Asmussen Developments: Blasi ‘Relieved’ of Duties, Winchell 3-Year-Olds to Stay Put

by | 03.22.2014 | 4:02pm
Scott Blasi

Steve Asmussen confirmed to the Daily Racing Form's David Grening that long-time assistant trainer Scott Blasi “has been relieved of his reponsibilities.”

Blasi, who had worked for Asmussen for 18 years, had been based at the Fair Grounds where Asmussen is the leading trainer with 57 wins through Friday.

Ron Winchell's racing manager, David Fiske, told DRF that Asmussen will continue to train Kentucky Derby contender Tapiture, as well as Kentucky Oaks heavyweight Untapable.

“I think it's just too close to the second and third of May to take these horses away from the people, the routine, the feed, and everything they've known for the last two years and put them someplace else,” Fiske told Grening. “That's not in the horses' best interests.”

Southwest winner and Rebel runner-up Tapiture is expected to start next in the Arkansas Derby at Oaklawn Park on April 12, while Rachel Alexandra winner Untapable will likely run in the Fair Grounds Oaks on March 29.

  • for love of the horse

    I totally disagree with the racing mgr, simply because of all the damage control that Asmussen has to do and the people he has around are incompetent, the horses are going to be secondary, consideration, get them out now while they are in one piece, don’t be stupid.

  • Knowitall

    Horses stay, Blasi goes. Anyone else wonder why PETA and “investigator” might not want to share the 7 hours of unedited secret recordings?

    • John

      Maybe the worse is to come, Derby week perhaps ?

      • Knowitall

        I’ve wondered if there is another round coming, PETA knows how to play the game, and you don’t open with your best stuff, just enough to get the target to look your way. OTOH, the 7 hours might show the compromised relationship between the girl and Blasi and the number of leading questions, or complete answers that didn’t cast as bad a light.

    • Dee P.

      Rich Duthrow is welcoming Asmussen to his world.

  • Slim

    If you win, there will be questions as to how. If you lose, there will be questions as to why. Good luck, buddy!

  • betterthannothing

    ““I think it’s just too close to the second and third of May to take
    these horses away from the people, the routine, the feed, and everything
    they’ve known for the last two years and put them someplace else,”
    Fiske told Grening. “That’s not in the horses’ best interests.””

    Everything they have known for the last TWO years?

    A move to an ethical trainer would always be in the horses’ best interests and the right thing to do for horse racing.

    • Dee P.

      Winchell doesn’t give a damn about Tapiture. He knows Santana is a dirty jock, and he’s allowing him to ride Tapiture anyway. The good part is the horse doesn’t stand a chance.

      • Susan Crane-Sundell

        Every horse deserves a chance…a fair and ethical chance. A good trainer provides this for a horse. Think how Tapiture might excel if he got a fair chance.

        After this week I want to induct Curlin into the Racing Hall of Fame simply for surviving having Asmussen for a trainer.

        • Black Helen

          I wonder what kind of crap and drugs Curlin was running on??

          • Susan Crane-Sundell

            I don’t know but I will speculate the poor horse was receiving levo at least. It would be highly edifying to go back and see his veterinary records from his days with Asmussen.

            I am sick at heart when I think about Rachel Alexandra and her life-threatening second foal birthing. I know the cause of the problem was an infection and she was experiencing sepsis because her intestinal wall was ruptured. This could have been because the foal was abnormally large but I think it might be worth a second look to cross reference her racing medication history against her post-foaling and neo-natal record to see if any of the racing medications she was receiving might have caused her cellular, systemic or organ damage.

            Not assuming anything but would think it might be important for veterinary study.

          • Gayle Meyers

            Not to mention that she certainly did not bloom as a race horse in Assmusen’s barn – her class carried her through the rest of her three year old campaign. And she was put away before the Breeder’s Cup – wonder what was really going on, because she never looked the same as a four year old.

          • ginger2000

            No she didn’t and I don’t remember the name of the last race I saw her in, but her tongue was lolling out of her mouth flopping around and Mr. Borel was whipping her.

      • betterthannothing

        Owners and trainers are usually a perfect match… And assistants, vets and jockeys. Sad.

        I would love to see Tapiture and Untapable moved to Bill Mott or Graham Motion tomorrow and other horses moved to caring, ethical trainers as well.

        • zoey2

          Mott or Motion? Yep! Both are eputible, high integrity trainers. An early thought, after viewing the PETA video, was that neither Mott or Motion would have a “Blasi” in their barns!

          • Knowitall

            Neither would a Baffert or Lukas. Appearances matter. Can you even imagine Lukas allowing an asst. to act and talk that way around his barn? Even if most practices were the same.

          • zoey2

            NOT a fan of Lukas but, yes, both he & Baffert “know how to act”. Further, I’ve never heard or seen anyone on their crews behave w/o class and respect for humans & horses.

          • ginger2000

            Just because someone acts polite and dresses well and no one swears doesn’t mean anything. In fact give me Rick Dutrow over Pletcher, Lukas, et al.

          • ginger2000

            How many times has a serial killer been caught or a child molester, and all his neighbors say how nice he was? Don’t judge a book by its cover is a wise adage.

          • owl2010

            Ginger – I agree 100% with you. What looks appetizing can sometimes kill you.

          • Tired of the BS

            Apparent that you have never had a conversation with Baffert of Lukas. Every other word is an F-Bomb, except when they are on TV

          • ginger2000

            Exactly. If you have worked at the track or lived in the Northeast, almost every sentence expressing an opinion has the F word in it. I swear, everyone I knew in MA used it. It’s extremely common and nothing out of the ordinary.

          • Jack Meeff

            How do you know how their barns are run? Are you in their barns on a regular basis, work for them. If not, you don’t know what goes on or how other trainers run their barns

      • Knowitall

        He may or may not know…but he might at least have him taken off the horse for appearances. He rode a questionable race last out anyway and top jock agents bombarding Asmussen with calls to get on.

      • tbpartner43

        Horses are very adjustable… they fly overseas for heaven’s sake. I hate to think that Tapiture isn’t being moved because of the medication regimen. For sure such a well known stable wouldn’t leave their runners where they might be handled callously and fed questionable medications. It’s all about the $$$$.

        • Susan Crane-Sundell

          Believe it or not horses don’t get jet-lagged. They don’t because they never experience or enter REM sleep- they don’t need it. They are highly alert at all times as a natural part of being herbivores with a great number of predators in their evolutionary development.
          The sooner that Winchell gets his horses out of that barn the better they will be. Plus if i were him, I’d get the best vet possible to see them through the withdrawal period from levo (and who knows what else) they’ve been medicated with. You don’t just stop levo you have to decrease the dosage gradually.

          • ginger2000

            I agree with all your posts, but you are wrong about REM sleep. Horses need about 30 minutes of REM sleep. It is not unusual for show horses, who constantly go to different venues, to suffer from sleep loss and actually have narcolepsy. Easily verified by googling. However, since they only need 30 minutes, they can easily catch up, unlike humans.

  • Tiznowbaby

    I think it’s in the horses’ best interests to remove them from a barn that keeps horses on thyroid medication and runs horses with bad feet. I think it’s in an owner’s best interests to keep horses in such a barn when it’s this close to the Oaks and Derby.

    • Jay

      It bothers me that Thyro-L raises its ugly head again. There is no reason for its blatant use. And having been the neighbor of Asmussen and Blasi the last few years at Santa Anita I find little redeeming value in either one.

      • Tinky

        “There is no reason for its blatant use.”

        Ah, but there has been.

        “After discussions with many veterinarians, The Meadowlands determined that when an excessive amount of Cobalt is administered to a horse it can be very harmful leading to cardiovascular issues, potential nerve problems, thickening of the blood and thyroid toxicity.”

        – NY Daily News (1/8/14)

        • Susan Crane-Sundell

          Ah my dear Tinky, you always get to the heart of the matter just like Benjamin Disreali.

          Excessive frequency or dosage of bute interferes with thyroid function, so we administer Thyro-L

          “Cobalt interferes with potential cardiovascular issues, neurological processes, thickening of the blood and thyroid toxicity” so we dispense coumadin or warfarin, bute and levo,

          Ding…ding ding…(you have won a prize) in the pharmacopia sweepstakes! Except if you’re a racehorse that is.

          And the spiraling vortex of over medicating again shows its ugly head like a cobra curling its way into a basket.

          • betterthannothing

            Thank you Susan!

          • NowIknow

            That explains what happened to Paynter.

          • Gayle Meyers

            Yes. He nearly died. But I guess that is better than some of Baffert’s other horses…

          • Susan Crane-Sundell

            It may. Plus there’s been some reproduced, peer -reviewed research recently on hind-gut microbial balance and the presence of certain microbes & gut flora that are associated with both laminitis and colic. Add stress & viola – could explain a lot. You can yell at me all you want, but rather than prescribing levo and omeprazole, a horse might have a better chance of achieving optimal racing health if you gave them a well-compounded probiotic, They are hind gut digesters.

        • betterthannothing

          Thank you Tinky.

    • Dee P.

      What can you do when the owner doesn’t care? That’s the case with Tapiture’s owner.

      • Knowitall

        He cares. He cares a lot. He cares about winning, and making money, increasing the value of his stock, and furthering the Tapit legacy – his stallion that is worth a conservative $40 million donuts. But you’re right, he doesn’t care about his horses for the sake of caring, or Blasi’s foul mouth, or the video that reflected badly on the game, ’cause none of that affects his best interests.

        • Susan Crane-Sundell

          Sadly Knowitall, everything you say is true and thanks for voicing it.

          • Knowitall

            Certainly Teardrop’s life in Asmussen mill is a far cry from Michael Dickenson plying King Tapit with his own rolled up grass sod for travel, eggs, and Guinness….

            Wonder if the younger Winchell is even still in the game without dad if he hadn’t hit the Tapit oil well?

  • Richard C

    This is Nixon “accepting” the resignations of Haldeman and Ehrlichman.

  • Knowitall

    Winchell owns the gray filly that was lame in the PETA video, Teardrop. They dont care. It’s bidness as usual.

    Bet Blasi is being very well compensated to keep his mouth shut, too.

    • Susan Crane-Sundell

      Really? That was Teardrop? Oh how I want her to go to another barn!

      • Gayle Meyers

        Everyone does! :-(

  • GreggJ

    Wow, THIRD time I will attept to leave a comment on this matter. Does comment have to be extra nice?
    Mr. FIske, Ask yourself if Asmussen had the best interest in mind for Teardrop, your filly that they ran lame in the Debutante. Sad if you keep your horses with this operation.

  • Southwest Dude

    If you want to win a triple crown race in the next month,now is not the time to change trainers.I agree with his choice although I would surely move the horses later on and not very much later.

    • Jay Stone

      I don’t think this is a decision you can postpone. Either you move them now or leave them and take the heat. The circus that will take place at Churchill will be unprecedented. This will get national coverage never seen before and I would guess Mr. Asmussen might not want to put himself and staff through this ringer. It might be in his best interests and obviously the sport’s best interest were he to voluntarily step aside until this whole situation is dealt with

      • Dee P.

        I don’t think there is a staff left.

        • for love of the horse

          There is one catch all in horse racing and that term is DETRIMENTAL TO RACING and if invoked at this juncture all the criminals in this fiasco can and should be ruled off now and a hearing scheduled for a future date, aqnd this can be done LEGALLY. The only question is WHY hasn’t this catch all been utilized. It is time for the State of Kentucky to step up as the home of the Thoroughbred and all the Thorouighbred has done for Kentucky and invoke this RULE.

          • for love of the horse

            Where are all the BIG TIME farms in Ky now when they are really needed? Why doesn’t one of them stand up for the defenseless Thoroughbred. Where are you Will Farrish, Especially you, from one of the biggest and best farms in the world, this is where the Queen of England stays and visits in America. Your silence at this time of need should be heard, don’t hide behind those stone walls and perfectly manicured paddocks that were built by the greatest and most majestic animals in the world, they need you Mr Farrish so the right thing and take stand for THE LOVE OF THE HORSE. I know you will.

          • for love of the horse

            There is one thing the big tracks don’t like and that is bad publicity, maybe we should boycott the Kentucky Derby.

          • Jay Stone

            Don’t count on most of the big farms ever taking a stand. CDI will determine what happens and they alone.

          • for love of the horse

            Will Farrish is a great guy, have talked to him several times when I was with Neil Howard so don’t kid yourself Mr Farrish will not be pushed around by any one, in fact I will bet you that the big farms have already discussed this matter and are formulating some sort of a response to this fiasco. If you think anyone trainer or anyone person is going to bring the entire thoroughbred racing and breeding program down in the breeding capital of the world think again. Come on Will say something.

          • DJ Bryant

            I think if ‘Racing’ keeps stirring up inconsequential, punitive court battles against it’s participants, it will finally come out that Racing is Detrimental to Racing.

        • Jay Stone

          They are all there except Blasi. They are currently under a no comment rule. Unt ICE and INS move in he still has staff.

  • Rob Yetman

    If Asmussen shows up at Churchill Downs on the first weekend of May racing will suffer a terrible black eye. It will be the leading topic of conversation for two days. It will be the lead the broadcast on the one day that many Americans pay attention to racing. Can you imagine Bob Costas in his deadly serious tone, addressing this issue. It will be a disaster. They need to call someone like Bill Mott and ask him to take the horses. Asmussen shouldn’t be within a 1000 miles of Churchill on Derby Day, for the good of the game.

    • Nancy Morgan

      Well said!!!

    • Ladyofthelake

      EXACTLY what I was thinking! I’m just remembering the smug & self righteous Bob Costas lecturing us during football halftime on everything from gun control to the Redskins name being offensive.

      God help us.

    • Pop N Go

      The NBC broadcast of the Derby sucks bad enough!

    • Lost In The Fog

      And the industry reaction to this fiasco just pours more fuel onto the fire. Rather than acknowledging the problems portrayed in the PETA video and talking about swift and aggressive action to remedy them, instead they’re circling the wagons. Winchell’s operation doesn’t remove his horses from Asmussen even in light of the accusations regarding the treatment of Teardrop, one of their own. Why? Are they more concerned about winning on the first weekend in May than the welfare and treatment of their own top horses? They and other owners are now complicit in all of this when they choose to keep their horses in the care of Asmussen, by implication indicating their ongoing support of Asmussen’s methods and operation. At least now they can’t pretend they didn’t know.

      Meanwhile such industry stalwarts as Maggi Moss and Barry Irwin have been posting comments here on the Paulick Report shooting the messenger – PETA – rather than discussing the actual gravity of the accusations at hand. In this case, both Barry and Maggi (whom I respect, and believe can and do make a difference in this industry) are reacting in a way that reinforces the public’s often negative perception of the sport. Most of us here understand the realities of the backside and recognize that PETA is a radical group with an agenda but that alone does not explain away or make less damning to the general public some of the things we’ve seen in the video clips or read in the reports and complaints filed. And it certainly doesn’t explain away the inconvenient truth that Blasi was fired today.

      • Ray’sghost

        Not to mention Steve Crist who, despite having a bully pulpit, squeezes his eyes shut so hard it must keep him from being able to drink. Well, maybe not.

      • Judge & Jury

        You are right-on the mark, Lost in the Fog! It is what ails racing and has for decades……..Owners will always gravitate to CHEATERS because they WIN!!! It is about the money, not the animal.

        • betterthannothing

          Money + Ego

      • McGov

        Couldn’t agree more with your comments.

      • Really?

        Did you ever think that Maggie and Barry have these opinions because they actually know more than us about the situation? All they are doing is suggesting we sort through the bs and ignore the fluff. Neither one could deny there is some stuff that needs to be dealt with, however, you can’t kill the guy because his assistant is a loudmouth. Maybe it is because they are in the public eye and have experience dealing with throngs of people with strong misinformed opinions.

        Do you know that part of Peta’s complaint is the fact that they gave ulcer preventative to the horses every day? People should complain if trainers DONT do this.

        Public assassination on the internet is far too common these days. People need to evolve, take a step back and sort through the facts before commenting.

        Why would these people take their derby contender away? Are they going to beat him up? No, I’m sure the horse is the king of the barn. So the horse and owner should not have a chance at history because Blasi ran his mouth? Not to mention that i
        Due to the circumstances, changing barns for this horse will kill his chances for the derby.

        I’m not condoning all of it, but until you have been in the public eye, you have no idea how easy it is for this stuff to get inflated and ruin lives.

        • Amanda

          Rachel won the Oaks, changed barns, and won the Preakness 15 days later. It’s not really unheard of.

          • Knowitall

            Even with a maximum dose of Lasix that dehydrated her. She overcame Asmussen that day, so yeah, hard to believe Tapiture wouldn’t improve with better trainer and jock. Unless more likely a decent horseman would say, “This horse has issues and needs time off.” That might not be in Winchell’s best interest.

        • Gayle Meyers

          Really? So, to you , Blasi is just a “loudmouth”. I guess your selective memory overlooked the part where he vowed to sneak a lame horse past the stewards “next time” in order to run it. Not to mention, if you look at the data compiled, they ran Teardrop in a stakes race when they KNEW she was sore. You out to be ASHAMED, supporting this cruel behavior!

      • GreggJ

        Bravo, comment is spot on! Thank you.

      • Rob Yetman

        PETA surely has their own agenda. But as my Father said, “even a broken clock is right twice a day.” Asmussen has a rather long rap sheet, the guy is a bad actor. Curlin and Rachel Alexandra seemed to was away his sins. It interesting that Barbra Banke puled most of her horses out of his barn. I wonder why?

        • JSR

          Anyone who tries to attack PETA for this is part of the problem they just don’t want to bring the truth to light, they want to go back to business as usual, and these are the people who say they love and rescue these horses. They should be ASHAMED of themselves .. Stand up to these abusers wether Moss believes it or not the truth has come to light, the public light is on you, show you care for your horses and DO THE RIGHT THING FOR YOUR HORSES …

      • Gayle Meyers

        Exactly – why don’t the industry leaders face the music? Yes, God help you if Bob Costas gets to weigh in on this scandal on the first Saturday in May, but it will be all YOUR fault, racing industry. If it gets down to that, without having SOME kind of reality check and acknowledgement of this issue, then you deserve the verbal abuse, AND more!

    • pr mofo

      What more of a black eye can we expect. Its people like Asmussen and Blasi who give us these collective impressions. The Kentucky racing commission needs to act swiftly. So does NY. Then there are appeals and what not. Ultimately the actions need taken by the owners. If they pull all stock from this joker the wont make the starting gate with a bad image.

      • Rob Yetman

        I agree that owners are often part of the problem. Zayat’s crocodile tears are particularly insulting. All these people who gushed over the Paynter story clearly weren’t interested in asking any difficult questions about Nehro.

  • D. C. Wimpfheimer

    Now its time for the owners to step up.

    • Pop N Go

      It’s time to hold the owners responsible as well, Zayat is a bad owner. He expects the results and if he is told no, he just swithches to the next guy.

      • Dee P.

        I think Mr. Zayat responded to being called a “c**t”….

    • Barry Irwin

      Dana, it is time for EVERYBODY to step up, starting with the NBPA and the AAEP.

  • Julia

    Remove the horses before their legs snaps too!

  • Ruben Flores Diaz

    How about Ky and NY suspends the license of asmussen, Lukas, Santana and Stevens until a full investigation is done, That would help the image.

    • Rob Yetman

      I like Gary Stevens but he has been very quiet on twitter since this news broke. I just hope…

      • Dee P.

        I’ve known Gary and his family my whole life. I’m from Caldwell, Idaho. I have zero respect left for him.

        • Lance

          Post the video link.. idiot

    • Pop N Go

      My God, they were talking about the use of buzzers in past tence, really!! Lukas talked about Ruidoso, he was talking about the early 70’s. Gary started out at the fairs and bush meets in the Intermountain west and has been riding for nearly 40 years, come on. I suppose people should be charged when they talk about the old days.

      • Dee P.

        Nope, Lucas was talking about the Derby and Thunder Gulch. Ever see the video of it where Stevens hands off the buzzer to Pat Day. The video is on my timeline on Facebook. Gary wasn’t riding in the early 70’s….he was a kid in school. He rode in 1979 at Les Bois for a few years, and there was no use of buzzers I assure you.

        • Knowitall

          Lucas might have been, but no one with half a brain cell or good hearing thinks Lukas was. No use at Le Bois, that is good for a giggle, Dee. And Rev. Pat Day probably didn’t accept a buzzer from Gary in the gallop out, they just shook hands. Or did you think that the two top jocks in the nation at that time were unaware of cameras trained on the gallop out after America’s Race? Regardless of what happened in the ’95 Derby, that had nothing to do with the dinner party buzz recorded by the hot PETA chick who was boffing Blasi for the Good of the Horse.

        • Lance

          Please post the video.

        • Tres Abagados Stupidos

          No use of buzzers?….Hell the guy that runs that track has a kid that was the leading QH rider for something like 6 years straight and he got caught with a buzzer at Los Al and did a year suspension.

        • MJH

          Who is “Lucas”? I hope you are doing a bit because it’s funny.

    • Dee P.

      How about CA suspend Stevens. That’s where he rides primarily. His crime was 19 years ago though aboard Thunder Gulch. He still needs to come forward and acknowledge it. I liked Gary…I’m from his hometown…now I think less then nothing of him after seeing him and Lucas laughing about shocking a horse. It’s really too bad Gary didn’t “shock the s**t out of himself.”

      • Knowitall

        He was talking about a horse way in his past, not a major track stakes horse or a Derby winner. G’lord, people, LOTS of jocks have used a buzzer coming up through the back waters. Reality sucks but that is all that video was, a dose of reality. Unfortunately y’all are going to tee off on the unwitting stars of that show and ignore the fact that they are just representatives of the entire sport. As for Gary, if he did it, it’s long ago. You don’t get suspended for unpunished crimes of over 30 years ago. Good thing I’m not going to tell you what was in the transcript of the PETA complaints. And for the last time, his name is LUKAS. And he didn’t say he did anything or that he instructed a nick to use a buzzer, he just said there were a lot of dropped buzzers at Ruidoso Downs, and he was probably referencing 40 years ago.

        • Knowitall

          auto correct. Jock not Nick.

          • Jay Stone

            You guys waste too much of my reading space with pointless rhetoric. Let’s stick to the problems at hand with reasonable comments. Not you in particular but some posters are getting abusive, and making accusations against trainers that have nothing to do with this mess. I’m totally for cleaning up this industry and regulating the abusers but the more radical our tone is the less we will achieve. I know it irks some people but more anonymous posters that appear the less serious we are taken. No one should be afraid of reprisal if speaking honestly.

          • Knowitall

            I’ve always been focused on WHAT someone had to say in a forum such as this, not just WHO they are. Substance over style. Now Weisbord gave immense credence to his proposal by being Barry, but who I am would have no impact on you at all, despite my whole hearted endorsement of his idea. And if you don’t like my “rhetoric” (where I defend more than attack) then skip my comments. It’s that simple.

        • Beach

          “Lots of jocks have used a buzzer coming up through the back waters.”

          Did I just read that right? Based on that logic, you could commit a murder and say “Well, lots of people have done it.” ?????

          I don’t care if it was 100 years ago. It’s heinous, regardless of who does it, and I dislike them laughing about it.

          • Knowitall

            Shocking a horse to run faster = murder. Yikes. You need to get a grip.

            I’m not justifying any of it. I’m just here, along with many others, to tell you that it is prevalent in racing, and there are many other conversations, tall tales, and laughter among racetrackers that are very similar, just PETA free.

            How do you think Seabiscuit won all those races? Oh, wait. That wasn’t in the movie. My bad.

          • Jeff teeter

            What is the “pain difference” between a buzzer, cattle prod that is used to move around cattle so that we can eat beef and electric collars for training dogs? Having personally felt all 3, buzzers are the least severe

          • betterthannothing

            Buzzers might be the least severe of the three shocking devices against dry skin, but when compared to cows and dogs, horses are the most nervous breed of the three and the fear and stress generated by electric shocks, combined with their flight instinct, are reactions scumbags exploit.

          • Knowitall

            Very true that horses are particularly sensitive to electric stimulation.

        • Mike Connors

          You seem to know it all, why not post under your name so we know who to give credit to. Please.

          • Knowitall

            As soon as that is required of everyone here, I’ll be the first to convert from tongue in cheek handle to real ID. In the meantime, should I assume you have nothing to add?

          • Mike Connors

            I’ll just sit by and wait for you to post and then I will know it all. Thanks.

          • Knowitall

            I somehow doubt you will be a good student, Simon.

          • Mike Connors

            The name is Mr. Connors, Dick.

          • Knowitall

            Mike, what is your problem? Do you disagree with my opinion, take exception to my tone, or just have lost your sense of humor with age?
            Which is it, all of the above?
            Unless you want to discuss the subject at hand, Asmussen’s PETA video and the fall out….this is rather pointless.

          • Mike Connors

            My problem? This is about horse racing and the problems that plague this industry. The PETA situation is just a snapshot of the issues we face. Pot shots and conjecture from the bleachers are meaningless. Whatever the fallout is from this current fiasco,it is not going to be enough. We need serious people who understand all of the problems to come together, without an agenda of their own, and get started on a complete overhaul. That is my problem.
            FYI, no race track owners need apply for the committee.

      • Jeff Teeter

        How about you acknowledge every mistake you made in the past and be punished for it. Then condem everyone else!

    • Lance

      Stevens and Lukas? Are you kidding? A 2 second blip with no context and you want to suspend them? You are an idiot Ruben

    • Really?

      Because if you suspended people for vindictive accusations all the time before knowing the facts a lot of people’s livelihoods would be effected unfairly. Any reasonable governing body checks facts first

  • Rob Yetman

    I would not be shocked if Asmussen gets zero stables at Saratoga this Summer.

  • Pam

    “Its best for the horses” Take one look at Nehro and tell me how good life was for him?

  • Ida Lee

    I’m probably just going nuts over this whole story but the first thing I thought about when I read Blasi was leaving …. is he taking Poncho with him? Poncho was a gift from Asmussen and at one point he was the world’s most famous pony, having been Curlin’s pony, traveling with Curlin wherever he went including Dubai. I just want to know where he’ll be…

  • Bryan Langlois (ShelterDoc)

    Ok..who wants to set the over under on this investigation as to whether it takes KY longer than the Life at Ten Investigation to come to a conclusion?? If they were smart…they would do this real quick and make a decision in the next 2 weeks or so to make sure it is long in the past by Derby Day.

    • ginger2000

      Smart and racing authorities? Not likely.

  • Ladyofthelake

    HRTV actually mentioned all this during this evening’s coverage of the races & so did Eoin Hardy. HRTV Scott & Lafit actually said “Well I guess this means a lot of people will start watching what they say from now on when somebody comes into their barn who they don’t really know.”

    And can anybody at PR elaborate on what extra security measures will be taken at the tracks as mentioned in your Twitter feed? Cause it’s really gonna make me mad if that means the general public will no longer be able to walk around the backside at certain tracks during race days. Thanks a lot PETA. Now you suck even more.

    • GreggJ

      Are you kidding me? You are upset because you and the general public might not be able to see the horses on the backside because if this? Talk about being self centered and completely selfish, wow. I guess it doesn’t matter to you that this might help horses and the sport itself in the long run, if they actually get their heads out of the sand and get rid of Asmussen and his likes. Just shaking my head at your comment…

      • Ladyofthelake

        No I’m not kidding you. It’s already hard enough for fans to visit farms and tracks to see the horses up close the way it is now. How is it going to help the sport to keep the fans away from seeing the horses? They could still test for drugs without making it harder for people to enjoy the sport. I actually prefer the peace and quiet of walking around the backside on race days, or watching the early morning workouts, to being in the middle of the hordes of drunk smokers at the track on race day.

        • Knowitall

          What tracks let you walk around the barn area – that should be secure for the horses’ sake and your sake – with out a license or pass?

          • Ladyofthelake

            I know at least one that does because I’ve done it & so do other people on race days. You can’t really go right up to the horses, but they do have security or barn managers at each barn to keep an eye on things, so there is supervision.

          • Knowitall

            Which track? Keeneland?

          • Ladyofthelake

            Your name says knowitall, you figure out which track

          • Knowitall

            Blasi used to scream profanities at strangers like you he found in his shed row…

          • Ladyofthelake

            Well I’m glad most barns don’t employ people like Blasi then. In case you couldn’t tell, he’s not exactly an ambassador for the sport.

          • Knowitall

            How many cats do you own?

          • Ted Turnner

            HaHaHa, GOOD ONE but I don’t think she will get it

          • Ladyofthelake

            Funny that you enjoy throwing personal insults at people in the forum, including somebody who couldn’t make it out of Idaho. FYI a CA trainer posted a FB photo of a lady standing with a horse in their barn who had a “visitor” sticker on her shirt. Maybe you should go out west & rescue his horses from the evil unsafe track visitors.

          • ginger2000

            There is a difference between a visitor who is signed in by somebody and the general public.

          • Ladyofthelake

            I didn’t mean I expected everybody in the general public to be allowed to get right in a horse’s face, just being able to walk around the backside

          • Knowitall

            No insult. I like cats. One at a time.
            Racing is a very accessible and fan friendly sport. But letting people wander around backside unescorted who have no clue around horses is unsafe for all, and a security breach at most tracks. But your self interest is not germane to this larger discussion.

          • Nate Leverage

            I hate to tell you but there are more people like Scott. I am not sticking up for Scott but he is a good guy. I sure you can film somebody for hundreds of hours to get 5 minutes to make that person look evil/horrible.

          • Ladyofthelake

            I guess I was referring not so much to his general attitude & talk about the horses, but more to the “screaming obscenities at strangers” part that Knowitall claims with such certainty Scott did. Can’t say I’ve ever seen anybody at a track screaming obscenities at strangers. Anybody who does that might have some mental problems.

          • ginger2000

            Keeneland for one.

    • ginger2000

      Wow – I guess it’s all about you.

      • Ladyofthelake

        No, I’m still waiting for someone to explain how restricting fans from the backside is going to stop excessive drug use or bad trainers. I don’t think Big Brown was ever doped by a visitor. I was asking about the fact that the PR twitter feed said tracks were considering this “due to PETA concerns” it did NOT say “because racing is gonna clean up its act and hire only Mormon missionaries to work the backside.”
        At this point the video has become a salacious tabloid story that, other than maybe the INS violations or the stuff about Nehro, contained nothing that people haven’t already known for years needs to be fixed.
        And this whole discussion is getting to be about as useful as all the people who went online to gripe about how horrible the series finale of Lost was. And it’s accomplishing about the same thing, which is nothing.

        • Knowitall

          Aside from safety and insurance issues around high strung TB’s, the reason for stable area security is to avoid tampering or even the appearance of the possibility. If you are back there unsupervised, who else is?

          • DJ Bryant

            Lol, obviously you are, Adolf Eichmann!

          • Knowitall

            Godwin, where ya been?

  • SteveG

    Blasi had to go as highly radioactive, of course, but I believe I’d respect Asmussen more if he’d kept him. Afterall, he’s been observing him & working with him for almost two decades & (at least tacitly) approving of his work, his demeanor, etc. The dismissal, on the other hand, connotes disapproval of someone S.A. was ultimately responsible for & reflects very poorly back on Steve’s lack of judgement over the years. Until the vid, he thought Blasi was okay but now, suddenly, he ain’t. Couldn’t cut ties with the cat fast enough. It’s pitiful.

    • Susan Crane-Sundell

      It might have been better to launch a “reedumacation” project in his whole barn and SA could have started with himself.

    • Knowitall

      He didn’t have a choice. He can’t survive otherwise. No place for loyalty unless he wants to take the ship down instead of baling the water out. And he might like Scott, and probably paid him a hefty severance to be quiet, but why would he like what Scott did to him with that video? That was careless. I’d fire him for being stupid, too. Be interesting to see how his percentages hold up without Blasi.

      • SteveG

        Unless Blasi got knocked on the noggin & suffered from a sudden change in behavior right before the clandestine taping began, he’s been acting the same way a very long time. Why didn’t Steve terminate him years ago if it’s a firing offense, after the release of the tape? That’s like saying, “uh-huh, everything that PETA portrayed is true and we’re guilty as sin.” Yes, he feels he has no choice – now. However, it’s pretty clearly a weasel move to distance himself from what he considers the source of the radioactivity. Only the dumbest of the dumb will fall for that self-serving ploy & believe Asmussen is not implicit, runs an exemplary barn & that Blasi acted the rogue.

        • Knowitall

          Steve, you miss the point. Asmussen was fine with Blasi. But not ok with being embarrassed on PETA video in public – his own livelihood is threatened and his cherished HOF nod gone, all because his good pal and top man couldn’t think with the head on top. He fired him for poor judgement, yes, for being radioactive, and as the only chance he has to recover in time. Clients might be asking him to do so as well. He is distancing himself from Blasi, who was the one on video. Agree, no one capable of a cogent thought will believe that Asmussen didn’t know about and condone everything referenced on the tape. But he would never have encouraged revealing it to the public. You think keeping him would go over better for Asmussen? Really?

          • SteveG

            I didn’t weigh in on whether or not things would go better for Steve one way or the other. I said I’d respect him more if he kept him because that would mean he’s been guided all along by ethical principles of horse handling, which he appears to be guilty of ignoring for a long time. However, on the point of how Asmussen will fare, even with jettisoning Blasi, he’s in for a bad time because everyone knows he’s ultimately responsible, if not directly on tape, then for fostering a toxic environment in which a fellow like Blasi could operate with impunity & as you say, be “fine” with it until humiliated by the exposure.

          • Knowitall

            Well said.

        • wabstat

          It is the Chris Christie defense… I did not see or hear a thing and I was not aware of what my TOP ASSISTANT was doing. Christie 2016. Asmussen HOF.

          • Jay Stone

            Great analogy

      • ginger2000

        Mr. Asmussen is assuming he is not anywhere on those other hours of video.

        • Knowitall

          He probably has a good idea whether he is or not and knows there are other shoes yet to drop. But Blasi had to go after the first minute of that video. Asmussen will be relegated to numbers and claiming horses as he mostly was before Jackson lifted him up. The sheer irony of Jackson being responsible for elevating Asmussen to fame with his horses, after he made such strides to clean up the sales side of the game, is mind numbing. Glad Banke has been easing out of SA barn ever since. Too many other trainers to be associated with Asmussen now, and in time WInchell will go as well. Why have the great white stallion besmirched by an Assmussen?

    • maggie zimmer

      Blasi was the fall guy for the team. Plain and simple. Ricardo’s name was never mentioned and PETA assumed it; he needs to sue PETA. I would never condone “plugging a horse in” , but everyone seems to think this is a rare thing. Seriously, you all really think that? And most trainers aren’t using these same drugs? C’mon…

    • ginger2000

      Exactly. Blasi didn’t do anything that Asmussen didn’t know about or approve of. Trying to wash his hands by getting rid of Blasi – pretty pathetic. But what can you expect of someone who treats horses worse than people treat their cars.

    • MJH

      Blasi had to be fired because of what he said about Zayat.

  • Dee P.

    The horses may be going to Churchill, but I seriously doubt that that cheat Santana will be on Tapiture, and I don’t think that Asmussen has the nerve to show his face. I hope he’s banned before the derby to be honest with you. I think Santana used a buzzer on Tapiture in last weekend’s race, when the stretch run was so erratic. I think Stevens might hear a few boos himself. Everyone saw him on that video, and I’m from his hometown, and damned ashamed of him.

    • Charles Smith

      He was a classmate of my brother at Capitol High School in Boise, I was proud of him too, until all this hit the fan.

      • Susan Crane-Sundell

        Lived there too..he was the home town boy who made good…real good.

  • Dee P.

    Turn that little punk Santana upside down and shake him good till the buzzer falls out of his britches. I hate the little punk. I’m not any too fond of Gary Stevens right now either, and I know he’s good friends with Mike…but he passed a buzzer to Pat Day many years ago and never owned up to it. Thunder Gulch couldn’t have won that race without it.

    • Knowitall

      I think I know why you couldn’t make it out of Idaho…

    • Really?

      You hate him? Santana’s biggest flaw when he first started riding was his brutal honesty. He would jump off your horse and tell you what was wrong with no sugar coating. Had needed some work on articulating his opinion.

      If he is guilty of this then crucify him, but not until you know.

  • Charles Smith

    HRTV did discuss the issues today, but the commentators left out any mention of @HRTVGary, their under contract co-worker, Gary Stevens. You know, the Hall of Fame rider who admitted using a buzzer/machine/maquina on a horse during a conversation with Scott Blasi and his girlfriend, errrr…….
    PETA investigator friend. HRTV, for you to have a admitted machine user on staff would be like TVG having an ex-major league player who admitted to using PEDs. Oh, that’s right, they do have someone like that at TVG.

    • Ladyofthelake

      Yeah I noticed that too. But didn’t really expect them to mention that part since they are both darlings of the network!

  • Kris

    I wish Ron Winchell were more like his father Vern and have his horses with Ron McAnally and then we wouldn’t be having this conversation!

    • Barry Irwin

      Mr. Winchell was one amazing guy. Unbelievably savvy.

  • Tidewaterhorse

    Can everyone step back and take a deep breath until there is an investigation? Up till now, there has been no investigation except for the 7 minute heavily edited tape by peta. I live a short gallop from peta and have friends who work or worked there. Their ultimate goal is to END horse racing, not fix it. I am not saying that the tape was not egregious, but that was the intent of the video and the current fundraiser by peta to stop horse abuse.

    • GreggJ

      Educate yourself a little beyond the video and read the pages and pages of the detailed report, ok? Maybe you would see why in just a matter of days that: Ahmed scratched his horses, Blasi was fired, and that all the powers to be have launched investigations. A lot more to this then a edited video.

      • Tidewaterhorse

        I have educated myself, but some people are calling for their heads. I am a believer in due process to take its course. Should he be suspended until all the facts are out? Yes. Are there many problems in horse racing? Yes.Has anyone involved in the sport, including those on this site done anything to improve the sport? Probably not enough.

        • Bellwether

          A lot here have been raising hell way before you got here…Hoo ever you are???…

      • Really?

        I’ve read the reports. They make this look more silly when it comes to the horses. They mention ulcer meds being given to the horses regularly. They mention ny anti cruelty laws not allowing lame horses to work when a state vet determines the soundness of horses pre race. The only meat to it is the labor situation.

        Other than the labor situation, these complaints will just create red tape in horseman providing good care for there horses. They will probably make you have a separate bottle with each horses name on it as you go down the shed row. What a mess.

        If they do anything else it will just be a knee jerk reaction based on ill informed public opinion.

        However, commissions do need this thyroid thing dealt with.

        • Susan Crane-Sundell

          Thyroid meds have to go except with dispensing to hypothyroid horses. Yes improve some conditions and research the feed and the omeprazole could go in many cases too. Ulcer medication isn’t “kindness”. It treats a secondary condition that could be less prevalent with better nutrition and more turn-out. Omeprazole has some nasty side effects that we all forget because it is over dispensed to both equines and humans.

      • Bellwether

        The powers that are suppose to be have known for a long time there is a hell of a lot more to it…From coast to coast…Its time for all hell to break loose!!!…

    • Lost In The Fog

      If there wasn’t fire behind the smoke on the PETA video Blasi would not have been fired today. The firing was validation that at the very least some of the allegations are true!

  • ShelleyB

    Asmussen is responsible for all that happens in his operation, whether he is there or not. Distancing himself from Blasi doesn’t alter that. Bad judgment on part of owners to keep horses with him, period, regardless of timing. Besides, with Blasi out and media scrutiny on barn, doubt their routine will remain same.

  • RedInTheFace

    I assume Blasi will have new counsel soon since they partnered with one of their owners for representation. The first step in surrounding yourself with teflon – get rid of the co-conspirators and then cut a deal…

  • david

    Lost all respect for Winchell. The trait in question is called consequentialism, what most of us call ‘the end justifies the means’

    ‘I mean I know he’s a bad guy and all I think it’s just too close to the second and third of May to take these horses away from the people, the routine…etc., etc. You know if we can with the Derby or Oaks with Asmussen…

    This ‘end justifies the means’ mentality is a problem for the entire racing industry, one of many reasons the game has fallen off a cliff in terms of popularity. Let’s be honest, other than folks in Kentucky and maybe parts of California and New York most people wouldn’t given a rip if they never ran another race in this country. Google greyhound racing in Massachusetts when you’ve got a second.

  • david

    BTW, I’ve met the senior Winchell and he was a gentleman and a true sportsman and would never have stood for this. The son, maybe not so much.

    • Rob Yetman

      The Senior had Ron McAnally train his horses. Talk about a step down!

  • Simon

    How come Dutrow was suspended for 10 years and has 72 offenses and Asmussen has 74 offences and he is still in the business seems like a Kangaroo Court to me.

    • zoey2

      Great question but I believe that simply has to do w/racing jurisdictions & “legal” opinions …….. or, maybe it has more to do w/the “good ‘old boy” network. Geesh. Anyone?

      • Knowitall

        Rick flaunted authority and thumbed his nose at basic rules. And probably called the wrong person babe one too many times. But if he was booted to set an example, then pull the trigger here, too. Yanks the license or better yet, just ban from tracks, refuse to give stalls. Tracks do it all the time to lesser-lights they don’t like, if they claim too many or from the favored trainers, or claim and ship out, don’t enter enough. Asmussen dominates entry boxes, but if you kick him to the curb, his horses will go elsewhere and enable other trainers to succeed, people that might be more grateful for the opportunity and better for the image of the sport.

        • DJ Bryant

          So thats how you see it? If you thumb your nose at authority you’re sent down the river, just like that? And we are to believe that it ‘cleaned up the sport?’ Is that how you want to live really??

          • Susan Crane-Sundell

            DJ Bryant: He didn’t endorse the practice, he just stated it is the practice. It would be ethical if the protocols and regulations for being removed from a track were clearly stated and strictly, instead of randomly, enforced. From my personal observation, this is not the case.

            As a closely-related area, do you see any uniformity in how fines and suspensions are meted out to trainers who commit violations? One gets ten years, another may get six months for a more egregious violation.

            For example, we could compare the fine and suspension histories of Dutrow, O’Neill and Asmussen for a start.

            I like what happened with Mahmood Al-Zaroomi in GB. They found paraphernalia, syringes and imported med shipment and the improper medicating of eleven runners with anabolic steroids.They did an initial investigation, at which time Al Zarooni was suspended. Then the BHRA investigated thoroughly. The Sheik then conducted his own investigation. Poof– Al Zarooni gone for 8 years. Sheik Mohammed has stated that Al Zarooni will never work again. GB may not be any more fair or consistent, but penalties are high and the deterrents cut down on the number of repeat offenders.

            I’d be interested in people’s thoughts on this.

          • ginger2000

            I think GB has it right. There should be no special treatment for a first offense. You’re caught and that’s it. Otherwise people will always risk that first offense. Zero tolerance is the only way it will work. And the racing rules need to be amended so that there is no court option. Trainers MUST sign that they understand the rules and that as a “MEMBER” of the meet, they agree to abide by all rules. Since they are members, they can be kicked out.

          • Susan Crane-Sundell

            I totally agree Ginger. Fines and suspensions should be strong enough to be valid deterrents. There needs to be uniform penalties that correlate to offenses too.

          • DJ Bryant

            That’s a fine comparison, emphasis on ‘complete investigation” by the BHRA. Nobody in NY believes that Rick Dutrow acquired those syringes himself, or even legitimately racked up those medication positives. The only reason nobody speaks is the fear of retribution.

  • betterthannothing

    Fantastic news!

    Following the release of one disturbing PETA video and two damning NYT articles by Joe Drape in the past two days, racing can’t move fast enough to offer extra security to…

    Wait!

    The extra security is not to protect its horses against abuse including with drugs!

    The extra security is to protect its dysfunctional and guilty self against being exposed, embarrassed and highly inconvenienced once again by PETA or others who want to stop the abuse.

    • Ladyofthelake

      Thank you! Exactly the same point I was trying to make in my post which I got ripped for. Sounds like the people who really need to be restricted from the backside are maybe some of the vets!

      • Knowitall

        Nah, you got ripped for acting upset that the petting zoo was going to close. Just to be clear.

        • Ladyofthelake

          The track has never been a “petting zoo” for me. I’m just not one of those people who goes to the track only to get drunk & blow all my money on gambling.

  • Susan Crane-Sundell

    This is reason alone to suspend Asmussen and his entire barn until this is investigated. So inexcusable and if proven true, blatant animal cruelty.

  • J M FANGIO

    Re Blasi, at least Steve wasn’t BLASE about it. Instead he BLASTed him.

  • Simon

    It looks like an Ex girlfriend is getting back at Steve or Scott HIDING behind the voice and darkened out image. She is a COWARD not to show her face.

  • Ben van den Brink

    Asmussen is using Blair as an scapegoat, trying to save his own livelyhood.

    • nu-fan

      Of course he is and Blair will go along with it knowing that he would have a very hard time ever getting a job elsewhere in horseracing if he snitches on Asmussen.

  • riatea

    Ron Winchel is an enemy of horseracing, I can not believe he is going to ruin the Kentucky Derby presented by Yum Bob Costas.

  • riatea

    Churchill needs to let it be known NOW they will exercise their private property rights not allow the bags the dirt came in on the premises.

  • Bellwether

    Boxing worst than Horse racing???…Don’t think so…Looks like they are in the same boat…And it breaks my heart…

  • Could this be the catalyst for serious change? Don’t bet on that.

  • Really?

    Well, you can’t diagnose the horse from this. Feet are weird and much less concerning than an ankle or knee although running any horse sore can put more weight on the other leg and get them hurt.

    How do you know they didn’t pull the shoe and reset it to resolve the issue?

    If she was displacing, maybe they changed bits/nose bands or racing strategy to prevent this.

    So no, we can not diagnose this situation from behind our computers. If the horse was indeed run on sore shins then crucify him, but not when you don’t know.

    Hot walkers in my barn do not diagnose lameness.,

  • Bellwether

    I’ll tell you what it says about the KHRC…If you have seen one you have seen them all!!!…Rotten is a great adjective!!!…Horse racing commission’s all over this nation are a huge part of the problem…ty…

  • Anton Chigurh

    I agree Peta is full of it but if people think this thing is going away they are very wrong.

  • Rob Yetman

    I don’t think people in the business understand the gravity of the situation. It seems like some in the industry think tweeting pictures of people hugging and kissing their horses will call off the mob being assembled by PETA and the New York Times. I have no doubts that PETA edited that tape for its benefit. But no matter what the context, how could anyone who owns a racehorse want their horse to be around Scott Blassi or anyone who puts their trust in him. Asmussen can’t be at Churchill Downs on the first Saturday in May. It would be a public relations debacle. The abuse of drugs, legal and illegal in American racing is approaching pandemic levels. Horses are less sound and less durable then they were 30 years ago. Twenty-five years ago. Easy Goer won the Swale, Gotham, Wood Memorial, Belmont, Whitney, Travers, Woodward, and Jockey Club Gold Cup and was second in the Derby, Preakness, and Breeders’ Cup Classic. He ran eleven times between May and November. He won six Grade I races. He was trained by a real horseman.

    Many of us love this game. But tweets of pictures of people kissing their horses won’t save it. Over at Bloodhorse they mentioned that over 400 pictures have been tweeted. While that is nice, Bob Costas will speak to tens of millions on Derby Day. Those people won’t see those pictures. But what they will hear is the voice of a man who has called the World Series and hosted the Olympics. You may not like Bob Costas, I might not like Bob Costas, but Costas has a powerful voice and if racing allows Asmussen to be there it is asking for trouble.
    After the 2012 election many Republicans were shocked that Barack Obama was re-elected. Yet the polls indicated that this was the most likely outcome. But many conservatives only watched Fox News, only talked to fellow conservatives, only read conservative opinion pieces. They lived in an echo-chamber. Too many people in racing live in an echo-chamber. They have their little twitter clubs and hashtags. But they fail to see how racing is viewed by people outside the game. They fail to see how the person who stumbles across the game once-a-year views it. Racing needs to get out of the bubble. I think many who cover the game, value their friendships and their access and hard questions don’t get asked. If you love the game, its time for more then cute pictures. Its time for hard questions. The drugs have to go. Europe isn’t perfect, but their drug policies are much better then ours. If you love this game, its time to stop taking the guided tour, time to stop with your hashtags, and time to do some serious work.

    • ginger2000

      Your last paragraph is very true. And sums up the real problem in racing – a denial of reality.

      • Rob Yetman

        Thanks!

    • Ladyofthelake

      And NBC never has needed an excuse to lecture its audience, no matter what the programming is.

    • Susan Crane-Sundell

      I agree with you Rob. If one stays in the house, one will never see the world. But I’ll keep my hashtags and my friends in the racing industry because not everyone in the industry thinks that tweeting pictures of people hugging horses will change the business.Someone even sent me a picture of Steve Asmussen kissing Curlin the other day.That was tough to see. But there are many who are calling and trying to organize for change. Some are trying to organize a new consortium composed of fans and owners who want change, a Thoroughbred Racing League. There’s WHOA, there’s Racing Medication Reform, there’s Veterinarians for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, all these groups are pro-racing, but want to put the health and welfare of the horse first. There are many on the inside that I respect. Not everyone is discounting PETA or their investigation. Not everyone is saying it’s a fabricated bit of propaganda.

      Plus some of us who are rehoming and rescuing OTTBs are marginally connected to the business. Many in the business don’t like us either. We’re the “clean-up on aisle 11 crew” we clean up the messes, bail the discarded “product” out of the kill buyer pens and get treated as if we’re bleeding heart troublemakers by many.The hard core win-at-all-cost trainers and owners hate our guts. We’re used to the derogatory remarks and sometimes even downright threats. Change takes time. However change can’t come fast enough for the horses. I ignore the callous ones. I will take good rapport where I find it and try to build alliances where possible. But I will always side with the ones who look out for the horses first. It is past time to do the serious work for the horses.

      • ginger2000

        I hate when people say how much they love the horse they are training. Yes, the love that he/she is winning! Of course Curlin got a kiss, how about the rest of the barn?

        • Susan Crane-Sundell

          Yes Curlin got a kiss after he won. But he got lots of other things too..many he probably could have done without.

          My question exactly, how about the rest of his charges, the horses like Valediction?

  • zinn21 zinn21

    The drive to win the the twenty or so elite races is the seed that sowed the current training protocol insanity. Why wait for that lottery horse when you have owners and trainers willing to grind up thousands of horses in search of finding that Derby contender..

  • Chris A

    I have been involved in racing as owner, trainer,gambler, for 40 years. And must say the game is totally out of control. The drugs are much a part of the game and overall, there is little regard for the horses. They are for profit only. There is no governing body. Baffert has horses dropping dead on a regular basis. Trainers continue to win at very high percentages year after year….Ness, Jacobson, Amoss, Pletcher, Broberg, Calhoun. How about the Monmouth Park group…Navarro, Gonzalez, Cibelli, Moya. ???

    What’s this deal with Maggi Moss? She defends these trainers that are known drug trainers, didn’t she represent Rasmussen years ago when he was suspended for year or so? And Blassi took over as trainer? She also has horses of her own with all these over the years….And she says she loves these animals? Unfortunately, Peta knows very little of how bad things are overall in the business.

    • Horseowner

      Chris you need to look at the stats before naming trainers with with very high win percentages. Calhoun’s win percentage is 19 percent. I have horses with Bret and they are very well taken of and are very happy. So get the facts right before making allegations you can’t back up.

    • johnnyknj

      Claudio Gonzalez has been training for just a year and a half and is just over 20%. Go by the barn at 4am and see how they operate and then go see how the horses look training.Then at least your opinion might be more than unsubstantiated and uninformed nonsense when it comes to him.

  • IntoTheRain

    It never had to come to this! Every time someone stepped up to try and help the horses they were shunned and most looked away! First Jack VanBerg testified before congress to try to stop the drugging and cheating, and then Michael Dickinson came out strong against the drugs. Glenn Thompson wrote the book ‘The Tradition Of Cheating In The Sport Of Kings’ and testified before congress on behalf of our horses. He has done everything he could to get drugs out of racing and still is everyday! Nobody wanted to hear it and look where we are now!

  • we’re watching

    This revelation could go a long way to helping clean up the sport, if we let it help. Asmussen should possibly withdraw his election to the HOF and leave the game for the good. of the game.

  • Barry Irwin

    “Cups” of wine?

    • kyle

      Might have been over Seder dinner.

      • Barry Irwin

        Good one!

    • Ruben Flores Diaz

      Wine glass, ok, i’m from Mexico and we say copa de vino, sorry, by the way love your method of buying and breeding racehorses, stamina and no medication thats the way to go.

      • Barry Irwin

        Thanks Ruben. Hey in America, you are able to buy pourable wine a a box, so I guess drinking it out of cups is not that far removed!

  • Jack Stantun

    Why does Scott Blasi become the “bad guy”? I am sure that there are many more assistant trainers, trainers, owners, jockeys…that think the same, act the same…

    peta ruined the livelihood for a person by showing a video that was MADE TO SHOCK! If Scott Blasi is such a “horrible person”, we should also look at how 2 y.o. training sales are conducted, talk about medication abuse and the love of money.

    For that matter, lets condemn pharmaceutical industry, military industry…

    • ginger2000

      There would have been no PETA video to shock anyone if racing had cleaned itself up. But they continued to go along doing whatever they wanted. Racing only has itself to blame. As for the pharmaceutical industry, if you are not condemning them, you are sadly out of touch with the real world.

      • Tom Hartisty

        I’ll tell you a little story about the pharmaceutical industry…Pfizer was working on a HEART DRUG (a very promising & beneficial one) and one of the side effects was erections. The powers-to-be decided to scrap the heart drug and instead concentrate on the side-effects. That drug meant much more $$$$ – viagra

        • Susan Crane-Sundell

          Yes but don’t take it with Beta-blockers or you won’t live to have another four hour erection!

  • Fast Filly

    From what I saw on the ten minutes of nine month of something was a man, Blasi, who cared about the horses, wanting them to do good..He did nothing to hurt them..he did alot of talking about injurys, things that broke his heart…so he talked with a filthy mouth, but what did he do> What did Asmussen do? the horses on the film were being treated, you don’t know what for..just what was said..the girl who did this was PAID by Peta a non profit organization that runs on donation from the nation..She can’t even show her face, bet she is in the win pictures of the horses that won…look them up, pick her out..

    • pam wright

      I guess the picture of Nehro was just our imagination. I love racing but this video made me sick.

      • Fast Filly

        What picture was you talking about.? It showed a horse in a well bedded stall with vet care…they never showed the foot…the film was taken in 2013..why did they wait so long to release it..if something bad was going on, why did they wait so long?

    • Really?

      You are right. He said the track was tough on the horses at Saratoga. He showed disgust over OTHER trainers sending their horses to the track limping. Says they break your heart. You can tell the farrier scene is highly edited because the guy tells him to stick his thumb in the hole and don’t touch it almost in the same breath. Also, when she asks him if he helps illegals get papers he says no but the volume is manipulated!

      This is why people in the industry that are anti cheating still are reacting defensively to this video

  • Yes Master

    Finesse….Steve Asmussen….Ricardo Santana….fell after wire…3.21.14…per Equibase

  • Suzanne

    Agree with Rob 100%. OMG what an embarrassment if everyone just looks the other direction and ignores the elephant. It makes me really angry and so sorry for the horses.

    • Rob Yetman

      Thanks!

  • DJ Bryant

    Nice Work. Now go back to your station at Fox News.

    • kyle

      Really? Seems more like a Spike Lee or Rosy O’Donnell move to me.

      • DJ Bryant

        Does it really matter?

        • kyle

          You thought it did.

          • DJ Bryant

            I’ve been stepping in horseshit daily since 1987, ‘Kyle’ what do you do?

          • kyle

            Try as I might I can’t see what that has to do with the cost of tea in China…unless you’re trying to explain a limited frame of reference.

          • DJ Bryant

            Try harder, since you don’t have any skin in the game.

          • kyle

            Not that it’s germain to the issue at hand – which obviously you’d like to obscure – but if you work in the industry it is I and those like me who pay your salary. You’re welcome.

          • DJ Bryant

            Really? You paid my salary? Damn!! What’s your name and I’ll shake your hand Bro!!

          • kyle

            No hidden camera needed to expose that little bit of industry stupidity.

          • DJ Bryant

            I’m just curious, (yes, I am a doctor), but what exactly is your position, Tonto, Come on out with it!

          • kyle

            Doctor…LOL..You mean a vet? Aren’t you the guys wo foisted the chemical horse on American racing? Eighty-Nine you say you started? Yeah, you were there at the beginning. And you’re bragging about it?

          • DJ Bryant

            Take it up with the NYSEdDept, or the AAEP Mr Tonto, Mr. NoName, nobody.

          • kyle

            Yeah. The USPS once said a little old man was the one and only Santa Claus, too.

          • Former Trainer

            D J Bryant your talking to ignorance

          • DJ Bryant

            Yeah, I Know. It’s pretty much what I do every day.

        • pam wright

          Exactly

          • kyle

            Right. What does it matter if one characterizes a tack typically used by the progressive mob as typical of its opposition.

  • brussellky

    I can’t believe no one (that I have seen anyway) has mentioned that what PITA did is essentially facilitation of prostitution. Apparently they are for the ethical treatment of animals but not for the ethical treatment of women. She obviously prostituted herself to gain the access to acquire the contents of the videos which clearly PITA has no problem with.

    • pam wright

      This is about the treatment of the horses. This is what this discussion needs to focus on. Oh and on a side note. Its PETA not PITA (pita is a Greek style bread)

  • Knowitall

    Stonestreet and Peachtree reportedly out of his barn 100% per decent sources.

  • Gina Powell

    Horse racing is an antiquated sport sugar coated with glitz, and glamour. Very few people in the industry really cares about the racehorse, and what happens to them after their career is finished. The industry does little or nothing to uphold good values. All top trainers (not only Assmussen) are allegedly “needle” trainers, and they have American owners hooked on “needle” training. There is not one owner that can stand there and honestly tell me that they don’t know that their horse is essentially a “needle” junkie since they get all the vet bills that are conveniently “private.” Old style trainers (like myself) who actually feel the horses legs, and run on predominantly hay, oats, and water CAN’T COMPETE with the needles and what goes into them. It goes much deeper than this though: these “needle” trainers get HUNDRREDS of stalls, racing secretaries bow down to them, and owners have few choices when it comes to trainers. Small outfits, and caring trainers are continuously blocked from gaining access to the top races. They are blocked via 1) denial of stalls 2) denial of races 3) denial of good jocks. They are blocked from gaining fair and equal access to the system. It’s just as simple as that. If a trainer gets a good horse that they bought for cheap, but is a talented athlete, they are bombarded with financial offers to buy the horse. If they don’t sell the horse they know that that horse will not have the same access as Assmussen, Pletcher or Baffert. Nobody can dispute what is on the video. However, some people may disagree with it. There are many things that came out of this video: 1) Scott Blasi was fine until this video came out. Bottom line? He’s the fall guy for Steve Asmussen, and the industry. 2) Lasix or Salix is admittedly (from the words of a top vet) “performance enhancing.” 3) I have heard people often refer to their horse as a “rat.” That’s usual stuff on the backside. I get into verbal arguments with people that say this, and anybody caught saying it in my barn was immediately suspended. 4) horses are sometimes seen as disposable. Claiming races are a convenient way to dump sore horses who are no longer performing (probably due to their soreness). 5) big race stables are a “turnstyle” for racehorses: in they come and out the go. Where they go nobody could possibly keep track because of the sheer volume. Many people don’t realize that years ago trainers would not take on more than 10 horses in their stable. These “corporate” barns were virtually non-existent. There is no trainers that can train and personalize their horses with so many. It’s impossible. It doesn’t matter how good their Assistant Trainer is. Another thing: years ago an Assistant Trainer had to be under DIRECT trainer supervision. How the law ever passes for a Trainer to have hundreds of horses in training while having several Assistant Trainers carrying the can is beyond me. It certainly sustains this “corporate” style of training which is precisely when increased breakdowns occured. Of course there are many factors to breakdowns, but one scientific accepted study concluded: breakdowns are a result of chronic underlying issues that are continually medicated. The days of horse racing flying under the radar are long over. Horse racing has been policing itself for far too long. I support the Horse Racing Act, and these videos. Instead of criticizing them the industry should learn from them.

    • ginger2000

      Well said Gina. As you stated, the problems in racing go far beyond drugs. Change is needed or racing will die. And those of us who love both horses AND racing will be the losers.

    • dispute92

      Totally agree with you, Gina. I always asked what was going on with our horse when the vet went in her stall, if I was at the barn.
      Look at those trainers/owners who risk losing races without using lasix on 2 year olds. You won’t see owners of the million dollar babies doing this. Nor their trainers. Darley is one of the stables that doesn’t use it with their high priced 2 year olds. I know, there are a few others, I am just using them as an example. I know Shug and Mott are also included due to their owners.
      And yes,after care is a sore subject in my book. There needs to be more emphasis and pressure on tracks, trainers, owners, and breeders to do the right thing. Like that will happen. But we must keep trying.
      Good luck to you.

    • Susan Crane-Sundell

      Thank you Gina.. I wish that the “powers that be” would listen to you and your experiences.

  • Tonto

    Does anyone one to talk about the Asmusen entry that dropped dead on the track yesterday ?

    • ginger2000

      I would like to know.

    • Yes Master

      It was Finesse. not in for a tag…fell after the wire. Oaklawn.. Steve Asmussen and Ricardo Santana per Equibase. But I doubt a necropsy as with CHRB

      • Yes Master

        Sorry..it was 3.21.14 …7th race 2010 filly finished 2nd.

        • Former trainer

          All the horses that die on the track have to have a necropsy. Its state law

          • Yes Master

            I take you are referring to Arkansas law, the state where Finesse died, requires a necropsy and not a post mortem report. I did not see it in the Arkansas statutes

      • Nancy

        I read somewhere there would be a necropsy. However, I’ve read so much I can’t remember where I saw it. Not sure if that’s SOP or not.

        • Susan Crane-Sundell

          No they only did a blood draw. No necropsy necessary in good ol’ Arkansas. ( another problem with most states running their individual laws and no national standards) How are we going to understand racing deaths and clean up bad medication protocols without necropsies being MANDATORY for racehorses?_

  • Ian Howard

    Assmussen and Blasi will be broken by this video. Either the financial costs of defending themselves or owners fleeing because the barn is too toxic to be associated with will ruin them. New York will probably bar them because of political pressure. Racing will happily throw them under the bus.
    The question is will we have a realistic examination of what needs to change in racing for it to survive or will Assmussen and Blasi take the fall for the rest of us who have let horses become pharmacological pinadas and ethics matter less than winning.

    • ginger2000

      You have stated exactly what I am afraid of. Asmussen and Blasi will be scapegoats, there will be lots of talk about making changes, and thing will remain status quo. I am glad PETA is involved, because I don’t think they will let up with token “efforts” on the part of racing.

  • IntoTheRain

    The author of The Tradition of Cheating in the Sport of Kings just got on Ray’ butt on his facebook page!! He did in in reference to the Weisbord story.

  • Convene

    The whole mess stinks – and it’s stinking up the good guys along with the bad in the public’s eye! However – it’s why I firmly believe owners HAVE to educate themselves as fully as they possibly can about the horse and the sport. If a kazillionnaire invests his fortune, even if he has a good broker, I’m sure he keeps a pretty close eye on his stocks and his financial picture. How much more important when that investment is in a living, breathing creature who can feel, can hurt, can know fear and can die? Not all barns are this way. I worked for a trainer – who really loved his horses and ended up top trainer for two meets in a row at a track in Canada – and being alert, interested and concerned, I paid close attention to everything he did and said. I was there all day, every day and knew pretty well everything that happened – and nothing even remotely like this video ever took place. Back then, meds were illegal on race day – no lasix, no bute, no nothin’ – and the only horses given anything were those on layup, healing from injuries. That wasn’t the case in some other barns, as I well knew – and we all made our opinions of that quite clear! We still have ethical, caring trainers – and owners – today. But so many racing stables now include 100 or more horses and multiple assistant trainers and the money hollers louder and louder. How sad it is that money so often trumps the welfare, health and comfort of the horses – not to mention the integrity of so many trainers.

    I say to owners: EDUCATE YOURSELVES! The information is out there (it’s easier today; we have the internet!), so find it and learn it before you buy a racehorse. Be the owner who, now educated and knowledgeable, shows up unannounced and as unobtrusively as possible at the barn, at random times of day, and see – first-hand – what is going on with your horse and with everyone else’s. Ask questions and find out if the answers make sense and are truthful. It’s your money, so look out for it! It’s also the horse’s life, so you are honor-bound to look out for it!

    We shouldn’t be giving fodder to outfits like PETA by allowing such outrageous things to happen. Unless they did some creative editing (which wouldn’t be the first time), this time they would seem to be right. And you have no idea how much it burns me to have to say that!

    • Convene

      I should also add that that trainer I worked for had one horse suffer a career-ending injury and go on to be a wonderful riding horse for someone we knew. We had no fatalities. And that was back when veterinary medicine was ‘way behind where it is now and injuries that today are treated and healed back then very often became fatalities instead.

    • nu-fan

      How many owners really care how their horse gets their win? Owners usually need to have a lot of discretionary money. Unfortunately, I have known more than one very affluent person (wealthy) who got their money by doing “whatever it takes” and, sometimes, illegally. I do agree with you that owners do have a tremendous responsibility in whom they hire as well as be knowledgeable enough to question everything. My thinking? If a trainer is suspended, the owner should also be severely penalized. Need to have some disincentive for these owners to keep pursuing this sport in the way that some have. I know that this will not go over well with some owners but, quite frankly, I don’t care. They need to understand that they can delegate authority but they cannot delegate responsibility.

  • Tony

    What a bunch of baloney. Horses adapt better than humans.

    • Susan Crane-Sundell

      Yes they adapt, but they don’t go through drug withdrawals well.

      • Tony

        I was referring to horses adapting to horses adapting to new surroundings.

  • Southwest Dude

    Every comment I have read here has merit, and I read a lot of comments about other subjects in other publicatiions, many of which are idiotic.Whichever way it goes is ok with me,but if they were my horses I would want the same people handling them for the period going into the triple crown races.As for the trainer it really would not matter to me who he was as long as the groom and gallop person were the same.When it comes to the medicating , when you run at this level you can medicate with all the legal substances you want and if the horse is sick ,sore or unfit he will not run well.The competition is so tough that if one minor incident occurs you are beaten.It would be best for the industry overall if Asmussen would just bow out and take a vacation, his career will be pretty much in the tank anyway.

  • Tired of the BS

    My guess is David Fiske will have a new story by Tuesday.

    • Susan Crane-Sundell

      I hope so.

  • equine avenger

    The abuse of horses and the hiring of cheap illegal help is widespread! The public, media, owners would be surprised as to the trainers that they all thought were decent caring horsemen, if they really knew what went on in these barns when the cameras aren’t around. I call them the mommy-dearest of horse racing. Most of today’s help are horse beaters and reminds me of some comments made from way back that I once read……

    “For some ten or fifteen years after the civil war, there were a considerable number of mexican cowboys on the range. Most of them being from the southern part of the country. They were skillful men in every branch of the work and did it well, but the standing objection to them, on the part of the employees, was that they were rough, abusive and unfeeling in their treatment to the stock, and personally untrust worthy.”

  • KenB

    Somebody is in love with Bob Costas?

  • radar303

    I just got through the 3rd viewing of the video. Unless this is just the tip of the iceberg or this is it, remains to be seen. If there is more(like the Project Veritas “pimp videos”) that is one thing, but if this is all they have after 4 months and hours of tape, I am underwhelmed at parts of it.

    Blasi is a fool. I can be almost certain that he was goaded into saying these awful things by a master manipulator who was using the same kind of offensive language. He was led to say those things by the “investigator”. What he said is deplorable, but there is no way he speaks this way to the help(unless they have that way of talking among themselves), or the owners of the horses. To get him to talk that way, the investigator used an old “technique” that is used by salesman, con men, policeman, muckrackers and anyone else who attempts to get what they want. He felt comfortable using that “jargon” around that “investigator”.

    The medication issue is one thing. Of course all of the horses in these ,massive stables are on the same “PROGRAM”. They have to be. There is no way that Asmussen and the rest of these superfeed, supplement, medication stables can do an individualized treatment plan for EVERY horse. The program works or these guys wouldn’t have hundreds of horses in their care. It is my opinion that all these drugs make the horses less sturdy…but that is just my opinion. Might make them faster in the short term, but less durable.

    The really awful part of the video is the illegal worker system that is used. That is where the criminality can really be exposed. It was given the short shrift because PETA has other issues that are more relevant to their cause. There should not be jobs for the illegal workers, more altruism from the barns and pay better wages for LEGAL workers. That they work cheap HURTS the economy and these allegations should be prosecuted. I feel for the illegals and the EMPLOYERS should pay HEAVY HEAVY fines and jail time for anyone who employs ILLEGAL workers. That will STOP the illegal problem. The barns should just stopping hiring them.

    • ginger2000

      I don’t really think Blasi is a fool who was goaded into anything. What I saw on that video was a man who loves horses and got into racing. Then he found out what racing is really like and it hurts him. He hates what he does but he can’t leave, it’s his life. The girl asked questions that showed she cared about horses. No one else in that shedrow felt (or expressed) concern for the horses. Blasi talked because the pain of what he did ate at him for years and when a sympathetic person was there he couldn’t help himself. Blasi is a victim as much as the horses. Asmussen is the one who’s to blame. Asmussen is guilty of being cruel to horses and to people.

    • Flag Is Up

      Underwhelmed? How about a world renowned Hall of Fame jockey admitting he has riden horses with a machine and a world renowned Hall of Fame trainer joking about it with him. I’m shocked that this appears to be under the radar by most who comment here!

  • Dan Camoro

    I’d like to see this simple rule implemented: JOCKS ARE HEREBY FORBIDDEN TO HAVE HAND TO HAND CONTACT AFTER CROSSING THE FINISH LINE. That’s not to say that buzzers have ever been handed off, but it sure as hell would ELIMINATE public suspicion, and that’s what needs to happen…never, ever, again, could the issue be raised.

    • equine avenger

      Many times a buzzer isn’t even what they use. A simple small, not too sharp/not too dull(just sharp enough to scratch the skin without causing bleeding), nail is sometimes used across the neck a number of times and make a buzzing sound with their voice. You will know when the horse comes back and their are a number of scratch marks. I have seen has many as seven scratch marks made in one race.

  • Susan Crane-Sundell

    Don’t forget Tear Drop. She’s a Winchell filly too. She may not be an Oaks runner but she deserves a better life than being run lame. She deserves out of there! That barn is not a fit a environment for her.

  • equine avenger

    Its truly hard to believe that this Scott Blasi clown is the BEST that Steve Assmussen could come up with to be his second in command. The sad thing is though, it’s the same in many other stables as well. Clueless, uncaring, unethical people put in charge for various reasons.

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