02/23/2013 3:46PM

Asmussen passes Leatherbury to rank third in wins on all-time list of trainers

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Barbara D. Livingston
Steve Asmussen, 47, has won 6,378 races through races of Feb. 22.

NEW ORLEANS – Steve Asmussen became the third all-time leading trainer by wins when Skinny won the seventh race on Feb. 17 at Fair Grounds.

Skinny’s victory in a Louisiana-bred maiden special weight race gave Asmussen 6,367 for his career, pushing him one past King Leatherbury.

Leatherbury, who still is an active trainer on the Mid-Atlantic circuit, has since won two races, and through Friday stood at 6,368 wins, but since passing Leatherbury, Asmussen has amassed another 11 winners, for 6,378 entering Saturday’s action. Barring the unforeseen, Asmussen figures to continue to wide his advantage.

The comparative ages of the two men speaks to the frenetic pace at which Asmussen has churned out victories since hitting his stride as a trainer: Leatherbury turns 80 on March 26, while Asmussen is just 47. Asmussen’s pace of annual wins (and starters) slackened in 2012, when he won 285 races from 1,349 runners. At his peak, in 2009, Asmussen’s far-flung operation won 650 races from 2,944 starters. And consider that in the two-year period of 2008-2009 Asmussen won 1,271 races, which would make a solid career for many trainers.

Asmussen currently ranks fifth all time in purses earned, with more than $201 million, but said his historic number of winners means more.

“It’s extremely significant for me,” he said. “The money is always changing over time, but win for win, that means something.”

It should only be a matter of weeks before Asmussen moves past Jack Van Berg into the second spot in the all-time career win standings. Van Berg has notched 6,416 victories, and while still an active trainer, he has yet to win a race in 2013.

The top of the mountain remains at a distant remove: The late Dale Baird won 9,445 races during a long career. Asmussen, though, is on his way.

Leading trainers
The top five trainers by wins
1. Dale Baird, 9,445
2. Jack Van Berg, 6,416
3. Steve Asmussen, 6,378
4. King Leatherbury, 6,368
5. Scott Lake, 5,295
Through Feb. 22, 2013

Dennis Mathews More than 1 year ago
He might be a great horseman but let's face facts, Asmussen runs a corporate franchise operation and has been very successful at it. However to give all the credit to him and not mention all of the assistant trainers that are really racking up all those victories in Stevie boys name is perpetrating a fraud. Dennis.Mathews54@icloud.com
amber More than 1 year ago
juicer and and really good at it
amber More than 1 year ago
he ischeater
JW More than 1 year ago
Perspective . . Asmussen will have to win about 100 races for the next 30 years to catch Dale Baird . . I'm going to go out on a limb and say . .Mr. Baird's record is safe . .
mikeh More than 1 year ago
Considering Asmussen won 1200+ in a 2 year period, i'm going to go out on a limb and say you're not a good bettor.
Vr More than 1 year ago
@JW- baird's record is not safe... If asmussen wins 285 which is his low numbers in quite some time, he will break that recond in 11 years..... steve asmussen is only 47 and he doesn't seem to be slowing down.
Kevin Smith More than 1 year ago
unless they ban juice asmussen like dutrow
Suzanne Thomas More than 1 year ago
Ah, but JVB won a race today at Santa Anita!
Amy Hurley More than 1 year ago
Yes, he did, and congratulations to both fine trainers. Different generations, different approaches, but both have been very successful. Smile, Steve!
Keith Strouhal More than 1 year ago
I remember talking to Steve at where he started , Remington Park and wishing him lucjk with Broken Vow in the B.C. Juvenile , of course typical of my well wishes the horses rein broke and he finished last , lol. So Don't Win The Derby one of these days Steve , lol. :)
Keith Strouhal More than 1 year ago
I Love that Jack Van Berg won today ! But WTG Steve , that is awesome , keep it up and GBU !
Easy call More than 1 year ago
Congrats to Steve! But I bet King Leatherbury has actually saddled more winners in his career as Steve has some may divisions racing at once.
chad mc rory More than 1 year ago
That's it, put a knock on the old guy... As I write, Jack C Van Berg is getting his picture taken with 'I Dazzle' at 'Nita. Gotta love it!
Eric Rickard More than 1 year ago
it would be a better record if the winning percentage was considered. Highest winning percentage with at least a 1,000 wins.