NY Times: PETA Files Complaint After Undercover Investigation of Asmussen Stable

  • click above & share!
    X
  • click above & share!
    X


  • click above & share!
    X
  • click above & share!
    X
Steve Asmussen,through his attorney, said he applauds call for greater transparency Steve Asmussen,through his attorney, said he applauds call for greater transparency

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals has filed state and federal complaints against two-time Eclipse Award-winning trainer Steve Asmussen and his chief assistant, Scott Blasi, alleging animal cruelty, use by a leading jockey of an illegal electrical stimulating device, labor law and immigration violations.

The allegations, reported by Joe Drape in the New York Times, resulted from a four-month undercover operation in which a PETA investigator was employed unknowingly by Asmussen at Churchill Downs and Saratoga last spring and summer. The investigator, equipped with a hidden camera and microphone, compiled more than seven hours of video and documented stable activities in a 285-page report.

PETA has posted a nine-minute, 30-second video, which can be seen below.

The New York Times played no role in the investigation but reviewed all of the documents and video, also interviewing the investigator under the condition that his or her name would not be published.

Much of the focus of the video and written report are on the widespread use of legal medications for joints, lameness and internal hemorrhage (Dr. James Hunt is heard saying the anti-bleeding drug furosemide  is used on horses that may not need it and is a “performance-enhancer.”).

Blasi is shown in numerous scenes of the video bemoaning the fact so many horses in the Asmussen barn have physical problems, often using profane language to describe their condition. “They’ll (expletive deleted) break your (deleted) heart every (deleted) day, these (deleted),” Blasi is heard saying as a horse is getting an endoscopic examination. “There’s always something wrong with ‘em.”

Nehro, the 2011 Kentucky Derby runner-up, is shown in the video being examined shortly after a race by a blacksmith who says of a chronically damaged hoof, “His foot is a little bitty nub. It’s all broke off. He lost … Z-bars on both feet multiple times until he had bloody holes in the bottom of his feet.”

Blasi added, “The problem is this is a horse who don’t have any foot at all.”

Nehro died from colic a few days later.

In another scene, Blasi is overheard talking about shock-wave therapy, whose use is now regulated in most racing states so that it cannot be done within days of a race. “Shock-wave therapy is like, it dead(ens) – it kills pain,” Blasi said. “That’s why you can’t do it close to (race day). “’Cause people used to do it like two or three days out, and then these (expletive deleted) go out there and snap their (deleted) leg off.”

Asked by the investigator whether it takes a specialist to operate a shock-wave therapy machine, Blasi responded, “No, anybody can do it. A (deleted) retard can do it. It (deleted) hurts like hell. I can’t believe them (deleted) can take it.”

The video also captures Blasi suggesting that Oaklawn Park leading rider Ricardo Santana Jr. may have carried an electrical device – often called a buzzer or machine – used to stimulate a horse. In the video, Blasi refers to it as a “maquina,” Spanish for machine. Santana’s agent denied to the New York Times that his jockey has ever used that type of device. There is also a secret recording of Hall of Fame rider Gary Stevens and Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas discussing the use of buzzers.

In addition, PETA is alleging Asmussen and Blasi required undocumented workers to falsify their identities to the Internal Revenue Service, paid wages under the minimum wage and did not pay proper overtime.

Complaints reportedly have been filed with the IRS, Citizenship and Immigration Services, and the U.S. Attorney, state racing and gaming commissions in Kentucky and New York, along with the Kentucky and New York labor departments.

The New York Times spoke with Clark Brewster, a Tulsa, Okla., attorney representing both Asmussen and Blasi and an owner who has horses in training with Asmussen.

“It is certainly a surprise to Mr. Asmussen and Mr. Blasi that anyone would deceptively get a job and keep surveillance and their notes on their conduct for the agenda of others,” Brewster told the Times. “They will reserve comment with regard to any accusations until they have had the opportunity to fully review them. Then they will respond factually.”

The allegations came just days after Asmussen’s name was listed for the first time on the National Museum of Racing Hall of Fame ballots mailed to voters.

On its website, PETA urged individuals to contact their U.S. Representatives and Senators and “ask them to support the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act of 2013, Senate Bill 973 and House Bill 2012, which would increase oversight and penalties for overusing drugs in horse racing.”

PETA has conducted similar undercover investigations of the Ringling Bros. Barnum & Bailey CIrcus, animal experimentation labs, the exotic pet industry, and turkey and dairy farms.

Read more at New York Times

New to the Paulick Report? Click here to sign up for our daily email newsletter to keep up on this and other stories happening in the Thoroughbred industry
  • Bobf

    Scott Blasi looks like a real sweatheart of a guy.

    • Five

      You’re just a typical Mom.

      • qwerty12

        I think your sarcasm filter is a little off.

  • Craig

    After watching this video I’m not sure if I want to punch this guy Blasi in the face or cry for these horses that have to go through his barn…shame on you Scott, you pathetic little man. It’s time to act NOW

    • Sal Carcia

      I doubt Blasi is a rare breed on the backside. If you take the swearing out, all of his actions were legal and common on the backside.

    • Really?

      I know, he is the last person we want representing this sport. Plus, it sounds like he is trying to sound like a big shot to impress this girl.

  • Hoops and Horses

    The sad thing about this is PETA is using this to grab headlines. A lot of people are misinformed or simply ignorant or don’t want to know the FACTS.

    Are there “bad apples” in the sport? Sure, and they undo the good so many others do in this sport. While in this case it may have uncovered a “bad apple,” let’s let it not cloud the fact that are many good people who do the right thing that get unfairly thrown in with the bad of this sport.

    • Craig

      If that is the case which I do believe their are good people in the sport as well but why don’t these good people rat out the bad ones…if these good people are truly good they would want to eliminate the ones that are abusing the animals that they truly love

      • Hoops and Horses

        That I agree, but it may not be as simple as that.

        • nu-fan

          No, it may not be as simple as that but….that is what they must do if they want this sport to survive. Perhaps, one of the most disheartening aspects to this whole thing is that there are, undeniably, good people in the horseracing industry but, at the same time, they are not standing up against the bad apples. And, this sport continues to decline into obscurity regardless of the superficial efforts of promoting it…. The public sees no joy in supporting a sport where its stars–the horses–are mistreated.

      • Barry Irwin

        Craig, you have zeroed in on the one thing can change the entire dynamic.

      • Really?

        What are we going to rat them out for? Trainers don’t go around telling others their secrets. We all have our suspicions about these guys that continually improve horses off the claim and win over 40% but what are we going to tell on them for? We will just sound like a bunch of sore losers. It is up to the commissions to investigate these things, test out of competition and use surveillance.

        But now we all know about the thyro l thing. It won’t test after a race but this needs to be solved NOW. It may explain why horses crash after the claim from these guys and take months to recover. Wonder if quitting it cold turkey would cause hair loss as I’ve heard of that too.

      • betterthannothing

        One reason might be because even good people have skeletons hidden in their closets. If attacked by good people, bad people would be happy to dig good people’s skeletons up.

    • Sal Carcia

      This bad apple is nominated to the Hall of Fame. I can’t disassociate Blasi and Asmussen.

  • Billy

    In no way am I here to support Steve Asmussen, Scott Blasi or especially jockeys who ride with electrical devices (something I truly despise), but I do think this tape is exploiting situations for shock value and you should not let that and your emotions get in the way of the truths. Let’s first remind everybody that buzzers are illegal in every jurisdiction and anybody caught using one, should and normally does get suspended and/or thrown out, and that goes if you’re Gary Stevens or Craig Faine. Trainingwise, the big highlight that PETA came up over a four month investigation is a horse (Nehro) who had bad feet, who was probably treated with thousands and thousands of dollars in therapies and hours and hours of care, died from colic, a gastronomical condition that has nothing to do with having having bad feet. Not during a race, not from a blacksmith, not from a groom, from colic. If that’s not trying to misinform and exploit. What is? So, that’s their big headline, which means Asmussen didn’t have any other “sore horses” in his care die (training or racing) over that four month period because you know they would’ve shown it if he did. So besides horses with bad feet dying from colic, we see horses receiving lasix and horses’ joints being tapped and injected. These are perfectly legal therapies and you can see them being done every day on a backside if you choose to do so. We also hear about another legal treatment, shockwave therapy, which is a painful treatment, but we don’t see it and we don’t even hear about it being done illegally either by time or by place. We really never know if an Asmussen horse is given shockwave therapy. These three procedures and their merits have been discussed ad nauseam on these boards and alike and you can question if they are necessary, but they are all legal and none of them are anything close to being considered cruelty to animals. (By the way, PETA, themselves euthanizes thousands of cats and dogs every year if you want to talk about cruelty.) Obviously, Blasi doesn’t come off well in this tape and I wouldn’t defend him before this tape came out, but I would argue that if you secretly taped doctors and nurses in a hospital caring for patients for four months, you could come up with a pretty good 9 minutes of 15 second blips taken out of context, so I’m not sure what all his swearing and his momentary disdain for the horse proves except he has his own issues. It goes without saying we all want what’s best for the horses and tighter rules might be necessary but we don’t need some tape that is supposed to shock and generally misinform to tell us so and we can’t let it bring our great game down.

    • Hoops and Horses

      Exactly. Anything can be taken out of context and I’m sure it was in this video. To me, it’s PETA trying to get the big headline with no regard to whom they hurt along the way.

      • Sal Carcia

        Walt, the context here is Blasi has not done anything illegal or unacceptable in this game. I doubt the public is going to be happy to know that.

        • Hoops and Horses

          They may be playing by the rules, but then the rules need to be changed. First thing that needs to happen is a five-year phaseout of Lasix, and Gary and Mary West (well known Lasix advocates) need to have it made clear to them that Lasix has to be phased out in the best overall interests of the sport even if just for public perception.

          • Sal Carcia

            Many horsepeople just don’t get this point.

          • nu-fan

            Of course the rules need to be changed. But, have they? Hasn’t there been enough criticism pointed at the horseracing industry by now? Aren’t they listening? Perhaps, if more would take their heads out of the sand, more would have been accomplished by now. Whatever dirt is dished their way, I have very little sympathy for those who silently look the other way! Lastly, when do we need “rules” to know what is right or wrong? Don’t we really know the difference without having it spelled out in a “rule”?

          • ginger2000

            Exactly!! The culture is such that abuse is rampant and would only be MORE rampant if mere ethics were involved. Racing is an industry full of crooks and cheaters. And certainly horses ARE treated as mere business objects by those in charge. Grooms may love the horses, but they are not in charge.

        • Tres Abagados Stupidos

          “$60 or $70 for a social security card”. No….that’s not illegal.

          • Billy

            But it’s not animal cruelty (perpetuated by horse racing)…which is the attempt of this thing

          • Gayle Meyers

            Nehro running on bloody stubs wasn’t cruel? They ran Teardrop when she was in pain – it is ALL documented. You deniers are crazy.

      • JSR

        Blasi will be the fall guy here, and he needs to be , his attitude toward horses will hurt the horse business for Years to come, who knows how much damage this has done, he needs to be held responsible for his callas comments …

    • Knowitall

      Excellent analysis. I am no fan of Blasi or Asmussen, who is fascinatingly absent from the video…but it wasn’t anything that doesn’t go on at many barns other than the particularly crass level of Blasi’s descriptions. He is a good horseman and the one that trains those horses. Now we know why he knows he could never be the face of the operation and doesn’t want to be. I actually noted that he was lamenting a lot of what goes on, not that he hates horses, despite the attempt at contextual PETA editing.

      Is he jaded, and a jerk – yes. Not many would dispute that. On Nehro – that is unfortunately a more frequent conversation at barns than it should be, and was sickening. Blasi blamed the owner, Zayat, for not retiring him, so now the question is did Asmussen inform Zayat or keep the horse that should have been sent home? Because he didn’t want another trainer to get the horse if he believed Zayat would just send him to someone else? As for whether it killed the horse, colic can be precipitated by stress or pain, not to mention all the pain meds they loaded him up with. But true, if that was a distinct correlation, there would be a lot of dead racehorses. Sounds to me that Nehro ruptured his stomach or something else terribly painful. And it does make you wonder how he got to the thrashing violent stage of colic before he made it to a clinic – or did he ever really go to one?

      Asmussen is going to be damaged by this and lose horses. And if he has to dump Blasi, his production will slide downhill anyway. Vans are probably stuck in line at his barns this morning. Thing is, the place those horses will go to won’t be much better, just have smarter assistants who vet their hires better and don’t share so much information. One last note, the fact she was at friendly dinners so often indicates that someone might have not been thinking with a brain in their head. Blasi clearly had his radar shut off.

      • Really?

        Ya, I was wondering the same thing. Many people would love to go to dinner with Lukas and Stevens. So how did this girl who is clearly inexperienced get to hang with these legends?

        • Gayle Meyers

          Go shovel a lot of manure and find out

          • Really?

            ????

          • Ladyofthelake

            You’re implying what- she slept with people? That’s a wild accusation thrown at a lot of people isn’t it? It’s possible she wasn’t actually hanging WITH them, maybe just near them & recorded it from a distance. Just a guess.

          • Knowitall

            Nah, she had to be semi-hot to be at those dinners. Doesn’t mean she did sleep with anyone.

          • Ladyofthelake

            I bet that guy feels like a total moron now. That’s what happens when men can’t keep their pants zipped and their mouths shut. Samson and Delilah much? Haha.

        • Tromper

          Hey, Really? “…love to go to dinner with Lukas…”. Please. If you don’t know he’s a butcher, and, Asmussen is a Lukas wannabe, then you have not been tuned in to Lukas’ career. As for the PETA “plant”, she was simply an attractive hanger on.

      • jord

        Good analysis. Yours, not the preceding post. I also thought Blasi came across as somewhat sympathetic to the horses. This video actually improved my opinion of him. He’s just talking like a racetracker. It would be terrific if this video spawned systemic change that eliminated medication and re-defined ethical treatment in racing.

        • Knowitall

          Right on.

        • Gayle Meyers

          Yes, and most race trackers are verbally and emotionally (something that horses sense) derogatory of horses who are not healthy, winning machines. Sympathetic? To try to foil the stewards next time the lame horse runs? What PLANET do you live on?

          • Jord

            I’m referring specifically to Blasi acknowledging the attrition rate of horses that are done before they even make the races and to my personal feeling from watching this that he knows that what he’s doing isn’t right- but this is how it’s done. Blasi might also be trying to cast himself in a better light to the investigator who’s new and quite possibly attractive. Not excusing or condoning anything shown, just pointing out that this is nothing out of the ordinary.

          • Gayle Meyers

            Again, what is sympathetic to horses about fooling the stewards to run a lame horse?

          • Tonto

            Bad news, Gayle: lame horses are running ( and breaking down) thanks to the wonders of modern vets.

      • Gayle Meyers

        Heaven forbid he should just be an honest horseman and not have to rely on his “radar” to tell him when to lie.

      • tbpartner43

        I sincerely hope that vans are lined up at Asmussen’s barn. One never knows do they… you put a good guy on a pedestal and admire his success and he turns out to laugh about cheating …. very sad. Nehro makes me cry… of course he colicked or whatever from stress and pain, ulcers… any number of things… bet the insurance paid a bunch.

        • Guest

          You hit the nail on the head insurance paid a bunch just but up a hot horse and feed him it could be his last meal

          • Tonto

            Wish insurance was no longer available – too many horses have had a bad end so insurance could be collected. Remember the sad event at the old Calumet Farm when legs were broken with a pipe in ‘mystery’ accidents

      • JSR

        They aren’t horsemen they are BUTCHERS . Face the facts it’s not the best interests of the horses, they look out for the interests of the owners and themselves, if you think any different you haven’t been around the backside or your blind !!! BUTCHERS !!!!

      • mrmuslin

        Colic in horses is almost always precipitated by something else. Horses just don’t usually colic for no reason, whether it is something they have eaten or large does of pain meds (like bute, that destroy a horses stomach) or VERY often pain, like for example, having half your foot fall off. That sounds pretty painful to me. That said, there is also treatment for colic when caught early. And one would imagine that in a heavily monitored barn, it was caught early. My guess, the horse didn’t “die from colic” but was refused treatment for colic and was put down because he was of no use to them anymore. And of course more importantly, they get their insurance money.

        • Knowitall

          Zayat would not have done that to that horse, for many reasons. Asmussen had nothing to gain but bad press and an unhappy owner. Not sure what happened to the horse, only Blasi and Co. know,

    • Kcollinsworth

      That’s a nice long post , but all of it not withstanding, the national racing hall of fame is a tarnished place now. Steve Asmussen and maybe even Lukas and Gary Stevens have been busted now. Asmussen will be lucky to stay out of prison. Those federal prosecutors live for big name, open and shut cases like this.

      • Draven

        You’re kidding right? Federal prosecutors won’t even consider PETA propoganda when it comes to actually prosecuting.
        PETA is the one with the tarnished reputation.

        • Kcollinsworth

          The video is enough to ruin them…..face reality.

          • Draven

            You apparently are unfamiliar with the horse racing industry. Anyone with any knowledge at all about the industry knows that this goes on. The Federal prosecuters have known for decades and done nothing.
            PETA has no power here, face reality.

        • Secretariat

          You’re sick. Get help.

      • betterthannothing

        We didn’t have to wait for that video to know that the Hall of Fame is tarnished as it favors fame and records over honorable conduct including of trainers towards horses and owners.

    • Kay Dee

      well, what was the CAUSE of the Nehro’s colic?….pain, meds, ulcers developing from those things, can also cause colic. Was there a necropsy?……I would bet the colic was related, whether directly or indirectly.

    • Carolyn May Wentz

      Stress, pain, overmedication…..COLIC. I’ve seen them want to live…so why can’t they want to die?

    • Tromper

      Agree w/many points you’ve made — except for one, GLARING and misleading mention. Apparently you are unaware that extreme pain can cause colic. A human’s death, by heart attack, can be caused by unrelenting torture — just as a horse’s death can be caused by a twisted gut/colic due to same. While some “vet” …( a well paid bud of Asmussen?) may “officially” attribute Nehro’s death to colic — horse people know better. A boat-load mix of meds and a “nub” for a foot caused his demise…extreme torture.

    • clee

      Seriously? this happens all the time and the only way to get people to pay attention is to expose it in a shocking way. Otherwise… as has been going on for decades…things will not change!

  • jttf

    its an ugly world. meds/peds have got to go.. baffert and blasi are both using thyroid meds on horses who dont have any need for this treatment. why didnt the horse industry react to this problem directly after baffert was found out ? testing doesnt work. current fines and suspensions are a joke. rudy and blasi are basically calling the horses, white lab rats. stevens and lukas are joking about using buzzers. is this how the older jockeys get to the bottom of their horse ? very disturbing news how nehro was treated. this was asmussen’s best three year old colt that they brought up on their own. looks like blasi had some education to be a vet. how do horsemen allow this to happen ? shock therapy sounds horrible. there sure are some sick vets out there. these jockeys and trainers, all need to be banned from the sport. they are only famous because they cheat.

    • Hoops and Horses

      I’ve in the past posted numerous times about a five-year plan to get Lasix out of the sport. That to me would be the best way to do it.

      We didn’t get into this mess overnight and won’t get out of it quickly either.

      • Susan Crane-Sundell

        It’s not just lasix that we need to ban from this sport. Actually lasix is very helpful to a horse with a true pulmonary problem. It causes great relief and has truly therapeutic effects. It is a therapeutic drug though, not a performance enhancer. I might even argue that if a horse needs lasix, he has no business training/racing. The problem is that this therapeutic drug has become a “diuretic” for horses to trainers. And as anyone knows who has ever trained for a marathon or even a 5K, a diuretic is the last thing you need when you are about to undertake a foot race.

        Losing approx. 40 lbs of water weight prior to a race is insane. That fluid is needed to hydrate the vital organs and assist in balancing the electrolyte levels.It affects vasopresin levels as well. Running a horse without proper hydration inches a horse a little closer to death with each race. Even in sprinting that hydration process is necessary.

        Yeah to the IGNORANT person, lighter looks better, (sort of like saying that really skinny fashion models are better models). We have this concept that lighter equates to faster. But if you want to look at a more efficient model look at a camel; an ingeniously designed desert machine that retains water so that its reserves can be drawn upon gradually to prolong and maintain life. Horses need to be viewed more like camels rather than fashion models.

        • Hoops and Horses

          The problem is the perception of what Lasix can cover up and what it also does to horses is why I would phase it out. If Lasix were out of the sport, we would likely see who can really train horses as there appear to be those who can’t, don’t want or simply don’t know how to train horses on hay, oats and water like it USED to be done. This is something I say as someone who actually WAS a Lasix advocate in the 1980′s and ’90s who has come over to the other side in recent years.

          If Lasix were eliminated, you’d likely see horses race more, as it’s widely believed horses need more time between starts in part because of Lasix. Sure, SOME horses would not be able to race without Lasix (partially why I would phase it out over five years starting with two year olds and the very highest stakes and slowly work down from there) and there would be a “down” period because of it, but long-term you would see horses making more starts and racing more often if that were the case, especially if the way horses are bred also changed (something I would try to force by making T-Bred racing follow the lead of Meadowlands owner Jeff Gural and make it so top horses have to race through AT LEAST their four, and preferably five year old seasons because they can go to stud duty as by making it where have to race through age five would force breeders to bred for stamina, durability, endurance and soundness over speed and precociousness).

          • Susan Crane-Sundell

            Hi Hoops: I agree that lasix should not be used for racing and yes it does mask the administration of other drugs. I just don’t want the industry to go so far in that lasix is never prescribed for a horse that truly needs it for therapeutic purposes. I am not a proponent of allowing it to be used for racing. But I am a proponent for its use for horses who have a pulmonary issue. These horses should be on lay-off however, as the exertion of racing would only exacerbate their conditions. I agree that for racing, it would have to phased out as well, since horses who have been allowed to run with it, shouldn’t be forced to run without it. And like you, i agree that two-year olds shouldn’t start racing with it being administered to them.

            Ii frequently worry about horses whose trainers administer lasix where it is allowed and then withhold it where it isn’t and then run the horse. That is a poor training strategy IMHO.

            Also I applaud Mr. Gural and his support of WHOA and the principles they are setting forth. I agree that horses should have more seasons on the track before they enter stud duty, but ONLY if we change the drug culture of the sport. Horses who are subjected to a cornucopia of drugs and unnecessary supplements cannot WITHSTAND five or six seasons on a track under such stress. So one needs to be done in tangent with the other. Mr, Gural has just recently revised and strengthened the drug policies and procedural regulations at the Meadowlands. I applaud him for this. Here’s to WHOA in general. Many thanks to Mr. Irwin, Mr. Stronach and Mr. Gural, Mr. and Ms. Hancock, Mr. Strawbridge, Mr. Overton and the many others who have come down on the side of a more natural and ethical approach to the industry. Dr. Sheila Lyons is a great advocate for horses and her joining WHOA is a very positive step forward for our equine athletes.

            The biggest problems we face in racing are using shedrows as pharmacies, uncaring, callous and ignorant trainers, and owners who either are kept in the dark or take it upon themselves to become ostriches. Hell, if one doesn’t care about, admire, and respect horses, get into NASCAR racing or speedboat racing, You can obtain your dopamine rush and make some money from either and not injure an unsuspecting, trusting creature who relies upon your best-decision making to have a good and healthy life.

    • Black Helen

      There ARE some honest, good horsemen and women left in our game. Unfortunately, they don’t win as often as they once did because of having to compete against the trainers who drug their horses.

      Some really good trainers( including a multiple BC winner) have left the sport because they couldn’t compete with the “needle men”.

      Shockwave therapy is readily available and easy to use by anyone with 10 minutes training how to use the machines. The horses seem to like it in my experience in a top, non drugging ,stakes winning stable.

      • ginger2000

        I agree with what you say except that horses seem to like shockwave therapy. Horses also “happily” stand in ice for hours. Have you ever tried standing in ice? Or even keeping your hand in ice for a few minutes? It is VERY painful. The sad thing about horses is that they comply with what we want. But just because they comply doesn’t mean they like it.

        • ZenCy48

          I don’t think I would compare how a human feels standing in ice to how a horse feels.

          • ginger2000

            Why on earth not? Do you not believe they feel pain? If they don’t feel pain then why are so many drugs needed? If they don’t feel pain, why are cradles needed when a horse is blistered. Science has proven that our DNA and that of animals is more than 90% similar. Just because animals cannot talk and horses do not have a sound for pain, doesn’t mean they don’t FEEL pain.

        • tbpartner43

          Don’t recall who wrote it… but I will never forget it. “Horses are the most abused domesticated animals in history.”

          • betterthannothing

            Along with dogs, dairy cows and factory and research animals.

          • ginger2000

            Whoever said it was right. Far more than dogs. Though I agree factory animals are tortured from birth to death. And research animals are as well.

      • Gayle Meyers

        Amen! Get rid of the cheaters and let the real horsemen have a chance.
        Instead of bashing PETA for exposing the LIES, the game should be outraged that in order to win and make a living, you have to be crooked.

      • Janet delcastillo

        You do realize the object of shock wave therapy is to block the nerves so that horse doesn’t feel problems…so he can snap a leg…used properly rest is indicated…not racing a few days later.

  • Five

    Nehro died of colic, my feet !!!!!!
    Nehro died to have Zayat collect insurance.

    Has the undercover at Baffert’s barn reported, yet ? Can’t wait !!!
    Gary and DWayne in the same sentence with the word buzzer ?
    Is that the same DWayne and Luis ?

    • qwerty12

      I assume you have evidence. Put up or shut up.

      • Really?

        Exactly, that is a VERY serious claim accusing someone of killing a horse for insurance. How do you know this? Pretty sure for that amount of money a necropsy would be needed. I don’t think Zayat needs the money.

        • Knowitall

          I think he was being sarcastic. Yo know, News at 11! And no, Zayat would never kill Nehro. He reacted last night by suggesting he should fold his cards and leave the game. He’s tired of this.

          Pletcher and Baffert help bedding stalls.

      • Five

        A typical “denial” response, from a guilty conscious.

    • betterthannothing

      Nehro’s abuse, agony and death reminds me of the prolonged agony of Thorn Song, except that the then 6 year old millionaire horse survived months of highs and lows to live the rest of his life as a crippled stallion. Common thread: Nehro and Thorn Song were owned by Zayat who choose trainers that suit his agenda.

      I believe that the multiple abscesses in Thorn Song’s front feet did not develop on the way to the starting gates (2009 Eddie Read at Del Mar) in which he was the favorite. If I recall correctly, Thorn Song was trained by Dale Romans at Hollywood Park and after Romans lost Zayat horses, he was transferred to miracle trainer Mike Mitchell at Del Mar ten days before his ill-fated last race.

      Thorn Song leaned out from the start then bolted to the outside rail. I assume that Thorn Song’s feet were blocked so he could tolerate pain during the warm-up until the extra pounding began after he left the starting gates. Mike Smith thought that the seasoned 6 year old millionaire earner had spooked from something in the infield.

      Eight days later Thorn Song was near death at Alamo Pintado Equine Hospital suffering from multiple abscesses in front feet, a partially torn deep digital flexor tendon and chronic laminitis.

      From the Blood Horse, February 2010:
      Alamo Pintado founder and veterinarian Dr. Doug Herthel confirmed on Feb. 10 that Thorn Song, a four-time graded stakes winner, was alive and doing well after a long battle with laminitis. The 7-year-old son of Unbridled’s Song—Festal, by Storm Bird, has been in the news recently after it was learned that his owner, Ahmed Zayat, had collected a $2.75 million mortality insurance claim for his death.

      It has been confirmed that Zayat did receive the full insurance claim on Oct. 19, 2009 after an independent veterinarian appointed by the insurance carrier, North American Specialty Insurance Company, determined that Thorn’s Song’s condition
      met criteria of the policy.”

      From the Blood Horse, April 2010:

      “Attorneys for Ahmed Zayat have filed a motion requesting that allegations of default against Zayat Stables filed by Fifth Third Bank be dismissed and that the bank pay compensatory and punitive damages, plus other costs, in connection with the case.

      The motion was filed in federal bankruptcy court in New Jersey, where Zayat Stables filed for Chapter 11reorganization. The bankruptcy filing was precipitated by a lawsuit
      filed by Fifth Third alleging that Zayat Stables had defaulted on loans totaling more than $34 million. The bank sought to take possession of the more than 200 horses owned by Zayat and to force the owner to sell his horses to pay off the loan.”

    • Susan Crane-Sundell

      Mr. Zayat was very distressed by this expose. Let us remember that he spent a great deal of time and money rehabilitating Paynter. Mr. Zayat has pledged to investigate the evidently terrible plight of Nehro. He has promised to share what he finds out and take appropriate action. Let’s give him some time to thoroughly deal with this matter. I know him to be honorable and outspoken, he will definitely make a statement and share the results of his findings.

  • Black Helen

    WELL DONE PETA!!!
    CATCH THE DOPING CHEATS AND EXPOSE THEM TO THE REST OF THE WORLD.

    START AT THE TOP OF THE SUPER TRAINER LIST, get them all.
    A- FOR ASMUSSEN
    B- FOR BAFFERT
    B- FOR BROWN
    on and on and on
    WOW, SHOULD HAVE STARTED AT THE MIDDLE, GONNA TAKE A LONG TIME TO GET TO PLETCHER !!!

    i hate everyone of you greedy horse doping, killing fools.
    You are the reason I don’t even want to watch racing anymore and I love the SPORT with all my heart because of the horses.

    • ginger2000

      I am with you Helen! I hope this blows the lid off of this crap once and for all.

  • Sal Carcia

    What is acceptable and legal in the horseracing world will not be looked at too kindly by the rest of planet. Nevertheless, any other industry would mount an organized and effective rebuttal of what was presented in the NY Times. I don’t expect any to be forthcoming here.

  • Bryan Langlois (ShelterDoc)

    Certainly will be interesting to see where things go in all this. I also agree that PETA is more about sensationalism than the actual causes at hand. However, it has worked for them for years as well, and they have exposed some bad situations. Its kind of sad because they actually could really make a lot of difference in things if they weren’t always “Going of the rails on a crazy train” shall we say. As was said before as well, any video can be edited for the purposes of the organization editing it. Why not just release all the footage and then let people decide for themselves.
    Regardless of what is found out in this investigation ultimately, the damage has already been done and is really irreversible now. I wonder if Zayat will pull all his horses he has with them now or not.
    Finally, I like others are getting tired of just the negative stories being done all the time. Hey Mr. Drape…the NYRA recently stated that their breakdown rate on the track is now the lowest in the country. How about a front page story on that…how the industry can change to help protect the horses. How about a front page story on the great program Kirian McLaughlin runs for kids at his stable teaching them about horsemanship and the great things racing is about. How about a feel good story just once…oh just once….They ARE OUT THERE!!!!!

  • Rob Yetman

    Guess who isn’t getting into the Hall of Fame…

  • MaryMatthews

    Will the industry make the necessary changes that are so badly needed now?

  • Rob Yetman

    Until the vets are out of the training process, and Lasix is gone, racing will be a target for these investigations. If you don’t clean your own house, someone will come and clean it for you. I wondered why Banke pulled most of her horses from Asmussen, makes a bit more sense now.

    • Susan Crane-Sundell

      Vets need to become MORE involved in training process, not less. The bigger problem is that medications for horses are issued so cavalierly on a backstretch.Many medications that are supposed to be prescribed with controlled administration are freely obtained by trainers through mail order, etc. who can then easily find a dubious vet. RESPONSIBLE incorruptible vets complement training practices and provide good care and consultation. It’s the overall “better living through more chemistry” aspect of veterinary backstretch care that has to perish.

      • Mike Connors

        More vets? How about less vets, complete and transparent oversight, and punishment that rids the sport of those who are caught cheating.

        • Susan Crane-Sundell

          You misunderstand completely. Vets aren’t just about needles and prescriptions. They also study kinesics and conformation and genetics and physiology: all things that could help training to be better for horses and likewise better for the sport.
          Additionally one of the greatest complaints i hear from equine vets who oversee pre-race exams at tracks is that they have no access to veterinary records or medication administration journals and are then put in the very position of deciding if a horse should be vet scratched or not. This is inane. It’s akin to being a structural engineer who is charged with inspecting and signing off on a building’s safety without access to specs, architectural renderings, tensility testing results, etc. Or having your doctor diagnose a life-threatening disease by just casually observing you. This definitely needs to change,

          As an aside, all trainers, assistant trainers, etc. should have to take a test in equine anatomy and physiology to get a license. Most aerobic instructors have more training than horse trainers.

          • ginger2000

            You are correct, however, as it stands now, racetrack vets ARE a large part of the problem and they are NOT there to protect and help the horses, they are there to do what trainers want them to do and make $$. I totally agree that trainers should take tests on more than the rules of racing and tack. They SHOULD know horse anatomy, and they should understand how a horse’s body actually works, not go by old wives tales and beliefs (which may be true or false) that have been handed down for 200 years. I would love to see racing changed completely. No huge stabling areas – let someone build a training center nearby – and the track should be open ALL day. Without the tremendous costs of providing housing for horses and grooms, along with daily plant maintenance, more money could go to purses. If people cannot afford the modest rates of a training center that is too bad. Racing needs to really make itself marketable and move into the 21st century.

          • Really?

            I think the opposite of what you say will be the trend. Horses housed at the track are more heavily monitored by the commission. Horses that ship in from off track facilities could be shock waved, injected etc without anyone knowing until 4 hours before the race. Guys driven out of Philly set up shop across the river at an off track facility. Horseman at the track are subject to barn searches and in some places out of competition testing on their horses.

          • betterthannothing

            That is why all horses need to be under 24/7 video surveillance in stalls and vans and tracked, in addition of strict substance control and severe, immediate bans and fines when caught abusing horses including with misused drugs and treatments like it is done in other sports and in other countries.

          • clancy

            Interesting, but how about trainers who carry a briefcase full of drugs to their stables (Lou Pena/Sabot case in point) and to administer to horses–drugs which they obtain themselves.

          • Mike Connors

            Your condescending view of trainers is nonsense. I’ve been in this business for 35 years and the trainers I have been associated with are some of the best horseman in the world. They could teach the class on anatomy and physiology. By the way, my wife is an aerobic instructor and and she knows nothing about horses.

          • ginger2000

            I don’t see much evidence of it. If they knew about physiology they would know about the negative effects of drugs on the horse’s system. They would feed in a way to avoid ulcers, and the list goes on. To me a great horseman is a person who understands horses, cares for them properly – with regard to what they need mentally and physically, trains as well as conditions them so that 2 people are not needed to lead a horse to post with a chain in the mouth as well. When I was young, horses were lead to post with the bridle! I see a serious decline in horsemanship.

          • Susan Crane-Sundell

            Yes Ginger With even a modicum understanding of pharmacology, trainers wouldn’t be pouring levothyroxine over horse feed as though it were brewer’s yeast. It’s deleterious to horses without hypothyroidism who are already producing enough T3 and makes them edgy, lose muscle mass weight, and it leaches calcium out of bones at a greatly accelerated rate. Long term usage can negatively affect kidney function as well: all things that are the opposite effects of what trainers are trying to achieve with a racehorse. Essentially feeding a diet that causes ulcers and then treating the symptoms with omprazole doesn’t reflect an understanding of nutrition either.

            I can understand your opinions of vets and yes many of them who work at tracks due trainers’ bidding rather than instruct trainers in proper pharmacological applications of medications, They work within the system because they are afraid they will be dismissed if they don’t do what they are told. This is what needs to change. Any vet should be looking out for the horses, not doing the bidding of those who have less education in the area of equine health than they do.

            Likewise, there are a lot of shady vets too and they need to be brought before licensing boards and censured if they are improperly dispensing medications and administering deleterious procedures.

          • Susan Crane-Sundell

            Firstly, I stated that aerobic instructors receive more training in their field than horse trainers do in theirs to gain certification, not that they know more about horses than horse trainers.

            Secondly, again I’m not being condescending and I wasn’t generalizing that all horse trainers are ignorant. There are many who are life-long learners, who study horse anatomy and physiology and who have simpatico and a true understanding of horses.There are many I admire like rock stars. Graham Motion in particular comes to mind. I was stating that they don’t HAVE to do this, however, to be trainers. They can get granted a license without having to be thoroughly trained and prove competency in studying the horse, its behavior or its physiology.
            I did not generalize that all trainers were dolts.

          • mike connors

            I was responding to what was written, thanks for the clarity.

          • Susan Crane-Sundell

            No problem Sorry if I didn’t make myself clear. You and I are definitely on the same page about all issues here.

        • Harry

          Less vets for sure and only when shadowed by a commission witness. No vets alone at barns on the backstretch, let’s see how many high % trainers go into “slumps”!

          • mike connors

            Exactly.

          • Susan Crane-Sundell

            I agree that the system is flawed. The fact that trainers pay vets NOT to actually care for the welfare of the horse but to do their bidding in prescribing and administering pharmaceutical substances is the biggest problem. Essentially CORRUPTED vets are the problem and the system pretty much insures that any vet who wants to work for trainers can potentially be corrupted if they want to remain employed. More independent vets not paid by trainers/owners is what is needed. I agree that maybe all trainer or owner remunerated vets should be monitored.

            I just wish (yeah I’ve got my PollyAnna outfit on again) that more vets who usually go to vet school because they want to HELP animals would remember that and bloody well say NO! when they are asked to prescribe meds or perform procedures that are not in the best interest of animal health. Remember that oath?

            I worked for a country vet practice for years, we said NO all the time. Nobody was rich, no Maseratis in our parking lot, and lots of “designer” mud on our boots, but aside from the days we were unable to prevent death, or watched an animal die from a disease that we could not diagnose or mitigate, we felt good at the end of the day, we all felt really good.

  • stixnstones42

    This once beautiful sport is trying desperately – and effectively – to commit suicide.

    • ginger2000

      Yes, that is very true.

  • qwerty12

    I stopped taking the story seriously at “a PETA investigator”. In case anyone has forgotten, they have an agenda. And a valid investigation requires the impartiality they inherently lack.

    That’s not to say there’s nothing to the story. Scott Blasi needs to be escorted out of the game if he thinks so little of the animals or people involved (and the less said about his inhuman use of the r-word, the better). He’s a clown, maybe there’s some other circus that will hire someone that callous. And something does need to jump start the stalled legislation in Congress.

    All that said, PETA has an agenda. And so does Joe Drape, because a true fan of the sport wouldn’t resort to dubious practices and sensationalized video out of context in order to advance his own agenda, political or otherwise. He claims he’s a fan but he seems to spend most of his vocabulary trying to destroy a sport he claims to love instead of fighting to improve it. Hanging his hat on PETA’s ethically-challenged methods isn’t the hallmark of any good reporter.

    I wouldn’t exonerate Steve Asmussen in all this, either. His track record is not exactly impeccable. But PETA is no better than FOX at getting “truth”. Until or unless something from an unimpeachable source comes forward with a smoking gun, he gets a pass from me—he might be ethically challenged himself, but this is a case of being the right person caught in the wrong net full of holes.

    • HeatherClemenceau

      Your argument would be a lot more effective (and less objectionable) if you confined your comments to whether or not the video exposed abuse. As it is, your comments are just another variation of an ad hom.

    • crispinstuart

      You do quite well with … “In case anyone has forgotten, they have an agenda.”
      Then blatantly try to sell YOUR agenda. Rigorous objectivity puts in very rare appearances these days. What is “truth” ?

  • south florida tom

    Shock wave, Lasix, and arthritis medication are all legal for horses. Just like a human being needs treatment for conditions, so do horses. Blasi states that “there’s always something wrong with ‘em”. Of course horses aren’t perfect, otherwise we wouldn’t have claiming races. PETA needs to find an above board method. Asmussen’s bigger problems (if true) might be the undocumented workers, illegal below minimum pay wages, not paying overtime. His bigger headache might just be the IRS, Immigration Dept, Labor Dept and the FEDS.

    • Knowitall

      Asmussen’s fed problem is going to be every barn’s problem. He is a pariah now for bringing this on the sport. Hired illegals, scammed their paperwork, and then even worse, Scott hired the pretty PETA gal. Blasii will be lucky to find work as a van driver. (Actually this is racing, where everything is upside down, so someone will probably hire him as their mid six figure private trainer;-)

  • Jay Stone

    They spent so much time swearing and conspiring in that barn that they were unaware everything they said and did was being taped. At its best this is everyday life in the backside and at its worst you could pick apart some damaging stuff but when it comes from this barn to the Times you know it will be big time. I would think they might have some damaging stuff on abuse of help and illegals.

    • louisbille

      Funny how the illegals themselves have nothing to fear from our government, other than their impending gift of free health care.

      • Susan Crane-Sundell

        How ridiculous is that statement? They have a great deal to fear, but sadly their children have to fear more: such as being turned out of their public school if their family is outed. They get substandard wages and have to buy goods and services with even less money than minimum wage earners. Are they taking away any job that you truly want to attain for your personal enrichment? Free health care for illegals? They can’t go to emergency rooms if they don’t want to risk getting deported. You live in overprivileged LaLa Land louisbille.

  • Really?

    Lots of things out of context…..
    1-shockwave is a legitimate therapy that also kills pain so it has the potential to be used unethically. To shockwave a horse the state vet has to come identify the horse and document the treatment. Also, it is painfull so local anesthetic is used.
    2-joint injections can be good, in fact it is done to local level show horses if they need it. Can this therapy lead to unethical behavior because it works so well? Yes! But we don’t know what the case is here.
    3-colic is devastating. The assistant is right, horses break out hearts all the time. But the way he says it calling them m.f.ers it comes off really bad.
    4-some horses have bad feet. When you use a farrier after a different one was working on the horse it is common for the new farrier to rant and rave about the bad work that came before them, like “good thing you have me here to fix this mess”. Sounds like this was the case here.
    5-I’m not shocked that back in the day riders at a quarter horse tracks were using machines. Sounds like Lukas will be hung over this like Paula Deen. Although I don’t think he said he used them. I don’t think this is prevelant today because if you’re caught you’re gone for life.
    6-very disappointed to hear another trainer using thyroid medicine as a supplement. Can’t defend this.

    • kochrepellent

      Gone for life? Not Roman Chapa. Got five years, did four.

      • Really?

        Well, these things are handled on a state by state basis and the stewards can decide to give as many years as they want. There is no standard punishment for these things. In light of recent events, I would expect federal charges for this now. So, one would have to assume your life in the business would be over and you’d probably have to fill out job applications different from then on where it asks for your convictions.

  • louisbille

    It was always just a matter of time before the filthy liberal animals from PETA and the NYT put their two empty heads together to attack our sport. I hope all you industry libs who worship the Chicago Way are happy. Tinky, I’m talking to you. It’s all fine and dandy when the gun is pointed at the Koch brothers or Wall St. – but eventually everyone gets their turn in front of the firing squad.

    Consider a main point of this story; punishing Asmussen for paying illegal aliens below minimum wage, while letting the illegal aliens skate free and clear despite their status as ‘undocumented democrats’. Windmills can chop the heads off hundreds of thousands of birds each year – but that doesn’t show up on the front page of the NYT and your local newscast, only the oil covered ones every decade or so after an oil spill. PETA doesn’t give a damn about horses, only scoring political points against Big Business of the non-green variety.

    • Tinky

      Ah, so the real problem is “liberals”. Thanks very much for the incisive analysis.

    • crispinstuart

      Not the way to handle this I’m afraid. Your point about windmills & other pet progressive causes is well-taken. But racing urgently needs to clean house if it is to continue existing. Obviously PETA is determined to destroy all animal-related businesses including those providing food. But like Caesar’s wife, our sport needs to be above reproach.

    • johnthekiwi

      Anyone with half a brain knows that PETA and the NYT have zero credibility but (pardon the horrible metaphor) the “sausage making” process of horse racing has never been pretty and never will be. SA is among a group of trainers I wouldn’t utilize because there has been a stink around him for years. In the end it is simple. You vote with your feet and your wallet. The day Alec Baldwin appeared on a Capital One advert was my last day owning a Capital One card. Three years ago United screwed up my itinerary and then lied about it (on a flight back from burying my father). I have never flown a mile with them since. I have no doubt that even if only the most peripheral of the allegations in this story are true there will be owners moving their horses elsewhere. The test will be seeing if, at probably a lower fee structure, others move into the void created.

      • Really?

        I lost respect when one of the Asmussens brought some broodmares to a kill auction and acted like they thought they’d get riding homes. Chances are if you’re raised to dispose of animals this way you’ll do the same. Hopefully I’m wrong.

    • Ladyofthelake

      You bring up a good point, albeit politically incorrect, that has always frustrated me about the workforce in horse racing. In most other horse sports white girls like me are the majority, but not in horse racing. As much as I love the sport & would love to work in it, apparently it’s not kosher for women to work on the backside with a bunch of men & Hispanics. Or at most TB horse farms either for that matter. I guess if all the undocumented workers were outed, horse racing wouldn’t have much of a workforce left would it?

  • Tinky

    What’s regrettable is that the FBI didn’t use similar techniques to expose and punish cheating trainers and vets long ago. This will make it more difficult for them to do so.

    • Knowitall

      Interesting point. Gonna be hard to get a job in a barn if you are pretty girl this morning.

    • johnnyknj

      Agreed. I’ve always thought it would be ridiculously easy for the Feds to put an undercover groom in a barn and get the goods on a number of trainers.

    • Barry Irwin

      I totally disagree that this would make it harder. The Fed for your information has in the recent past conducted operations that have yielded information used by racetrack owners to help them correct certain illegal activities without arresting, handcuffing or charging anybody. There are many ways to skin a cat.

      • Tinky

        a) It’s a mystery to me how you arrive at the conclusion that it won’t now be more difficult to plant undercover workers in stables, and for obvious reasons.

        b) There have been many times in the past when trainers were caught cheating, and quietly warned to stop. The impact of that approach – at best – was to frighten a few individuals into toeing the line, at least for a while. A far more effective way to skin this particular cat would be to frog-march a cheating trainer or two away in handcuffs, and file Federal charges against them. Then – and only then – will all but the most desperate trainers arrive at the conclusion that the potential risks of cheating outweigh the rewards.

        • Barry Irwin

          Tinky, you can be a very tedious poster, so I will try to write this as blandly as possible. Planting an undercover agent in a barn is just one of several surveillance techniques available to law enforcement. It also is far and away the most time consuming one as well. Please don’t try to dazzle me with your comments. Just try to accept my comment for what it is and move on.

          • Tinky

            What’s tedious is having to read ad hom attacks and straw men from someone who is capable of much better.

        • Jay Stone

          Tinky. Agree that the best deterrent would be fear of arrest and prosecution by the federal government. Once that happens most would never try anything illegal again. They have no fear of the slight suspension or small fine which the states impose but the fear of dealing with federal prosecutors would stop most

  • Really?

    Also, heavy pulse in horses foot =bad. No pulse=good. Of course I’m sure the horse had some pulse there but checking for a heavy pulse is a diagnostic tool for problems in a foot. So PETA should have had a horse person review this before portraying it as a bad thing.

    • Linda Horn

      NO pulse is worse than a heavy pulse!!! It means NO circulation is reaching the hoof. It’s confirmed by injecting radiopaque dye into a vein near the hoof and taking an x-ray. I know, because I’ve seen several horses with no digital pulse that had to be put down immediately. A healthy pulse is faint, but discernible, especially by an experienced vet.

      • Really?

        I’m pretty sure that if there was literally “no pulse” to the foot the horse would not be standing there. He was not being literal. Do you really think the horse had zero blood going in to his foot?

        • Linda Horn

          The horses I’m talking about could stand with no digital pulse, but they exhibited increasing lameness when they moved. Before long, they couldn’t have put weight on the limb. That’s why the vet’s verdict was to euthanize them. He was the best equine vet in our area (possibly all of New Mexico) and constantly attended continuing education seminars to stay current on the latest in veterinary medicine. He truly did love horses, and always went the extra mile. If anyone could have saved them, it would have been him.

          • Really?

            So what was their diagnosis Linda? Sounds like blood flow to the hoof was compromised and the lamina was dying indicating a very serious problem. If this were the case with this horse I’m sure he also would have died from it.

        • tbpartner43

          You do realize the horses who fracture the sesamoid are euthanized if the blood flow to the foot is compromised.

          • Really?

            This horse as far as I’m aware did not fracture his sesamoids so I don’t know what your point is. The sesamoids is also an integral part of the suspensory apparatus. Without it the leg doesn’t function.

            I think anyone would know that the horse needs blood flow to its hoof. The point was that farriers, vets, trainers etc. will feel for a strong pulse to the hoof to determine if there is something active going on there. It is a diagnostic tool. A strong pulse indicates a problem.

          • ginger2000

            It is true that when diagnosing possible laminitis a vet will say “there’s no pulse.” In that case it means no pounding pulse. But if you watch the video, that is not what the vet means. He clearly means he tried to find a pulse of any kind and couldn’t.

      • Jennifer G

        Oh, good grief.

        I am an association veterinarian at a TB racetrack. Yes, what you are saying is technically correct. Yes, I can find a pulse in any healthy leg.

        But what I tend to say to owners and trainers when I examine a horse for foot pain is, “there’s no pulse in this foot”, slang meaning the horse does not have an increased pulse and therefore is within normal limits. That is exactly what the farrier (?) in the video says. Sorry. I use slang. Good thing no one caught me on tape.

    • Barry Irwin

      Stop confusing the issue with facts! The real tipoff in this mess is the stuff re Lasix and Dr. Hunt. Nothing and I mean NOTHING negative was going on, but both the video and the NY Times inferred that something fishy or illegal was taking place, which is not the case. I am against race day Lasix, but this portrayal is pure horse pucky.

  • kyle

    First, on Lukas and Stevens: it sounds pretty obvious they are joking around about their early days coming up from the bushes. If it was at Saratoga this past summer maybe it was in the aftermath of Guilliot and The Travers. Guys, get out in front of this. Be up front. Don’t be defensive if that was the gist of the conversation.
    As to Blasi, and by extension Assmussen ( even though it’s PETA and any thinking, informed person knows their lack of honesty and integrity ) you two have some explaining to do. And Scott, pick up a dictionary – read a book – learn a couple new words.

    • bobjonestwo

      Right about PETA, they started out with best of intentions and doing great work, but those people are long gone and now they are just headline seeking lunatics who complain about the cruelty of swatting flies. While this investigation shows racing’s flaws, I would not trust PETA’s motives or integrity anymore.

    • Really?

      Totally true. I think that’s the only way to handle this, like “ya, that’s the way it was”. I really don’t think lukas or Stevens would risk their careers by doing this now.

      • Susan Crane-Sundell

        The tense of the verbs of that particular slice of the conversation did indicate that Stevens and Lucas were discussing the history of an event and not a recent or current incident.

    • Gayle Meyers

      get a dose of reality – yes, it happens at the top level tracks

      • kyle

        Get a clue. Whether any jocks use buzzers at tracks that could be considered top level is not the point. This is specifically about the conversation ( highly, highly selectively edited ) on the video. They are reminiscing. Try conjuring just a little perspective.

    • Barry Irwin

      I know Scott Blasi comes off as a bad guy in this video, but consider that what was shown was likely only a fraction of what was taped. Who knows under what context any of his comments were made. The one shot of him holding the head of the horse while it was being examined strikes me as Scott venting out of disappointment that a horse he really likes had sprung a leak and would unable to run. I’ve seen Scott in action for many years and I don’t think this accurately portrays him. This girl was out to get him. In that regard, she did a swell job.

      • English Bob

        Barry wake up, Scott would have been easy to tape and the portrait of his behavior on the tape was right on target. His barn language is the same as his language on a night out on the town.

  • steve k

    We the horseman, and horsewomen in the U.S. can make all the excuses we want about what is legal and theriputic in racing, but the fact is that unless our sport is rid of the drugs, it will go down the tubes faster than draino. The general public will not tolerate today’s norm. I can only imagine what Barbara Banke is thinking about right now. i now understand why she moved all of her horses from Assmussen. This lady who invests millions of dollars in our game and people like her, will think long and hard about the treatment of the horses, before putting up their money. The time is at hand to clean up the sport, or witness it’s demise. We need to emulte places like Hong Kong, to bring our sport back to the way it should be. Scott Blassie is an idiot, his lack of caring for the animal’s that he makes his living off of is schocking. The discussions about the use of an iligal battery, by Santana who is the stable jock for Assmussen is sickening. In addition Lucas and Stevens last years poster boy’s don’t look so good now. So everyone stop making excuses and lets get rid of the bad guys and cheats, and bring our game back to a better place. the animals deserve better. Ray I would like to hear your opinion. TY

    • Knowitall

      Ever wonder where all those horses in Hong Kong end up?

      • Barry Irwin

        Somehow I think you missed the point.

        • Knowitall

          No I didn’t. I picked out a point to indicate the fallacy of being like Hong Kong – who races only a couple of days, has strict and enforced rules, no meds, and controls the horses. That’s all fine and dandy, but as to how they take care of the horses, tell me what Hong Kong does with them when they are done with them?

      • Susan Crane-Sundell

        Hong Kong has the most advanced STATE-RUN drug testing facilities in the world. Not only can they and do they test for non-allowed medications and supplements, they do so expediently. No one waits around for months (sometimes even years) waiting for a hearing regarding disallowed substances, the suspected party finds out and is dealt with in a matter of days. Their system is a highly motivating deterrent to cheating through performance enhancing substances.

        As for the aftercare of their horses, they do have programs. As to how effective and benevolent they are, I have no knowledge at present, but am making it a point to find out. Most stallions we send there have buy-back clauses at present.

        • Knowitall

          Hong Kong doesn’t have space for breeding Susan. We don’t send stallions there. Until very recently, I think they put the used up racehorses down as they have no use or place for them. They are mostly geldings. Now I believe they are on the PR bandwagon and sending some to rescues in Australia. If anyone has some other knowledge, please correct me.

          • Hopefieldstables

            While many horses are put down at the end of their career in HK, many are also kept as retirees.

            In the 2010/11 season there were 445 retired horses in HK against a race population of 1,200 horses (also 180 in riding and equestrian sports mostly ex racehorses)

            Horses are also retired in mainland China, Australia and New Zealand. To call these “rescues” is misleading. They are paid for retirement homes. Owners lose their HKJC membership if they do not own a horse so many are happily kept in retirement.

            There are no private vets and all care during racing is via vets of the HKJC so care is second to none and not dependent on the attitude of the owner.

            There are 83 race days and about 9,500 runners with a turnover of USD 10 billion.

            Very much a model for all to follow.

          • Knowitall

            Thanks for that detailed info. I know they are a betting and enforcement model, but I don’t believe that “while many are put down at the end of their career” is ideal horse utopia. That 445 was the total retired of various ages and retirement dates at the current time in HK v. 1200 racing at any one time or that particular season – or 445 of the 1200 from that season were retired that year? What happened to the other 755?

          • Hopefieldstables

            445 at that time in HK (ie many ages). Only to make the point that some retirees are there in HK. Most are outside.

            When a horse is retired the HKJC takes responsibility. I am not sure the criteria for those that get put down but compared to any other jurisdiction none are allowed to fall through the cracks (and end up maltreated). That is the fundamental difference.

          • Knowitall

            Agreed on taking responsibility regardless of outcome. Do they primarily run geldings over there?

          • Hopefieldstables

            yes 80% geldings, overall 98% male !!!

          • Barry Irwin

            From Bill Nader, executive of the Hong Kong Jockey Club: Owners put up HK$60,000 when they import a horse to Hong Kong to take up permanent residency. Upon retirement, the money is refunded to them if they choose to export the horse overseas, usually NZ or AUS, for retirement. If not, we take possession and re-train horses for a second career in equestrian for one of our public or private riding schools. There are also those that we have to put down because they just won’t make it to a second life.

          • ginger2000

            I am impressed by their responsibility.

          • betterthannothing

            They do slaughter horses in AUS and NZ. I wonder for how long those retired horses are tracked? In any case they are better off there than in China.

          • Knowitall

            Well, while I wonder how many are euthanized and who determines who won’t make a second life, given the limitation of HK space, I like the model, and appreciate the information. And euthanasia better than abandonment or slaughter any day of the week. Thanks Barry.

          • Barry Irwin

            I totally agree with that sentiment.

          • Susan Crane-Sundell

            Thank you Hopefield!

  • Jord

    I think context would make this video look worse, not better. Context would show that this is closer to standard operating procedure than it is to extreme or deviant methods or behaviour. I don’t see anything in the video that PETA has distorted with editing and agenda.

    • ginger2000

      Exactly!

      • Bman

        Blasi’s callousness is certainly not taken out of context or distorted, even if he was drunk and only spoke once, once if enough. He should receive a lifetime ban from going anywhere near anything that looks like a horse. Ernie Paragallo has some room for him in his room.

  • Jennifer Morrison

    while the video does not really say anything untowards or unusual, the simple fact that these people who were caught on camera cutting up their owners, talking about using buzzers etc. should make people sick. And Scott Blasi, swearing is not the end of the world but he certainly comes across as a disgusting human who hates horses and is most certainly abusing them in many ways.

    • kyle

      The one redeeming aspect of the video is the comment about Zayat.

    • biggar

      You can say that this video shows abuse if that is what you want to believe, but it only proves stupid talk to me.

      • Gayle Meyers

        Again, for the mentally challenged: what about trying to trick the stewards next time in order to run a lame horse ISN”T abusive?

        • Knowitall

          That scene was strange as Blasi also says he has no problem with scratching the horse, he was off.

    • Barry Irwin

      I agree Scott comes across as a bad guy, but I think most of the moments he is in the video were emotionally charged after something negative had taken place. This strikes me as a real hit job.

  • Hamish

    How professional people can talk that vulgar without any feeling for the horse or the people around them is sickening. That in and of itself will make the general public squirm and question the integrity of those that are preparing the horses for the show. There has got to be a better way to conduct the sport of horse racing.

    • Really?

      You are right. I guess there are certain people that feel like they have to act this way to fit in or hang with the big boys. The highs in horse racing are really high, and the lows really low. You have to have thick skin to survive. So maybe a little bit of a callous is necessary. But referring to the horses as rats is unacceptable. If I look hard I thought I could see some sympathy in the guy between the m.f.ers when he said they break your heart every day. The sport must evolve from this commodity thinking.

      • Susan Crane-Sundell

        The talk in operating theatres isn’t pretty either and med school can give one a whole new education in “professional vernacular” but even in these disciplines there is a modicum of restraint, In racing there seems to be no code of ethics that is observed and definitely none that is enforceable. The language that was used in that video was deplorable and truly heartbreaking.

        The horses were thought of not as sentient beings on whose “backs” much money was being made, but as disposable commodities with no worth or dignity whatsoever except as experiments in performance enhancement. These “attempts” at improving performance all eventually fail and we are left with sore, broken horses with permanent injuries, organ, and even genetic damage that we then introduce into the gene pool to produce the next generation of progeny that we further weaken with more and seriously damaging chemical compounds and thoughtless procedures. We can all sit back and cry foul, while through lack of fan and horsemen education, our beloved sport goes right down the stall drain, along with the health and well-being of the horses who are the foundation and backbone of this sport.

        • Dan Jividen

          Very good point. Too many trainers view their horses as commodities, cash machines. People working with thoroughbreds today often reflect this in their language when they refer to the horse having “a big engine” or a “high cruising speed” and so forth. Somehow we’ve got to find a way to get authentic, honorable horsemen and horsewomen into our training. Trainers who understand that horses are flesh and blood, that they do not “cruise.” They walk, trot, canter and gallop. Thoroughbreds in particular are very good (and very beautiful) at the latter.

          • Susan Crane-Sundell

            Amen! I grew up with a family who looked at horses with awe.It’s been that way for generations. I’ve never lost my awe at the capabilities, beauty, nature and dignity of the horse. I strive to protect it. A well bred Thoroughbred doesn’t need enhancing. His attributes shine. Is everyone capable of being a stakes winner? Absolutely not. Yet that doesn’t mean they don’t have value and deserve our utmost respect and understanding. And right Dan, they are not machines or cars. They have their own gaits and rhythms. I don’t see why anyone who works in this industry doesn’t consider it a privilege to work with horses. If one doesn’t, one should leave the profession immediately. Why can’t we all pledge to uphold the dignity and welfare of the horse?

          • betterthannothing

            “Why can’t we all pledge to uphold the dignity and welfare of the horse?”

            Very well said Susan and thank you and your family for loving and respecting horses!

            Racing has chosen money, drugs and secrecy over equine welfare. Private racetrack veterinarians forget their oath each time they enter the barn area in vehicles full of drugs.

            Pledging to uphold the dignity and welfare of the horse would be the noble thing to do but I am afraid that it would be completely ignored, like the veterinary oath is and in the state of California, the laws against tripping and slaughtering horses are.

            I believe that tough, uniform rules written and enforced by a national racing authority, supported by the USADA, the FBI, the use of RICO and an authority created solely to protect the welfare and safety of race horses are needed to clean racing up.

    • Gayle Meyers

      That kind of talk is all too common.

  • Slim

    This is all over social media now. Good job Scott!

  • Nancy

    We are obviously on this site because we have an interest in racing. What do you think the average person is going to think if they read the story or watch the video? Perception is reality. So much for building up the fan base. Racing should have been trying to clean up their mess, not turn a blind eye to it.

    • nu-fan

      And, the horseracing industry wonders why fans keep drifting away….

      • JSR

        They are in charge of taking care of these horses and they mistreat them to death !! They have destroyed the horse business. All for a dollar $$$$

    • Brian Duntugan

      Very disturbing to watch, whether it be a horse racing fan or not.

  • John Scheinman

    The only part I want to address here is the specter of buzzers: How hard would it be to set up a simple metal detector in the paddock for jockeys to pass through before they mount the horses?

    • Needles

      The problem is worse in the morning where they are used a lot more frequently coming out of the turn and the stretch. When done in the morning, the horses are expecting it in afternoon or night.

      • John Scheinman

        it’s not a question of whether the horses are expecting it; it’s a matter of preventing it in the afternoon.

        • Knowitall

          So you don’t care if it hurts a horse in the morning, just the afternoon when you bet on them?

        • Hamish

          There’s a famous case from 20 years or so ago somewhere in the MidAtlantic region where the pony rider was passing the buzzer to the jock after the horses came out on the racetrack so the metal detector in the jock’s room wouldn’t work. Random frisks of jocks, pony riders and gate crew might help.

        • Needles

          You are missing the point. The disgusing practice and effect of the machine is mastered in the morning. THEY DON’T NEED TO USE IT IN THE AFTERNOON OR NIGHT IF THEY USE IT IN THE MORNING THE HORSE EXPECTS IT IN THE RACE.

          • ginger2000

            Exactly. Anyone who knows about conditioned response realizes that if you do something BEFORE you do something else, the animal makes that association. So say you make a particular sound or something and then shock the horse, the horse will expect the shock to be next. Pavlov’s dogs proved that. He rang a bell and they started salivating.

        • Needles

          The disgusting practice when done correctly is done in a way the machine is not needed to be used in the afternoon becuase the horse is expecting it. If you speak with backside people you will find this is the new way to cheat. So, my point to you is machines are a problem in the morning way more than the afternoon becuase the effect still works. If you were shocked 5 days a week in the morning and put the tack on the sixth day on Saturday afternoon you’d run harder expecting the machine at the 3/8 pole.

      • betterthannothing

        Exactly, they are conditioned to fear electrical shocks in the morning where it is less risky to be caught. I understand jockeys know what to do to make their horses fear electrical shocks are coming like pocking the horse’s neck with one of their nails. Don’t know how true/efficient that is.

        Years ago at Belmont Park, I saw, by accident, a big, gentle gelding being beaten and electrocuted in its stall by his own groom and another groom with a machine plugged into the wall outside his stall. They had put blinkers on the gelding and tied him to the wall. He was being hit with a whip and shocked, the prongs leaving two round burnt marks on his rump. When the gelding was to wear blinkers again to race the following day, he was supposed to be scared into running extra hard. The boss was a respected breeder, owner, trainer and Jockey Club member.

        • Susan Crane-Sundell

          That is just absolutely loathesome!

        • Barry Irwin

          Re the “Don’t know how true/efficient that is” 100 percent correct. Seen it done. Historically, it seems to me that a greater percentage of Cajun riders from Louisiana have used buzzers.

        • Beach

          That is SICKENING

    • Knowitall

      “Daddy, what’s that thing they walk through?”
      “Oh, honey, that’s just to make they aren’t cheating and shocking the horsies to make them run faster.”

  • Needles

    While PETA actually does more harm than good for animals as a whole, this video is indisputable. What’s worse is I’ll bet Asmussen doesn’t lose one owner.

    • kyle

      I make no defense for the Assmussen barn. They need to explain themselves. But keep in mind, this is nine minutes of video culled from four months. The video hardly stands on its own. Also, I think the undercover groom needs to shed her anonymity.

      • Knowitall

        It does stand fine. If you watch it and know enough, it isn’t that shocking and Blasi isn’t condoning all of it, but explaining it to her in his inimitable way. But it will be stomach churning to the masses…PETA’s intent. The sport needs to clean itself up if it wants to survive – that’s the point. I think Blasi will leak her ID soon…oh, wait, maybe he didn’t check it or bought her a fake one!

        • cheri

          kyle, Hopefully that corrects the error I made in addressing you. Ok, now let me correct an error you made… I WAS CYBER YELLING, CYBER JUDGING, CYBER EXECUTIONER, CYBER JURY, CYBER RANTING, CYBER ANYTHING BAD I CAN SAY ABOUT THIS SITUATION. UNFORTUNATELY, THE VIDEO WAS NOT CYBER AND NEITHER WERE THE EQUINE ATHLETES HE KILLED OR IS MAIMING AS WE SPEAK.

          • Really?

            Who did he kill or maim? I missed that part.

            I think most people are on the same page here. There are people that push boundaries to the horses detriment but it does not represent most horseman. Keeping your argument realistic adds credibility.

          • cheri

            My reaction is just as over the top, crazy and outrageous as the actions of the madman himself. He had it coming. Period. His moronic henchman deserves “it” too. I don’t care who punishes the morons, but they deserve it. Shocking and sickening, the lot of them. And, I never said anything about any other horseman. I love the sport and actually have a high opinion of most horsemen, but mostly revere the equines as the athletes they are. It is not reasonable to think I will respond any other way but to come out swinging like CRAZY.

      • cheri

        WTF??? This is HARD EVIDENCE OF SLEAZE. “KYLE”:

        • kyle

          cheri, I don’t mind that you’re cyber yelling. But my name is kyle – no need for quotation marks – and online it’s lower case kyle, like e.e. cummings. I’d appreciate it if you address me again you address me correctly.

      • Needles

        I don’t care if it’s 9 minutes or 9 seconds. It’s demeaning how this guy refers to his horses and the people who are ultimately paying his salary. I don’t care if Gary Stevens used the machine when he was 17 – the fact that he jokes about it like it was “fun” makes him an utter embarrassment to the sport. We all have regrets and it doesn’t seem to me like he regrets it one bit which is very sad.

        • kyle

          Needles said, “I don’t care if Gary Stevens used the machine.” You don’t? I thought you were against such things?

          • FastBernieB

            Talk about taking something out of context. What “Needles” actually said was ” I don’t care if Gary Stevens used the machine when he was 17 – the fact that he jokes about it like it was “fun” makes him an utter embarrassment to the sport.” Sounds to me like he’s against “such things.”

          • kyle

            “FastBernie?” That’s obviously a misnomer.

          • FastBernieB

            I’m not sure what your point could possibly be based on what you’ve written above. Perhaps you might consider changing your name to “turnip” as a reflection of your IQ.

        • Needles

          No, you are interpreting incorrectly. People will say it’s no big deal becuase he was a kid.

        • Beach

          I thought he was better than all that. It’s not funny to use it, and it’s not funny to joke about using it. Shocking those animals off whom one makes his living…and I don’t give a damn if he was 17 or not. I never shocked an animal when I was 17–even if that doesn’t make me a saint.

      • Susan Crane-Sundell

        Do you think that if that woman were to shed her anonymity, we wouldn’t be fishing her body out of the Hudson or the Mississippi? Perhaps she might end up in a terrible car accident a few months from now. Even if that weren’t to happen, that woman would never work again, outside of the administrative offices of PETA.

    • Knowitall

      I’d take that bet. Although most of those owners probably were slipping away anyway. The womenfolk and children aren’t going to cotton to the Blasi Files. At the least, I’d say Asmussen doesn’t have to worry about the pressure of training Jess’s Dream or any other nice stock from Stonestreet going forward.

      Be interesting to see Ms. Maggi Moss’s reaction? Note she is not representing them;-)

  • Jay Stone

    The fact PETA is now campaigning for federal oversight is interesting. This undercover procedure is something that probably has gone on before and will again probably with federal undercovers. Most of the talk was just idiots complaining but again there is overuse of permissible meds that need to be addressed by federal oversight. This is a potential hall of famer’s barn at the highest level of our game. He trains for very wealthy people who don’t want negative publicity and this is the public’s perception of this game. When perception becomes reality we all lose.

    • cheri

      THIS IS REALITY, JAY STONE, NO OVERSIGHT, SICKENING CRUELTY TO ATHLETES. YOU DEFEND EVIL.

      • Jay Stone

        I have always been and I continue to be a strict advocate of federal oversight. This will just speed up the process hopefully.

  • Big Red

    Simply amazing, I’m listening to Steve Byk (At the Races) and he has spent the last 5 minutes DEFENDING Asmussen. Any true horsemen knows this stuff, legal or not, is done in ALL stables and are borderline cruel to the animal. Simply ask yourself, would you do this to your children so they could exceed in Little League or Soccer?
    WE (as Horsemen) have grown cold to the every day activities to push these animals to their limits so WE can make money.
    PERIOD.

    • Stephanie

      Big Red – have you seen that show about little kids playing football in Texas? Friday Night Tykes (I think). I’ve only seen a couple of stories about it, but it looks like, yes parents will do the same to their kids.

      • Big Red

        So this makes it right?
        Thanks for making my basic point here!

    • johnnyknj

      Steve is usually a defender of the establishment and knows only what he is told about what actually goes on on the backside. Doesn’t mean he doesn’t love racing, just that maybe he ought to get out and see for himself.

  • Nucky Thompson

    Nice to see that Mr. Zayat is not taking this lying down . Here are just a couple of his tweets (@jazz3162)

    “Who is left now?! to train should I just fire all of them now ? Or just exit this game”

    “You want to hear If I had a gun now I would shoot this bastard Scott Blasi ”
    Go get ‘em Ahmed !

    • Knowitall

      He’d definitely fire them all if he knew what some other trainers have said about him;-) Interested in the Zayat position that he never knew the bad condition of his horse’s feet. Maybe he should fire his racing manager as well? Oh…wait.

  • anthony

    time has come to mirror hong kong racing and let the race track manage everything including vets and drugs.

    • Knowitall

      And dispose of the horses how? But seriously let the gaming companies that tolerate racing just because they have to manage everything. Brilliant.

      • crookedstick

        Dispose?

  • Tonto

    . “A New York Times investigation in 2012 showed how a pervasive drug culture, encouraged by trainers and aided by veterinarians, put horses and riders at risk. The Times found that 24 horses a week died at American tracks, a rate greater than in countries where drug use was severely restricted”. Considering that the population of horses at a racetrack are young health athletes – doesn’t this seem pretty high ? Just as the number of “attending” vets on race day seems pretty high

    • Really?

      I agree, but Vets are no longer allowed to attend to horses on race day in most jurisdictions…. If your horse needs emergency treatment it must be scratched.

    • fb0252

      includes QH.

  • comedyflyer

    Peta has done a lot of good work & made mistakes. People like to remember only the bad….just make 1 mistake at where you work & see what I mean & everyone forgets the good you have done every day. This applies also to those who truly respect the Sport of Kings. There have been problems in racing for many moons & finally getting it to the public is necessary for the clean-up. It is time for racing to become a responsible sport that throws out the bad apples before the entire crop is spoiled. Horses are not commodities & horse slaughter is not humane euthanasia…it is time for the racing industry to step up to the plate…stop the drugs, stop racing babies & lame horses…breeders just look at how some of these horses end up!

  • Discusted

    Where are the people who are suppose to be testing for drugs, these trainers and all those involved need to get sent down, forever!!

    • Really?

      I didn’t see any reference to illegal drugs in the video….. There was a picture of ace in there. It is a common tranq for horses that tie up. There is reference to joint injections that can range from routine maintenance to abusive if used to mask lameness. I don’t see any proof here that lame horses were injected to their detriment. What drug are you seeing used here that someone should be testing for.

      However, the use of thyroid meds on all the horses is a problem. I can just imagine what it would do to horses that are claimed from barn to barn on and off this supplement. It may explain downward form reversal. This is really bad. However, it is a new issue that has come up recently that the industry has to solve. It is a legitimate therapy for hypothyroid horses.

      • Beach

        You are right. On and off thyroid medication is not a game. It can be a huge shock to the system. And making a euthyroid animal(ie, normal), including a human, who is also an animal, is completely unethical. I’ve seen hypothyroid women, with a need for the supplements, want their doctors to make them “just a little” hyperthyroid to give them more energy and keep their weights down. People who do that are fools, and ethical doctors, or vets, will say not just no but HELL NO to that.

  • Tidewaterhorse

    I live in close proximity to Peta headquarters in Virginia.Although there are many flaws in horse racing today when it comes to medication, Peta has one overall agenda, which is to end horse racing, which they believe is inhumane. Hopefully this investigation will be an impetus to clean up the sport but Peta will not stop at that.

    • fb0252

      is this what happens when our sport makes PETA the enemy instead of cooperating with them for the good of the horse?

      Where is the NTRA letter to PETA–let’s get together and discuss.

      The only wonder is that it has taken so long for this to happen.

      • Jay Stone

        Working with PETA would have always been a scary thought to most horseman but we have reached a point that it might be a reality with PETA calling for federal oversight. This video is damning on many fronts but to neophytes it looks like real abuse.

        • fb0252

          a lot of it also looks like abuse to me. i’d be suspending lifetime every high level employee and owner in that barn. due process, of course.

      • betterthannothing

        Racing is digging its own grave by discounting the welfare of its horses on and off track and offering juicy opportunities for organizations like PETA to expose it and condemn it.

      • Really?

        Well, as an animal lover, it may seem logical to work with the humane organizations. However, some of these people just live to fight and are insatiable” I’ve seen trainers abused on line for things that weren’t true. If the trainer actually shows up to defend themselves and explain the situation these people smell blood and attack. They don’t want the truth to be good, they want it to be bad. So, unfortunately some extremists set back the cause.

        • fb0252

          Q: How good would horse racing look if JC tomorrow sent letter to Humane Society and PETA–bring in your investigators and let’s talk?
          If then the animal rights org is unreasonable, expose them. As it is, horse racing is a sitting duck for any attack because we treat them as the enemy, which is just opposite of what they are or profess to be.

  • Roy

    I looked the claimed horse from the video, Valedicition. Has not raced or turned in a recorded work since that race last year. What did. RudyRod do with him?

    • Susan Crane-Sundell

      You ask the very question I was afraid to ask.
      I’m praying he retired him and that he didn’t end up at a kill buyer’s lot.
      Does anyone know?

  • cheri

    Damn their sickening souls to hell! I never liked “ASSmussen”, or trusted the puke. I hope him and his assistant GOTO JAIL OR ARE BEATEN TO A PULP. Bless Nehro’s soul…

  • Stephanie

    PETA has an agenda, yes. But in some instances we have to overlook their agenda and side with them. I think this is one of those cases.

    Did you see the ABC news video, also shot undercover, showing the abuse rampant in the Walking Horse industry?

    All horse sports have some very cruel practices going on. They must be stopped and if video shot undercover is the way to do it, then we should spread the word using that video. Some owners want to win, no matter what. Are trainers doing these things because if they don’t some other trainer will? If all trainers (in all horse sports) would just keep the welfare of the horse first, maybe that would be a start.

    Every time I want to start promoting horse racing as something fun to do, some crap like this happens. Makes things hard.

    • Ladyofthelake

      This video may go ignored by the mainstream public, esp. since most people are aware that PETA is a bunch of crazy extremists. Depends on whether TV news picks it up.
      The walking horse video was filmed (I think) by the Humane Society which has a *little* more credibility. Plus that one showed outright beating & torture of horses.
      I guess I got lucky that my first exposure to horse racing behind the scenes was one of the “good guys” or else if something like this video had been the only thing I ever knew, I also probably would have been turned off by it.

  • crookedstick

    This, as the movie “50-1″ is released. Touted as the story of a Cinderella horse, Mine That Bird is carted City to City to drum up support for the movie. his owners Leonard Blach and Mark Allen are portrayed as down-on their luck cowboys. In truth they are a couple of jaded Race Track Hacks of Ruidoso Fame (mentioned in the video.) Blach recently was Expert Witness for Valley Meat in Roswell , which is located on the back road behind his farm, where he operates an 80 stall mare barn. Right across the Road, is Mine That Bird’s paddock. Valley Meat plans to kill 121 horses per DAY for human consumption with Blach’s Blessing. About those Equine Drugs entering the food chain? Doc Blach says, don’t worry about it.

    • Really?

      Oh no, I didn’t know that about the owner. Makes me sick. I was looking forward to seeing that movie too. Maybe I’ll pass on it now.

      • crookedstick

        I was at the Hearing in Roswell. Have the Transcripts. If you want to read them.

      • Susan Crane-Sundell

        Don’t fault the movie for Blach being a total windbag. But DO fault Blach for being a VETERINARIAN who supports horse slaughter, testified for granting a permit to Valley Meat in his home state of New Mexico and turns a blind eye to the dangers of bute for consumption by humans.

    • Knowitall

      Holy sh!t. I’d say that is worth a NYT Drape drive by, too! MTB’s owners remind that the only one with class in that bunch has four legs.

  • the wizard

    Time for a reality check and to get out of denial.

  • fb0252

    lifetime suspensions coming? and hopefully fines that hit ‘em where it counts.

  • http://dprdpr@live.com Don Reed

    PETA – Now THERE’s an unbiased investigative team!

    • Barry Irwin

      The word “investigate” is used improperly. Infomercials are not considered to be investigative pieces anyplace in the democratic world.

      • MoFan

        Irwin, get off.
        You are annoying and self-serving, all times.

        • Barry Irwin

          Welcome to the Paulick Report. Always nice to have brand new faces that just seem to pop in from time to time for seemingly no specific reason whatsoever.

      • http://dprdpr@live.com Don Reed

        You are 100% correct. As the entire sentence was created to convey my opinion of the outfit (undiluted contempt), please understand that we are of one mind on the subject of their qualifications to do investigative work, of which they have none.

  • Hamish

    Has anyone seen the written complaint filed by PETA with the groups Ray named in this piece? This barn had a run in with the U.S Dept of Labor that was settled by consent judgment back in early 2013 in U.S Court NY Eastern District, so if the current underpaid employee accusation has merit, troubles may lie ahead.

  • Dan Jividen

    The PETA undercover agent said “It was more like working at a pharmacy than at a stable.” Despite what we might think about PETA’s tactics, can we really deny the truth of that statement? We need to get back to hay, oats and water and only hay, oats and water.

    • Barry Irwin

      Investigator? Gimme a freaking break pal.

      • Dan Jividen

        You disappoint me, Mr. Irwin. I did not refer to the PETA person as an “investigator” but as an “undercover agent,” the same term you used above to describe her. I know you are passionate about this matter, Mr. Irwin, but you should not let your passion interfere with the respect due other posters (who are also passionate about the subject) by giving their posts a closer reading than you gave to mine.

        • Barry Irwin

          I apologize. It just kills me that anybody thinks this has anything to do with the word “investigation.”

          • Dan Jividen

            I accept your apology, Mr. Irwin, and thank you for it. As it happens you and I are in agreement when it comes to PETA. Nothing they do rises to the level of an “investigation.” They are not in the business of fact finding in search of real solutions to real problems. They are in the media manipulation business and the rabble rousing business. Still, I thought the PETA woman spoke well when she said she felt more like she was working at a pharmacy than at a stable during the time she was working for Steve Asmussen.
            When I was a lad and a young man I spent as much time as I could on the backstretch and on breeding farms. A horse barn was my idea of what Heaven would be like. But, when I was a lad and young man, we never called a vet unless a horse was three-legged lame. We couldn’t afford them. Besides, the old home remedies the family had learned down the generations kept the horses in better condition than the vets could.
            These days I avoid the backstretch like the plague. It is crawling with vets loaded down with copious (and very expensive) pharmacopeias. The vets, not the trainers, are the dominant force on the backstretch now. It’s more like a pharmacy than a stable. The backstretch is no longer a happy place to be; it is a depressing place to be.

          • Barry Irwin

            If racing’s participants had taken action sooner, PETA would not be able to generate this type of publicity in racing’s major league. It is very depressing that this group was able to get the NY Times to have a hand in legitimizing such an unprofessional insult to our game.

          • betterthannothing

            Dan, very well said. I share your pain and avoid going to the track for the very same reasons you do, vets crawling everywhere with trays full of syringes then turning around and watching some stiff and lame horses training.

    • Knowitall

      I hate to break it to ya, but not many ever ran on only hay oats and water. Unless Only is a PE. They ran on whatever worked, when no one was testing yet. And they definitely used buzzers:-)

      • Dan Jividen

        Knowitall, our experiences have simply been different. Plenty of the old time trainers I was around (late 50′s, 60′s) were strictly hay, oats, and water men. The juicers and hop trainers were the exception rather than the rule in those days (at least in Kentucky, my bailiwick) and they didn’t last long. Unlike many in this forum I do not think it is impossible to return to a 1965 Kentucky status, that is, a zero tolerance policy for drugs in racing.

        • Knowitall

          I am all for a return to a med free race day. And I know they had less year round racing and more time off in the winter back then.

  • David

    My 2 cents:

    1) Obviously Blasi and Assmussen are in a lot of trouble. The identity falsification charges alone are enough to get them booted from the sport. My guess is Blasi will do some jail time for it. The feds don’t mess around after 9/11.

    2) This is EXACTLY the kind of ammo state reps need to boost their case for reducing/eliminating slots subsidies for the horsemen.

    3) Federals authorities will take over regulation of the sport in some way, shape or form. It’s pretty clear neither the horsemen or the tracks are willing to police themselves so Uncle Sam is going to lend a hand.

    4) After reading the NYT article Gov. Cuomo will accelerate the sale of NYRA. Much of the video was recorded at Saratoga so this is a black eye for NYRA even though they had nothing at all to do with it.

    This could be good for the game in the long run but I think they’ll be a lot of pain for the foreseeable future.

    • Jay Stone

      Excellent comments. I think the piece was well done by a very good investigator and ultimately, despite pain, it will speed up much needed federal oversight.

      • Barry Irwin

        You must be kidding. This wouldn’t be considered well done even in Russia at the height of Communism.

        • Jay Stone

          Firstly, I said well done because she seems to have completed what she set out to do. That was to infiltrate the operation and without detection record the happenings. I think she accomplishe her tasks despite your disapproval. How PETA edited this is another story. Secondly. In the long run if this gets somebody or group in the industry to move forward on much needed reforms it was well worth it.

          • Barry Irwin

            Jay, so the end justifies the means. OK. I get it. I think when the story comes out about the “mole” you may wish to change your opinion. I find the method, the language, the style and the editing to lack taste and I think it fails the smell test.

          • Jay Stone

            Barry, I know as much about the (investigator) as you do. As much as I don’t like the way she got herself into the situation I still think this is the shock that may unite the right factions in this industry to act. In the end the thing that will hurt the trainer and assistant the most is the allegations of impropriety involving workers

          • Barry Irwin

            Right. And the reason I feel this was a true hit job is that PETA, which has no skin in this aspect of the issue, apparently filed a complaint about the Social Security compliance. This smacks more of dirty trick politics than outing somebody that is cruel to animals. I am not condoning what Asmussen did, only the way this thing was perpetrated. To me it all goes to intent. What was the intent of PETA? Who charged them with the duty of going after employers that don’t follow the labor laws? Looks like they just wanted to throw up as much crap against the wall to see what would stick and further besmirch their subjects. If their intent to protect the animals or drag horse racing through the muck?

          • Jennifer G

            Of course PETA wants to see what sticks. They don’t care about the low wages or poor treatment of immigrant workers. If PETA cared about people first, they’d be investigating conditions on organic fruit and vegetable farms.

            PETA wants to end horse racing. Their overall goal is to end the ownership or use of domestic animals for any purpose.

          • ginger2000

            I would imagine that PETA turned over all the footage. And there may well be far more incriminating evidence on it. Saved for any court cases.

    • Bellwether

      Should have happened a long time ago as the Fed has been checking “The Game” out undercover for a number of years…The powers that be are in for a rude awaken from coast to coast but in the long haul its going to help save “The Game”…Book It!!!…

  • greg

    saying a horse is always sore is certainly not anything at all, there is nowhere they are doing anything damning

  • greg

    The video does make them look like real assholes, but doesn’t show anything “illegal” and referring to a horse as a “fu$$er” is classless and stupid, so what? I am not defending them at all I despise cheating and drugging, but the video is like most PETA stuff, more noise than fact

    • Barry Irwin

      Greg, what about falsifying Social Security and other document applications? You do that and you are playing with fire. I agree on all the rest of it. And I also say that if this is all they have to show for 8 months worth of “investigation” they don’t have much, other than a lot of mofo language.

      • greg

        agree 100%, was referring to the stuff regarding the horses specifically

  • Bandit’s Mom

    Sounds like, Steve needs to get the name of Bob’s PR group, asap!
    There are not enough words to describe, Blasi…..here is one and it is the kindest I can use for now, SOB!

  • John D

    Where are the Vets ? They are too busy giving shots for $$$$$, (ordered by the trainer !!), and too freightened of loosing all this $$$$$ with a thorough and true evaluation a horses condition. The trainer/vet combo has a free run while others dare not say anything. Do greatly needed owners want to get involved in this kind of stuff ? Does it take extremist PETA to protect humans, (jockeys), from injury, and worse, because self-regulation is a continuing myth ? We need strong oversight for any hope to stop the eventual demise of horse racing. I, certainly, do not like PETA, but I do not like racings’ decline even more

  • TAO

    Why wouldn’t they be surprised someone targeted them for an investigation? Rumors have been rampant for ages about dumping horses at kill sales, and abuse of horses and workers for years. I hope Joe D. digs deep. PETA is a necessary evil. Drama queens and over reactionaries to the core, but they pull the muck to the surface when no one else is willing to spend the time or money. I love racing but anymore when I visit my horse on the backside I come home thinking it’s time to get out of the business and join PETA.

  • Blankcheck

    No matter how you want to interpret this story its not good for racing. What a shame and I love this game.

    • nu-fan

      It is disappointing, disheartening, and quite sad, isn’t it? Sometimes its hard to stay a fan of this sport.

  • Weinberg

    PETA is absolutely ridiculous in the way they showed out of context video. In the video someone says the horses foot has no pulse. To the normal person this could seem catastrophic but anyone who knows horses knows that it is a good thing for a foot to have no pulse. PETA uses the publics ignorance on things like this to stir up trouble and make the racing industry seem cruel. These horses are living and being treated like rock stars. Millions of dollars are spent to keep these animals healthy and happy but PETA never mentions this. If PETA had its way racing would be illegal and millions of horses would be sent to slaughter

    • ginger2000

      If you believe racehorses are treated like rock stars you haven’t been to the track or you have no empathy for animals. And NO money is spent to keep these horses happy. Money is spent in an attempt to MAKE money. The quality of life of the horse is not considered other than minimally. Racing needs reform and people hanging on to cliches like this is the reason PETA is there. Not a huge fan of PETA, but I am glad they did it. And I hope it results in positive change.

      • Really?

        Ummm, depends on the barn. There is money spent to keep horses happy. Owners turn horses out for breaks which costs money. Some tracks have waiver claiming races to help foster this approach. Some trainers pay people to graze their horses, buy carrots, gastro guard, etc. etc. Yes, there may be a correlation that a happy horse makes money but not everyone thinks this way.

        • ginger2000

          That is true. But it’s not all that common and certainly millions are not spent doing it. I wouldn’t put Gastro Guard in that category, as horses wouldn’t need it if their lifestyle wasn’t so unnatural. Anyone who reads up on the horse’s digestive system would know that large meals of grain push stomach acid up to the unprotected top half of the stomach, burning it. The horse’s stomach is NOT like ours, only the bottom half has a mucosal lining. Not the top half. As horses are mean to eat tiny bits constantly – in the wild they would never fill their stomach – which is relatively small.

          • Really?

            Horse with ulcers=unhappy, so spending money on gastro guard in a way is an attempt to make horses happy. It’s not something you have to do in most cases. Horses win races every day with ulcers I’m sure. I’m pretty sure ulcer control in horses is a million dollar industry, as one month is over $1000.

            I’m not disagreeing that owners/trainers spending money on horses may have an ulterior motive but many take pride in doing right by them too.

          • ginger2000

            Agreed.

          • Susan Crane-Sundell

            Yes but if horses had diets that weren’t ulcer inducing and more turn out time no one would need omprazole. Three year olds shouldn’t have ulcers if they lived in more natural environments.

          • Barry Irwin

            Ulcers are a reaction to stress. Racing and training are stressful. There are ulcers that are a result of bacteria and medication can clear them up. Horses that are turned out in a paddock have a better chance to avoid or deal with ulcers.

          • Susan Crane-Sundell

            i agree Mr. Irwin .Yes that is why I advocate more supervised turn-out time for horses. Plus selective and frequent grazing is better for a horse’s digestive system than eating larger more concentrated meals.
            Helicobactor pylori can be just as much a cause for ulcers in horses as it is for humans. That’s why it is very important to have well dried hay and good quality food.

            Horses have rather small stomachs relative to their size and they can’t actually eat too much without walking around to digest their food.

            Balanced trace amounts of Lysine, calcium and proper phosphorous 3-5 % also help nutritionally. Plus never underestimate a trace of iron–good old Guinness or black strap molasses is actually good for horses

            I wish every working horse could live at an equestrian training center where there is more room for turn-out to aid digestion rather than a backstretch..but that’s a dream

            Your horses have always been well taken care of…I commend you for the care you have always shown for your horses. AK is a poster child for beauty and health.

        • betterthannothing

          At the few places where horse owners are protected from having their fresh or healed horses claimed away from them right away, the protection usually lasts for only one race. That protection is needed for multiple races everywhere or owners should be offered plenty of opportunities to race their horses in non-claiming races.

      • Barry Irwin

        This is an insult to the horsemen that do it right and have done it right for decades.

  • FastBernieB

    Anyone who is shocked by Blasi’s language just hasn’t spent time on the backside when the grooms are going about their business. Vocabularies change when owners or media are known to be present. Blasi looks to me to be a guy doing his best to get his horses “racehorse sound” through means that are legally available. Being happy to have a horse with issues claimed away doesn’t mean he didn’t like the horse or mistreated it in anyway – from a business point of view the horse probably required an amount of time and effort that was disproportionate to its earning potential. “Rat” is simply part of racetrack vernacular to describe a horse that doesn’t pay its way. No big deal as I see it.
    To me, there were two huge issues that require further investigation: the use of undocumented workers and the comments of Lukas and Stevens about the use of electrical devices. The admission of the use of such devices (Stevens) or unreported knowledge of the usage of such devices (Lukas) requires disciplinary action even if the event happened 30 years ago.

    • betterthannothing

      I wish PETA had planted an under-cover investigator in Lukas’s barn too!!!

      • zoey2

        Agreed…..but needed long ago, before DWayne became leader of the sociopath pack. Decent, good horsemen, (including DRF personnel) “outed” him and he’s gone down ever since, as well deserved. 1993 Preakness….Union City (R.I.P.) was a tragedy that SHOULD have put an end to Lukas but at least exposed a vision of the under-belly that exists in racing today…..the Lukas wannabes. So blind, so cruel.

        • betterthannothing

          Agreed… But Dublin and Oxbow were not that long ago and these super talented colts survived their shortened careers.

    • Knowitall

      Bernie, you are actually more worried about Stevens using a buzzer 30 years ago on a bull ring or Lukas discussing buzzers left behind a gate in Ruidoso QH days than you are Blasi’s contention that a current jock that rides a top Derby contender for him is using a buzzer? Really?

      • FastBernieB

        I guess I had a senior’s moment when I missed that one. You are quite correct that investigating a current jock using an electrical device should be the first priority. I just found it quite disturbing that two of the sport’s iconic figures incriminated themselves – Stevens for using a device and Lukas for being aware that a device was being used – and then laughing about the abuse of the very animals that enabled their success.

  • maggi moss

    I have not been with the Asmussen barn for over 2 years and those reasons will stay private. However; As a young lawyer, I represented PETA, and split immediately with them for their eccentric and crazy posture. However, despite that, what strikes me is the unfairness of this to all the truly hard working loving trainers in this game that love their animals which is the MAJORITY; who speaks for them? The video is deplorable but is 8 minutes of 8 months and a concerted political effort to further political and monied goals to continue the attack of racing and ignore the thousands of caring and loving people in this game. IF reform is needed, let this be a wake up call and not a knee jerk reaction to further a great and loving sport.

    • Really?

      I agree, it is a sad day for all of us. I think everyone in the business needs to take a look at themselves from an outsiders view. Some is defensible (I’ll never forget how horrified my brother, a non horseman, was when he saw us use a twitch). But other things may need to be re evaluated. Maybe some things that have always been done that way need to change. But I for one do not want this guy’s mouth representing my sport.

    • Tinky

      “IF reform is needed…”

      That you phrase that as a question speaks volumes.

    • jttf

      maggie gets asmussen off of a six month suspension a few years ago and now she wont say anything negative about blasi and asmussen. not even now. there are so many great horsemen that wont turn in people. good people help out the mistreated horses and stable workers. bad people keep their mouths shut. so how long are lawyers going to delay all of rulings ? rick dutrow had his best year of training when his rulings were delayed, delayed and delayed. do lawyers make more money with all of the delays ? i like it when the frog morphines rulings are delayed for more than a year. what a great justice system. remember everybody can use thyroid meds even though you dont need it. people actually are defending these two. wow

    • Harry

      It is time for EVERYONE and I do mean everyone, to stop supporting and DEFENDING the cheaters!
      “If” is not an option.

    • Suzanne Powell

      If?? You say if reform is needed? Come on, everyone knows how often you’ve stepped up for horses who needed to retire but had no way out because there were no effective structures in place to protect them. Yes, there are many intelligent effective and compassionate trainers who run sound horses but too many trainers believe that using “therapeutic medication” means it’s ok to run sore horses. Take a good vet with you and walk around the backside of any track if you have any doubt that reform is needed.

    • hadrianmarcus

      Good horsemen need to come out and condemn those (of their own) that would put this ‘Sport of Kings’ in a bad light. Not rationalize, excuse, or minimize the abuse or over-medication of its equine athletes. As an attorney, you know full well that laws are written, not for the 99 good citizens, but for the single evil one. The fact you can use the phrase “IF reform is needed” tells me the level of disconnect those within the horse industry have with fans, gamblers, and the public in general. Horse racing can clean its act up…or continue to shrink by 5 percent each year….until its gone.

    • Beach

      I’m no huge fan of PETA, but if the goal you want to achieve is basically fair treatment of racing, then the good apples in it need to call out and root out the bad apples–instead of shooting the messenger.

  • Barry Irwin

    1. This is not an investigation, this is an infomercial intended to raise funds for PETA.
    2. That was no investigator. That individual was too close to the subjects. Looks like a hit job
    to me all the way.

    3. Not all trainers run their stables like this one, but PETA paints all trainers with one brush
    stroke.

    4. Until the honest/caring vets and horse loving/sporting trainers step out and complain about
    the guys that take advantage of the game, practices like this will go on forever. As long as
    the AAEP and HBPA/TOC stay on the sidelines nothing is going to change.

    5. State racing commissions and racetrack owners have the ability and standing to change
    the way the backstretch operates, but they have a conflict of interest because they want
    horses from stables like Assmussen’s to run at their local track.

    6. This is exactly why the Feds have to step in.

    • nu-fan

      But, keep in mind that PETA can not only able to tap into the values of the public but, more importantly, can bring issues to the front pages. To dismiss them as a bunch of “loonies” as some may wish to do so, is risky. I still remember when women wore furs. Now, they may still do so but rarely in California and it seems to be applicable to many other geographic areas. PETA changed that. But, I agree fully with you that the “good guys” in horseracing need to step up vigorously and make the needed changes happen—NOW! By they way, I also agree that the Feds may need to get involved but I don’t always have that much faith in governmental agencies, either. I wish the horseracing industry would do the right thing and bring back respect to the “sport of kings”.

      • Ladyofthelake

        PETA is a fringe group that most normal people don’t take seriously. Today my farm co worker & I were discussing Peta & she said a hippie vegan lady she knows who works at a nearby animal shelter once told her that she’d really like to keep a goat, but “keeping a goat outside all the time would just seem so mean.” These are the kinds of people that Peta appeals to.
        Not that horse racing doesn’t need reforms, it does, but you aren’t gonna change the minds of any vegan hippie Peta supporters. They are what they are.

        • Gayle Meyers

          PeTA got steroids out of racing. Say what you will about their methods, they got results in 2008.

    • fb0252

      this informercial was quite an eye opener Mr. Irwin. PETA’s attack on horse racing was inevitable, should have been forseen, and dealt with appropriately by embracing them as an org interested in animal protection and animal rights–exactly the same agenda anyone involved in horse racing should have, and inviting them into the sport, no fed oversight necessary.

      • Barry Irwin

        I think there are individual members that support PETA, such as former athletes, that would find many good examples of well-run stables on every backstretch in America. I have suggested before that some of these folks be invited to tour the stable area to get them on the right side of the issue. Anybody that generated this attack would not be somebody we would want to engage, as they have one agenda and one agenda only.

        • kyle

          Be aware: PETA does not recognize Man’s right to “use” animals – whether it be for food, clothing or entertainment. Appeasing them is impossible and will get you what it got Chamberlain. Racing does need to speak to the concerns of the public at larger, however. Good horsemen have to speak out. They need to draw the line on what is cruelty. And where expediency and economics rule the moment they need to be able and willing to defend that or those practices need to change.

          • Barry Irwin

            Good points.

          • GreyK

            And they also euthanize most animals turned over to them, they rarely adopt out. PETA runs what amounts to kill shelters.

    • Knowitall

      I’m waiting for a top trainer to say enough, admit the deeds, and pull the curtain all the way back to force reform.

      • Barry Irwin

        Never gonna happen. Closest we’ve seen to this was when the brave guy Adam Kitchenman was caught and freely admitted it. I give him a lot of credit for that. What we need is for the HBPAs to start speaking out, followed by top trainers that support this position. That shouldn’t be hard. The press is as guilty as anybody because they knowingly make heroes out of cheaters. I know some people in the media who want to throw up every time they glorify a cheater.

        • betterthannothing

          It shouldn’t be hard and it must happen but racing is too dysfunctional to pass major reforms on its own and choose quality over quantity. The HBPA favors drugs, money, power and non-stop cheap racing to boost membership.

          People in the media who know who the abusive cheaters are and still choose to glorify cheaters (and butchers), even if they want to throw up, are part of the problem.

        • MaryMatthews

          Many of the HBPA members are pro-slaughter advocates. While I would hope that they would step up to help the horses in some way, many times we see the opposite of this.

          • Barry Irwin

            Do not confuse euthanasia with slaughter. Be careful of your terminology.

        • Jay Stone

          Sorry Barry, no shot of HBPA helping. You know this as well as I do. Horsemen’s groups are made up of many well meaning individuals but they protect their own and most of the guys with problems are not even members of their own groups. Once in a while they have problems and go to HBPA to help them but that is rare.

          • betterthannothing

            Haven’t some HBPAs gone as far as paying defense lawyers for trainers with dirty tests?

          • Jay Stone

            Yes they have which is why the HBPA is of no help. They represent both factions, the majority who are harmed by cheating, and the few who get caught. So as the president recently stated they have no problems and outside control isn’t needed.

          • betterthannothing

            That is because the HBPA prioritizes self-aggrandizing trash, money and power over honorable conduct and most importantly the welfare of horses, riders, ethical owners and trainers and safer, quality-only racing for the good if not survival of the entire industry.

          • Barry Irwin

            Jay, I don’t know what rock you live under, but one only has to look at one particular jurisdiction to see the impact a trainer has on the game to know he dominates it on the track and in the boardroom.

    • Jay Stone

      This would be the perfect time for the Feds to step into this convuluted mess. The fact that immigration and labor laws have been broken gives them the perfect reason to step in. The states are powerless and the individual associations and groups are waiting for some sort of leadership.

    • Hoops and Horses

      The problem is that a lot of these horsemen may not want to speak up out of fear of perhaps retaliation by some or concerns they might be accused falsely of something they don’t do,

      Tracks need to follow the lead of Meadowlands owner Jeff Gural and deny privileges to trainers who even are simply perceived of wrongdoing. I would think if Mr. Gural owned a thoroughbred track, he would have the guts to kick someone like Assmussen off the grounds because of that alone.

      • Jay Stone

        Gural is the stereotype every track operator should follow. I’ve been saying for months that if there was a functioning NTRA he should lead it.

        • Barry Irwin

          Months? You must have driven very fast to get on the bus that left a year earlier! So if you said it, why is nobody doing it? I don’t get it.

          • Mike Connors

            Curious as to why you’re aggressively going after Jay on this whole topic. I believe you are both on the side of cleaning up this mess horse racing got itself into. Let’s get something done now to fix it. I’m in.

          • Jay Stone

            I think Barry likes to change subjects or get hostile if he thinks someone is challenging his point. We are both actually on the same side but I told him he has no shot of getting HBPA to back progressive moves and he vehemently disagrees.

          • Jay Stone

            We are obviously in the minority Barry. You speak with power. Why are your ideas not implemented?

          • Barry Irwin

            Jay, I have been writing provocative pieces about things that need to be changed since the early 1970s. The vast majority of these things have been changed, but it took time for people’s thinking to evolve. Who’d have thought just a few years ago that those interested in clean racing would have achieved as much as we have today. It wasn’t that long ago that most folks were in denial about illicit use of performance enhancing drugs. Now it is finally a given. Progress will be made, but it just takes time to move the ball because the status quo crowd has the power. The next major step in my opinion is getting the vets on board. Vets with integrity need to call out their peers that enable cheaters. If this domino falls, then the HBPA and the individual horsemen are next. Today after the video, I know from conversation with trainers that they are finally embarrassed enough to see how dangerous this thing can become. That is the only positive note to emerge from this fiasco. Trainers in the main are playing by the rules no matter what come cynics say. These people need to take a stand. They actually have the most to lose.

          • betterthannothing

            Has the AAEP given any sign of cracking down on rogue vets, if anything to save its own reputation?

          • RayPaulick

            The AAEP has no “teeth.” All it can really do to unethical veterinarians or those who have been sanctioned by state boards is to revoke membership. AAEP is not a licensing board. Each state has a veterinary licensing board, which is separate from the horse racing commissions in each racing state. The AAEP is a trade group that focuses on continuing education and industry matters.

          • betterthannothing

            You are correct, state boards are the ones that can yank vet licenses and when compared to them, the AAEP has no teeth. However, Jeff Blea, DVM and current AAEP president was quick to post the AAEP statement yesterday because that organization is important as the face of the equine veterinary profession. The AAEP has tremendous influence over that tight-knit community. Even without licensing authority, it could do more to encourage ethical veterinary medicine. To its credit, the AAEP has discussed related problems during recent conventions and the internationally renown animal welfare advocate Professor Bernard Rollin, Ph.D. spoke during the 2013 convention.

          • Jay Stone

            We already know the problems that exist with getting the state licensing board to act as we see in Florida.

          • Barry Irwin

            Not yet…

          • Janet delcastillo

            PED drugs are one thing…the legal meds still can do great harm if misused….unfortunately stacking these drugs can really cause damage for the horses…and thats not illegal.

            This is a list of allowable medications…is this “Drug Free Racing”?

            Who needs illegal meds with these permissible ones???

            PAINKILLERS

            14 days out

            Firocoxib

            48 hours out

            Butorphenol

            Diclofenac

            24 hours out

            Flunixin (Banamaine)

            Ketophren

            Phenylbutazone (Bute)

            ANTI-INFLAMMATORIES

            7 Days out

            Betamethasone

            Methylprednisolone

            Triamcinolone acetonide

            72 hours out

            Dexamethasone

            48 hours out

            DMSO (Topically)

            PREDNISOLONE to be determined

            CLENBUTEROL

            14 days out

            MUSCLE RELAXANT

            48 hours out

            Dantrolene

            Methocarbamol

            ANESTHETIC

            72 hours out

            Mepivacaine

            THIS LIST WAS TAKEN FROM MID ATLANTIC THOROUGHBRED MAGAZINE..APRIL 2013

          • Jay Stone

            Barry, in total agreement especially that this video, no matter what you think of it, moves the progressive movement forward. It will embarrass enough people who care about the game to speak up.

        • Hoops and Horses

          Mr. Gural would probably be exactly what Thoroughbred Racing needs for a Commissioner. He already have implemented rules at The Meadowlands (and his other tracks, Vernon Downs and Tioga Downs) that make it so horses sired by stallions who are four years old or younger when conceived are ineligible for ALL major stakes at his tracks, with the policy also implemented by Woodbine Entertainment Group for the tracks it operates for Harness Racing, Woodbine and Mohawk. These rules had their desired effect in 2013 to where virtually every top three year old of 2012 returned to race at four, and is something if Mr. Gural were Commissioner I’m sure he would attempt to implement in Thoroughbred Racing as I would (and in my case, expanding on that so top horses have to return for four and five year old seasons as going to age five would also force major changes in the way horses are bred to doing so for stamina and durability as breeders would know they’d have to breed horses who could stand up to at least four years of racing and at least 40-50 starts). More importantly, if Gural had the power to act like he has done at The Meadowlands, it would go a long way to cleaning up the sport.

          I do know if I were Commissioner, one thing I would insist on is every track operator, horse person (owner, trainer, assistant trainer and so forth) and others involved in the sport be required to sign a “Best Interests of Horse Racing” clause that would give the Commissioner power to do what is necessary to clean up the sport and make it so track operators can no longer protect their fifedoms at the expense of the best interests of the sport (and any track operator that fails to comply with this would face losing any and all Graded status from stakes events and also be considered an “outlaw” track). That is what is clearly needed.

    • JSR

      You know the huge majority of trainers are like this, very questionable ethically, tell us how many trainers TODAY do you trust with your horses best interests and your money ?? No more than a handful in the world .. It’s not about the horses anymore it’s about them making money keeping them racing sound or not,

    • Harry

      Barry,
      You know better that that! I know you do. Most of the big time barns do everything on this tape and plenty more that they don’t want anyone, even grooms to see. If they don’t and their win % goes down, there is always a trainer in the clubhouse telling their owner “I can win with that horse, I can get him back to a race sooner that that, etc.” It is a man eat man game and the horses are just a tool to get on top. It is time for the cover-up to end.

      • Barry Irwin

        At some level I am sure you are correct, but I contend it is in the minority. There are still plenty of horsemen that care for their stock and their owners and would resort to a “win at all costs” policy.

        • Janet delcastillo

          Perhaps using trainers with smaller barns and only at a one track might help control what I refer to as “Industrial Trainers” …how can a trainer really know whats going on with a hundred or more horses? They can still ship horses to other tracks for races but at least are in contact with their charges.

    • Big Red

      Barry my friend, you know in your heart (and from experience) what you say here is not true as it happens in EVERY barn. You are simply taking this stand to protect any present and future partners that you need to keep your business going.
      Do you really think one of your partners would be proud to be an owner if this investigation was brought up in conversation at a party?
      C’mon big guy, coming up with a solution is way better than denial or covering up the problem.

      • Barry Irwin

        You are dead wrong if you believe that this stuff goes on in a majority let alone all of the barns. Your perception of what happens in my business is not based on first hand knowledge. Over the last 5 decades I have had horses in the barns of the greatest to some of the lesser lights and I can confirm that this kind of stuff is the exception not the rule.

        • Ray’sGhost

          just like Gary would never use a buzzer? You’re off your friggin’ rocker old man.

        • Big Red

          I do not “believe” in anything I haven’t seen with my own eyes working in this game since 1975 with some of your “top” trainers.
          I thought you may have learned something after being “lied to” but apparently not.

        • Michael Martin

          Thanks for trying to set the record straight, Mr. Irwin. Unfortunately, some will still think, that since you have had great horses and compete at a high level, that you are disqualified from making accurate observations. Despite this group’s objection, you are right on. In many stables, if not most, horses’ needs are attended and their treatment is more important than any other consideration
          .

    • hammer817

      GET YOUR 80 YEAR OLD HEAD OUT OF THE SAND.. WAKE UP… MR BARRY WHO BASHES EVERY TRAINER HE EVER HAD… MORE SELF SERVING NONSENSE!!!! SEVERAL TRAINERS YOU EMPLOYED HAVE MR BARRY…

      • Barry Irwin

        I wonder why these trainers I am supposed to have bashed continue to talk to me on a daily basis. They must not have received the memo!

    • south florida tom

      Barry…concerning your point #4—-I was taught a phrase a long time ago and I still believe in it, i.e. “peer pressure solves a lot of problems.”

      • English Bob

        True, peer pressure solves a lot of problems but the self interest of the racetracks trumps even that.

    • bill marshall

      Oh, great. Get the Feds involved. When , in recent memory, have the Feds ever gotten anything right?

      No. The leaders of the industry have to clean this mess up – like Will Whitney cleaned up Saratoga. Unless the Seth Hancocks and Will Farishes want to start raising cattle, they had better step up.

    • Janet delcastillo

      When i wrote to the AAEP horse welfare committee about the misuse of legal drugs on the race track the only response i got was to “Please use the term ‘medications” not drugs”. I wanted to present the typical legal medications used by leading trainers at the track…I had copies of vet bills of various trainers…many times over a thousand a month. My goal was to discuss the short term fix with long term negative results with hope the AAEP might care. They had no interest in this even as racing was tumbling down the slippery slope.

      • Barry Irwin

        Janet, the only good thing that might come out of this fiasco if it moves the AAEP into action.

    • English Bob

      Barry you are spot on. The sport is on life support now so why risk the careers and hard work of the stables and horsemen who love the sport. Asmussen is successful because of the law of large numbers. Maker, Asmussen, Romans and a hand full of others always have 100 horses on the grounds of Churchill Downs in the spring of each year. The stall management turns a blind eye to their operation and often aid in their ability to shuttle horses in and out violating their own rules. Vets on the Churchill backside spend hours everyday at each of the top barns.
      If you want to find illegal or undocumented workers on the Churchill backside please phone ahead. There is no access to the Churchill grounds without ample warning that a “raid” is coming. Trust me, I have watched it in action. The trainers mentioned above get ample warning to clear the barns by Churchill management.
      Time for the feds to police the sport. The HBPA has at least one of the violators on the Kentucky Board and other names mentioned train for members of the Kentucky Racing Authority. Are they going to go against their own self interest? I think not. Is the head outrider at Churchill Downs, Greg Balasi, going to correct Mr. Asmussen or his brother Scott Balasi who was all over the Peta tape? Yeah, right.
      When the vets stop training the horses on the backside of Churchill Downs and the stable gate stops becoming a toll both for the small trainers trying to get a stall or two the playing field will become more level. But then the incentive to allow Maker or Romans to have 50, 60 or 90 stalls at a meet will be gone. Replace the stall manager with a TRPB Agent and watch the change start to happen.

    • Convene

      I agree. The part that bothers me most is that is IS done by PETA, who would have you turn your pet dog loose from the leashes “that enslave them,” to confront the hazards of the world alone ( I read Ingrid Newhouse’s original mandate for PETA and it borders on the fanatical). They have been known to do creative editing before now. If this is indeed what happens though – and I know in some barns it probably is – then it’s unconscionable. I think it’s time for serious investigation by someone whose motives are perhaps more impartial than PETA. Certainly the industry has to jump on this smartly because, to too many ordinary people, PETA is viewed as seated on the right hand of God and their statements will be taken as gospel by much of the public. The Feds? Possibly so. And promptly – before both the game and the good, caring barns are all tarnished beyond recovery.

  • matthew m

    I’ve been a fan for a long time.. I also worked for a meet at Keeneland on backside for one of Nation’s most elite trainers.. I do know that this behavior isn’t privy to Blasi/Asmussen, nor is the callous attitude. However, watching this video it just feels “icky”, doesn’t it?

    As a versed handicapper, it does damage the motivation to play the game when it is consistently rigged. You have to handicap off claims from a non-needle barn to a needle barn. The buzzer news isn’t exactly shocking, but even I had no idea how prevalent it seems to be.

    The whole story is just yucky, and PETA may have actually done something positive and worthwhile FOR ONCE. I find them as an organization to be nauseating and useless, but this time perhaps not.

    Blasi might be into the machismo jargon of the backside, but he comes off bad, and I do not see where he gives a damn about any of his motherf**king horses (as he puts it) as a few other posters have commented. I would never let those two anywhere near my animal, even though it could cost me winnings and wins…

    The business of racing is so corrupt it may be time for me to pack the bags up and join the rest of the public in ignoring the sport. Depressing, the thought.

  • AngelaFromAbilene

    Having worked for several big-time trainers, I can sadly say, this video is on the money. I didn’t even watch the video, I just listened. And it sounded like damn near every shedrow I’ve ever been on. Having said that, I would like to emphasize NOT all of us are not like that. For every trainer you recognize, there are probably 100 you will never hear about.
    I am not a PETA person. I have made a living my entire life on the back of a horse. I eat meat. I wear fur. There is NOTHING in this clip that is not “normal” on the backside.

    • Barry Irwin

      Thank goodness you don’t eat fur and wear meat!

  • Rob Yetman

    Doesn’t make the Zayats look good either. They seem to owe everyone money, don’t pay their bills, and they employ a trainer who literally ran the hoof off a horse. They milked the Payter story for all it was worth, while they let Nehro suffer and die. Great ambassadors for the game.

    • fb0252

      can we more guess these geniuses left a bar shoe on the horse for 3 months that destroyed his hoof. farrier corrective shoeing is often a highly questionable art–see Big Brown and the so called expert, ian somebody, who glue patched the horse’s hoof wall to destruction.

      • ginger2000

        You are so right! And any shoeing that is trying to hold a foot together is NOT shoeing for racing. Any more than a cast on a broken leg should be used on humans to run.

        • fb0252

          ginger that is partially true. broken horn can easily be replaced by glue for short time. horse feels nothing. if one uses glue over long haul it destroys underlying hoof. glue mostly unnecessary to skilled farrier. i.e. they are skilled enough to hold broken hoof together without any pain to horse. penetration of sensitive areas need to heal before track work–see correct handling of this sort of situation Mandella Vid On the Muscle with Redatore. Farriers frequently overlook the pressure and discomfort their corrective shoeing work causes with such as clips that hold the shoe but cause pressure, misuse of bar shoes, unnecessary patchwork etc.

    • tbpartner43

      I’d forgotten about Thorn Bird…. beautiful Thorn Bird.

    • hammer817

      THEY SHOULD BE SENT BACK TO EGYYPT AND FORCED TO RUN THRU THE HOT SAND SHOELESS…

  • Ben van den Brink

    Either American Horseracing, is gooiing to take horse integrity serious, either horseracing will stumble furthermore. Institutions like the RMTC, which are only there to make more medications
    availible to trainers should be ended at once.

    Legal medications are murdering more horse than illegal medications.

    The lasix is just what everyone outside the US knows for yrs already.

    • fb0252

      exact opposite of what’s needed–confusing lasix, argument unto itself, with this vid.

    • betterthannothing

      Forget the RMTC! To protect the welfare and safety of horses and riders and prevent abuse and doping, the USADA must take over everything that has to do with drugs and supplements in horse racing. I would like to see the USADA provide or control the provenance of all substances, control the administration of drugs for therapeutic purposes only, offer transparent equine medical records and have a supporting authority seriously punish abusers including dopers and another authority solely devoted to protecting the welfare and safety of race horses on and off track.

  • Gayle Meyers

    Well, let the excuse makers start their usual rant about how this is “exploiting” an emotional response. Yes, the therapies are “legal”, like Lasix, or Salix or whatever you want to call it. You miss the big picture: everything is done in EXCESS to the detriment of the horses. Showing a casual discussion about buzzers between two Hall of Famers just emphasizes how PREVALENT their use really is! How stupid does a horseman have to be to constantly bombard the horse with stress and drugs and then wonder why he doesn’t have healthy hooves? And yes, chronic pain can contribute to colic. Sorry, but racing keeps trying to use the old smoke and mirrors to keep people interested in their sport. It is time to clean up your act or die a slow, painful death (figuratively, of course), unlike poor Nehro

    • Ian Howard

      One of the side effects of nsaids are ulcers in the GI tract and are a cause of colic. Horses that train on nsaids over a period of time are at a much greater risk for colic.

      • hammer817

        JUST USE GASTRO GUARD, PROBLEM SOLVED…

        • Susan Crane-Sundell

          Not that easy—plus Gastro Guard has some pretty nasty side effects:

          fast or uneven heart rate;jerking muscle movements;”jitters” or anxious behaviors; muscle cramps, muscle weakness or limpness; tightening of the throat or choking; seizure. These are just a few, there are way more depending on a horse’s particular reaction.

          Do you want to run a mile and a half with these symptoms?

          You think this is problem solved? I don’t

          :

          • Jennifer G

            Hogwash.

            I am an association veterinarian for a racetrack, but I was a practicing veterinarian for more than ten years, pleasure and show horses. Please provide a reference for the side effects you list, because I’ve never seen any horse exhibit any of these. I suspect you’re listing something from the human product warning label because when used appropriately Gastrogard is one of the safest medications on the market. One of my clients accidentally dosed her 250-lb horse with a 1250-lb dose and nothing happened (n=1).

          • ginger2000

            I can’t say about the side effects listed. However it is a fact that Gastro Guard suppresses production of stomach acid which is not a good thing. Stomach acid is needed for proper digestion and also for manufacture of B12 by the horse. This could well explain what I see as a rise in colics, as well as strange intestinal problems such as Paynter’s.

          • Jennifer G

            Reference re: “rise in colics”? Colic is a problem in all domestic horses. Racehorses are not at overall greater risk vs. show horses, pleasure horses, or backyard pets.

            Re: vitamin B12: No. That is human information. Horses are not humans. Vitamin B12 is not produced in the equine stomach.

            Paynter had colitis, not a “strange intestinal problem”. Colitis is a commonly diagnosed problem in all kinds of domestic horses, not just racehorses. Again, I suspect you are applying information on colitis in humans to horses.

          • ginger2000

            Do a simple google search (since I don’t seem able to include a link) for equine production of b12 hydrochloric acid and then read the article about equine ulcers by Dr. Kerry Ridgway. You are incorrect. I am not using human information. Colic is common, but far more common now at the track than it used to be. And let’s not forget Unle Mo’s problem.

          • ginger2000

            In addition colic is common because people do not feed horses correctly. Naturally kept horses get far less colic than those that are stalled. That is a fact as well.

        • Ian Howard

          There are numerous studies that show NSAIDs cause ulcers. The real question is that if the horse is that sore why is he in training. If a horse that was second in the derby is treated like that what hope is there. To quote Mr. Blasi these mother******* will break your heart every time and by these I’m talking about the leaders of the business I make my living at.

        • wabstat

          Sure, add another drug… that is always the answer, right?

    • hammer817

      MAYBE LUIS REALLY DID USE A BUZZER!!!! JUST FOOD FOR THOUGHT.. DOESNT SEEM LIKE THE “COACH” OR STEVENS DISCOURAGES IT….

  • Nucky Thompson

    As Willie Cicci would say Blasi was the buffer and he will take the fall. Asmussen will walk again unlike many of his horses.

    • Barry Irwin

      When does Boardwalk Empire return this season? I will miss Richard.

      • Nucky Thompson

        Barry, the fifth and final season will air in the Fall. Unlike poor Nehro we are being retired while still in one piece.

  • Ian Howard

    Our image is toxic.

    We have taken no real measures to eliminate practices that increase the risk to horses and people.

    We depend upon politicians for a relationship that uses gaming revenues to allow horse racing to continue.

    The fact that we fail to embrace a code of conduct that outlines what is and isn’t abuse and then enforce it makes it a certainty that one will be written for us by politicians.

    Very few of the people who take the most from this industry are willing to stand up and discuss honestly the changes that are needed.

    We don’t understand that by racing for purses that are generated by wagering we must in this information age convince the public that every pertinent detail they need to wager is public and a level playing field is in everyone’s interest.

    We are probably incapable of enacting reforms quickly enough to save ourselves.

    That video puts us in the Michael Vick category and before we blame PETA we should take responsibility for the mess were in.

  • Patricia Jones

    clean it up no horses no sport i’ve heard in past abt the corruption very sad the sport will continue to lose horses and fans

  • Tim Molloy

    There is rampant speculation that Scott Blasi is interested in becoming an America’s Best Racing Brand Ambassador once Steve Asmussen relieves him of his duties.

  • Cgriff

    Here’s the most telling sign of this sport’s head in the sand attitudes to the public’s perception of racing – this article (from the NYTimes – one of the big three nationally read newspapers) has not been picked up, mentioned or even acknowledged by either the Blood Horse or the Daily Racing Form….at least not since I looked at it 20 minutes ago. Why is the Paulick Report the only site willing to look at the unflattering – even damning – journalism as well as the “feel good” and puff pieces on who’s doing what with a retired horse or who’s hot in the Derby trail? Racing can keep plugging it’s collective ears and humming loudly so as not to hear what’s being said by the world outside this ever-shrinking and increasingly irrelevant sport we love, and by doing so it is essentially digging its own grave.

    Perception is reality, but sometimes reality is just what it is, as well. These things on that heavily edited video are happening LEGALLY. THAT’S the really SCARY thing about it. Legal doesn’t make it right. If we don’t tear this culture, this industry down to the lathing and rebuild it on the few good bones it has left – then there is no future and the racing industry will whistle right into its own graveyard. This is more than just a few reforms – we have to totally reconstruct this sport from the ground up. And number one should be drug free. Period.

    • Hoops and Horses

      We definitely need to tear down this culture and change how things are done. The problem is, many tracks have been so worried about protecting their fifedoms to where they won’t do enough for fear they will wind up with a protracted court battle (much like Rick Dutrow was in over a 10-year ban he got).

      Tracks should look at what has been going on at The Meadowlands. Jeff Gural has had the guts to throw out many trainers who even if only because of public perception are considered detrimental to the sport. It may not be popular with some, but T-Bred tracks need to follow Mr. Gural’s lead on this.

    • ginger2000

      Excellent point! And you’re right, it’s not that they were caught doing illegal things – it’s that what they are doing is LEGAL. And so incredibly wrong. I totally agree with your last sentences. Racing does need to be rebuilt – very differently – from the ground up.

    • Susan Crane-Sundell

      The Thoroughbred Daily News wrote about it this morning and has promised a more in-depth story to follow later today.

      Yes Cgrff that is the worst of it…most of what was depicted and allegedly happening within the confines of that barn is LEGAL. That is the ultimate shame of the sport. That is where reform needs to be concentrated and it’s not just medication reform, PROCEDURE reform needs to be included right along with the medications and badly compounded, dubious supplements.

      • Cgriff

        Well thank God for the Thoroughbred Daily News and Paulick Report!

    • Knowitall

      The Blood Horse has had it for hours, not prominent. DRF knows they can take their time since no one pays to read it these days.

      • Cgriff

        It must be really buried – I looked up and down the main page and couldn’t see it. Which begs the question – why is it buried and so hard for a reader to find?

        • Hamish

          Steve Crist at DRF has his comments contained within a piece on the NYRA.

      • hammer817

        VERY TRU

      • Bellwether

        Hoo’s pocket you think B-H resides???…Old Hat…

  • David

    Follow-up to my previous comments:

    1) Obviously Blasi and Assmussen are in a lot of trouble.

    Understand they are both very likely to lose their NYS trainer licenses very soon.

    4) After reading the NYT article Gov. Cuomo will accelerate the sale
    of NYRA. Much of the video was recorded at Saratoga so this is a black
    eye for NYRA even though they had nothing at all to do with it.

    Cuomo will issue a comment within the next few days and will hammer NYRA. Slots contributions are in jeopardy. Wouldn’t be surprised to see them cut back drastically as soon as it is legislatively feasible.

    • david

      Big / Immediate issue here is alleged falsification of identities. Gigantic problem with gaming going on at AQU. Forget everything else in the video; that alone could hang these two…and it may have happened on Saratoga’s grounds…

    • Hoops and Horses

      As much as Cuomo might want to use this to cut slot monies to horse people, I would think the Democratic National Committee would tell Cuomo not to do ANY SUCH ACTION out of concerns that while it would not affect New York, it could hurt the Democrats in the 2016 Presidential Election and beyond in Florida, a state that has the same number of electoral votes (29) as New York.

      Florida has been a very volatile “swing state” in recent Presidential elections that has seen some very close results, with Obama winning Florida by 74,000 votes in 2012 (after Romney basically had Florida wrapped up before blowing it in the last debate) but more famously in 2000 the Presidential Election being decided by Florida when George W. Bush beat Al Gore by just over 500 votes, with that widely believed to have turned on ONE issue only .001% of the country cared enough about to vote on: Elian Gonzalez. What the DNC would be worried about is a repeat of 2000 where another issue that only .001% of the country cares enough about to influence their vote (in this case Cuomo denying money to horse people in New York) decides Florida, in this case, by the Breeders of horses in Florida who could see effects of such a move costing them and voting Republican SOLELY because of that issue. A repeat of 2000 is something the Democrats fear, which is why I think the DNC would tell Cuomo NOT to take away slot funding from horse people out of fear it would hurt them in a razor-thin race in Florida as the Breeders would likely vote Republican on that issue. That is why I don’t see it happening.

      • david

        Thanks for the well thought out response. Difference of opinion makes a horse race. I’m not saying the state will eliminate the subsidy entirely immediately, but Couomo has already tipped his hand when he told Kay NYRA must show profitability WITHOUT the slots subsidy. I don’t believe this issue should change policy but we all know how politicians can use the headlines to justify their stance. Slots subsidies nationwide help a very, very small percentage of people and are increasingly looked at as a way to close budget deficits (see W. Va this week).

        • Hoops and Horses

          Different situation in W. Va. That was money racing had not been seeing in over a decade anyway and they really did need to do that to close a deficit caused by the Great Recession that many states STILL have not recovered from.

        • hammer817

          KAY WILL BE BOUNCED SHORTLY.. HE IS A CLUELESS BEAUROCRAT….HE IS SO CLUELESS, JUST TAKE A WALK UP TO THE DINNG ROOM AT THE BIG A.. THE PIGEONS DONT WANT TO EAT THAT CRAP THEY HAVE THE NERVE TO CALL FOOD…THIS IS THE PRODUCT KAY PUTS OUT.. BUT BETTER YET FIRE THE WHITECAPS WHO HAVE SERVED FOR 35 PLUS YEARS.. GOOD JOB KAY…. YOU SHOULD BE FIRED NEXT!!!

  • Beach

    And was this not the barn who housed and cared for Curlin and Rachel Alexandra? Ugh…

    • Susan Crane-Sundell

      I can’t help but wonder what Mr. Jackson would have thought of this. I’m almost glad he didn’t live to see it.

      • Cgriff

        Mr. Jackson was a man of action. I think we know what he’d think of all this. He was never afraid to take on the establishment or run a racehorse in a tough spot. He was a cool guy, and Ms. Banke has the same mettle, I think.

        • betterthannothing

          I wonder why Jess Jackson picked ASSmussen in the first place?

          • hammer817

            simple… cause he WINS… EVEN IF HE WAS A PEDOPHILE…

        • Ian Howard

          After forty years in the business it is apparent to me that most owners pick trainers because of their winning percentages not because of their character.
          All any intelligent owner has to do his look at the vet bills and ask a few questions. Most don’t as long as their horses win.

          • betterthannothing

            Vets bills can be “doctored”. Horses and others, including their owners, need to be protected with 24/7 surveillance of horses, tight substance control and transparency.

      • Beach

        I’m sorry he’s no longer with us, yet glad he didn’t have to see it, either. But even on a good day, I don’t think I’d want to mess with his lady, and she’s still around. :) This is one barn that Jess’s Dream won’t be going to, methinks.

        I can live with all the profanity; I grew up in a foundry and a boatyard. And I can live with the frustration at how delicate the horses can be–although someone with brains should be evaluating what he/she is asking them to do, and under what conditions–e.g., I can’t run if I don’t have a foot–and last I heard there are no horse prostheses. What I find hard to deal with is the disdain for the horses(let alone all the possible illegalities; I guess the IRS and Immigration get to sort those out…)

        Horses are mammals and have a limbic brain, so they feel things. If anyone thinks the disdain improves racing performance, I beg to differ…

  • Ruffian

    So here’s the thing; a consequence of living in THIS century is that nearly everyone carries a cell phone/smart phone, capable of digital recording, used to capture and distribute (both deliberately and unintentionally) content and coverage of life, sometimes irrespective of personal agendas. Forget the NSA: the takeaway here for the bad actors in the horse racing business should be to clean up your act, your barns, your business and treat the humans and animals with all the dignity and respect they deserve. Instead of “dance like nobody’s watching”, just assume everyone is, and do the right thing instead.

  • Gobabygo2010

    Why weren’t stewards or track vets noticing Nehro’s foot problem? Aren’t they accountable?

    • Beach

      Based on what I saw, it seemed these were problems noticed ONLY when the horse had his shoes off.

  • Joey

    Just cause these guys used bad practices doesn’t mean everyone does so don’t conclude that

  • Alisa Daniels

    This is unfair to the horses. I don’t understand how and why they have to do this to the horses. It’s cheating and the owners and trainers obviously don’t care about the horses. I’m going to give up on horse racing. If everybody protests this supposed sport for the cruelty these animals suffer. Then maybe something will be done.

  • Bellwether

    Lets see what the Jockey Club & NTRA have to say about this mess…Think the Hall of Fame will chime in???…

    • cheri

      I hope they do make scathing commentary and shun the abusers so they slink away in shame, onto another level of hell for greasy devils.

  • MSD

    To me, it’s very difficult to imagine that this is all just a misunderstanding. Unfortnately, if you are around the horses and know this industry, is this a surprise to you? Anyone that is remotely close to being a “straight shooter” knows that this type of stuff happens in horse racing. Not saying it’s right and not saying it’s good, just saying…it is happening and you didn’t think it did, than your eyes have now been opened. I’m also surprised Blassi would be sharing all this information with someone like this lady, who obviously acts “oblivious” to the whole situation. You would think he’d be smart enough, if he was doing something wrong, to shut up about it and only talk to someone he knew and trusted. Strange to me. Nonetheless, Asmussen and Blasi have some explaining to do and this behavior is unacceptable unless they can prove otherwise. And Asmussen is going to loose horses for this, mark my words on that.
    Now, with all that negativity being said, I’ll tell you I worked for a good barn for 4 years and was impressed with how they handled there racing operation (and let me tell you, this was not some small barn This was a big one.) I can assure you if a horse was abused or being treated poorly by an employee, that employee would be fired in a heart beat. When I worked for the barn, I cared about the horses and I could tell all the grooms and hotwalkers had emotional connections to the horses and cared about them too. So, there are many barns that truly do care about the horses and as cliche as this may sound, it’s true.
    Also, PETA has been known to stretch the truth and distort things to make it reality. Who’s to say they didn’t edit some of this and make it sound worse than it was.

  • Lickety-Split

    Go PETA Go! Excellent piece of work. Well-researched and professional. Everyone who cares about racehorses and the sport of horse racing should be grateful.

    • Ladyofthelake

      As much as the guy in the video came off as a total a$$ the video totally lost me at the end when they made the leap to saying “horse racing likes to project an image of rolling hills in KY but these are just factory farms where the needle is king.” Seriously?? Yeah I’m sure all the baby foals are being injected with Lasix. I mean WTF?

  • forestwildcat

    That’s gonna leave a mark

  • hammer817

    excellent piece.. well researched… lets rush to get him in the hall, b4 more good stuff comes out!!!!!! maybe Rudy 2…..

  • hammer817

    hope he gets a better atty then slick Rick……dutrow, another bum

  • HogHater

    I wonder if prominent thoroughbred owner and attorney Maggi Moss will be representing Asmussen concerning these complaints? I pretty certain that Moss has had Asmussen as a client on other equine legal matters.

    • hammer817

      SHE EMPLOYED THIS CREEP AS A TRAINER!!!!!

      • Otis

        She fired Asmussen 2 years ago.

  • Ladyofthelake

    Thanks a lot PETA, you just made it a 100 times harder for girls like me to get a job at a track. Now everybody’s gonna think we’re all PETA activists in disguise. We all know horse racing needs drug reform, but people please. Don’t fool yourselves into thinking you need to “make nice” with animal rights activists. They would ban owning animals for pets if they could. But horse racing does need to clean up its act and get out in front of this story, or else cringe while watching NBC jump all over it during their Derby coverage.

    • Undercover

      You don’t have to worry about that.
      You would never be mistaken for a pretty PETA girl.

      • Ladyofthelake

        What’s your point, that PETA activists are usually ugly? LOL Just pointing out the obvious that there aren’t that many female hot walkers & grooms to begin with. And that some facebook pages for trainers & farms seem to have some female trolls who pose as fans but gripe about racing & how evil it is. It makes the rest of us look bad is all.

        • Susan Crane-Sundell

          I really do understand what you mean Lady of the Lake. I didn’t mean to be so sarcastic. I know how hard it can be to break into the industry and get a job in racing. The service industries around Louisville and Lexington are full of people who want to work in the industry and can’t get a break.

          I don’t fault PETA though. I really want horse racing cleaned up. I’ll work with anyone who also wants it cleaned up. I’m sick of seeing horses suffer, especially for stupidity and greed.

          Racing reform is necessary and any investigations, statistics, reviews reports or documentation that will get us there are welcomed by me.They can’t hold enough hearings and reviews or testimony given before Congress or regulatory boards for my taste at present.

          The mortality rate for 2 and 3 yr olds is astoundingly high. Two year olds and three year olds should not regularly be having heart attacks as they walk from the track back to the shedrow.

          There have been 65 racehorses who have been documented as deceased worldwide since January 1, 2014, 18 of those have been in New York State alone. We’re not three full months into the year. This isn’t just natural attrition. There are other factors leading to these high mortality rates and I’d like to find out what they are.

    • Susan Crane-Sundell

      I’m sorry Ladyofthelake, I didn’t know the whole world of animal welfare and racing illegality was such a secondary experience compared to you getting a job on the backstretch.

      • Ladyofthelake

        No but if you’re letting this highly edited sorry excuse for “investigative journalism” form your opinion of animal welfare in horse racing, you’ve got more problems than just my opinion of how few women work at tracks. Considering some of the snotty comments I’ve seen from female animal rights activist trolls who have posted on a certain trainer’s facebook page and the antics I’ve seen from horse women I’ve worked with, I can almost understand why some people don’t wanna hire them. Then this girl comes along & does who knows what just to make a video. Sitting here smh at my own gender.

  • hammer817

    strange TVG, the authority on horse racing w “paulie” and Shruppy, missed the story..Coincidence, I think not… Keep shiiling boys…..

  • Beach

    If heads roll on this one, then they roll. Edited footage or not, if you said it, then you said it.

    Two things disturb me most here.

    1) As with people, there is nothing wrong with arthritic or injury-related treatments. But, broken record, again, from Beach, for about the 95th time: Doctors tell human athletes that they need to rest their injuries, or they exercise/train at their own risk. Doing meds or treatments are pretty ineffective anyway if you’re going to continue doing what gave you the injury or wear-and-tear in the first place. And even if an athlete does something stupid, he/she is probably not going to be put down if he/she does further injury to his/her physique. One wonders about the (financially-driven?) wisdom of continuing to race and train an animal that, technically, is injured. Two, I’d bet, huge reasons that fans stay away from tracks–cheating and animal abuse.

    2) I’ve already said that giving performance-enhancing meds(like thyroid supplementation that is not needed, and can cause cardiac failure) is something I also find abusive and grossly unethical.

    It’s hard to know WHO is not resting animals that need to be rested or even retired–owners, trainers, or both.

    And lastly, I DO NOT CARE if it was a snippet, an excerpt, a reminiscence, whatever–I find it wrong for men to sit around and laugh about buzzing those innocent animals. Mr. Stevens, that is very disappointing. I expected better from you.

    • Barry Irwin

      Beach, you cannot really be serious in writing “Edited footage or not, if you said it, then you said it.” If this policy were set into motion it could change the entire world.

      • Beach

        Seriously, outline for me a context that for you, would be troubling and I’ll see if I agree with it. I know it’s only 9 minutes, but this is not pretty, and nowhere did I see a ventriloquist’s hands up the dummies’ backs.

        • Barry Irwin

          Well for one incident, how about when Blasi was at the head of the horse in the stall and he was obviously venting about a horse going bad?

          • jordy

            You’re better than this. This is not “editing” making people look bad.

          • Barry Irwin

            It would be taking the easy way out to join the bandwagon of those seeking the scalps of these two horsemen. However, I stick up for their right for fair treatment irrespective of the facts of this presentation. This is what American jurisprudence if based upon. I have seen how things like this are produced. If you ever saw how 60 Minutes was done I guarantee you would never watch the program again. This presentation is pure crap. Thanks for the left-handed compliment!

          • jordy

            I’ve worked in television for 25 years. Trained for 15 years. I’m well qualified to comment from many angles on this video. I’m not suggesting Asmussen and Blasi should be facing charges. I hope this doesn’t become solely about them. I’m hoping this spurs changes to rules and enforcement. i genuinely appreciate your efforts at reform.

          • Barry Irwin

            Thanks. I think the most likely outcome of this insult will be to make veterinarians finally take some action. At least I hope so. Somebody needs to move the ball.

          • Beach

            I can live with jurisprudence and the fact that there are 2 sides(at least) to every story. But it’s 9 minutes that DO NOT LOOK VERY GOOD. And the “investigator”, right, wrong, or indifferent, wrote a ~ 285 page report. OK–if it’s all wrong, trash, and garbage, than the Asmussen barn and its team of lawyers can respond with their side of the story. I’m waiting…

          • Ladyofthelake

            Most TV “news” these days is highly edited BS. The video totally lost me at the end when they tried to make the leap to insulting horse farms in KY as being factory farms where needle is king. I’m not denying it’s entirely possible this trainer & his assistants really are a bunch of jerks but this video wouldn’t get a C in a high school journalism class

          • Barry Irwin

            You, my friend, is 100 percent correct (because you agree with me!)

          • Ladyofthelake

            At least somebody does, right! Haha

          • hammer817

            now knocking an institution…..get with it Barry ….knock horse racing not 60 minutes.. That’s a low blow….

          • Beach

            Once again, it might look a little different but we’re reading off the same sheet of music. I said above that I can deal with what appears to be frustration at times, and profanity–well, considering where I come from, and even being a woman, if you can make me blush, I’ll give you a dollar. :) But what is tough to take is the overall disdain for the horses, animals in training despite having their joints all shot up with steroids and a steady diet of multiple, stacked NSAIDs and anti-arthritis meds(even the basic medical joke could apply here: “Doc, it hurts when I do this…” “Well, don’t do that…”), a horse in training with degraded feet(Um, retirement maybe?!!), EVERYBODY and their mother on thyroid medication(and how much of this do I not need this PETA video to see or know about?!), the near-nothing wages for people doing very hard work, the IRS/INS “You need to work here under this name only” scene(which I agree with you is the most sticky wicket here for the “powers-that-be”) and a Hall of Fame jockey and trainer sitting around joking and laughing about buzzing horses or horses being buzzed.

            Come on, Sir, I have a TON of respect for you. I agree it’s 9 minutes of bad stuff that was probably cut from a lot of other stuff that’s not so bad. But you also need to remember the adage that for every cockroach you may see, there’s 100 that you may not. And I’m not seeing cut/paste edits of individual words, nor is Jeff Dunham anywhere to be found.

            Prayers for all the horses–I WISH EVERY SINGLE ONE OF THEM WAS ANIMAL KINGDOM…but you and I both know they’re not–and THAT is what REALLY breaks my heart…

            And I’ll miss Richard, too. <3

          • Barry Irwin

            If this report and video were done in a professional manner it would have been better received and probably enjoyed more impact. With PETA, one wonders if their goal is reform or furthering their overall agenda. Or, as some have suggested, ending racing altogether. As far as I am concerned the Thyroid medication usage is more on the vet than the trainer. I do think the IRS stuff is potentially lethal.

          • Beach

            With respect, which is truly giving you heartburn–the presentation or the subject matter?

            I did not learn, or see, or hear, anything I had not learned, seen, or heard before–with the 2 exceptions of the possible IRS/INS issues(including not paying workers minimum wage–which I think stinks but has nothing to do with horse care), and the Hall of Fame jockey and trainer yukking it up over buzzing horses. It just rather reeks more to see it all on videotape(ie, in your face), rather than in print.

            Trainers and vets are synergistic here…and who EMPLOYS the vet? By the same token, no vet(or in some cases, I could probably say “dealer”) should be telling trainers it’s ok to put the whole barn on thyroid replacement. It’s not hard to learn basic things about meds and treatments if you’re not sure–even YOU have told me accurate stuff re: thyroid medication because you use it, and as far as I know, you’re not a doctor. You prove, yourself, that you don’t have to be a doctor or a vet or a nurse practitioner to be informed. Are you listening, trainers? Just because the vet says it doesn’t make it true.

            We could discuss the characteristics of quality video presentations all day, but “well-received” is a tough concept when you’re dealing with abuses caught on tape. The actual “impact” is yet TBD.

            I hope “ending racing altogether” is not the goal, but based on what Mr. Paulick has reported on this organization before, I doubt they’d be honest re: their true goals. I certainly don’t want racing to end altogether; I don’t want thoroughbreds, etc., to go away as breeds–but my hope is that eventually there will be tighter regulation, more rest or retirement for the horses when they need it, and less drugs and abuses. Right now I won’t go down the road of slaughter but you can guess how I feel about that atrocity.

            Like them or not as an organization(and I don’t, particularly), they are People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. So, treat the animals ethically and this organization will have NOTHING to do.

            Thank you for writing to and with me. :) <3

          • Barry Irwin

            The shoddy, schlocky presentation, not the subject matter. After having seen the video a few times now, I am convinced the editing was done with en eye towards shocking the viewer. There is plenty of red meat without having to resort to overplaying one’s hand . Nothing really new here, like we’ve all said, except the blatant avoidance of government compliance. The thyroid med, the reliance on drugs, blah blah blah–we all know about this stuff. Truth be told, I’ve had my experiences with this crew and it was not satisfactory. But I rise above my own personal issue with them to stick up for their right to receive better treatment than they received. This is not the first such investigation in horse racing conducted by a non-governmental agency that came down hard on an individual of high standing in the industry. A governmental employee that did more to poison the climate in one of the nation’s most important racing jurisdictions was the subject of a privately funded probe that drove him out of office. If the intent of PETA was to correct a bad situation, there are other ways to achieve their goals and get what they want in a more responsible manner. What they did was strictly to gain attention for themselves and generate more funding, hence my characterization of the video as an “infomercial.”

          • Really

            I have to side with you here. I don’t agree with a lot contained in the video and the thyro l thing really ticked me off because when it came out that baffert did it I told people that no way was this prevelant. I stand corrected. However , I am really uncomfortable with how this was done. How you can ruin people with these tactics is scary. I know some of it is really damaging. But some of it is a stretch. In one of the complaints PETA has a vet giving her opinion on relating the treatment of Nehro’s feet to the colic. I think this crosses the ethical line big time. Peta’s vet did not treat that horse and has no right to say the colic was related. It’s a stretch. So you are right there was enough there for them to run with without going overboard .

          • hammer817

            oy vey, Barry haven’t you had issues with all the trainers you formerly employed??

          • Beach

            You have every right to disagree and take issue with their tactics–I’m not sure I like their tactics, either. But I’m getting to the point where, after carefully reading and following these issues for three years, if “irresponsible” shock value is what gets results, then maybe I don’t have a problem with that.

            The “red meat”, “nothing new here”, “Lasix/thyroid again”, “blah blah blah”–AND IT NEVER CHANGES. More “What a shame for the horses” and hand-wringing type of stuff. What the hell, let’s just talk about the weather and watch the grass grow–while horses break down, train while lame, die of stress and unethical drugging–what’s the big deal, right?!!

            Take for example the Baffert/thyroid fiasco. It’s my understanding the conclusion was, “Nothing illegal here–move along”. Perhaps nothing illegal, but veterinary malpractice and grossly unethical, if you ask me. That was practically “Here’s how you hop them up ‘legally’ so they can win more”…except for the cardiac stress, calcium leaking out of bones, liver failure, kidney failure, sudden death episodes, etc. I wonder if Baffert fired that vet or team of vets. I wonder if anyone made a complaint to the CA Veterinary Board. I wonder why that vet or vets still have their licenses. It seems to me that NOTHING happened–perhaps except the fact that we all know about it through blogging. But we still have what, 7-9 dead horses…yet who cares? Nothing illegal, right?

            If the undesirable tactics or shock value saved even one horse’s life today–then they did right and I am GLAD.

            “Nothing really new here”…maybe not–BUT YOU SHOULD THINK LONG AND HARD, SIR, ABOUT HOW THAT SOUNDS.

            And for the moment I’ll sign myself “Just some peon girl who is not an influential millionaire, but wants to see some right done by those poor horses”. What does it take? WHAT would be effective reform?

            And why even answer my question? Because we all know that talk is cheap anyway.

            Still prayers for the horses…

          • Barry Irwin

            There is no need to throw out the baby with the bathwater. It is nice that you have followed this stuff for 3 years. I have followed it for 10 times plus and I can tell you that I am even more frustrated than you can possibly imagine. But if somebody wants to go after the miscreants in this game, there are much better and more credible ways to do it.

          • Beach

            Nowhere have I ever advocated an end to horse racing, and for the record I don’t feel that way. I can probably “imagine” your frustration, but just because I can imagine it doesn’t make me right or accurate.

            For the record, too, I have nothing to do with PETA or anything like them, but here’s the deal as I see it: Find a way, then, to get the “credible” off their asses and go after the “miscreants”–or stand by for more PETA-like “shock value”. And once again, I’ll remind this industry that, if you give PETA and co. no unethical, abusive fodder in the first place, they won’t have anything to do.

            Thank you, Mr. Irwin, for “chatting” with me. And hugs for AK, too, if you get to see him. By now I guess he’s having plenty of fun with his “harem”. Prayers that he is well and sires lots of lovely babies. :) <3

          • ginger2000

            Exactly! “Nothing new here.” To racetrackers. To the public? A whole different story. This video pulls back the curtain on what people believe goes on. The wizard is exposed for what he is.

          • Susan Crane-Sundell

            Mr. Irwin:
            You can buy Thyro-L in buckets right off the Internet. You need a veterinary prescription to register your order but after that you can just go for it!

            Both vets and trainers can share equally in the cavalier administration of levothyroxin to racehorses.

            https://www.smartpakequine.com/thyrol-192p

            Here’s the description of one of the most widely purchased equine levothyroxin medications:

            They make it sound like you’re purchasing ginseng or wheat germ:

            Thyro-L®

            Vet-A-Mix – Item #10192

            Our Price: $16.75 – $183.95

            Form: Powder

            Active Ingredient: Levothyroxine sodium
            Thyro-L is a synthetic thyroid hormone used as a substitute for thyroid hormone when the horse is not producing enough, or to correct conditions associated with hypothyroidism. Each pound of Thyro-L powder contains 1 g of levothyroxine sodium (T4); each teaspoonful contains 12 mg of levothyroxine sodium (T4). Each 1 pound jar contains approximately 83 teaspoonsful. Available in SmartPaks, or in a 1 pound jar or 10 pound bucket.

            Please note that this item requires a veterinarian’s prescription.Click here for more information.

            State and federal regulations prohibit us from accepting pharmaceuticals for return.

            Directions for dispensing (Written by a lay person and this is considered OK–because it’s for horses not humans )

            The first line is not even true. And nowhere does it state that this medication is not to be given to euthyroid horses. Which is very much the case. I hate to think of the unnecessary side effects that any horse who might have bordered on having a hyperthyroid condition might have suffered if this substance were administered to them. .

            I have been looking for evidence that all the horses in Asmussen’s barn and back in Baffert’s barn having Thyro-L liberally sprinkled over their food are/were having their TSH T3 and T4 levels tested every two weeks by blood draw. Can anyone vouch that this protocol was being followed?

            What about the poor claiming horses who may have gone to a barn where they were being given this unnecessary medication and then their dosage was stopped abruptly upon entering another barn? One does not stop levo treatments abruptly even if a true thyroid condition has been corrected. One needs to gradually taper the dose over the course of several months. This applies to humans dogs and horses.

            .
            The indicated information:
            There are no known side effects if correct dosages are given, according to Doctors Foster and Smith Pharmacy. Allergic reaction side effects include hives, scratching, swelling of the face, whitish gums, diarrhea, seizures, shock, cold limbs or coma. Levothyroxine sodium increases the drug effects of warfarin, epinephrine and norepinephrine and decreases the effect of digoxin. Diabetic horses may require increased dosages of insulin.

            (There are side effects, but who can sell product if these are listed? It’s only a horse after all) Some truth in labeling legislation might benefit the veterinary pharmaceutical world as well.

            Considerations

            Caution is urged when using levothyroxine sodium to treat older horses and those with heart disease, high blood pressure or Addison’s disease. It should not be given to horses with hyperthyroidism, a condition that causes the body to produce a large amount of thyroid hormone. There has been no determination of the safety of this medication in mares that are pregnant or nursing.

            Warning:
            Follow dosage recommendations as prescribed by your veterinarian. To adjust the dose, it may be necessary to monitor the thyroid hormone levels in the blood every two to four weeks. Horses that have consistently taken a slightly higher dose of levothyroxine may show signs of hyperthyroidism such as excessive drinking, eating and urinating. Other signs include weight loss, raised heart rate, agitation and behavioral changes.

            Sponsored Links

            Read more: http://www.ehow.com/facts_7789202_side-effects-levothyroxine-sodium-horses.html#ixzz2weT6asTO

            REMEMBER: without the over-administration of phenylbutazone and the ingestion of endophyte-infected fescue grass consideration, most horses do not display hypothyroid symptoms

            Approximately Only 3-5% of horses will display hypothyroidism among all breeds

            There is a lot of unnecessary levo being dispensed. Save the horse and the money and invest in quality Water, Hay and Oats.

          • hammer817

            remember the TRAVERS…. Did someone say BuZZZZZZer….

          • Bellwether

            Professional manner???…Would you want to ware the wire Barry???…

          • Barry Irwin

            Wait until you see what comes about the “investigator.”

  • Billy

    It’s a stretch, but even so, it has nothing to do with animal cruelty. If his foot fell apart somewhere else besides a race track, I can guarantee you that he would have been in worse shape.

    • Knowitall

      BS. His foot wouldn’t have fallen apart because he wouldn’t be asked to run 35 mph in a Z bar shoe and train in it every day..

    • Gayle Meyers

      Bull caca, buddy! Anywhere else and Nehro would have been given time OFF to grow foot. Race shoers do nothing but long toes and short heels and contract the foot with tight shoeing. Keep on living in that dream world of yours.

  • Denise Steffanus

    Joe Drape is at it again — writing about horse racing without knowing what he’s talking about and not having someone knowledgeable about equine medicine check it for accuracy before it’s published.

    His piece in yesterday’s NY Times made a big thing about Steve Asmussen trainee Nehro NOT having a pulse in one front foot and barely registering a pulse in the other foot. According to Hall of Fame equine veterinarian Oscar Swanstrom, “When there is nothing wrong with the foot, you can’t feel any pulse.”

    The pathetic NY Times certainly has gone downhill since I was in journalism school! They should print their news on yellow paper.

    • Another Country 2

      You can feel a pulse but it is very slight. The first thing you do when you believe a horse’s foot is bothering him/her is to see if there is heat in it. After that you check the pulse. The stronger the pulse the more likely there is a problem.

      The blacksmith saying there is no pulse in one and very little in the other is a GOOD thing…

  • Larry Ensor

    As others have said I really didn’t see or hear anything that unusual for “for back side banter”. Not that I am condoning the mindset, it is what it is.
    There was 7 hours of video that was edited down to 9 minutes and I did not see one frame of Asmussen. I did not see anything nefarious nor illegal. Graphic yes, horses being stuck with needles will always deliver the desired effect. I don’t agree with it but it is allowed.
    What I did find and have always found distasteful is a complete callous attitude and disconnect toward their horses. A product of “factory” operations? Be it breeding or racing. As I have said in past comments over the years I just don’t look at horses as a commodity. But if a person wants to put up the numbers and dollars for the record books I suppose that’s how they have to be looked at.
    Personally I am of a mind that trainers should be limited to the amount of horses they can have in training. I don’t understand why an owner would want their horse to be just one of many “invoice numbers”. There are plenty of really good trainers around that have not been heard of yet.

    IMO the most damning was the segment on Nehro. Blaming the owner for not retiring the horses is completely self serving. The owner maybe a jerk but he couldn’t train the horse on his own. So IMO in the end the fault lies completely on Asmussen’s shoulders. He should have put his ego on hold and refused to train the horse. And if the owner did not do the right thing and send him to the farm for a years rest go to the stewards, press, media.

    If it is found to be true that he was/is underpaying his help I find that down right despicable. I don’t start anyone at my farm for less then $8 per hr. And almost always pay a base of $10 shortly there after for 5 ½ days. And I didn’t make $1.4 million last year.

    • Barry Irwin

      Larry, I saw Asmussen in the video.

    • Another Country 2

      He was siting in a chair behind the horse that got claimed…I think..

  • wabstat

    PETA is not right about everything, but not wrong either, “Legal” medication is destroying the sport. If thoroughbreds “need” what they are being given routinely, then the breed is over the top. I understand that this is an industry wide problem, but the thought of Asmussen and Blasi having their hands all over a gift from heaven like Rachel Alexandra makes me want to vomit. Good work PETA. If there are any good people in the horse industry, they had better stand up fast.

    • RedInTheFace

      Veterinarian’s Oath – seems like it’s not taken seriously.

      Being admitted to the profession of veterinary medicine, I solemnly swear to use my scientific knowledge and skills for the benefit of society through the protection of animal health, the relief of animal suffering, the conservation of livestock resources, the promotion of public health, and the advancement of medical knowledge. I will practice my profession conscientiously, with dignity, and in keeping with the principles of veterinary medical ethics. I accept as a lifelong obligation the continual improvement of my professional knowledge and competence.

  • Lexington 4

    So when is this girl going public with her identity and made available for interviews?

    • Barry Irwin

      The fact that she has not stepped forward speaks volumes about her intent and her methods.

      • Lexington 4

        And I do not even mean in a confrontational way, necessarily. I think she would be an interesting interview (well, not really…. but I will say so anyway) and there are some simple questions that she could/should answer.

        I guess the “intent and methods” employed here, without being available for interview about it, are not nearly as impressive to me as some others find them.

        As you said elsewhere, this is a PETA commercial. Very sad that the guy showing/mouthing off for the attractive young “undercover agent” made it so easy for them.

        • Fast Filly

          How much was she paid by PETA since it is a non profit organization and all of it’s money come from donations..for four months work and expenses that come from the public.

          • ginger2000

            Whether or not she got paid by PETA is irrelevant. And those who support PETA WANT these undercover operations, so what is your point? Why all this hostility for someone uncovering racing’s dirty laundry. As so many have said, there is nothing on that tape that is unusual. Racing is a dirty sport where a very large number of horses are abused, used, and either die or are discarded. The truth hurts, and people lash out who cannot face the truth.

          • Fast Filly

            Listen lady, if you are a lady, maybe a man, I can get you a job at the racetrack and maybe you could see the real side of racing..I think PETA should go undercover with themselves and see all the destruction they do to the animals..

        • Ladyofthelake

          It kind of makes a good case for maybe trainers should make their employees sign confidentiality agreements, then if they run their big mouths you could sue them for breach of contract or whatever.
          I had to sign one just for following a horse vet around for one day, even had to get the darn thing notarized and everything.

          • johnnyknj

            Good luck with those BOC suits. Confidentiality agreements are notoriously difficult to enforce.

          • Ladyofthelake

            I guess I was talking hypotheticals more than anything else. I’m not a lawyer so not sure how that stuff would work but it sounds like a good idea in theory.

          • johnnyknj

            Might serve as a deterrent but in practice you’d end up suing a lot of “judgement-proof” people. Better to make clear that anyone who talks too much gets canned.

      • Chad Kelly

        I think the short edited sneaky video speakes volumes about the industry, the industry’s intent and the industry’s methods. Attacking the messenger does nothing to improve the situation. Focus yor energy.

      • Fast Filly

        Yes and this was done last year…why come out with it now…???? maybe she better stay in hiding….

        • Barry Irwin

          This whole thing doesn’t pass the smell test.

          • johnnyknj

            Why should she come forward unless she is offering testimony? The tape is pretty self-evident no matter how biased the motives. No one who knows the backstretch can say it shows anything truly unusual – and that’s the real bad smell here.

  • Barry Irwin

    The IRS aspect of the video definitely is the most troubling for Asmussen.

  • RedInTheFace

    I think it’s accurate to say that similar practices exist in lots of high-volume barns. Fame and fortune is all that matters to a lot of people ‘perceived’ to be at the top of this game. Trainers, jockeys, owners all working in concert to put profits ahead of humanity in regards to the horses they own, care for – and when the camera is rolling – ‘love like their own children’.

  • Barry Irwin

    Racing needs to become less vulnerable to PETA by cleaning up its act.

    • Billy Direct

      That’s it and all about it – what anyone thinks of PETA is irrelevant in this situation.

  • Matthew Martini

    PETA is no friend to the racing industry, so it is not surprising that they came out with a highly edited video exposing some warts. Most people know that the industry is in need of reform, but to this point those efforts have been unheeded.

    The tragedy here are the people who have entrusted the care of their horses to the Asmussen barn and to the horses who were running when they should not have been. Maybe this will be a wake up call.

    I don’t think that there is anyone here, whether owners, trainers, or fans, who has not witnessed suspect behavior or experienced cognitive dissonance at the track at some point. Deep class drops, handicapping horses with bandages, etc. We have all seen it. We have all recognized when a horse probably should not be out there.

    I remember being at Santa Anita a couple of years ago and watching primarily low-level claiming races. It was 95 degrees and, after a 6f race, a horse came back that would not move. They sprayed her with a hose, they dumped buckets of ice on her, but she was clearly out of her head. She would not budge. Maybe it was the heat and dehydration from Lasix, I don’t know. Then a truck pulled up, a guy with a syringe came out, and they drugged the horse yet again, right on the front stretch in plain view. She then started moving. It was a mess, and the visual still bothers me to this day, but it reaffirmed then that there was a lot that is problematic in this sport that I love.

    There are so many good people in the sport who are doing the right thing. There are so many owners who love and invest in the sport for the right reasons not to have hope that the racing industry will get better. But it will take federal intervention to create uniformity with regard to the rules, and to weed out the bad seeds that are putting the sport at risk. It is long overdue.

    I’m not surprised by anything in the PETA video. Unfortunately, the things depicted probably happen every day.

    • Knowitall

      Horse tied up or had heat stroke and a vet treated her ASAP with nothing to hide and so she could be taken back to her barn to be cared for, and you have a bad memory?

    • Nucky Thompson

      They had to edit the video. Even at just 9 minutes long it has more F bombs than Wolf on Wall Street.

    • Fast Filly

      If they hadn’t had given the horse a shot to ease the pain, would you have prefered the horse to stand in pain for how long..?? the rest of the field was all right, one horse out of how many, needed assisstant..I guess you never take an asprin to get rid of a headacke or hangover

    • Jennifer G

      I am an association veterinarian at a racetrack.

      Though I wasn’t there, what you’re describing sounds like heatstroke. I’ve treated it on the racetrack as well as at three-day events and once on a pleasure trail ride because the idiot owner thought it would be a fine idea to override her unfit horse on an unseasonably sunny day. The treatment I use is injectable and almost always highly effective, as you described. What you described sounded like our racetrack’s SOP for heatstroke. Textbook, especially the part when the horse felt better and started walking.

      Would you have preferred the veterinarian stand by and allow the horse to collapse or die?

  • Chad Kelly

    Nobody cares: nobody cares about GMOs, nobody cares about the unregulated federal reserve, nobody cares about NDAA`/`patriot act, nobody cares about deriviatives, nobody cares about wars in the desert, nobody cares about molesting preist, nobody cares about abusive politicains. nobody cares about unethical treament of horses. Let me be connected, eat, spend money, watch tv, live in comfort and anybody can do what they want, as long as i can do these things: I DON”T CARE. This will blow over cause nobody cares.

    • Ian Howard

      Your wrong. Racing cannot exist at anything but a small fraction of it’s current size without revenues other than those produced by wagering on horse racing alone.
      Gaming revenues are the only thing sustaining racing and those are dependent upon a working relationship with many levels of government.
      We are inconsequential as a voting demographic nor do we contribut significant sums of money to either party. As gaming revenues expand from other sources the most relevant attribute we have is to employ large numbers of unskilled workers who seem to be largely from other countries.
      That video portrays a culture no politician can support and if we’re honest neither should we.

      • ginger2000

        You are absolutely right. And when it’s smaller, hopefully there will be a lot less abuse of horses.

  • Another Country 2

    Not to take away from the issues in their barn, but is it just me that thinks the “Informant” was sleeping with the asst. trainer ??? Did PETA prostitute her for the story ???

    • Louisiana rebel

      She had to been pretty close to him

      • Another Country 2

        You do not take the female hot walker to eat dinner with Lucas and Stevens because she is such a great employee…

        • south florida tom

          That was my initial thought. How did she end up in a nice dining environment with Wayne Lucas and Gary Stevens? That would be like the locker room attendant/shoe shiner having dinner with Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods.

    • Horsewoman

      Because that’s the only way women can be journalists. Pretty typical of trackie attitudes.

  • Louisiana rebel

    Sure seems like that is gonna be one expensive piecw

  • Louisiana rebel

    No, I agree. If you were asmussen you would have to distance yourself from Scott ASAP

  • bob

    Scott uses swear words like punctiation marks, that doesn’t make him a bad person. If you just listen to the some of the statements he says and not the commentary supplied by PeTA I don’t think it is very incriminating. For example the exchange with the Farrier, The 2 of them are simply trying to fix Nehro’s feet and get him comfortable-that seems straightforward to me–and has nothing to do with Colic???

    3:53 Girl stating (paraphrasing) “with all the medications the horses were being given it was like a pharmacy” As a tube of Gastroguard is displayed OMG not Gastroguard!!!

    4:00 Oh no Bute paste and then a bottle of DMSO and Cortisone, Holy sh*$ call the cops

    4:25 the narrator states “Thryrozine was recklessly used”, and Scotts statement on camera is “keeps thyro levels up and makes them feel good” Oh no!! How dare they make the horses “feel better”

    5:03 -5:39 talking about blistering, freeze firing and shockwave, they don’t make it clear that the latter 2 are performed exclusively by licensed vets, the lay person might think that the “worst fing freeze job ive ever seen in my life” was performed by someone at the barn. Likewise they make it sound like shockwave is performed by “retards” at the barn

    6:11 Narrator states trainers will do anything the states that Scott is upset because his horse was scratched yet Scott’s actual words are “I aint got no problem scratching the horse, the horse is a little fn off”

    6:30 Scott retells story about asking jock if he has the Maquna, then Stevens and Lukas clearly talking about buzzing, That is not good–that is about all the convincing evidence I have seen so far

    9:00 minute marker. The girl asks Scott if he helps them get the SScards, His response is, I think, “Nah, its like 60 70 bucks a person” and you can see him shake his head to the side. But the transcript reads “YEAH, its like 60 70 bucks a person” When he answers look at his lips and his head nods to the side like he is saying NO/Nah but they transcribe him as saying “Yeah”

    Horse racing needs to clean up. This video just seems like propaganda. They splice in video of dead horses from other places that have nothing to do with Asmussen although they are labeled. PeTA has other videos such as the 2yo sales vid where horses are shown in work and breaking down. Those are truly awful clips and highlight changes that need to be made

    • Hoops and Horses

      Exactly. This sport needs to clean up its act (which we’ve all known), but something like this may be what forces it sooner than some would want, which if that happens would be a good thing.

    • Larry Ensor

      While I don’t disagree with your comments in regards to Blasi I do find his callous and caviler attitude a bit distasteful. Unfortunately his is not the exception. But that is not to say it is the norm either and leave it at that.

      “Oh no!! How dare they make the horses “feel better”.

      Please, there are far better ways to get a horse to feel better! Do I have to go into detail? All of which require possible down time, different training regiment, different trainer, different groom, etc. Some of which or all may or may not cause additional expense and “down time” to the owner.

      Pin or Freeze firing has been pretty much thrown out for its long term therapeutic value. Nothing more IMO then a hopeful quick fix. Banned in many racing jurisdictions. Not even taught in most Vet schools anymore.

      The therapeutic value of Shock Wave is an on going debate. Especially for legs and especially for horses in training and running at the track.
      And yes, just about any laymen with a few thousand dollars can buy the machine, read the manual and have at it. They are small, easily concealed and can be used for nefarious purposes. Shock Wave can give the same results as “frog juice” but doesn’t “test”. IMO they serve no purpose at the race track and should be banned from the grounds. IMO if a horse needs Shock Wave it should be sent back to the farm for R&R and rehab.

      “I aint got no problem scratching the horse, the horse is a little fn off”

      Then why the F**k did he sent it to the post to begin with? If I was the owner of a horse that was scratched at the post by the Vet I would be pissed! And question the trainers objectivity and competence.
      But to be fair and balanced, there have been horses scratched by on track Vets that shouldn’t have been. It’s not like they have the time to give them a complete and fair examination. Pretty much subjective based on the given time frame.
      But Scott did say, “the horse is a little fn off”.

      I won’t go into the “battery” conversation it was obviously edited and could have been taken out of context. As was IMO the conversation about SS numbers.
      A “battery”, buzzer, “machine” does not deliver an abusive shock per-say. Not as hefty as touching the “hot wire” on a paddock fence. It is cheating. If used on a horse that has existing soundness issues it could cause the horse to “out run their legs” leading to a catastrophic breakdown.

      Of course the video has been edited to serve PETA’s self interest and agenda but it certainly can’t be completely dismissed. Pretty damning to all. Guilty or innocent.

      • Fast Filly

        These people have lived their whole life at the track, if they didn’t love it, they wouldn’t do it..their casual remarks are like a policeman where they see death all the time…it just becomes a way of life..been there done that many times…

        • ginger2000

          You’re not that “quick” filly. Your own words condemn racing.

          • Fast Filly

            Do you want to condem and fire a policeman because he has now compassion at a murder sence…fix the problem…fire them all…

    • Susan Crane-Sundell

      BOB:

      “4:25 the narrator states “Thryrozine was recklessly used”, and Scotts statement on camera is “keeps thyro levels up and makes them feel good” Oh no!! How dare they make the horses “feel better”

      Thyro levels up is not GOOD. Thyro levels are supposed to be LOW and balanced! TSH levels for both humans and horses are supposed to be under 1 anything over 5 is considered out of range. TSH (Thyroid Stimulating Hormone originating from the pituitary) levels are how you determine proper thyroid health. Good endocrinologists (both equine and human) want it closer to one, older protocols accept levels up to 5.

      Giving thyroid meds to a Euthyroid horse is DANGEROUS and do you know how to spot a Hypothroid horse? One of the major ways is their hair starts falling out, usually below their mid-section and down to their docks, their buttocks and their thighs. Do you see many racehorses that look like this? In an extreme case, the animal looks as though it has been shaved from the loin back!
      Some old wives’ tales state that a horse with a thick cresty neck and a very dry coat are hypothyroid, they usually aren’t; they usually have a pituitary problem or another metabolic disease.

      Large and frequent doses of phenylbutazone can cause thyroid dysfunction which is why bute shouldn’t be cavalierly used either.

      Less than 5% of the horse population is determined to be hypothyroid! That’s all breeds, not just TBs.

      I gather that you know nothing about medications,outside of what a trainer tells you. You drank the Kool-Aid baby!

  • Gayle Meyers

    So… a girl can’t just be an investigative reporter, she has to be a slut? Maybe Mr. Blasi is just an old horn-dog, trying to get close to any young thing in his barn.

    • gloria

      fresh meat. any new girl at the track!

      • betterthannothing

        You are vile and come across as a predator. No wonder you are paranoiac about “the outside world” looking in!

  • Save the Game

    From what I have heard this undercover PETA informant was having a “relationship” with Blasi. If this is true, just how low can PETA go to get a story. So wait a second doesn’t that basically make PETA the Madam, and where I come from that makes the informant a Prostitute? Wow I sure hope they (PETA) paid her well. Currently she hides in the shadows and will not reveal her identity. [Coward] (I guess I wouldn’t want anyone to know who I was either). Are there problems in racing? Yes there is. Do we need to clean it up? Absolutely, but remember these nut jobs (PETA) will do anything to end racing, and that is their ultimate goal. Don’t ever let them fool you. I don’t know about you, but I make my living off of racehorses. I need the sport to last, as do many of you reading this, and if we continue on the same route, these lunatics (PETA) will eventually get their wish. My suggestion is simple, let’s get together as horsemen and do the right thing. Moreover, the majority of us play by the rules, we always have and we always will. Oh and by the way, Joe Drape, you are no friend of the game. Perhaps you should learn a little more about horses, medication and racing before you spout off anymore. Stop Embarrassing yourself, the general public may be fooled by you, but you don’t fool us (horsemen). My guess is you never led a race horse over to the paddock and you probably couldn’t put on a racing bridle if your life depended on it. Just because you write about horses, that doesn’t make you a horseman Joe, anymore than this post makes me a journalist.

    • Another Country 2

      I would guess the ethical treatment of humans is not a high priority.

      • Ladyofthelake

        Please. Like no other industry uses cheap labor. These days a lot of people work for not much more than min wage because that’s the only thing they can find. Besides the Peta video was wrong in their statement about track wages anyway. Racetracks are considered commercial so ppl have to get paid hourly wages with overtime. Horse farms are considered agricultural acc. to the Dept of Labor and farm jobs actually don’t have to get overtime. (Somebody correct me if I’m wrong.)

        • Another Country 2

          Ladyofthelake,I was speaking about PETA prostituting the girl, not the laborers. If that comment was for me.

          • Ladyofthelake

            I thought you were referring to the low paid workers.

          • betterthannothing

            The FBI, CIA, etc. use that tactic. It works!

          • Another Country 2

            The FBI and CIA they are on the level ?!? It does work, and could explain Blasi running around acting a fool. Like a silver back gorilla showing off for prospective mates…

          • Susan Crane-Sundell

            Sex has always been a good intelligence ploy and especially good for counterintelligence. Remember Mata Hari and Christine Granville?

    • Ladyofthelake

      I guess that explains why he couldn’t seem to keep his mouth shut! If that’s the case then all his talk sounds like a bunch of machismo which would seem to make the whole video just a big bunch of BS.
      And the NY Times is on life support anyway since nobody reads it.

    • Susan Crane-Sundell

      Save the Game: I really hope that you can prove that the the undercover worker was having a “relationship” with Scott Blasi before you spread that around. I don’t think she could afford the makeup, hair care and clothing necessary to entice a trainer at the $5.95 an hour wages she was getting at the track. No informant is required to reveal their identity, they do not come forward as it blows cover and therefore their ability to do further work. They are supposed to be protected as sources in the world of the Fourth Estate, Joe Drape has revealed more than required of his source.

      • Another Country 2

        Susan I am not happy about this fact but it is a fact never the less: To get a man you don’t need fancy clothes or make up. You really only need one thing, you need to be willing. You offer it up and you will have takers…

        • Susan Crane-Sundell

          I guess that may be true and backstretches can be macho. But I really get dismayed with people always thinking if a woman accomplishes anything, she slept her way there. Even on the backstretch.
          It might have been that she was very attentive and a quick study and was resourceful.

          If I had to sleep with someone to get $5.35 an hour I’d really question my self-esteem and my integrity.

          • Ladyofthelake

            I think the implication is that she may have used that not to get the job in the first place, but to get the dimwit asst. trainer to run his mouth like he did.

          • Horsewoman

            In my experience, this is how they talk a lot of the time. I certainly didn’t have to sleep with anyone to be subjected to trash talk about horses. I did my job, and did it well. How they talk in this video is normal track conversation.

          • ginger2000

            That is absolutely true. The attitudes of the people who are condemning PETA, or the girl who took the video are the reason that racing is dying. What you consider normal and okay and helpful to the horses is cruelty pure and simple. Everyone not a “racetracker” can see that. They do not need to “understand racing.”

          • Ladyofthelake

            I was thinking more about his attitude or the “revelations” and not so much the language. Cuss words and machismo don’t shock me, but it was more of – well I’m gonna tell this girl things I may not tell just any random person.

      • betterthannothing

        She was probably double-dipping and with such foul mouth and little compassion toward “his” horses, i don’t think it would take much to charm Blasi…

        • hammer817

          could be a drug addled addict spewing…believe he plays on the “other” team!!!!

      • Ladyofthelake

        Well I’m sure the people who worked with her know & remember who she was so unless she was using a fake name herself, word gets around. People talk.

        • Susan Crane-Sundell

          She would most likely be using a fake name. She’d be crazy to use her own. She’s probably going to have to move to the Left Coast. I can’t imagine how much anger Scott Blasi and Steve Asmussen must be harboring against her right now.

          • Ladyofthelake

            Considering how Peta is, I bet the Left Coast is probably where she came from in the first place. Ha.

      • Save The Game

        Susan, my guess is that you are an educated and smart lady, but please don’t be so naive. In all honesty do you really think that acess would be granted to a hot walker/Groom to parties like the one that she was attending without a strong connection to the inner circle. In addition, she drew a paycheck from the stable, so did she lie about her identity when she filled out the paperwork for her taxes? Does the Fourth Estate release you from tax evasion? If not I’m sure a few IRS guys would love to speak with her. As for Joe Drape, I said it before and I’ll say it again, he is/was never a friend of the game. He will do what ever he can to get “Shock Value” in his articles, all the while working for that liberal propaganda machine aka The New York Times. His reporting is botched, and full of half truths. There is only one word for him, and all Horsemen know what that is, COMMON.

    • Fast Filly

      You are so right…if it’s on the up and up, why is she hiding her self…and no one ever hurt a horse on the nine minutes that I saw..injections, how many people get cortazoned every day…you don’t know what they were giving, like I said earlier, four months and this is all the got..remember the chicken place and the slaughter houses, PETA is rotten to the core..google them and see how many animals they kill…

      • Save The Game

        Fast Filly, At least you understand.

      • Horsewoman

        Maybe she’s hiding herself for the same reason as I post anonymously. I am now a horse advocate, and have had my life threatened on more than once occasion by racing industry people. One said he was waiting outside my house to “shoot you in the face like they do the horses.” These are very dangerous, greedy people.

  • ute guenther

    i love horses, dont like it, when get hurt! same peaple dont care, or just for money, those should not get there hands on any animal!!!!!!!!!

  • albany

    The way the undercover employee played Blasi like a fiddle, I hope that he got out of it what she must have been dangling under his nose.

  • susie

    no discussion necessary. Anyone with any working knowledge of a racing barn knows this is BS…and 7 hrs EDITED down to a minute and an article…you know its been edited to death and distorted, and taken out of context. And what real working stable employee has time and energy to be going around filming and taping people, in secret also, which is illegal and unfair. Would any of you want your daily comments and conversations taped and edited to show how you think and act according to someone with a nasty agenda of their own. you know you will be painted badly and tarred and feathered. PETA ‘s endorsement and name alone in this tells the whole story – smear campaign. And parts of it are actually hilarious too….as they dont even understand the treatments , medications, and procedures being done and have them wrong also.

    • Hamish

      What I keep wondering is what is on the other 6 hours and 50 minutes of video? Like any good under cover report, why play all your best cards first? PETA may be just testing the water, see who says what about whom, then bring forward additionally damning material. Have all 7 hours of the tape surfaced any place or is it still in PETA’s possession? Hard to say whether our horse industry should be anxious to see the rest or not.

      • betterthannothing

        I absolutely agree with you. Me think PETA is keeping the coup de grace for later.

    • johnnyknj

      What exactly was BS? The language? No. The tapping? No. The employment practices? No. The attitude? Sadly, no far too often.

  • crookedstick

    So for those who find PETAS investigational work distasteful, do you recommend an “AG-GAg law for the Track? Would you prefer a cloak of secrecy?

    • betterthannothing

      I was going to bring the ag-gag law up which is an absolutely tragic and backward development for animal welfare and should have no place in our modern society. I would not be surprised though if upon watching the PETA video, some pooh-bahs immediately regretted racing not having its own an ag-gag law.

    • Ladyofthelake

      I’d prefer for people to use their own judgement to see videos like that for what they are- highly edited & a sorry excuse for journalism. Most of it was some hotshot assistant talking smack to probably impress some girl, and not a lot of hard evidence of real wrongdoing other than random conversations.

      • Horsewoman

        As someone who left the racing industry due to the horrors, I can testify to everything portrayed here, and much, much more.

  • PBS

    Maggie Moss has it right. PETA has no idea how well cared for the majority of race horses are. In fact they receive better care than most parents give their children.

    • Horsewoman

      Most parents do not lock their children in dark closets 23/7, make them carry heavy weights at full speed at one and two years old, genitally mutilate them repeatedly without anesthesia, and withhold a natural feeding schedule so they develop ulcers.

    • equine avenger

      Unless Maggie Moss is actually working in the barn everyday, with various different stables over the years, she really doesn’t have a clue to what truly goes on.

  • Tonto

    One of the big changes in the industry is the loss of the small (6 horse or fewer) owner/trainer barns. The Name Brand trainers are popular with media and management but the horses have lost the CARE part of caretaker.. Think rental car- do you drive it the same as one YOU own ?? Big trainers have 50 stalls at the track and a couple of hundred at training facilities waing to move into that empty stall. One guy mucks stall, another tacks the horses, another gives baths, another gallops, another feeds grain or hay – correctv answer to queation “how did he go ??” Fine. Nobodywants to say’ he’s a bit off on that left hind or he didn’tv clean uo his dinner,

  • Susan Crane-Sundell

    Add another respected voice to the call for change:

    Gretchen Jackson writes a letter to the Thoroughbred Daily News

    http://www.thoroughbreddailynews.com/shared_content.cfm?Letters_to_the_Editor_Gretchen_Jackson&id=246#.Uyz8o9cq30o.twitter

    • Hamish

      No other words but for Gretchen Jackson but “well said.”

  • genuinecat

    Sure it’s wrong. Wrong is wrong…… 24 horses per week? Really? Who’s numbers? Where are these facts? Show good people, small barns who give everything to their horses. They have to be judged by others poor behavior. I’m good to all my horses. PETA wants nothing but donations. Contact them and see, the first thing they will do is ask for money. They’re on the top of the BAD non profits list in my book. They kill too many animals, and claim to be so honest?. HOLLYWOOD has made them a stronger voice. Shame on their supporters who don’t question PETA’s agenda. My Mother was in a nursing home briefly. Horses in the worst barns were treated better than she was and others in these type homes. No one is calling on donations for these older people. Thanks to the PRESS once again. Nothing is natural , stop trying to sell us that it is or isn’t!!!! We created these beautiful animals for the sport. Stop trying to make money PETA. You are not the police, judge and jury.

    • Horsewoman

      Do your horses on the track have several hours of daily turnout, where they can play, socialize, roll and graze? Or are they confined 23/7 in dark bathrooms, like most? Do you wait till they’re four to back them and five to race, when their skeletons are fully formed, or do you race them at two and three, when they’re just wobbly babies with soft joints? Do you Caslick your fillies, repeatedly practicing genital mutilation without anesthetic? Have you ever sent “losers” to slaughter? PETA’s investigation didn’t disclose half the horrors of racing. If you do any of these things, you are not “good to horses.” It is animal cruelty, and it has to stop.

  • pam wright

    This film made me sick, As for Nehro, he is lucky to have died and not suffer more so inhumanely as he did. I love racing but there is no excuse you can make for this.

  • Ladyofthelake

    An FYI on the topic of ag-gag laws. Someone who claims to know more about these than I do told me that it’s not so much outlawing secret video taping, but that if someone who records animal abuse doesn’t report it in 48 hours, that person can actually get in trouble for hiding it. I don’t know if KY or NY have such laws, but if they do find any evidence of abuse from this report, it would be kinda funny if Peta themselves got in trouble for sitting on it it. I’m told that’s what happened in a case in another state where the HSUS filmed dog abuse then sat on the video for 6 months.

  • Hamish

    This is important coming from someone as well respected as Mr. Casner. With any “racing” luck, his fellow Jockey Club trustees will join him in supporting a different approach to the way we condust ourselves and our business. Certainly we can utilize the enabling platform of our federal government to develop national legislation whereby “gold” standards, rules, drug testing, lab research, investigative protocols, enforcement, meaningful penalties, etc. are applied in a uniform manner. It can be done, if those in D.C., at this point, will even give us a chance to work with them. Mr. Casner surely sounds like he is interested in assisting the development of this relationship in D.C. But, if Washington D.C. folks are so disgusted and they choose to let us continue to sink our own ship, or otherwise the Interstate Horse Racing Act of 1978, we will all loose whatever drives us to embrace the horse, the enterprise, and the sport.

  • ethanspapa

    Unless your an elite horse in an elite stable where they are treated well because of the blood line and the success on the track. I think 24 a week is a low number. They stick a rod up there nose and their butts and electrocute them hoping the insurance company’s won’t catch them..
    The degenerate gamblers don’t give a dam. Now they want to round up all the wild horses in New Mexico and slaughter them and sell the horse meat. I wish i had the pleasure of shocking the owners who do this vile crap.

    • Horsewoman

      These ARE elite horses in elite stables. This is the trainer of Animal Kingdom and Rachel Alexandra! This is how race horses are treated, period. And when they stop winning, they’re butchered alive for meat sent to the EU.

  • Horsewoman

    Pretty much my experience working in the racing industry. I’d say this video missed the majority of the horrors, actually. It was an excellent capture of the attitudes.

  • tklptch11

    Billy, Get your head out of the sand!

  • Tonto

    Later: from NY Times
    on Friday, an Asmussen-trained filly named Finesse died after finishing
    second in a race at Oaklawn Park in Hot Springs, Ark. Dr. Lee Cyphers,
    the racetrack veterinarian, said the cause of death was a cardiac event.
    Blood was drawn by the state for analysis.

    Asmussen
    has run afoul of regulators before. In 2006, he served a six-month
    suspension after a filly he trained tested 750 times over the legal
    limit in Louisiana for the local anesthetic mepivacaine, which can
    deaden pain in a horse’s legs. Asmussen then turned his horses over to
    Blasi, who won another 198 races, with the stable finishing the year
    with more than $14 million in earnings.

    • ginger2000

      No one can say cardiac event without a necropsy. Even with people, an autopsy is required to confirm. I am glad they drew blood. It is my hope that this filly’s death will help change racing, so she will not have died totally in vain, and perhaps her death will save many others from a similar fate.

  • Guest

    Kerry Ridgway is not a credible source of information. He is all about selling his personal line of DVDs. There is so much erroneous information on his website I’m afraid I wouldn’t know where to start.

    “Naturally kept” as defined as being on pasture 24/7/365 is a wonderful concept and does indeed result in fewer clinical cases of ulcers, but very few people do this with their horses. Do you? If so, I’d love to know where you keep your horse, so I can move mine there.

    • ginger2000

      Ridgeway is not the only source. And yes my horses are out 24/7/365 and 8 of them are TB’s.

  • MyBigRed

    I couldn’t watch the video to the end, because it made me sick to my stomach. These horses give everything they have & to see them treated like that…..makes me very angry. I pray My Favorite, The Mighty Curlin, was never subjected to such treatment and my heart goes out to the ones that were. May God Bless The Horses & Keep them Safe !!

  • equine avenger

    I’ve been saying it for 15 years online about how this industry is…..this is widespread! Just like the hard-working, knowledgeable horse loving Americans that use to care for the horses, many REAL horsemen-like trainers have been basically pushed out of the game as well. Cheats and abusers are rampant from top to bottom. The statement ‘good guys/gals finish last’ is definitely true in horse racing!

  • Wayne

    What I
    would like to know is why the media has more or less covered this up? When a
    Walking Horse Trainer was caught on video abusing a horse it was all over the
    new in both paper and TV but when it is the trainer of a Thoroughbred it’s like
    nothing happened and the abuse done to the Thoroughbreds cause death.

    Even
    the AAEP and AVMA help cover this death trap equine training methods with
    nothing being done to alter or protect those horses from being killed by the
    abuse. I guess it only matters on who is providing money to the media and
    people who control the laws.

    I
    guess this post will be gone by tomorrow just like the horses who have died
    because of abuse in the Thoroughbred Equine Racing Industry.

  • NicholasBrush

    ICC Mortgage And financial Services,Is a sincere and certified private Loan company approved by the Government,we give out international and local loans to all countries in the world,Amount given out $2,500 to $100,000,000 Dollars, Euro and Pounds.We offer loans with a dependable guarantee to all of our clients. Our loan interest rates are very low and affordable with a negotiable duration.

    Available now

    MORTGAGE, PERSONAL, TRAVEL, STUDENT, EXPANSION OF BUSINESS AND NEW UNSECURED, SECURE, CONSOLIDATE

    AND MORE

    Available now..

    Apply for a loan today with your loan amount and duration, Its Easy and fast to get. 4% interest rates and monthly

    installment payments.

    {nicholasbrush.icc@gmail.com}

    Regards,

    Nicholas Brush

Twitter