Record-smashing Kentucky Oaks (GI) winner Rachel Alexandra is led to a waiting van by assistant trainer Scott Blasi. Image: Churchill Downs website.

Accused horse trainer Asmussen sacks assistant Blasi; industry responds

The word over the weekend concerning Thoroughbred racehorse trainer Steve Asmussen is he has sacked his assistant Scott Blasi. Blasi is the inconvenient star of the Peta undercover investigation that leaves he and and Asmussen accused of horse cruelty, among other things. “Among other things” appears to be on most people’s minds however.

Our concern of course is for the horses. Per usual the horses are barely mentioned in the write ups. And typical of American horse racing they are trying to deflect their problems onto PETA.

Here’s a sampling from ESPN citing the Blood-Horse as their source:

The situation erupted March 20 after the New York Times, under the condition it not name the undercover investigator, published a story on the PETA allegations. The woman, who is said to have gotten to know Blasi with the intention of infiltrating the stable at Churchill Downs and Saratoga Race Course for four months in 2013, videotaped barn activity and conversations without the knowledge of Asmussen or Blasi.

“Though PETA reportedly has hours of videotape, it has posted only a nine-plus-minute clip on its website. Called disturbing by many in the racing industry, the video doesn’t show illegal equine drug activity but does indicate potential violations involving the hiring of workers.

No mention of horse cruelty, which was horrible to witness. Not so for American horse racing however.

There’s more about PETA in this blurb:

PETA has stated it isn’t against horse racing, though over the years it has been quick to take advantage of various incidents such as breakdowns to claim racehorses are mistreated and abused.”

Oh, a brief mention of horse cruelty but in this case, but only when they are quoting PETA.[1]

In the meantime, the allegations against Asmussen and Blasi from the PETA investigation are being investigated by horse racing itself. We know how that will turn out. Like it always does. Nothing of any substance is done against the perpetrators and it’s business as usual. So who cares what they find or don’t find, do or don’t do? Well we should and we do.

I don’t think there is a whole they can do to wriggle out of this. If it weren’t for the cruelties carried out against the equine victims in cases like these, I would enjoy watching them squirm while they try.

If you want the lowdown on horse racing’s leaders kneejerk response to all of this is, see the Paulick Report [2]. Just about all the alphabets are represented. Get out your sick bag.

“betterthannothing”comments:

Racing’s biggest mistake was to continually discount the welfare of its horses and worry more about animal rights activists than the animals themselves. Unfortunately for all concerned, except heartless profiteers, racing chose to just do enough to manage public outrage including with lies. When Alex Waldrop swore in front of a massive media contingent that our race horses are Priority #1, following Eight Belles’s death, racing should have translated that lie into a huge red flag and wake-up call and turned it into reality. Instead it continues to prioritize power and money.” [3]

We hope that Peta’s investigation is a sincere move to expose what American racehorses endure and not simply a way to gain attention for themselves. If Peta allows horse racing to investigate this and subsequently do nothing, and no arrests are made, then we will have to assume the latter and not the former.

Must these horses withstand even more exploitation?
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[1] http://espn.go.com/horse-racing/story/_/id/10662379/blasi-no-longer-working-asmussen
[2] http://www.paulickreport.com/news/people/industry-reactions-kentucky-new-york-launch-investigations-in-wake-of-peta-complaint/
[3] same as [2]

Featured Image: Record-smashing Kentucky Oaks (GI) winner Rachel Alexandra is led to a waiting van by assistant trainer Scott Blasi to begin her journey from Churchill Downs to Baltimore’s Pimlico Race Course for Saturday’s Preakness. Source, ChurchillDowns.com.

8 thoughts on “Accused horse trainer Asmussen sacks assistant Blasi; industry responds”

  1. Maybe someone in the ‘know’ of these new trainers he sent his horses to, will send him an email/? letting him know he just took them from one frying pan to be put in another!!!
    He might know this, but letting him know that is what’s written in many articles & on the minds of many when he released the names to where his horses are going? IMO

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  2. Alex Waldrop was the biggest farce during the Eight Belles disaster. As the words came our of his mouth, you new they all were a “spin,” lies.

    Eight Belles is another statistic of cruelty. This is my belief.

    I watched the video of her last race, the Kentucky Derby, over & over. First I felt she literally ran her heart out. To me, it was obvious she was struggling at he end, Although her jockey said she always preferred running against the rail, & he was whipping her to bring her away from it, I saw her keep turning to the outside, as if she wanted out of the race. This was towards the end of the race. And her jockey kept pulling her back in to run straight ahead.

    However, this turning outward could have been the jockey whipping her away from the rail. But it remains my gut feeling that Eight Belles was distressed & wanted to out out of the mass of horses & tried to go to the outside. To stop running with the pack.

    Obviously, she was in big trouble at the end, for she should have won! Then the galloping over, she immediately crumbled, both ankles broken.

    It is my feeling,that she could have had problems before the race. And after reading this article about shocking, drugging horses against pain & running them injured…one needs to wonder. Regardless, she was racing badly injured & tried to get out of the pack &/or kept racing as some horses do, although injured. The race over, the momentum gone, she fell.

    I still have a print hanging near me of Eight Belles. She is lying down, head up. She is with the angels as they remove her halter: “Eight Belles, Rest Easy Girl.”

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  3. Vivian, Thanks for the information about the other trainers. I don’t know who all of these people are because I have never really dug into the training methods of these creeps. I have been fighting to stop horse slaughter no matter what breed the horses are. In other words the horses are no better off than with Asmussen? It amounts to passing the horses from one kill buyer to another kill buyer and hoping the horses are in safer place. And there don’t seem to be anything that any of us can do about it. And as long as the breeders do as they please in regard to the number of foals that are born every year there will always be a large number of young horses for trainers like these destroy.

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  4. It looks like the assistant will be blamed for everything that has happened to all of the horses in Asmussen’s barn. What a crock, that man didn’t make a move unless Asmussen told him too. Of course the racing industry will cover it up like they cover up all of the deaths on the tracks and truck loads of TB’s sent to slaughter. Anybody that would sit there and F-bomb every other word the crippled up horses that he was responsible for shows what a low life thing both men are. I’m glad the owner of the horses removed them from the grasp of either of these two.

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    1. DRF reports this: Zayat said horses he had with Asmussen at Oaklawn Park will be going to D. Wayne Lukas. Zayat’s horses at Fair Grounds will go to Dale Romans and be moved to Churchill Downs. Finally, Zayat-owned horses at Belmont Park will be given to Michael Wilson. Wilson, a graduate of the Darley Flying Start program, also has worked for horsemen Richard Mandella, Bob Baffert, Doug O’Neill, and Ken McPeek.

      So the horses go from the frying pan into yet another frying pan. Lukas is said by insiders that he has destroyed more young horses than just about any modern day trainer; Romans has a history of doping violations; Wilson has learned his trade from some of the worst offenders in the business – win at all cost and screw the horses.

      Just look at the list: http://www.horsefund.org/the-chemical-horse-part-9.php.

      These horses don’t have any better chance in my opinion than they had before.

      And Zayat has to know that. If he doesn’t then pardon me for saying, he must be an uncaring buffoon. There are good trainers trying to do it and right and compete at the same time. Why not find out who they are, scarce as they may be.

      Thanks Barbara, for the comment.

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      1. Lukas, Baffert? What a joke it all is, They sit in the same pew in the house of horse racing redemption……need I say more?

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