in Saratoga Springs, N.Y.
Asmussen, 50, is a native of Gettysburg, S.D., who ranks second all time in career wins (7,287 through April 24) and fourth in earnings ($241,071,415) in a training career that began in 1986 after a brief stint as a jockey. The Eclipse Award winner for outstanding trainer in 2008 and 2009, Asmussen has led all North American trainers in wins nine times and earnings three times. In 2004, Asmussen set a single-season record of 555 wins and broke his own record in 2008 with 621 wins and topped it once again with 650 wins in 2009.
In addition to training Rachel Alexandra to a Horse of the Year title in 2009, he also Asmussen trained Curlin to Horse of the Year honors in 2007 and 2008. He has also trained the champions Kodiak Kowboy, My Miss Aurelia, and Untapable.
A daughter of Medaglia d'Oro —Lotta Kim, by Roar, Rachel Alexandra was also voted champion 3-year-old filly honors during her Horse of the Year campaign of 2009 and posted a career record of 13-5-0 from 19 starts and earned $3,506,730. Bred in Kentucky by Dolphus Morrison, who initially raced her, Rachel Alexandra was trained by Hal Wiggins until a private sale to Jess Jackson’s Stonestreet Stables and Harold McCormick following her 20 1/4-length victory in the 2009 Kentucky Oaks (gr. I); she was trained by Asmussen the remainder of her career.
In the Preakness Stakes (gr. I), Rachel Alexandra became the first filly to win the second jewel of the Triple Crown since 1924 when she defeated Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) winner Mine That Bird. Rachel Alexandra then romped by 19 1/4 lengths in the Mother Goose (gr. I), defeated Belmont Stakes (gr. I) winner Summer Bird in the Haskell Invitational (gr. I) by six lengths, and closed out the campaign by defeating older males in a dramatic Woodward Stakes (gr. I) victory.
Zenyatta, a daughter of Street Cry—Vertigineux, by Kris S., posted a career mark of 19-1-0 from 20 starts and earnings of $7,304,580, and her Horse of the Year title in 2010 and was one of four Eclipse Awards earned in her career. Bred in Kentucky by Maverick Production, Ltd., Zenyatta was a $60,000 purchase by Jerry and Ann Moss at the 2005 Keeneland September yearling sales. Trained throughout her career by John Shirreffs and ridden by Hall of Famer Mike Smith in 17 of her 20 starts, Zenyatta was named champion older female in 2008, 2009, and 2010 along with her 2010 Horse of the Year honor.
Dominguez, 39, a native of Caracas, Venezuela, won 4,985 races (23 percent) and $191,620,277 in his career and won the Eclipse Award for outstanding jockey in 2010, 2011 and 2012. He led all North American riders in earnings each of those years, setting a record of $25,639,432 in 2012. Dominguez led all jockeys in wins in 2001 and 2003 and was second in wins on seven other occasions. He won a total of 20 individual meet riding titles on the New York Racing Association circuit, including a record 68 wins at Saratoga in 2012.
The overall leading rider in New York in 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012, Dominguez won a total of 44 grade I races in his career, including 25 from 2010 through 2012.
Prior to settling in New York, Dominguez was the leading rider at Delaware Park from 2004 through 2007 and won multiple meet titles at Laurel Park and Pimlico in Maryland. He won a total of 160 graded stakes and currently ranks 17th all time in earnings and 32nd in wins.
The contemporary inductees were chosen from a nationwide voting panel comprised of 188 racing writers, broadcasters, industry officials and historians from a group of 10 finalists selected by the Hall of Fame’s 16-member Nominating Committee.
Results of the Hall of Fame’s Historic Review and Pillars of the Turf categories will be announced in May.