Steve Asmussen ranks second all-time in wins for North America-based trainers with 8,196. Six of those wins came in the Breeders’ Cup including Gun Runner’s dominant victory in last year’s Breeders’ Cup Classic.
Asmussen has four runners in this year’s renewal to be held at his home base of Churchill Downs.
TIGHT TEN (Juvenile): This son of Tapit won his career debut by 4 1-4 lengths over Churchill’s main track in June. After finishing second in the Saratoga Special at Saratoga he finished second to Cairo Cat in the Iroquois Stakes at Churchill Downs in his most recent start.
“I thought he got a tremendous amount out of that race,” Asmussen said. “I think his training since the Iroquois has been far more focused than anything he’s done in the past. I think he’ll run his best race to date. He needs to jump forward in a big way to be competitive with a very fast field but obviously we think he’s capable of it.”
CHANTELINE (Turf Sprint): This 6-year-old daughter of Majesticperfection seems to be in career-best form with back-to-back victories in stakes at Saratoga and Keeneland at the 5 1-2-furlong distance of this race.
“Very fast horse at the right time,” Asmussen said. “The 6-year-old mare has gained a lot of confidence this year. She’s always been extremely brilliantly fast but she’s gained a lot of confidence in the year, is settling in the races and coming home very strong.”
Asmussen said his biggest concern is the potential for soft ground. There was rain in the forecast Wednesday and Thursday this week.
“I would appreciate it firm for her,” he said.
MIA MISCHIEF (Filly & Mare Sprint): This 3-year-old daughter of Into Mischief has only been worse than second once in 10 starts.
She has been favored in 9 of 10 lifetime starts, the only time she wasn’t when she was sent off at odds of 7-2 in the Grade 1 Test at Saratoga when she was beaten a neck by Separationofpowers.
In her most recent start she finished second to Dream Tree in the Grade 2 Prioress. Dream Tree would have been among the favorites in the Filly & Mare Sprint had not an entrapped epiglottis kept her from running.
Asmussen believes her best career race was when she won the Grade 2 Eight Belles which, like the Filly & Mare Sprint, is run at seven furlongs at Churchill Downs.
MIDNIGHT BISOU (Distaff): A multiple graded stakes winner in Southern California, she was transferred to Asmussen following her third-place finish to Monomoy Girl in the Kentucky Oaks.
In her first start for Asmussen, Midnight Bisou won the Grade 2 Mother Goose Stakes at Belmont Park. What Asmussen believe is significant about that is she had done her training for that race at Churchill, a surface Asmussen believes she truly loves.
“I thought her Mother Goose was indicative of the training that she got at Churchill and how sharp she was and her works have picked up since we returned here,” Asmussen said.
Midnight Bisou finished second to Monomoy Girl in the Grade 1 Cotillion at Parx on September 22nd, but was elevated to first-place when the stewards deemed that Monomoy Girl interfered with her in the stretch.
With Mike Smith electing to ride Abel Tasman, John Velazquez has picked up the mount on Midnight Bisou.