LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Trainer Steve Asmussen is the all-time leading trainer at Churchill Downs, and while he's had 21 starters in the Kentucky Derby, he's still searching for his first victory in the Run for the Roses.
This year, the veteran trainer has two chances to win in Midnight Bourbon and Super Stock.
After Midnight Bourbon went on his wild stroll a week ago, he's become the three-year-old making headlines at the barn. On paper, he's the horse most likely to break Asmussen's 0-21 record, but his trainer might be more attached to his fellow contender.
Trainers with multiple contenders in the race genuinely do not have a favorite, but for Asmussen, Super Stock is about family.
Super Stock, who won the Arkansas Derby, is co-owned by Asmussen's 79-year old father Keith.
"It feels like something bigger than you," Asmussen said. "It's my parents story at this stage...just very excited to be apart of it."
Asmussen, his father and mother got to celebrate together in the winner's circle at Oaklawn Park, his mother Marilyn saying there is no bigger reward than watching her son do what he loves and be successful.
"She's an absolute angel of a special person," Asmussen said. "A human being who's always trying to be happy... if she isn't, she's fixing to be."
At one point in his career, Asmussen was actually his mom's assistant trainer. His mother began training horses when few women were in the profession.
"She's tough, she really is. She is the attention to detail human being," Asmussen said. "The success we enjoyed is growing up in the perfect storm, my mom and her attention to detail, my father and his horsemanship...very blessed to grow up in those circumstances."
And now with Super Stock, the Asmussens are all on a ride of a lifetime — together.
"That's what family is, you want things for your family more than you want them for yourself," Asmussen said.
He's had a lot of great horses over the years, but maybe for Asmussen, his Derby moment will come with Super Stock.
"When we do win the Derby, it will be simply it was meant to be," Asmussen said.