Edges Defending Champion Maker for Third Win in Five Years
BALTIMORE, MD – Hall of Famer Steve Asmussen edged defending champion Mike Maker to claim the top prize of $50,000 for the third time in five years in the Maryland Jockey Club’s $100,000 trainer bonus offered to horsemen for their participation in stakes races over Preakness weekend, May 14-15, at Pimlico Race Course.
Asmussen started 11 horses in 10 stakes over the two days, finishing with 54 points. On May 15 he ran first and second with Mighty Mischief and Jaxon Traveler in the $200,000 Chick Lang (G3) and also finished second with Midnight Bourbon in the 146th Preakness Stakes (G1), Strike Power in the $150,000 Maryland Sprint (G3) and Casual in the $100,000 Runhappy Skipat. Boldor finished fourth for Asmussen in the $100,000 Jim McKay Turf Sprint.
Willful Woman’s runner-up effort in the $250,000 Black-Eyed Susan (G2) was Asmussen’s best finish with five horses on the May 14 program. He was also third with Arm Candy in the $100,000 Hilltop, fifth with Abrogate in the $150,000 Miss Preakness (G3), sixth with Max Player in the historic $250,000 Pimlico Special (G3) and seventh with Another Broad in the $150,000 Allaire du Pont (G3).
To be eligible, trainers had to run a minimum of five horses in the 15 Thoroughbred stakes races 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).
This marked the fifth straight year the MJC has offered the trainer bonus program. Asmussen also earned the top prize in each of the first two years, 2017 and 2018.
Maker ran seven horses in six stakes and finished with 43 points for a $25,000 bonus. He won the Black-Eyed Susan with Army Wife and ran first and seventh with Last Judgment and Treasure Trove in the Pimlico Special, also finishing seventh with Phantom Vision in the Hilltop. On Preakness day, Maker won the $250,000 Dinner Party (G2) with 2020 runner-up Somelikeithotbrown and Maryland Sprint with Special Reserve, and was seventh with Kasim in the $100,000 James W. Murphy.
Fair Hill (Md.) Training Center-based Graham Motion was third with 27 points and earned $12,000. Mean Mary won the $150,000 Gallorette (G3) and Alda and Mia Martina were respectively first and fourth in the Hilltop. Bye Bye Melvin was fourth and English Bee seventh in the Dinner Party.
Brad Cox, the 2019 top bonus winner, had 24 points to finish fourth and earn $7,000. He won the James Murphy with T D Dance, was second and third with Dreamalildreamofu and Getridofwhatailesu in the Dinner Party, seventh with French Empire in the Skipat and eighth with Adventuring in the Black-Eyed Susan.
Rounding out the top finishers were Chad Brown with 14 points ($4,000) and Mike Trombetta with 12 points ($2,000). Among his horses, Brown ran third and fourth with Great Island and Flighty Lady in the Gallorette and fifth with Crowded Trade and eighth with Risk Taking in the Preakness. Trombetta’s best stakes finish came with Murphy runner-up Arzak.
Bonus money totaling $50,000 was also offered for trainers having the most points in non-stakes races during Preakness weekend, with points accumulated in similar fashion. Trombetta and Claudio Gonzalez, Maryland’s winningest trainer the past four years, tied for first with 27 points and split the $35,000 top prize.
Also winning bonus money were Brittany Russell (21 points, $7,500), Hamilton Smith (15 points, $4,000), Arnaud Delacour (14 points, $1,750) and Anthony Aguirre (14 points, $1,750).