Steve Asmussen
Trainer Bios

Steve Asmussen

Born: November 18, 1965 in Gettysburg, S.D.

Record at Keeneland

Total Wins: 129

Stakes Wins: 5

Career Firsts

First Grade 1 Win: 1999 Mother Goose at Belmont Park with Dreams Gallore

First Stakes Win: 1987 Bessemer Stakes at Birmingham Race Course with Scout Command

First Graded Stakes Win: 1996 Derby Trial (G3) at Churchill Downs with Valid Expectations

First Career Win: July 19, 1986, at Ruidoso Downs with Victory's Halo

Starters in the Toyota Blue Grass




2018 Zing Zang 9th





Big Truck



Storm Treasure





At Keeneland

Won the 2018 Buffalo Trace Franklin County (G3) with Chanteline during the Fall Meet.

Co-leading trainer of 2015 Fall Meet with nine wins.

Won three races on Oct. 23, 2015, during the Fall Meet.

Leading trainer at the 2004 Spring and Fall meets, the latter in a tie.

First Keeneland win came during the 1999 Spring Meet.

First Keeneland stakes win was the 2003 Lafayette (G3) with Posse.

Five stakes wins include the 2004 Coolmore Lexington (G2) with Quintons Gold Rush.


2016 inductee into the Racing Hall of Fame.

Two-time Eclipse Award-winning trainer (2008-2009).

Triple Crown wins (3): 2016 Belmont (G1) with Creator; Preakness (G1) with Rachel Alexandra (2009) and Curlin (2007).

Breeders’ Cup wins (6): 2007 Classic with Curlin; 2011 Juvenile Fillies with My Miss Aurelia and Turf Sprint with Regally Ready; 2012 Dirt Mile with Tapizar; 2014 Distaff with Untapable; 2016 Classic with Gun Runner.

North American career earnings exceed $294 million with 8,246 wins through Dec. 3, 2018, to rank second in both categories. Todd Pletcher is first with earnings exceeding $368 million. Only the late Dale Baird has more wins with 9,445.

Scored 8,000th win on May 5, 2018, when Lookin At Lee won the third race at Churchill Downs.

2017 earnings were $19,631,424 with 379 wins, led by victories by Horse of the Year Gun Runner in the Stephen Foster (G1), Whitney (G1), Woodward (G1) and Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1).

2016 earnings were $14,834,305 with 317 wins, including the Belmont (G1) and Arkansas Derby (G1) with Creator and Clark (G1) with Gun Runner. Was the year's second-leading trainer by victories.

2015 earnings were $10,764,373 with 252 wins, including the Apple Blossom (G1) with Untapable and Frizette (G1) with Nickname.

Recorded 7,000th career win April 1, 2015, at Oaklawn Park. 

2014 earnings were $12,537,551 with 294 wins. Won four Grade 1 races with champion 3-year-old filly Untapable, including the Kentucky Oaks and Breeders’ Cup Distaff.


The Asmussen family has long been involved in racing. Steve’s parents, Keith and Marilyn, operate El Primero Training Center in Laredo, Texas. Keith is a former jockey who rode the Quarter Horse Vespero to win the 1978 Kansas Futurity at Ruidoso Downs. Marilyn trained Vespero and became the first woman to train the winner of a major race for the sprinters. Steve’s brother, Cash, is an Eclipse Award-winning jockey who became a champion rider in Europe.

Working on the farm while growing up, Steve began riding at age 16 and was a jockey for a little over two years. “No one would believe me if I didn’t have the pictures to prove it,” he told Daily Racing Form. “My parents were 5’5” and 5’2”. I don’t know what happened.” He grew to be more than six feet tall. Steve returned to the family training center to break yearlings and in 1986 began training on his own in New Mexico with some of his family’s horses.