07/07/2007 12:00AM

Asmussen sweeps way to record


LOUISVILLE, Ky. - The display of depth and power that trainer Steve Asmussen flaunted throughout the Churchill Downs spring meet came to an apex Saturday when he swept both Gradeo3 stakes for 2-year-olds and set a record for most wins by a trainer at a Churchill meet.

Kodiak Kowboy, ridden by Corey Lanerie, drew off to a 2 3/4-length triumph in the $165,150 Bashford Manor Stakes, an hour after Rated Fiesty easily won the $111,000 Debutante Stakes under Shaun Bridgmohan. Both horses were favored in their respective six-furlong races.

Kodiak Kowboy, a Posse colt owned by Vinery Stables, got a perfect trip, running off from Dr. Nick to win the 106th Bashford Manor. Third of six for most of the running, he eased toward the leaders midway through the far turn, then "he about took me out of the saddle after I tapped him a couple of times with my whip," said Lanerie.

Kodiak Kowboy paid $5.80 after finishing in 1:09.15 over a fast track. He was the only starter in the race who had raced in a stakes, having captured the Victoria Stakes at Woodbine last month.

"I'm very comfortable about him being able to handle more distance," said Asmussen, who on Thursday is scheduled to ship many of his top horses, including Kodiak Kowboy and Rated Fiesty, to Saratoga for the meet, which begins July 25. "In every one of his races, he's been the strongest at the end."

Asmussen trained half of the Bashford Manor field, which was reduced by two early scratches. He also trains Crackalackin, who was third, and Hargill, who set the early pace before fading to last.

In the 107th Debutante, Rated Fiesty ($3), owned by Heiligbrodt Racing Stable and JMJ Racing Stable, led from the start, maintaining a short lead while under a snug hold from Bridgmohan. Down the stretch, the Exchange Rate filly pulled away without being asked, and inside the eighth pole, after two smacks from a right-handed whip, she glided away impressively, with Bridgmohan easing her up in the final yards. She finished 6 1/2 lengths ahead of runner-up Dreabons Legacy and covered the six furlongs in 1:09.27.

"Is she fast, or what?" Asmussen asked afterward. "Shaun said when they run that fast and still have another gear like she showed, it's scary."

Rated Fiesty became the 43rd winner for Asmussen at the spring meet, tying the track mark set last spring by Dale Romans. Asmussen then broke the record in the very next race when Stockholder ($6.40) wore down Americanrevolution to win an allowance race, after which Kodiak Kowboy became his 45th winner. Sunday was closing day at the 52-day spring meet.