Kentucky: Welcome Back, Scott Blasi

From Blood-Horse: “The KHRC License Review Committee on Wednesday unanimously approved [Scott] Blasi’s request to be licensed as an assistant trainer in Kentucky. The license approval came less than two weeks after a KHRC investigation found no wrongdoing in the Asmussen stable following PETA’s allegations based on video footage shot…in 2013 at Churchill and Saratoga.”

A refresher on Scott Blasi (direct quotes from the PETA video):

“Fuck these horses. These motherfuckers. They’ll fucking break your fucking heart every fucking day, these cocksuckers. There’s always something wrong with ’em.”

“You ought to see these limping motherfuckers. I see this son [of] a bitch out here [Saratoga] jogging every day.”

“You could not believe how many they hurt and kill before they ever even get to the racetrack.”

…to doomed horse, Nehro: “Quit being such an asshole. …Aggravating son of a bitch.”

…after Nehro died of colic: “I have seen a lot of shit. That is the most violent fucking death I have ever seen.”

…on “shockwave therapy,” used to deaden pain: “It fucking hurts like hell. I can’t believe them fucking sons a bitches can take it.”

…on electric shockers, used for motivation: “I’d tell [jockey Ricardo Santana Jr], ‘You got the maquina [shocker]?’ ‘Boss, I got the maquina.'”

…after losing an underperformer – a “rat” – to a claim: “I could just do a fucking cartwheel right now.”

When he was rehired by Steve Asmussen last July, Blasi said (DRF): “It’s great to be back doing what I love. I think the people that know us know how compassionate we are about the sport and the animals we take care of.”

No industry-wide objection is forthcoming because the above is business as usual. (Apparently) no rules were broken; Blasi is a talented trainer. So why wouldn’t he be reinstated? For most racers, the level of care is entirely informed by profit maximization. Keep them running – fast. That’s it. Being “compassionate,” as Mr. Blasi well knows, is not part of the job description. In fact, it can’t be.

24 Comments

Leave a Comment

  1. “No Wrong Doing?” What are those folks in Kentucky Nuts? This is CRAZY! The video showed it all. This is Abuse and Criminal! I think Kentucky should be “BLASTED”! verbally!

  2. We will never forget your name, Blasi or your stinking boss, Asmussen. All the partiers wIth you who thrive in darkness will suffer one day as the Creator provides. Proverbs 12:10: “…an act of kindness by a wicked man is an act of cruelty.”

  3. Ya I remember when ASSmussen had quite a few horses in training – here in Ontario.
    Did the unclaimed “rats” (of his own) ever find their way to Quebec slaughter plants?

  4. PETA is running it’s own agenda. If it really cared about the well being of the horse they would have shared all the unedited footage with the KY commission, which they would not. Blasi seems like a vulgar jerk, but an animal abuser, we will never know. An intimate relationship gone bad; and all the bedroom and barn talk went public. I have seen a very tragic, horrible colic death with my own horses; while I would not describe it like Blasi did, it was pretty much the same thing. You try to save them, but sometimes can not. I think any equine vet, at a house farm, show barn or race track could tell some horrible, tragic stories. I’m not making excuses; but if PETA had real evidence and really cared about the horses they would have worked with the KY Commission and not against them.

    • Ms. Morris, you state that “PETA is running it’s own agenda”. All organizations have an “agenda”, including racing. The Kentucky Derby is fast approaching and racing will be in full marketing mode as it focuses on its agenda… shiny horses, lovely hats, exotic drinks, and bright, brilliant smiles. Talk about an agenda and racing is one of the first industries that comes to mind.

      You also state that PETA did not share all the unedited footage with the KRC. How do you know that? Do you work for the commission? Is that a fact or is it fiction? Then you say that PETA would have worked with the commission so that would seem that the commission was willing to work with PETA. Surely you are kidding. I have tried to get information out of the OHRC and the facts are very difficult to ascertain. A three month investigation into the destruction of Marsella Delight yielded a three sentence response from a racing official at the OHRC and the third sentence was “Have a great weekend”. I sincerely doubt that the KRC wanted to work with PETA but perhaps you have evidence to the contrary. If so, please provide it.

      • Agreed Mary. Sounds like there’s a lot more to this investigation that has not been disclosed. If my memory serves me right, the PETA investigator had an intimate relationship with the stable worker. In my view, this could’ve been a legal problem for PETA. It would also be highly unlikely that the KRC would come to the table with PETA.
        However, the evidence that was disclosed should’ve been enough to lay animal cruelty charges against the stable worker and the trainer.

    • Andrea Morris, of course PETA has an agenda!…do you think you are giving us a hot tip? What animal rights group DOESN’T have one!!

      It’s a moot point who or what caught the miniscule Blasi’s cold, cruel words directed at the suffering Nehro, standing restrained and helpless in front of him. You, like all other racing supporters, want to shine the spotlight away from the abuse that was shown so you direct it at “PETA and their agenda!” PETA, the Pope, Big Bird…it doesn’t MATTER who or what did the exposing!

      YOU say Blasi cannot be deemed an “animal abuser” because of his words. So I imagine you cussed at your horse, too, right?…the horse that died the “very tragic, horrible colic death”? I imagine you yelled at him “Quit being such an asshole!” while he went down again and again and again, body wet with sweat and racked with pain…nothing wrong with that, right?

      Who do you and all of the other racing apologists who claim Blasi “just” has a filthy, dirty, juvenile MOUTH think you are convincing?…certainly not anyone who uses reasonable and prudent means of coming to likely conclusions. The garbage little Blasi spews from his filthy, big mouth is evidence of the garbage Blasi IS. Anyone who claims to care about their horses wouldn’t want the “vulgar jerk” to even LOOK their way.

      “If PETA really cared about the horses they would have worked with the KY Commission…” – Ms. Morris, how about if the KY Commission really cared about the HORSES, they would have denied abuser Blasi a license!…because that is EXACTLY what he is.

      • Joy: It is true – everyone of us had better know what it is when we see it. The finetuning demanded for survival has been subjugated to lowlife squandering of life for profit.

        There is no excuse, at any point, for denying dignity to any being.

        Sent via BlackBerry by AT&T

    • Andrea,

      I think it is outrageous that Trainer Steve Asmussen was cleared in Ky. Investigation.
      Both Steve Asmussen and Blas should have their license pulled for what they have done to this one horse.

      What about the abuse that Blasi admitted to re: the horse Nehro. What about Justice for hIm ???

      Did you read the whole story ??

      Nehro not only died from colic, he was forced to train with chronically painful hooves with holes in them
      They put super glue on his hoofs and Nehro was kept on the track and forced to participate in workouts.

      That is serious abuse to train a horse when he has chronically painful hooves with holes in them.

      We should Not care about PETA’s agenda. We should care about this horse who was forced to participate in workouts when in chronic Pain with holes in his hooves. Where is the Justice for him ???

      the Owner whose horse Nehro died from colic and who also forced to train with chronically painful hooves with holes in them certainly took the expose seriously. He pulled all 12 of his horses immediately from working with Asmussem.

      If Kentucky did not have all the unedited footage, they should have waited.

      From articles

      Ahmed Zayat, the owner of Nehro—a bay colt [who] died of colic in 2013 after Blasi had admitted to gluing [his] hooves in the video—and 12 other horses in Asmussen’s care, is upset, telling Bossert: “I feel like I was duped. I never knew anything like this was going on.”

      On the recording, Blasi acknowledged how much Nehro hurt. Still, the horse continued to train. On the morning of last year’s Kentucky Derby, Nehro got sick on the backside of Churchill Downs. Asmussen later said that the horse died from colic in a van on the way to the hospital.

      “Zayat Stables has terminated Steve Asmussen and moved all 12 of its horses that were previously in the trainer’s care following an internal investigation on the PETA report and video that published in the March 20 New York Times.”

      “Held Together With Superglue
      Nehro was a magnificent horse. He came in second in the 2011 Kentucky Derby, but what race enthusiasts and reporters never knew was that just a few years later, Nehro was racing and training on chronically painful hooves with holes in them. One of the hooves was, at one point, held together with superglue. Nehro’s assistant trainer, Blasi, told PETA’s investigator, “I know the f***** hurts”―yet Nehro was kept on the track and forced to participate in workouts. Just two years after that Derby finish, Nehro developed colic and went mad from pain. He was euthanized at Churchill Downs on the day of the 2013 Kentucky Derby.”

      “On April 17, 2013, only four days after Nehro finished fifth in an Arkansas race, Blasi and his blacksmith, along with other members of the Asmussen staff, discussed the horse’s tender feet and their efforts to keep them on the racetrack. In the video, the blacksmith pointed to Nehro’s right leg and said that it did not have a pulse and that one barely registered in his left.”

      “I am shocked, hurt, and disappointed beyond belief to think that some of the things on that video happened to any of my horses, especially Nehro,” said Ahmed Zayat, owner of Zayat Stables, in a prepared statement.
      “When I was able to get Steve on the phone [March 20], the first thing that came out of his mouth was that he hadn’t seen the video yet and could not speak on behalf of Scott Blasi. It was mind-boggling to me the reaction. I got nowhere with him, and that’s completely irresponsible and unacceptable to me.”

      “At no point during Nehro’s career did Steve Asmussen communicate or suggest to us that Nehro be retired,” Zayat continued. “There was never ever anything communicated by Steve, Scott, or anyone in charge of Nehro’s care to me or anybody else from Zayat Stables about any foot problems. I was in love with this horse, and crushed the day we learned of his death. Nehro was my all-time favorite and everyone knew what he meant to me and my family. It’s horrifying to think that the video of his treatment is true and that Nehro suffered in any way. And to hear some of the inferences made towards me on that video are disgusting and intolerable,” he added.”

  5. Unethical trainers are rampant in racing. Anyone who is knowledgeable about the industry should know that by now. However, I was thinking about the similarities between horseracing and other sports, such as football. For example, the KHRC “unanimously” approves the reinstatement of Blasi’s license. Why is that? Why should anyone, even Mr. Blasi and Mr. ASSmussen, be allowed around any horse when both show utter disregard for the animals under their care? Well, consider this….Joe Paterno turns a blind eye to the atrocities committed by his colleague, Jerry Sandusky, and Penn State works diligently to have Paterno’s win record restored despite the reprehensible acts that occurred under his watch. Jim Tressel is a serial rules violator when coaching college football yet he is elected president at another university. What message do those two examples send to the supporters of football? The message is that money talks and those that break the rules are “above the rules”. Yes, they do get a slap on the wrist, but, when the uproar dies down, they are, once again, allowed to continue on as if nothing happened. Their high profile transcends doing the right thing. Sports and sports programs are allowed to move forward as if nothing happened. There will always be professions that reward lying and cheating but the caveat is that you must WIN!

    Yes, ASSmussen and Blasi have won a lot of races for the owners whose horses they train and race and, therefore, their bad behavior is overlooked or forgiven even when there is a video that shows, unequivocally, that Blasi is the filth of the earth but he is a WINNER! If ASSmussen and Blasi were to go away, that exit would threaten racing FINANCIALLY. Remember that the racing industry is a gambling industry where money is king. Whenever money is king, ethics and morals go out the window. I believe that integrity means something but, to many in racing, it means very little.

  6. I agree with all of the comments and cannot add any more except to say that when I worked in the industry I saw the horrific cruelty inflicted upon these defenceless horses. In my experience the majority of these people in the racing industry who “care” for these horses are in the same category as Blasi and Assmussen.

  7. In order for this cruelty circus to continue they must allow this blatant horse abuser to continue being employed by the industry.

    • Exactly Gina! What sort of a farrier was it that worked for Assmussen? Nehro would’ve been wearing shoes and shod about once every 6 weeks. He must’ve been a despicable low-life knowing that this horse was suffering shocking pain and he did nothing and went along with it.
      And what about the owner? he’s the one that pays money to these people to take good care of his horse.
      I cannot bear to think of the terrible torture Nehro suffered. As for the colic, as soon as you see the symptoms that MIGHT be colic you call the vet in IMMEDIATELY because it is a most agonizing death for a horse. Racehorses are housed in a confined area so monitoring their health is easy, you’re under the same roof with them so there’s no excuse for not noticing.
      If I was the owner of Nehro I’d be dragging Assmussen through the law courts for: aggravated animal cruelty: failing to relieve the horse of its terrible pain; failing in his duty of care to the horse; failing to employ appropriate people to ensure horse was properly treated; failing to act as the community would expect him to when he was fully aware of the terrible helpless situation this horse was in; failing to inform the owner of the truth of the health of his horse; deceiving owner; failing to carry out his duties as a trainer; failing to act appropriately when owner had placed all his faith in him to train and properly care for his horse.

      I just could not look at the video (seen too many) and based my comments on the other posts which made me feel sick just reading them but to look at it would do my head in.

      As for the Kentucky Racing Commission YOU ARE AN UTTER DISGRACE and in being an utter disgrace in relation to this case of Nehro you are revealing to the public your total disregard for this magnificent animal that worked so hard, money was made out of him. You are also revealing to the public that you have NO MORALS OR A CONSCIENCE! And you probably don’t realize it but because you didn’t do some justice for this horse by banning Assmussen and his employees from the racing industry for life – yes, FOR LIFE!, you have brought the already notorious reputation of the horseracing industry into further disrepute and for this I thank you. What’s that saying … digging your own grave…but you’re not digging it with a shovel you’re digging it with a giant earthmoving excavator……keep it up!

      • Carolyn,

        I called the Owners stable and spoke with the owner’s son and told him it was very important that his father hold Asmussen accountable for Nehro’s death. He said that Nehro was his fathers favorite horse.

        I believe Nehro would still be alive today if it was not for Asmussen. I am told that pain can bring on colic. I believed it is his fault Nehro is dead. Nehro could have been retired. He was in no condition to be training. the owner did not need the money as he had 11 more that were being trained.

        I contacted his son shortly after the video came out. So far, the owner has not done anything against Asmussen. I agree both Asmussen and Blasi should be banned for life. I think they are both evil men for what they have done and for they have abused other horses as well..

        Sadly, I do not think this owner has the courage to take on Asmussen so his words of being upset over his horses death have become very hollow to me. If he truly loved this horse like he said he did he would fight to avenge his death. He has the money and influence to do so but he lacks courage and there fore in my mind, he lacks true love for this horse or any horse he is forcing to run in this terrible ordeal called horse racing..

  8. Exactly Carolyn, Joy, and Mary. I will be very simple: Horse Racing Agenda = exploitation of a racehorse even when it involves cruelty, abuse, and inhumane practices as evidenced on PETA video. Animal Lovers Agenda = stop horse racing so that this cruelty circus doesn’t continue. Mary said it right: Unethical trainers are rampant in racing. I will take this a step further: in order to uphold the current racing business model Trainers must be unethical, and even if they lie to themselves by justifying the industry, they are still upholding this despicable cruelty circus. I, thankfully, came to this conclusion.

  9. Kathleen, so good of you to phone Nehro’s owner and speak with his son. As you say, if he genuinely loved Nehro he would be seeking justice for him. Any successful proceedings brought before a court for Nehro would create a precedent at law and that is what is desperately needed for the racehorses. Given the footage evidence and publicity surrounding Nehro’s abhorrent abuse and cruelty, it would not be difficult to prepare a case. I don’t know if Nehros’s owner or his son read this site but if they do I implore them to take action

    • Carolyn,

      You are absolutely right. If Asmussen was forced to be accountable for his actions, it would create a precedent in the law.

      I will call him again and tell him once again that he and his father could make a huge difference for other horses suffering abuse by Asmussen if they were to stand up to the abuse and death of Nehro. The son works his fathers stable, (Zayat Stables) and he goes to school in New York. He says he “puts his horses first” on the website. I will call him again and ask him to encourage his father to seek Justice for Nehro.

      When I spoke with him, he told me that his father was talking to lawyers about what legal options they had.

      This is from the Zayat Stables website.

      _________________________________________

      Justin Zayat – Zayat Racing and Stallion Manager

      Entering his third year at NYU, 21-year-old Justin has been involved with Zayat Stables since its inception in 2005. He has learned a lot about the business in the past decade, having managed 11 Grade One winners, including 2012 Kentucky Derby and Preakness runner-up Bodemeister, and his namesake, 2013 Grade One winner Justin Phillip. Justin always puts the horse first and it shows with Zayat Stables amazing track record.

  10. Kathleen,

    aggravated animal cruelty: failing to relieve the horse of its terrible pain; failing in his duty of care to the horse; failing to employ appropriate people to ensure horse was properly treated; failing to act as the community would expect him to when he was fully aware of the terrible helpless situation this horse was in; failing to inform the owner of the truth of the health of his horse; deceiving owner; failing to carry out his duties as a trainer; failing to act appropriately when owner had placed all his faith in him to train and properly care for his horse.

    The above was just a rough idea as to what I thought would be applicable. However, the lawyers are the experts. Just wondering if it would be an idea to mention the above to Justin Zayat when you speak to him.
    It may or may not be appropriate but you would be the best judge of that.

  11. The recent purchase and rescue of nine racehorses from the clutches of a kill buyer included a 2011 Texas-bred dark bay gelding by the name of Me Commanche. It was noted that of the nine rescued horses, only one horse had a former connection step up to help…and Me Commanche was NOT that horse.

    Me Commanche was purchased at the Keeneland September 2012 Yearling Sale by Keith Asmussen and Erv Woolsey. Me Commanche raced for (owner) Keith Asmussen and (trainer) Steve Asmussen, Keith’s son, from his first race in May, 2013 until the Asmussen’s sold him for 5K in a claiming race on January 1, 2015. The young gelding raced 11 times for the father-son duo, earning nearly 35K and finishing 3rd for them in the Groovy Stakes at Sam Houston Race Park in January, 2014. As 2014 progressed, Me Commanche didn’t and the Asmussen’s dropped his claiming tag from 30K in September to bottom-of-the-barrel 5K by the first of January. That’s when the dark bay was claimed by (trainer) Charles Zenon for (owner) Richard Morris.

    Morris and Zenon raced Me Commanche six times, his last race on May 20, 2015 at Evangeline Downs where he finished 8th of 12 and “lacked a response in the drive”. Only a little more than 2 months later, the 4-year-old’s new “owner” was a kill buyer.

    Once again, this industry demonstrated its total disregard for its horses. The wealthy and well-known Asmussen’s took the 35K Me Commanche labored for and earned then pocketed another 5K when they unloaded him via a claiming race. Steve is best known to advocates as one of the “stars” of the PETA undercover video, “Horse Racing Exposed: Drugs, Deception, and Death”. (https://secure.peta.org/site/Advocacy?cmd=display&page=UserAction&id=5345) And Keith is no stranger to dumping horses at kill buyer-frequented auctions. In 2012, 10 of his broodmares were found at the KB-attended Round Mountain auction. ( http://www.drf.com/news/asmussen-family-mares-found-slaughter-auction) The elder Asmussen – who boasts on his website that he’s been in the horse business for over 50 years – claimed he didn’t know “there were any slaughterhouses left” when questioned about his mares being found at the auction. Incredible. Incredible lie, that is.

    Keith and Steve Asmussen, Erv Woolsey, Richard Morris and finally Charles Zenon all share guilt in the dumping of Me Commanche and his close-call with death by slaughter. It remains to be seen if Evangeline Downs cares to enforce its anti-slaughter policy. I’m not holding my breath.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s