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Asmussens Enter Harness Racing

Published: August 16, 2016 9:41 am ET

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While the Asmussen name is most recognized for its involvement and success on the Thoroughbred side of horse racing, it has started to appear in harness racing programs as well.

Trainer Steve Asmussen, associated with Thoroughbred stars the likes of Curlin and Rachel Alexandra, spends most of the summers with his family in the Saratoga area. As told by Mike Sardella in a recent edition of The Saratogian, the Asmussen family joined a family friend at Saratoga Hotel Casino last summer for a night of Standardbreds. They eventually made their way to the winner's circle and were invited to the stable of trainer Andy Sardella -- who simply saw a family of five new to the races and didn't recognize who they were.

The Asmussens (minus Steve) paid the stable a visit. Looking for a horse that they could own and watch while in town for the summer, Julie made the jump into harness horse ownership. Oldest son Keith would even jog for Sardella from time to time.

Last summer Julie claimed pacer This Is Wyatt, who had one start for her -- finishing second -- before being claimed back. The Asmussens then nabbed trotter Credit Score from a claiming event, and he won twice before being claimed from them.

“When he won, it was just a total thrill,” Julie Asmussen told The Saratogian. “It was something we all really enjoyed, a great family memory for us.”

This year they returned and kept the involvement going, claiming pacer Esprit De Kayjay A. The 12-year-old helped the Asmussen family cap an amazing weekend, as Steve was inducted into the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame on Friday (along with Rachel Alexandra). On Saturday, the family looked on from a drier location as their horse navigated a 'sloppy' Saratoga surface to win for the Asmussens for the first time.

“It was really the icing on the cake on what was just a terrific week for us,” said Julie, who inducted her husband into the Hall of Fame the night before.

The Asmussens, still holding the papers on their pacer, have now returned to their Texas homebase to allow for the boys to start school.


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