In Thursday’s fourth race at Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots, when Jake Jourdan romped home 5 1/2-lengths in front of his nearest rival, trainer Steve Asmussen
moved into second-place among the world’s all-time leading conditioners with the 6,418th victory of his career to surpass Hall of Fame trainer Jack Van Berg.
“It feels very good,” Asmussen said by phone. “It’s obviously very significant and it proves we’ve been doing it a while, if nothing else. We’ll hope for a bunch more winners. Racing’s kind of a funny game, you know, and everything will be alright as long as the next one wins.”
The 47-year-old Asmussen, an 11-time Fair Grounds trainer champion and current leading trainer, had won Oaklawn’s third race with Cabe six minutes earlier to tie Van Berg for the runner-up spot. Asmussen is also the owner of both Jake Jourdan and Cabe.
The late West Virginia-based trainer Dale Baird, killed in a car crash in 2007 at age 72, remains the world’s all-time leading conditioner with 9,445 winners over a 46-year career.
Asked how one manages to amass so many wins at a relatively young age, Asmussen laughed and said, “You just keep at it, I guess.”