04/17/2012 1:34PM

Lone Star: Asmussen reflects on 1,000th local win

Tom Keyser
Steve Asmussen enjoys that his family can often join him in the winner’s circle.

Having had a few days to reflect on becoming the first person to win 1,000 races at Lone Star Park when Primal Jones won Saturday’s second race there, trainer Steve Asmussen didn’t quite know what to make of it.

“I didn’t know they were open that long, or that I’m this old,” he quipped.

At worst, the track and he might be considered middle-aged. Lone Star Park has been open since 1997, a relatively short time frame for a racetrack, and Asmussen, at age 46, is still younger than most of his peers with such noteworthy racing accomplishments, with Todd Pletcher, 44, being one of the few exceptions.

Although Asmussen admits the focus of his stable has placed less emphasis on Lone Star in recent years, Texas racing is still very much a part of him.

He resides in Arlington, Tx., just minutes away from Lone Star in Grand Prairie, along with his wife, Julie, and his three sons – Keith, Darren, and Eric.

“It’s extremely significant to me,” he said of reaching the milestone of 1,000 wins at Lone Star. “All three of my boys were born there at Arlington, and it’s been nice to have them and Julie in so many win pictures.”

Asmussen, a two-time Eclipse Award-winning trainer, holds virtually every training record at Lone Star Park, including have won 11 training titles there from 15 completed meets.

Placing Asmussen’s wins in perspective, his current tally, standing at 1,001 after adding another victory later Saturday – is well above the 819 win total of Lone Star’s winningest rider, veteran jockey Cliff Berry.

Fresh off winning another training title at Oaklawn Park, where he caught trainer Allen Milligan on the meet’s final day, Asmussen has a single entrant on Lone Star’s Thursday evening program: Tito, a 4-1 shot on the morning line in race seven, a $15,000 nonwinners-of-two allowance at a mile on turf.

Hard Case favored

The lone allowance on the Thursday evening program is the sixth race, a $21,000 entry-level contest for Texas-breds that also has a $17,500 claiming condition.

Favored at 5-2 is Hard Case, a colt who ran second in 4 of 6 starts over the winter and spring at Fair Grounds while running in allowances there. Thursday’s race will be just the second time in 16 starts that he has run in restricted Texas-bred company.

Chris Rosier rides Hard Case, a 4-year-old son of Valid Expectations, for trainer Bob Young and owner Fletcher Properties.