Asmussen Earns Richest Preakness Weekend Trainer Bonus


Photo: Anne M. Eberhardt
Steve Asmussen

For the fourth time in six years, Hall of Famer Steve Asmussen claimed the top prize of $50,000 in the Maryland Jockey Club's $100,000 trainer bonus offered to horsemen for their participation in stakes races over Preakness weekend, May 20 and 21, at historic Pimlico Race Course.

Asmussen started seven horses in six stakes over the two days, finishing with 45 points. On the May 20 Black-Eyed Susan Day program, he was third with his lone starter, Gimmick , in the $150,000 Miss Preakness Stakes (G3) for 3-year-old fillies.

Kentucky Derby Presented by Woodford Reserve (G1) runner-up Epicenter  ran second as the favorite in the 147th Preakness Stakes (G1) May 21 to cap a productive afternoon for Asmussen. Earlier on the card, he won the $150,000 Maryland Sprint Stakes (G3) with Jaxon Traveler  and the $100,000 Skipat Stakes with Joy's Rocket ; respectively ran second and third with Cogburn  and Chasing Time  in the $200,000 Chick Lang Stakes (G3); and was sixth with Bank  in the $100,000 Jim McKay Turf Sprint.

To be eligible for the bonus, trainers had to run a minimum of five horses in the 15 Thoroughbred stakes during Preakness weekend, not including the $100,000 UAE President Cup (G1) for Arabians. Points were accumulated for finishing first (10), second (seven), third (five), fourth (three), and fifth through last (one).

The trainer with the most points earned $50,000, followed by $25,000 for second, $12,000 for third, $7,000 for fourth, $4,000 for fifth $2,000 for sixth.

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This marked the sixth straight year the MJC has offered the trainer bonus program. Asmussen also earned the top prize in 2017, 2018, and 2021.

Interstatedaydream with jockey Florent Geroux wins the 98th running of The Black-Eyed Susan at Pimlico Race Course Friday May 20, 2022 in Baltimore, MD.  Photo by Skip Dickstein
Photo: Skip Dickstein
Interstatedaydream (outside) wins The Black-Eyed Susan at Pimlico Race Course

Brad Cox finished second with 32 points for a $25,000 bonus. He won the George E. Mitchell Black-Eyed Susan (G2) with Interstatedaydream  and the $250,000 Dinner Party (G2T) with Set Piece , and also ran second with Ready to Purrform  in the $100,000 James W. Murphy Stakes and third with Seven Scents  in the McKay. Cox was the 2019 top bonus winner.

Mike Maker and Laurel Park-based Jerry Robb tied for third with 22 points apiece. Maker, the top bonus winner in 2020, won the Miss Preakness with Lady Scarlet  and was sixth with Phantom Vision  in the $100,000 The Very One Stakes May 20, and was third with Time Limit  in the Skipat and Atone  in the Dinner Party and fifth with Mr. Hustle  in the McKay May 21.

Robb was ninth with Princess Kokachin  in the five-furlong The Very One; respectively second and eighth with Fille d'Esprit  and eight-time stakes winner Street Lute  in the Skipat; and fourth with Alottahope  in the Chick Lang.

Fair Hill Training Center-based Graham Motion finished fourth with 18 points. He was second with Crystal Cliffs  in the $150,000 Gallorette (G3T), fifth with English Bee  in the Dinner Party, third with Vergara  in the $100,000 Hilltop, fifth with Saucy Lady T  in the Miss Preakness, and fourth and 10th with Divine Huntress and Candy Light , respectively, in the Black-Eyed Susan.

Rounding out the top finishers was Rudy Sanchez-Salomon with 16 points. Also based at Laurel, he won The Very One with Can the Queen , was fourth with Click to Confirm  in the $150,000 Allaire DuPont Distaff (G3T), sixth with Foggy Dreams in the Gallorette and Shake Em Loose  in the Murphy, and eighth with The Wolfman in the McKay.

Bonus money totaling $50,000 also was offered for trainers having the most points in non-stakes races during Preakness weekend. Points were accumulated in similar fashion, with $25,000 going to the leader, $10,000 to second, $7,500 to third, $4,000 to fourth, $2,500 to fifth and $1,000 to sixth.

Motion earned the top prize with 19 points, followed by Hamilton Smith (17), Mike Trombetta (16), Tim Keefe (9), and Damon Dilodovico (6).