Can Asmussen Win Any Of The Triple Crown Races This Year?
The 2023 horse racing season will step up a gear over the early months of the new year, as we finally get a first look at some of the key three-year-olds that could play a role in the Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes, and Belmont Stakes.
One of the leading trainers that looks set to have a huge chance of adding to their Triple Crown success is Steven Asmussen.
Asmussen’s Previous Success
Asmussen is largely regarded as one of the finest horse racing trainers in the United States, and that has been evident throughout history with his record in the biggest races.
The Triple Crown has certainly shown one small issue. He has yet to break his duck for a victory in the Kentucky Derby. If you want to see his chances for the Triple Crown check the horse racing betting odds calculator by TwinSpires.
Last year appeared to be his best chance for over five years, but Epicenter was beaten to the line by 80/1 outsider Rich Strike.
The trainer’s record in the other Triple Crown races is solid enough, as he has claimed victory in the Preakness Stakes on two occasions. The first of those came in 2007 with Curlin, before Rachel Alexandra became a rare filly winner of the Pimlico race two years later. However, the wait for Asmussen’s next Triple Crown win has increased over recent years, with his previous success in the Classics coming back in 2016 at the Belmont Stakes with Creator.
Kentucky Derby Hopes
While Asmussen isn’t likely to turn down victory in any of the Triple Crown races, his eyes remain fixated on a long-awaited first victory in the Kentucky Derby. As usual, the trainer will have a strong hand for the huge race at Churchill Downs, but most of his hopes could be pinned on a huge investment in the form of Extra Anejo.
The three-year-old is by Into Mischief and out of Hard Spun mare Superioritycomplex. We haven’t seen much of the talented runner to this point, but he made a very pleasing start to life under rules with an emphatic victory at Keeneland over seven furlongs in October.
The fact that he is by Into Mischief bodes well, as he sired 2020 Kentucky Derby winner Authentic. But, we will likely learn more about the costly addition when he steps up into graded company on his next start.
Other Likely Triple Crown Runners
While the most pressure is likely to be on Extra Anejo to justify his hefty price tag, he is by no means the only runner that Asmussen will be pointing toward the Triple Crown races this year. Gulfport is a runner that we have already seen a fair bit of, as he has already lined up in graded company. After winning two on the bounce at Churchill Downs, which included success in the Bashford Manor, he was stepped up into graded company in August.
However, he was only second best that day, as he finished behind Damon’s Mound. He was second against in the G1 Hopeful at Saratoga, behind subsequent Breeders’ Cup Juvenile winner Forte. On his latest outing, he could only finish third in the Champagne Stakes over a mile, and it remains to be seen whether the Derby trip will suit his style.
Asmussen’s only other likely runner for the Triple Crown races at present looks to be Echo Again. This three-year-old was a fine winner on debut at Saratoga in August, recording a speed rating of 104. However, he failed to deal with a step up in distance on his following start, finishing only seventh in the G3 Iroquois. On his latest start, he finished third in the Remington Springboard Mile, meaning that a lot of improvement will need to be made if he is to make the field for the Derby in May.