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.
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.