In the second of three wins Keith J. Asmussen won aboard Tribal Spirit. (Coady Photography)
Congratulations to jockey Keith Asmussen for his first career riding triple aboard Mendelssohn Joy, Tribal Spirit and Allege.
By Maribeth Kalinich
Jockey Keith J. Asmussen had an exciting Sunday at Oaklawn Park scoring his first hat trick with wins in Races 1, 4 and 6.
Asmussen won his first race of the day aboard Tailored for Gold Stables’ Mendelssohn Joy for trainer Nevada Litfin piloting her 3-year-old Mendelssohn colt over the 1-1/16 miles course to his maiden win by 7-1/2 lengths.
Mendelssohn Joy came three wide when moving to challenge into the stretch. Asmussen and his mount shook clear when straightened for home and they rolled with a wide margin to the wire.
Aboard Tribal Sprit, owned by brother Erik and trained by his father Steve Asmussen, Keith brought the 3-year-old Connect filly her maiden win coming off the pace to score by a neck in the six-furlong sprint.
Tribal Spirit hung back off the pace then Asmussen moved him closer while three wide. They came in the two path for the drive challenging on the inside and dueled to the wire in a game effort.
In his third victory, Asmussen would be piloting a seasoned Uncle Mo 6-year-old who was making his first start since racking up three consecutive wins, the last at Colonial Downs August 1, 2022, under Feargal Lynch.
In the 5 chute, Allege would break first but held the lead briefly as Asmussen settled him into the pace behind Offshore Affair under Cristian Torres and Doubly Blessed with Rocco Bowen up.
Allege would track the pace along the inside as Asmussen continued to save ground within striking distance. On the far turn, they steered out three wide turning for home challenging on the outside at a furlong. Allege edged clear under a steady handling winning by 1-1/2 lengths.
Also trained by his father and owned by Chuck Hovitz, Gene A. Voss and Wayne Detmar, Asmussen would give Allege a welcome and well-earned seventh career victory in the one-mile race.
After getting his jockey’s license, Keith rode his first race at Lone Star Park June 15, 2020. He had ridden a total of 16 races, finishing second four times and third twice and then with lucky number 17 he finally caught that elusive first victory July 26.
Asmussen took a break from the saddle to attend the University of Texas’ McCombs School of Business earning a master’s degree in professional accounting.
Returning to riding again in 2022, Asmussen, 24, rode his first winner at Churchill Downs Nov. 23 on Tonal Impact. Then he moved his gear to Oaklawn Park.
The first mount Asmussen was named to ride at Oaklawn was Bourbon On Fire, owned and trained by his father, Steve Asmussen.
The younger Asmussen regularly gets a leg up from his dad but also rides for several other trainers at Oaklawn.
Out of 87 starts this year, all at Oaklawn, Keith has won 11, placed second in 13 races and scored 15 thirds earning $519,683.
Keith Asmussen will be getting a leg up Thursday and Friday at Oaklawn Park with four mounts on March 23 and three on March 24.