Asmussen Sweeps Lucrative TTA Sales Futurities at Lone Star Park

(June 12, 2004)- Trainer Steve Asmussen, the national leader in races won, swept both divisions of Saturday's Texas Thoroughbred Association Sales Futurity in front of 7,952 fans at Lone Star Park in Grand Prairie, Texas. Expect Will, one of six Asmussen runners in the $118,570 colts and geldings division, narrowly edged Expect Wings by a nose. One race prior, Berdelia defeated stablemate Glitter Sexy in the $129,830 fillies division.

"I better have won with that many in there," Asmussen quipped.

Asmussen, who began the day with 246 winners on the year, now has 27 victories with 2-year-olds since his first on April 9, including five stakes triumphs.

Each of the TTA Futurity starters qualified by finishing among the top four positions in trial races held on May 26-27.

Kentucky-based rider Shane Sellers was thought to be on the more highly regarded Asmussen horses - the colt Goes and the filly Rockin' Kate - but others stole the show.

Expect Will triumphed in a thrilling feature race, starting a Valid Expectations-sired superfecta. Jeremy Beasley, in his final race as Asmussen's first-call rider in Texas, tracked the early pace while three-wide and urged his mount to a game victory.

"It couldn't have set up any more perfect breaking from the outside," Beasley said. "The pace set up just perfect for him and he battled to the end like a true racehorse. He fought hard today and showed his true colors. This victory was sweet satisfaction."

For Asmussen, it was his seventh stakes victory of the season, bringing Lone Star Park's all-time leading trainer one shy of his own record of eight in 1999. Expect Will was one of a record six horses Asmussen saddled for the race.

"Thank god we had all of them in there," Asmussen said. "Jeremy rode him all the way to the wire and we were very fortunate to win."

Expect Will was part of a favored three-horse entry, also including Goes and Paloo, owned by Bill and Corrine Heiligbrodt of Houston.

Runner-up Expect Wings ran a strong race but came out on the wrong end of a tight photo. " I really thought I ran second; everyone else thought I won," jockey Ted Gondron said. "It's one of those things - he ran hard, but he just got outrun. I had a good trip. I got through on the fence just about all the way."

The five-furlong race was run in :58.69. The even-money winner paid $4. The Valid Expectations superfecta was completed by Leaving On My Mind and Valid Virtue.

In the fillies division, Berdelia swept past the early leaders for a convincing one-length victory over Glitter Sexy and Miss Know It All. The public heavily supported Rockin' Kate, who finished fourth as the odds-on favorite.

Jockey Casey Lambert kept Berdelia out of trouble the whole way around. "She broke extremely well and she got in a pretty good spot early," Lambert said. "When the dirt first started hitting her in the turn, she fell back just a little bit. But when I called on her up there at the top of the stretch, she started picking it up and I was pretty confident she was going to get home."

Glitter Sexy held on for an impressive second after setting pressured early fractions. "I tried to take control of the race and steal it and I almost got the job done," Beasley said of his second-to-last ride for Asmussen. "She ran the race of her life, but I wouldn't have expected anything less. The better filly beat us today."

The trainer of the day, who now leads the local standings by six wins, spoke highly this week of Rockin' Kate, who is out of the Asmussen family's broodmare extraordinaire Tracey's Rock.

"We're disappointed with Rockin' Kate's race, but I feel lucky to win it," Asmussen said. The winner, a Wild Zone filly owned by Ro Parra, paid $10.20. The final time was :58.79.

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