Steve Asmussen Stable Tour

The Hall of Famer’s runners at Keeneland in 2020 include red-hot Juvenile favourite Jackie’s Warrior and leading Sprint fancy Yaupon.

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Steve Asmussen is the second-leading trainer in wins in North America with 9,066 (as of 2/11). The two-time Eclipse Award-winning trainer has won seven Breeders’ Cup races including the Sprint last year with Mitole and the Classic in 2017 with Gun Runner.

Watch the 2020 Breeders’ Cup at Keeneland live on Sky Sports Racing (Sky 415 | Virgin 535) on Friday 6th and Saturday 7th November.

COWAN (Juvenile Turf Sprint): Son of Kantharos didn’t have the smoothest of trips in either the Juvenile Turf Sprint at Kentucky Downs when he was third or the Indian Summer Stakes at Keeneland when he was third.

He seems a bit green but as he showed in the late stages of the Kentucky Downs race when he puts his mind on running he has a strong closing kick.

“He should have won his last two races,” Asmussen said. “He’s a good feeling horse.”

COUNTY FINAL (Juvenile Turf Sprint): Though he won his maiden race on turf in June, his last two efforts on that surface have been rather dull including a fourth-place finish in the Futurity at Belmont.

“If County Final would have run as I expected at Belmont I would have run Cowan in the Mile, but he did not respond, it was very disappointing,” Asmussen said. “He has trained nice since and is capable of a better run.”

THOUGHTFULLY (Juvenile Fillies): Won her first two starts nicely, including the Grade 2 Adirondack at Saratoga on August 12th. Finished a well-beaten fourth behind Simply Ravishing in the Alcibiades at Keeneland.

Asmussen said many of his horses who were training over the training track at Saratoga prior to running in stakes opening week at Keeneland did not run very well.

“I do believe opening week at Keeneland they didn’t run their races whether it was we slowed them down too much over the Oklahoma training track I don’t know,” Asmussen said. “We kept the two-year-olds at Keeneland and they’ve trained impressively. She’s capable of better, but the Juvenile Fillies is a fast race.”

CALIBRATE (Juvenile): Son of Distorted Humor was very impressive winning a 6 1-2-furlong maiden race at Saratoga on August 15 but didn’t run nearly as well when finishing sixth behind Essential Quality in the Grade 1 Breeders’ Futurity at Keeneland on October 3rd.

Asmussen said he opted to enter Calibrate in the Juvenile after he worked well in company with Jackie’s Warrior at Keeneland on October 18th.

“He’s a talented horse, I still have a lot of faith in him,” Asmussen said. “He had a beautiful work with Jackie’s Warrior who’s a good barometer if you belong in the two-year-old race.”

JACKIE’S WARRIOR (Juvenile): The son of Maclean’s Music could be the heaviest favorite on the two-day Breeders’ Cup card having won all four of his races including the Grade 1 Hopeful in Saratoga and the Grade 1 Champagne at Belmont Park impressively.

All those races have been run around one turn, the Breeders’ Cup is run around two turns. Speed has been his weapon and it’s just a matter of whether he can carry it 1 1-16 miles against 13 rivals.

“He’s been up to it so far,” Asmussen said. “He’s very mature mentally and physically. He’s given us great confidence before his races and he’s continued to do so. With that being said, we’re all well aware of the speed influence in his pedigree and we’re obviously pleasantly surprised by how far he’s carrying it.”

YAUPON (Sprint): Asmussen was going to have the favorite in this race with Volatile, who got injured before an expected start in the Grade 2 Vosburgh at Belmont in September. Yaupon is a suitable replacement having won all four of his races.

Yaupon, a three-year-old son of Uncle Mo was very impressive in winning the Grade 2 Amsterdam at Saratoga and then strolled home as the 3-5 favorite in the Chick Lang at Pimlico on October 1st.

“It’s a tall task but with that being said he does remind us very much, mainly in his demeanor and obvious ability of last year’s winner, Mitole,” Asmussen said. “He needs to step up obviously. If he would have success, he would have the fewest starts of any Breeders’ Cup Sprint winner ever. We’re well aware of that.”

ECHO TOWN (Sprint): A three-year-old son of past BC Sprint winner Speightstown, he won the Grade 1 H. Allen Jerkens at Saratoga before running fifth in the Pat Day Mile and third in the Phoenix, another horse who trained at Saratoga before running poorly at Keeneland.

“He’s going to run the best race he’s ever run in his life,” Asmussen said. “The difference in him then and this week is exciting. He just feels, better, sharper, quicker.”

Watch the 2020 Breeders’ Cup at Keeneland live on Sky Sports Racing (Sky 415 | Virgin 535) on Friday 6th and Saturday 7th November.

Steve Asmussen Stable Tour
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