01/22/2011 2:34PM

Awesome Act, Friesan Fire join Asmussen's string at Fair Grounds


NEW ORLEANS – The second-to-last-place finishers in the Kentucky Derby the last two years, Awesome Act and Friesan Fire, have joined trainer Steve Asmussen’s stable in New Orleans after starting serious training for a 2011 debut at the Ocala, Fla.., division of Vinery Stables.

Both horses worked a moderate half-mile here Tuesday, Awesome Act in 50.80 seconds, Friesean Fire in 50.20.

“Just an easy half first time over the track,” said Asmussen.

Awesome Act, owned in partnership by Vinery and Susan Roy, hasn’t started since finishing 19th of 20 at odds of 12-1 in the Kentucky Derby. Awesome Act was lame after the Derby and was sent to Vinery’s Farm from the racetrack. After racing four times in England to begin his career, Awesome Act shipped to California to finish fourth in the 2009 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf. He returned to the U.S. in March to impressively win the Gotham Stakes, a performance that put him in the Triple Crown picture, and then finished a troubled third to Eskendereya in the Wood Memorial. Jeremy Noseda trained Awesome Act through the Derby.

Friesan Fire, winner of the 2009 Louisiana Derby, raced only four times in 2010. His season began well enough with a victory in the Louisiana Handicap, but Friesan Fire was soundly defeated in his next three starts, and has been off since finishing last of nine in a minor stakes at Saratoga.

Both horses worked several times on Vinery’s training track before coming to Fair Grounds in early January, and they could be ready to race before the end of this meet.

“They’re quite aways along,” said Asmussen.