KHRC finds no smoking gun in Peta undercover sting of racehorse trainer Asmussen

Thoroughbred trainer Steve Asmussen leads Tapiture to the paddock before the Rebel Stakes. Asmussen has been accused of cruelty to race horses by PETA. Photo: Danny Johnston/AP.
Thoroughbred trainer Steve Asmussen leads Tapiture to the paddock before the Rebel Stakes. Asmussen has been accused of cruelty to race horses by PETA.

I am not shocked. I am not the least little bit surprised. This is horse racing American style and it stinks to high heaven. You take your big carcasses of cheating and horse cruelty and sweep them under the proverbial rug.

Abusing drugs and cheating. That seems to be a common thread in too many modern day sports. But the athletes in these sports choose to be there and take the actions they take.

Horses are bred for it and may love to race, but they do not choose who owns and trains them.

Horses do not choose whether or not to push past ill considered breeding, injuries and pain to compete to the point of breakdown and death.

Horses do not choose whether or not to take potentially lethal cocktails of drugs or debilitating medical treatments in order to compete at any cost, to get an edge and cheat their fellow athletes.

This is what you can see in US horse racing with or without the help of Peta. But Peta chose to go undercover in an attempt to expose its extent. And they chose one of the biggest winning, money-making high profile trainers in US racing, Steve Asmussen. And they hit pay dirt.

The Blood-Horse reports:

Though People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals has submitted a 10-page complaint and a 22-minute video to the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission alleging animal abuse last year in trainer Steve Asmussen’s Churchill Downs stable, no smoking gun is evident in a review of the evidence.

That is not to say investigators won’t find rule violations stemming from the video and complaint that centers on the treatment of 2011 Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) runner-up Nehro, but the video does not appear to offer any obvious violations.

Well, horse racing. If people in your industry can do what the Asmussen camp did to Nehro (just one example) and find no obvious violations — no smoking gun — your whole sick business needs to come to an end.

The Blood-Horse got the data they based their detailed article on via a Freedom of Information Act request. Read the entire article here. You may need to super size your barf bag to get through it.

Insofar as the Asmussen circus, the next stop is New York. Thoroughbred racing regulators there are also “investigating”. If Nasalgate is anything to go by, my expectations are equally low.

The mistake Peta likely made is handing over what they found to US horse racing authorities, thinking that it would jar the industry into taking some sort of action to clean itself up and protect the horses they use. So far, no sale.

So horse racing in America. Celebrate your Triple Crown if you get one. It is not a feel good story, should it happen. It will do nothing to put the rosy glow on your sick industry that you think it will.

In the meantime Kentucky, hang your heads in shame.

8 thoughts on “KHRC finds no smoking gun in Peta undercover sting of racehorse trainer Asmussen”

  1. How right you are because without the horse large sections of the US would never have been explored for a hundred years or more until the car and the airplane were invented. The settlement of the country would have been at a snails pace or about as fast as a person could walk along side their the wagon pulled by oxen. This country would probably have looked more like Australia with cities clustered along both coasts. But people like these don’t care to much about the past or what the horse has done for mankind throughout the ages they live only for the money these young horses can make for them no matter how many of them dies along the way.


  2. Could it be that they don’t trust the accusations because PeTA did the investigation? I also have INCREDIBLY little trust in them, but animal abuse is real and racehorses are far from immune to it. I’m sure that there are other organizations and people with more trustworthy records that have expressed concerns over horse cruelty to racehorses


    1. The people investigating have seen the full uncut investigation. The excerpts were published to the public. Why shoot the messenger because you don’t like what it shows?

      Everyone in and around racing knows that doping, cruelty, breakdowns and death, are a day to day experience for many, many racehorses. Anyone who doubts it — there have been numerous eyewitness reports by big and small newspapers not just the Peta investigation — are wearing rose colored glasses because it suits them personally for racing to go on. There are going to be no changes. It is only going to get worse.

      There have been no serious moves towards reform in racing, and none likely unless we turn up the heat so hot they either reform or go out of business.


      1. A Triple Crown this year will only add to their woes as it will push the drug scene even further under the rug. Hate to take any thunder away from the horse (Chrome) but it has become hysteria. They are so desperate (obsessed) for a TC – they all say it will benefit the horse racing industry in the US???? NO, it will only delay the needed reform. I am so tired of it all….denial at it’s worst. I pray there is no TC, the US does not deserve it, or rather it is probably the absolute worst time it could happen given the lust for drugs and the corrupt situation that currently exists. Asmussen, Baffert, Pletcher……all guilty, along with many others. And these are the most revered trainers. What does that say about US racing? In my mind, incriminating. God help the horses.


        1. I should also add that this is not a “fairy tale good-feel” story by any means. Chrome’s trainer – Art Sherman – has only one less drug violation than Baffert and he runs far fewer horses and his owners may not be the elite but they are rich. And his bloodstock is the same as many others….its a story put forth by the desperate people in this sick drug-ridden industry. I swear they are going to fix the Belmont just to get their day…. we shall see. Sorry but I am totally disgusted, can you tell? :)


        2. The little bit of respect I had for Sherman has now been lost. I would have felt much differently had he had a clean record. So much for me looking forward to a triple crown now, as long as greed-driven individuals are gaining something from it.


  3. I hate horse racing and every evil thing about this predatory industry. ;’-(
    And where will they end up if they do not win? ;’-(
    It is all human vanity, ego and heartless greed, not about the wellbeing and Joy of these poor slaves. ;’-(
    Father God,
    Bless Your These Precious Horses, Your Most Precious Creations, Gifts And Blessings To Us As Good Stewards, Guardians And Angels Of Mercy.
    Protect Them From All Evil.
    In Jesus Precious Holy Name
    We Pray
    It is a catch twenty two of feelings.
    Knowing what goes on behind the scenes, the drugging, etc.
    And that they end up in the slaughter pipeline of murder for a bloody profit (even many winners) just so some Demon Idiot can eat them.
    Not starving people, either.
    And the Demon Idiots who deliberately eat them are eating horse meat full of who knows what kind of drugs.
    Justice, I think.
    Some are hopefully rescued, but very few.
    30 percent of horses going to slaughter are thoroughbreds.
    It is the ugly truth of this horrible dark secret of a sport that holds everyone spellbound.
    The horses suffer tremendously.
    Their bones are not finished growing until they are five.or more.
    They run them to death at only two years old when they are still fragile babies.
    You never see an old race horse run in races.
    The nurse mares babies are torn from their breasts and murdered so the Thoroughbred brood mares can foal again while the nurse mares feed their babies instead of their own babies.
    It makes me cry to think of it. ;’-(

    They need a BIG section about the horrendous perils of horse murder for profit, overbreeding and what happens to the unwanted Arabian horses and other breeds who end up neglected, abandoned, abused, tortured and/or brutally murdered in the slaughter pipeline left to die because of heartlessness, greed, self- centeredness, selfish ambition and vanity in the “Horse Industry”!

    Horses have gotten the short end of the stick when it comes to them verses money in many venues.
    Their Joy of life and true mental, emotional and physical wellbeing is often compromised by the constraints and demands controlling humans have laid upon their backs.
    Quarter horses make up the majority sent to slaughter.
    Arabians are also high on that list.
    Rodeo stock and Draft horses share highly in that list, as well.
    It truly is a predatory industry that feeds on these Precious Creations of Father God.
    Overbreeding by owners looking for the “perfect horse” have left these babies, who have no choice in any matter concerning their lives, totally at the mercy, or lack there of, by humans.
    I can not help myself, but to look at the big picture.
    Civilization was built on the backs and bones of horses, donkeys and mules.
    We owe them much more than they have ever willing given to us as their supposed Good Stewards, Guardians and Angels of Mercy.
    I can not condone any venture that deliberately puts them at risk for the sake of money.
    As I said, it is a catch twenty two of emotions.
    To watch a horse run is a heartfelt indescribable feeling.
    But, to force them to do so for the sake of money has been proven harmful on many levels.
    They have no choice but to obey the will of humans regardless of the consequences.
    It is a throw away mentality, on average.
    Not considering the long term lifelong wellbeing of the animals they create.
    remarkable horse, but so have many others who ended up on some idiot foreigner’s plates
    I can not get that image out of my thoughts.
    Yes, they ALL take for granted that civilization is laid upon the backs and bones of horses, donkeys and mules.
    “From Sea To Shining Sea” (the song “America The Beautiful”) would have been a long, hard, arduous, difficult, impossible, lonely walk and wars without them.
    We owe them our lives as we know today, our allegiance, trust, respect, mercy and protection as Father God’s Good Stewards, Guardians and Angels of Mercy for His Precious Creations which are His shifts and Blessings to us.


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