Elliott, Asmussen Take Sam Houston Titles - Horse Racing News | Paulick Report

Elliott, Asmussen Take Sam Houston Titles

Steve Asmussen

Jockey Stewart Elliott picked up his second leading rider title at Sam Houston Race Park, holding off a very contentious effort by Ry Eikleberry heading into the final week of the meet, which concluded Saturday.

Elliott had the support of the meet's leading trainer, Steve Asmussen, riding first call for the Hall of Fame conditioner as he piloted 296 mounts, winning 62 races and  bankrolling $1,490,006.  The successful union between Elliott and Asmussen began in Houston two years ago and has continued at Lone Star Park and Remington Park.

A compelling rivalry between Elliott and Ry Eikleberry took place throughout the season, with the two respected veterans just separated by one win heading into the final week. Elliott drew off to defend his title, but graciously asked Eikleberry to join him for the awards presentation.

“Stewart is a great guy and deserves this,” said Eikleberry. “He's been the man in the arena for a long time and a complete class act!”

The Phoenix, Arizona native finished second to Elliott here last year and has been his top rival from the beginning of Sam Houston 2022 season.

Ernesto Valdez-Jiminez finished third in the standings with 41 wins.

Asmussen won his 14th training title at the northwest Houston racetrack, furthering his respected legacy and support of Texas racing. He was honored as top trainer here in 2000, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017,2018, 2019, 2020, and 2021.

Asmussen started 259 runners, finishing with a record of 51 wins, 41 seconds, 55 thirds and earnings of $1,554,306. He conditions Stonestreet Stable LLC's homebred Pauline's Pearl, winner of the richest race of the annual Sam Houston Thoroughbred season, the $400,000 Houston Ladies Classic (G3) Jan. 30.

“We are very proud of the success we have in Texas,” said Asmussen. “To win the marquee race of the Sam Houston meet for Stonestreet meet means a great deal.”

The nationally prominent horseman, who tops the Equibase leader board in 2022 in wins and is a close second to Todd Pletcher in earnings, has always shown his allegiance to Texas racing. He continues to be grateful by the passage of House Bill 2463 by the Texas Legislature on September 1, 2019, which was initiated to boost the state's racing and breeding industry.

“It is extremely significant where the money comes from,” stated Asmussen. “To have purses generated by equine generated tax revenues is excellent and hopefully will impact the quality of Texas racing.”

Karl Broberg also had a very solid meet, finishing second in the trainer standings with 41 victories. J. R. Caldwell followed with 34 victories.

End Zone Athletics Inc. drew to a clear lead in the owner standings, starting 137 Thoroughbreds and notching 22 wins, 29 seconds, and 18 third-place finishes.  The ownership group, founded by Karl Broberg, has been a force at Sam Houston for over a decade with previous titles in 2018 and 2020.

“I want to thank my assistant Artemio Ramirez, who handled the Houston string as well as Clemente Montoya and Abel Ramirez for their hard work,” said Broberg.

He also acknowledged the skill of Ry Eikleberry, his first call rider at Sam Houston Race Park.

“Ry has done an amazing job,” he added. “I am lucky to have him on our team.”

L and G Racing Stables finished second with 16 wins. Steve Asmussen, who has won top owner honors at Sam Houston seven times, finished tied for third with Danny R. Caldwell. Both won 12 races.

Farmers Fillies Racing had 40 starts, winning 11 races to round out the top four spots.

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