Three Elected to Fair Grounds Hall of Fame

Three Elected to Fair Grounds Hall of Fame
Photo: Alexander Barkoff
Steve Asmussen and Rachel Alexandra, two of the new inductees into the Fair Grounds Hall of Fame.

Trainer  Steve Asmussen, Horse of the Year Rachel Alexandra, and Peace Rules have been elected into the Fair Grounds Hall of Fame. The induction ceremony will be held March 24 from 6-8 p.m. in the Fair Grounds clubhouse.

Asmussen is the second-leading trainer all-time at Fair Grounds (behind Jack Van Berg) with more than 750 wins in 16 seasons, representing about 13% of his more than 5,700 overall career wins (fifth all-time). He is on track to win his 10th Fair Grounds training title this season, which would tie him with Van Berg for most ever.

In 2005, Asmussen set a new record for wins in a calendar year by a trainer with 555. His charges won three consecutive Horse of the Year Awards – Curlin in 2007-2008 and Rachel Alexandra in 2009. He won the Eclipse Award for outstanding trainer in 2008 and 2009 and was the top U.S. trainer by wins in 2002, 2004, 2005, 2008, 2009, and 2010.

Rachel Alexandra won the 2009 Fair Grounds Oaks (gr. II) for breeder Dolphus C. Morrison and trainer Hal Wiggins. Later than season, the filly won the Kentucky Oaks (gr. I) and was subsequently purchased by Stonestreet Stables and Harold McCormick. Sent to Asmussen, Rachel Alexandra went on to win the BlackBerry Preakness, Haskell Invitational, and Woodward Stakes (all grade I) en route to Horse of the Year honors.

In 2010, Rachel Alexandra became the first reigning Horse of the Year since Whirlaway in 1942 to race in New Orleans when she finished second in the New Orleans Ladies Stakes to begin her campaign. Following her retirement, Fair Grounds renamed the grade III Silverbulletday Stakes in her honor.

Owned by Edmund A. Gann and trained primarily by Bobby Frankel, Peace Rules won both of his two Fair Grounds starts, winning the 2003 Louisiana Derby (gr. II) over eventual Kentucky Derby (gr. I) winner Funny Cide and returning the following season to win the 2004 New Orleans Handicap (gr. II). Overall, Peace Rules won nine of 19 career starts including grade I wins in the 2003 Blue Grass Stakes, the 2003 Haskell Invitational, and the 2004 Suburban Handicap, and earned more than $3 million.

 

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