Lecomte Winner Track Phantom, Maiden Romper Hall of Fame Eye Risen Star for Asmussen


New Orleans, La (January. 21, 2024) – On Saturday at Fair Grounds, trainer Steve Asmussen won the Lecomte (G3) for the fourth time, taking this year’s edition with Gun Runner victor Track Phantom, whom he reports came back great after the race. The barn is already looking forward to Fair Grounds “Louisiana Derby Preview Day” card on Saturday, February 17.

“It’s easy to compare where he’s at with where we were with Epicenter two years ago,” Asmussen said. “Epicenter won the Gun Runner and was second in the Lecomte, but physically he was developing at the right time. I’ve always felt that in the 3-year-old series at Fair Grounds, your last race isn’t good enough for the next one and that’s how it should be. I appreciate the timing between races and the progression of the distances. It’s ideal. We came up a half a length short of our goal of winning the (Kentucky) Derby with Epicenter and now Track Phantom is on the same road. I think the Lecomte was as easy on him as you could have wanted it to be, with him still getting something out of it.”

Earlier on the card, the Asmussen-trained Hall of Fame broke his maiden at second asking by 10 ¼ lengths in what was his first try around two turns. His final time of 1:44.27 for 1 1/16 miles was nearly a half-second faster than Track Phantom’s clocking (1:44.73) in the Lecomte.

“Hall of Fame is as advertised,” Asmussen said. “As a $1.4 million yearling, he’s impeccably bred and a beautiful individual with a tremendous amount of talent. I do expect him to run back in the Risen Star also. He was ridden much more aggressively (to win) on Saturday because he’s playing a little catch up on a horse like Track Phantom, but the ability is there.”

She proved to be no match for Silverbulletday winner West Omaha, but Perfect Shot did take another step forward in finishing a clear second.

“I do plan on running her back in the Rachel Alexandra on the 17th (of February),” Asmussen said. “The filly stays on nicely. We’re not that far away and we will get improvement from her. Just like Track Phantom, she has the physical. They’re going to do better with some maturity and the further the races go.”

Second in last year’s Louisiana Derby (G2), Disarm posted a pair of leisurely half mile breezes in recent weeks as he methodically prepares for his 4-year-old debut.

“I’m hoping he’s the best older horse in training and it will culminate with the Breeders’ Cup (Classic),” Asmussen said. “I believe he’s the only 3-year-old that ran four triple-digit Beyers in a row last year. He’s everything you want him to be. Knowing what our end goals are with him, we will not be in a hurry to get him ready.”

Trained by Asmussen, Mitole was an Eclipse Award winning sprinter during his racing career. Now an up and coming sire, Asmussen has two of his top sophomore prospects in Carbone and Booth. Many of his babies have shown the ability to stretch out. Does this surprise Asmussen at all?

“Not at all. Mitole sprinted because he was capable of doing it, but his most impressive race was the 1:32 3/5 in the Met Mile,” Asmussen said. “He was a tremendous talent. Watch the replay of that race. It’s unbelievable. I think he would have done anything I wanted him to do. He didn’t break his maiden until he was three, so we missed all that (Triple Crown lead up and races). What was next for him was obvious and I thought the Met Mile was the race that would make him worth the most money. I think he proved that in beating an incredible field that day. After that it was, let’s win the Breeders’ Cup Sprint for $2 million for sure as opposed to $1 million for the Dirt Mile or try the 1 ¼ miles in the Classic which he had never done. It was being a bit conservative, but it was also chasing money. The pedigree was there (for him to go long), it was more a situation of do what you do well as opposed to quit trying to find what you can’t do.”



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