photo by Jeff Coady/Coady Photography
Steve Asmussen, left, with SHRP GM Bob Bork

photo by Jessica East/Coady Photography
Coronado Rose posting Asmussen's record 497th win of the year

photo by Jeff Coady/Coady Photography
Expect Will in the Groovy

photo by Jeff Coady/Coady Photography
Boggy Creek in the Juvenile

photo by Jeff Coady/Coady Photography
Goosey Moose in the Star of Texas
photo by Jeff Coady/Coady Photography
Native Annie in the Martanza
photo by Jeff Coady/Coady Photography
Snipper Lou in the Bara Lass
photo by Jeff Coady/Coady Photography
Late Expectations in the Richard King
photo by Jeff Coady/Coady Photography
Marfa's Taxes in the San Jacinto
photo by Jeff Coady/Coady Photography
Charming Socialite in the Spirit of Texas
photo by Jeff Coady/Coady Photography
Countryfide in the Yellow Rose
Trainer Steve Asmussen Breaks Win Record with 497th Win on November 20; Texas Champions Day at SHRP

Saturday, November 20, was a long day for Texas trainer Steve Asmussen, who saddled a career-high 30 horses as he eclipsed the record for wins in a single season set by Jack Van Berg in 1976. Van Berg won 496 races in 1976 and Asmussen has been winning races all over the country this year.

It looked certain that Asmussen would surpass the record on Saturday, November 20, with three horse entered at Aqueduct, four at Churchill Downs, three at Hawthorne and five at Sunland Park. If than plan did not work, he could go to the evening Texas Champions Day card at Sam Houston Race Park, where he would saddle 14 Thoroughbreds.

Asmussen trailed Van Berg by four wins heading into Saturday and got things started off early with a win by Shake The Dice in Aqueduct's second race. He won the fourth at Churchill with Sanibel Sunset and the first at Hawthorne with Yankee Trail. He tied the record with Expect Will, the winner of the $50,000 Groovy Stakes at Sam Houston Race Park. The 2-year-old colt is owned by Heiligbrodt Racing Stable and ridden to victory by Donnie Meche.

The record-setting win came at Delta Downs when Coronado Rose won the $40,000 Delta Belle Stakes under Brian Hernandez. The 2-year-old filly is owned by Oceanfront Properties and Asmussen's father, Keith.

"It has been a long day," commented Asmussen in the Sam Houston Race Park winner's circle following the final race of the Texas Champions Day card. "I think our first horse ran at 11:40 Central Time and I finally got the record after 29 starters today. Expect Will's win was very special as the Heiligbrodt's have given our stable so much support. They have more horses in the barn than anyone else. The filly that put us over the top belonged to my father and Oceanfront Properties so it was very fitting."

Asmussen was asked if the reality of establishing the new record had sunk in.

"Absolutely," he replied. "This has been quite emotional. I'm very happy to get over the record; it means a lot to me."

Asmussen continued, "I appreciate everything that everyone who works for me does. I can't mention everyone, but Scott Blasi and Darren Fleming, being probably two of the most competent figures in the barn. None of this would have happened without everyone's help. My wife (Julie) came in to surprise me and it couldn't be nicer."

In earlier action, Boggy Creek trained by Kenneth McPeek was an impressive winner in the 150,000 Sam Houston Texan Juvenile Stakes. The 2-year-old son of Menifee overcame a troubled start and circled the field with authority, drawing off to a 3-length victory for Houston-based owner, John Parker. Jockey Carlos Marquez gave the colt a flawless ride, covering the mile and one-sixteenth stakes over a muddy track in 1:44.99.

"They've done a great job with him," said Marquez. "I broke his maiden at Arlington Park going three-quarters (of a mile) and he made a big move. Today, he broke good, but I got pinched by the 6 and the 8. The pace helped; they went :46 and these horses might be a little too quick to keep up that pace. When I chirped to him, he just took off. He had a quick turn of foot and I didn't want to take his momentum away."

The dark bay colt improved his record to three wins from five starts and earned $90,000 for tonight's victory. Parker indicated that Boggy Creek will make his next start at Fair Grounds.

"It's good to win here at home," said Parker. "I'm from Houston; that's what make this win so special. Kenny McPeek has done a great job with my horses."

Goosey Moose rallied under rider Roman Chapa to win the $100,000 Star of Texas Stakes, a 1 1/16-mile contest for 3-year-olds and up. This was the third straight win for the 3-year-old gelding owned by Wilton Scott and trained by Danny Pish.

"Just like Roman said, he ran a big race. Mr. Scott is a special owner to me," said Pish. Boots on Sunday, one of my best horses, was owned by Mr. Scott. Even if he didn't bring me quality, he has been a pleasure to work for."

Native Annie remained undefeated at Sam Houston Race Park, winning the $75,000 Martanza Stakes for owner Robert McNair and trainer Michael Stidham. Voted 2003/2004 Champion Filly/ Mare of the Meeting, the 3-year-old filly has won each of her four career starts at Sam Houston Race Park.

"She's matured and settled nicely today," said winning rider, Carlos Marquez. "I was just the passenger. The track is in good shape; it's a little muddy, but had a good foundation. She won over a muddy track last year. I had good position on the backside; anytime I wanted to move, I had the horse."

"There's not a lot to say; she just went out there and dominated tonight," added Stidham. "She's done everything we've asked of her. She's stepped up to open company and held her own with really good fillies. I want to thank the McNairs and my assistant, Rigo Rosas."

This was the first time in six years that Asmussen did not win the 2-year-old filly stakes, the $50,000 Bara Lass Stakes. That honor went to Snipper Lou, who rallied from off the pace under rider Jeffery Burningham.

"We felt real good going into the race," said winning owner/trainer C. L. Nix. "She's gone two-turns a couple of times, so we knew she could get the distance. I had a feeling about this race and we are very, very happy."

There were two turf races, run over a yielding Connally Turf course. Late Expectations, owned by Peruvian Glass and More, Inc and trained by Ricardo Morales captured the $50,000 Richard King Handicap.

"The turf course was pretty wet, but it didn't seem to bother him," stated rider Edwin Maldonado-Alicea. " He relaxed and I wanted to be patient and make one move and we did it."

Marfa's Taxes owned by Jeffrey Kass and trained by Paul Duhon, closed in the upper stretch to win the $50,000 San Jacinto Stakes. The 7-year-old mare was ridden by Corey Lanerie and completed the one mile and sixteenth contest in a final time of 1:50.80.

"I've waited eight years to win this race," said an elated Kass, who resides in Houston.

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