Asmussen Remains Defiant

Prior to the Kentucky Derby, Steve Asmussen sat for an interview with Bob Costas to discuss, of course, “the PETA video.” In it, of course, he staunchly defends his reputation, claiming that neither he nor any of his underlings broke any rules and that the investigation will bear this out. Perhaps. But so what? The story here is and always has been about the attitude, the way racers – Scott Blasi, Rudy Rodriguez, Gary Stevens, D Wayne Lukas, etc. – view their equine “partners.” (My original post here.)

From calling them “rats,” to laughing at electric shockers, to casually discussing a horse’s deformed foot, to casually discussing that same horse’s excruciating death, some prominent racing people at some prominent American tracks betray what the racing-horse represents to them – a means to an end. Respect for intelligent, feeling beings with intrinsic worth? Please. In fact, Asmussen says the sole reason Blasi – who memorably said, “fuck these horses, these motherfuckers” – was fired is because he disrespected an owner. So to me, it matters not a whit what the investigation concludes; horseracing’s true colors have, yet again, been put on full display for all to see…

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  1. Very well said! When looking at this video, and listening to the interview that Bob Costas had, both time I just wanted to reach into the screens and snatch those idiots out by their necks. That is a strong reaction, I know, but it made me so mad!!!!! And it’s the poor horses that still continue to suffer….

    • How about this for a strong reaction? I think we inject these trainers with the same drugs they use on the horses. Then we send them around the track whipping them till they drop!!! I have NO use for a-holes that abuse animals!!

  2. It’s the 21st century – the age of NO responsibility. No one has the grace or dignity to speak up and take responsibility for their actions. Unfortunately NBC replayed the interview with Asmussen 3 times & it didn’t get more convincing when re-watched. Sadly, this poor excuse for a human being WON the Kentucky Oaks. A big black eye for racing on one of its most traditional weekends. No one seems to have any shame about this either. Asmussen should get down on his hands and knees and kiss the ass of California Chrome’s connections for life. The new “happy” story seems to have drowned out the old “bad” one. Really pathetic that people’s attention spans are so short these days.

  3. NBC, and everyone else should just drop it! Yes, that KY Oaks was a fabulous , perfect race , the KY Derby not so much for Asmussen and every other trainer in horse racing, that is how horse racing is! The general public will just never get it. However, you plant a “rat fink” in some ones barn with them not knowing, sure you are going to get a lot of “dirt”, but let’s face all of us are like that, in the comfort of our own homes and environments we all say things that are not meant for the publics ears!!!!!!!!

    • MP, it is not just about what is said, although in this instance it did shine light on bad attitudes as well as how these horses are viewed, it is about actions and the suffering of the horse. There are NO excuses for cruelty, period. Racing is a sick subculture of horse abuse and the money is all that counts.

    • MP, there is no “rat fink.” Sending people in anonymously to check on employees has been done for decades in restaurants & retail. No one suggests THEY’RE spies. It’s their job. Bottom Line: Methinks Blasi was thinking with his other head & shooting off his mouth to impress a girl. But that STILL doesn’t excuse what was caught on camera. Asmussen whined & cried about someone invading his barn – it’s a workplace. There is no expectation of privacy in a public workplace. Asmussen should grow a pair, man up & face the music. He’s a miserable excuse for a human being and now we all know it.

      • It is not a public workplace. It is a private work place.It is not open to the public. If you think it is open to the public try walking off the street into any barn area. You need to be licensed by that states racing commission and along with many things, most states require you not be a felon.

        Not trying to defend Asmussen or Blasi, but I do agree that with that much time spent, there should be more damning evidence. If using the words M***** F****** is against any rule the backside would be empty. Those words are used by virtually every person working at any track. There is even a saying “18 M***** F******* “. Supposedly it comes from a worker that was mad and said MF 18 times in one sentence. A word of affection?? No, but not exactly used as hate either.

        One thing I did notice in the Costa’s interview is that Asmussen would not say the word PETA. That tells me he is planning to take action against them. Slander, defamation of character?? It may get interesting…

  4. No one is going to get an apology or acknowledgement out of Asmussen that he has done anything wrong. He doesn’t believe that he has done anything wrong. This is life in his shedrow just like it is life in the Asmussen Training Center in Texas. He isn’t wrong when he dopes euthyroid horses with levothyroxine and his family isn’t wrong when they dump thirteen recently-foaled broodmares at the kill buyers either. That’s the way he sees it.

  5. Susan, you are correct. ASSmussen attempts to deny, defend, and deflect – the 3 D’s of the racing apologists. Yes, the owners directly sign ASSmussen’s paycheck, but those same checks are indirectly signed by the horses. Without the horses, and the gamblers, there would be no horseracing. This so called “sport” needs to just go away, once and for all.

  6. Runs in the family, eh? Heard about the dumping of those poor mares. One miserable human being begets another. Or rather, just business as usual by the Asmussen clan. Sickening.

  7. Without a distinct lack of compassion the horseracing industry, all the way from breeding to the slaughter pipeline, could not exist.

  8. Considering everything that goes on in Asmussen’s barn (and no doubt others), it SHOULD be public. There would be a lot less to hide if there was more transparency. What does Asmussen need his privacy so bad for? So he can abuse horses and cheat the rules?
    And BTW – the guilty RARELY sue.

  9. I agree. I would be very surprised if he did file suit. I believe he will just remain quiet as possible and wait/hope this blows over. After all this is racing, and that is usually how it goes. There is no accountability and no national organization to hold responsible for oversight and dealing with the Asmussens of racing, the unscrupulous. It is the perfect business structure for such abuses to become the norm !

  10. The reason he needs privacy?? Are you kidding?? I know people will not want to hear this, but the barns and barn areas are private so other people do not abuse your horses. Give your horse something it should not have so it gets a bad test. Someone injures a horse that is scheduled to race against their horse. That is the main reason for privacy in most stables. Do you want any random person walking around your barn?? No. People steal, start fires,and turn horses loose. Not to mention being liable for people that “think” they are horse people and get in stalls or take horses out and get hurt. The reasons are endless for privacy. Kind if like why you don’t allow people to freely roam through your house.

    Now would someone tell me what he is guilty of?? PETA had a hidden camera in his barn for 6 months and he has not been arrested, ruled off, or fined in any district for anything they uncovered. (Not that I am aware of anyway) Any and all the medications or procedures that were on tape were 100% legal. The only place that he is guilty is in blogs like this. Not in a court of law or stewards office. Why is no one getting on PETA for prostituting that girl for a story?? Does anyone in here believe she was not having sex with Blasi??

    The race track “Laws” are the same as state or federal laws. They are laid out for you and you need to follow them, but this is America you can skate the line of every law. You can even lean over the line of the law just don’t cross it. It is kind of like having a 55 mph speed limit and you go 54. So everyone is mad because he is going 54 mph.
    Racing needs universal rules. They need better testing, even though they have the most stringent testing of any equine disapline by leaps and bounds. No other disapline is even remotely close in testing.

    I am not what you call a big fan if Asmussen. He is the Walmart of racing. He runs a sweat shop for race horses but obviously he is not breaking any rules. If he was it would of came out in the video. I do not like that style of horse training but until limits are made this is what we will have.

    I will give opinion on how to stop “BigBox” trainers. You make the trainer PERSONALLY be in the paddock and saddle 75% of their own horses. Make them be there and be responsible for their stable. That will stop them from having 500 horses at 10 different tracks. I have seen trainers run hundreds of horses a year at a track and rarely if ever go to that track …

    • OK, I get it, Asmussen not guilty of anything, including the issue re the illegal fraud ; PETA is guilty of prostitution ! Great assessment !

  11. You know Rose I totally forgot about the undocumented workers. If they are doing that I hope they get prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. I would think someone somewhere is looking into that issue.
    I know how you are about abusers and racing in general. So if fraud is your answer to me on my question, it strengthens my belief that there is no proof of abuse.

    As for PETA I have said before, “if I had any animal I would feel a lot safer having it with Asmussen then PETA”. They get approxamently 30 million a year in donations and have a 80% kill rate?? When all the big wigs in their organization fly all over the world first class, stay in 5 star hotels and eat $500 lunches.
    Rose I do respect your opinions, so please tell me. Do you think they prostituted that girl?? Would you want a female family member of yours to do that for PETA??

  12. You are likely correct, AC, saying Asmussen isn’t guilty (of anything illegal…other than his undocumented workers)…because everything we witnessed on the video being done to his horses IS legal in the horseracing industry. I don’t believe I have read that PETA is claiming he was doing anything illegal (again, other than his workers). No, the video simply shows the suffering the racehorses endure at the hands of licensed horsemen doing what those in racing do. Injecting them with a multitude of drugs, legal. Tapping their joints, legal. Unloading an unsound horse in a claiming race, legal. Continuing to run a horse with no feet, legal. Laughing about a race full of jockeys with buzzers, legal. Cussing at a suffering horse standing in front of you, legal. Yes, Asmussen and his gang are as legal as they come in this video.

    And then there is Blasi. What a small “man”…I hate to even call him a man because it’s such an insult to every good one on this earth! Yes, we’ve heard that he has a foul mouth, and while it certainly makes him look like an adolescent, it doesn’t make him an abuser of horses. So let us not hold that against him because again, AC, you are correct…many, many people use foul language and where is the crime in that?

    Racing supporters often say how much the horsemen and women of racing LOVE their horses…and how the horses are treated like kings and queens. Well, that I didn’t see in the PETA video. No one I know who claims to love their horse could raise their voice in anger and irritation, “Quit being such an asshole!”, while their horse stood still and suffering next to them, silently begging for help…as Nehro was. I admit, it brings tears to my eyes just thinking about how that horse stood there in agony while Blasi cussed AT him. And I have to give the investigator kudos for not dropping to the ground in despair…and for not slamming Blasi to it.

    To speak to another question by AC, regarding the relationship beween the investigator and Blasi…you asked, AC, if anyone here really believed she was not having sex with him. It seems pretty likely she was, given the fact she was at dinner with Stevens and Lukas…they must have been quite cozy for her to have gotten that invite. I do wonder how she managed such a feat (sex with Blasi) without hurling all over the guy. And although I might not agree, she is an adult with the capacity to choose and she hurt no one but herself. Funny thing is though; I bet Blasi got some good-ole-boys token slaps on the back for his “conquest”. Such double standards.

    In the end, regardless of if it was PETA or the Pope holding the camera, LEGAL racehorse drugging and equine suffering was on display. Racing doesn’t take too kindly to that…so it deflects and blames the whistle blower.

    • I watched the video again. It is not easy to keep track because, I believe it is so cut up “edited” that it jumps around here to there. You do not see the horses being treated like kings because PETA did not want you to see those parts. The one thing that sticks out to me about Nehro is the blacksmith saying “their is NO pulse in the one foot and very little in the other”. To me that is not a horse who’s feet are making him suffer. Yes they are bad. They have holes where they obviously got soft or thrush under the Z bars, which is common. Yes they hurt “if you stick your finger in the hole”. Just because a horse has “horrible feet” doesnt mean they hurt him. Where is the agony??I am sure you have seen your share of horses foundering, leaning back putting all their weight on their hind end. That is a horse suffering because of their feet. Nehro standing there playing with the shank did not strike me as suffering animal. 99% of founder I have seen were on private farms usually smaller ponies. They don’t count because they are not on the track , i guess.

      As for them being treated like kings. In my opinion they are treated better then any other livestock. YES they are livestock. This is not just me saying it. The USDA, DNR, the IRS and every other agency that goes by initials considers them livestock. I am sorry but HRW does not superseded them. Just because there are some people who think they have a special connection with these animals does not take them off the livestock list. Categorizing them as livestock does not mean it is ok to abuse them. The treatment cows, pigs, chickens, and other livestock endure, they are treated like royals.

      As for Blasi. You can call him a small man or an adolescent, but I bet there is one thing you may not of considered. Maybe he is with the ” Investigator” because he had feelings for her. Why is it a conquest ?? I know it is hard to believe but men can actually love women. I have been in love with the same woman for decades. So as she was having sex for a story or very likely a pay check, he may have been in love. So much for a double standard.

      • What I find interesting is that when it suits you, you list every government agency under the sun, but if we were to suggest federal regulations for horse racing, you would say the federal government should keep hands off. You can’t have it both ways.
        Blasi in love? Do you think he said “M______er, I love you” or “I love you like a M_______er?”

      • Jeanette, how is it that everything you say is wrong?? You are just a fountain of misinformation. From saying Racing Stables are public workplaces to not knowing why Asmussen doesn’t have everyone roaming through his outfit. Now you state that I would be against regulating racing. If you would of done just a little research on me, before spouting off like you know me, you would see that I am all for a level playing field. I have stated in the past how trainer don’t want to have to compete against the “Big Drug Trainers”. In this thread alone I gave a way to “Regulate” the “Big Box Trainers”.
        It may be best that you stick to the comments like “You tell em Rose” or “That is exactly right Joy”. You know the safe comments.

        I am sorry it confuses you that a man can be in love. What he says in his throws of passion?? Who knows. I do know one thing it would not matter how kinky his closed door talk gets with the ” Investigator”. She was on a mission. Funny how the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals enlist unethical people to do their bidding…

  13. Amen, Joy Aten. Everything you have stated is right on the money! Also, a racing enthusiast, who actually owns racehorses told me in a private conversation that there are “hundreds” of trainers much worse than ASSmussen. Again, “hundreds” much worse. Racing is a sport filled with drugs – both legal and illegal. There are 26 legal drugs that can be used and I can’t even venture to guess how many illegal drugs are out there but I would assume it is in the double digits. Those that support racing also support the drugs being used or they would take a stand against them.

  14. You are guessing regarding the prostitution issue…maybe , maybe not. And surely you can discern the surveillance was, in essence, for the horses, directly and indirectly, and not for PETA. Granted, PETA may gain from the exposure but also took the risk of been denigrated by this powerful, wealthy and out of control ugly racing business. Many people in the animal businesses hate PETA so they must be doing something right !
    There was nothing that screamed “illegal” in the video (the exception being the issue of the undocumented workers and all that entails). However, it is difficult to break “laws” in racing when it comes to horse welfare simply because there are none ! So apart from hanging your hat on the legal vs. illegal there is the issue of human decency and that was sadly lacking, period.
    The video shows the ugliness and the disregard for the horse and that stands out very well.

    • Rose this is yet another area we disagree. PETA does not care if they get good press or bad press. Any press for them leads to donations. And that is their end goal. It is not to help animals, because death is the only thing PETA gives animals.

      Rose as an animal rights activist can you honestly say you approve with the way PETA handles their business??

      (Dictionary.com ; Activist– an especially active, vigorous advocate for a cause, especially a political cause.) Not at any time meant as a slur…

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