Hall of Fame and dual-Eclipse award winning trainer Steve Asmussen notched career win 8,000 May 5 when Lookin At Lee rolled to victory in the third race at Churchill Downs on the Kentucky Derby Presented by Woodford Reserve (G1) undercard. Lookin At Lee, a four-year old son of Lookin At Lucky , was the runner-up in the 2017 Kentucky Derby almost a year ago to the day.
Asmussen reflected on his milestone victory, stating, "It's an incredible accomplishment and I'm extremely proud of the all the help we have, they put so much hard work and passion into this, and how fortunate we've been to have such great horses".
When asked what 8,000 wins signified to him and his career, Asmussen took time to acknowledge just how difficult success in the sport can be, saying, "Growing up in a barn and realizing just how hard it is to win a race, and just how much every single one of them means to a lot of people".
Asmussen, who is a native of South Dakota but resides in Texas, won the Eclipse Award for Outstanding Trainer in 2008 and 2009, and has campaigned three horses to four Horse of the Year titles, including training the honoree for three consecutive years—Curlin in 2007 and 2008, Rachel Alexandra in 2009, and most recently, Gun Runner in 2017. He was inducted into the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame in 2016.
He has three victories in Classic races, including two wins in the Preakness Stakes (G1) (Curlin in 2007, Rachel Alexandra in 2009), and a win in the 2016 Belmont Stakes (G1) with Creator. He has had horses place six times in Classic races, including two runner-up efforts in the Kentucky Derby.
Asmussen has six victories in the Breeders' Cup to his name, including two victories in the Classic (2007 with Curlin, 2017 with Gun Runner) and the 2014 Longines Breeders' Cup Distaff (G1) with winner Untapable.
He started off the day with total career earnings of over $280 million and has a cumulative win percentage of 21%, with an in the money strike rate of 52%.
Asmussen saddles Combatant in the 144th Kentucky Derby later this afternoon. The son of Coolmore's late Scat Daddy will be his 19th starter in America's marquee race.