#FullStoryPETA Gives Racing a Voice


FLORENCE, Ky. (Mar. 22, 2014) -- I'm writing today from Turfway Park, we're covering the Spiral Stakes (gr. III) gearing up for the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I). It's been a hectic couple of weeks, first traveling to Oaklawn Park for the Rebel (gr. II), now here, and next Saturday looming with the Florida Derby (gr. I) and Louisiana Derby (gr. II) cards as well as Dubai World Cup Day on the line. Before you know it, Keeneland's opening day will be upon us April 4, and then it's all downhill to the first Saturday in May.

When you cover racing 24-7 and this sport is all you see, the good and bad plays out before your eyes. You get to know the game and the figures, pros and cons, good guys and the jerks, just like any other reporter on any other beat. I've watched phenomenal horses dazzle with brilliant talent in history-making performances, and I've covered the darker side as well. I recognize that our industry has issues, and that half of the people who talk of ways to solve them offer opinions with little follow-through; lip service that does little aside from serving their self-interest. Over the years, however, I've also met hundreds of people who have made a change, who are working to make the sport better, who have dedicated their lives to integrity and respect for the horse, their hearts bolstered by the ups and broken by the downs this game has to offer.

Between 3-year-old prep weekends, news of the PETA investigation of Steve Asmussen's barn broke like a slam to the industry's chest. First reported by the New York Times on March 19, the report and video footage collected by an undercover agent was quickly a hot topic on social media, particularly Twitter, where horse racing fans, media, and professionals abound. I'm proud of the progress the sport of horse racing has made by embracing this social media platform, because it gives members of the sport a platform with which to fight back against PETA's blanket claims.

While I am a strong advocate of acountability and policing of the sport, I am equally unwavering in my trust of horsemen whose lifelong skill and ability I have seen play out race after race, month after month, year after year. Yes, there are bad people in horse racing, and I am hopeful that this investigation will inspire certain trainers to treat their charges with the respect and dignity they deserve, and I am also hopeful it and other ongoing investigations will inspire harsher penalties for those who skirt the law. But there are also very good people in racing, some of the best I've had the honor to work around, and they should not become victims of a universal judgment.

With that in mind, I was pleased to note the #FullStoryPETA trend started on Twitter on the evening of March 19. 

"I started this campaign in response to the recent PETA film that painted the entire racing industry in a negative light," said Molly McGill, digital media coordinator at HRTV. "The idea behind the hashtag was simple: PETA, you showed the public your side of the story, now let the racing industry (do the same) with images of our own. The trend is used not to respond to the specific contents of the film, it is to show PETA's blanket statement that everyone in racing does not care about the horse was completely incorrect."

Since the hashtag started over 400 pictures have been shared, highlighted by jockey Rosie Napravnik, California Horse Racing Board chairman Bo Derek, racing leaders, horsemen (and women), and fans. Here's another.

39 Comments

Leave a Comment:

sceptre

Those hundreds of people who have made a change hasn't translated into any fewer breakdowns or deaths (but for, perhaps, the synthetics which may soon be past history).

22 Mar 2014 8:31 PM
Windolin

Thank you Claire. This brings tears and is a wonderful idea. I hope you will post more. It is so hurtful when we see suffering as poor Nehro went through and yet we know that most of the breeders and the owners and the trainers and the jockeys truly love these horses just as much as someone like me loves my horses. They are special creatures that God blessed us with and they all deserve love and care and respect and kindness. Again, thank you!

22 Mar 2014 8:32 PM
Windolin

Just looked at the tweets...the world can see how happy these horses are and how much they are loved. Very inspiring!

22 Mar 2014 8:59 PM
maryg

Having been involved in thoroughbred racing a while back I know there are many good,hardworking people who love the horse.We need to weed out those who give racing a bad name and make it a fairer game for honest people

22 Mar 2014 9:18 PM
TerriV

It's always shocking and horrifying to see the ugly side of human behavior, especially when it involves innocent animals.  Horses are God's most magnificent creation.  They deserve our respect and protection.  I can't see how anyone could not love them.  Thank you for this reminder of the love between horses and humans.  I hope the racing industry steps up here.

22 Mar 2014 9:29 PM
BadSaddle

20+ horses/week die on the track, so let's hope many more whistleblowers come forward and expose all the dirty trainers and vets.We also need French/British drug laws in every state,esp. Louisiana and Florida.For the horses.

22 Mar 2014 9:29 PM
Fran

Very well written. I believe that most owners and trainers love and care for their horses.  There are the bad in every aspect of our lives; doctors, attorneys, baseball, football, and etc.  owners need to be constantly involved with their horses and that seems to be lacking. Those who care need to get together to make a change. And the JC certainly needs to be a more active participant.  This situation is a reminder that the industry needs and must take a hard line with those who lack integrity and do not respect the magnificent horse. After all, it is the horse who gives them the opportunity to be successful.  Horses have hearts; they love, they hurt, and they remember those who are kind to them.

22 Mar 2014 9:32 PM
Robert Schuler

There definitely has to be some "push-back" on this untimeley negative news story about the sport we love. We all need to look in the mirror and do some "soul-searching" about our sport, our livelihood. We need to trumpet our accomplishments but not be afaid, to have the courage that when you see someone doing something wrong, call them out on it and report it. We have to police ourselves and show the naysayers that we will not tolerate anyone that will tarnish our sport.

23 Mar 2014 6:14 AM
pbchi

You are on to something with the owners. We tend not to ask enough questions of trainers. In the meantime, since you know the negative trainers and vets, how about you contributing to cleaning them up by exposing them so outfits like PETA don't get here first?

23 Mar 2014 6:20 AM
Kelso1966

This is nice and all, but it doesn't lessen the sting from the video of the Asmussen stable. There are a lot of great trainers who truly love their animals. You only really see the cockroaches when you turn the light on.

23 Mar 2014 7:52 AM
Dr Drunkinbum

Wow.more good stuff from you Claire. It's phenominal the excellence you are bringing to Bloodhorse.

  I don't know much about PETA except that I like the bread but animal abuse on any level is not acceptable and awareness often leads to positive changes so it's fine with me. Unfortunately we have to suffer through learning about animal abuse to be able to try to make changes and to strive to become the human beings we should be and now we are only at a fraction of our potential when it comes to animal concern and care or respect shown toward each other and all species. Success for our species would be peace and harmony within oruselves and with other species, not riches and wars and gadgets.

    Abolition of racing is not the answer, improving the quality of care is. What would happen to these marvelous, majestic creatures without racing? They would starve, or freeze, or be harrassed or murdered or sent to slaughter horses or be under the care sometimes of ruthless people with no oversight. At least racing is in the public eye with oversight and gives many horses the chance to run and eat good and have good lives. Maybe not perfect lives but good lives for many.

   I would like to see less stall time and more roaming in fields time and zero meds. We can make changes that improve the quality of life. There are enough good people in racing we just need to encourage the ones that really shouldn't be working with animals to find something else to do.

   If it was another species and they did the things we do to ourselves and other species and the environment we as humans would attempt to exterminate that species so we need to take a harder look at ourselves and work on changes and be the species we are capable of being in a positive way. Nobody wants to feel pain or abuse. We need to be able to put ourselves in their place no matter what species they are. Horses are one of our best friends. Let's take care of them the way they deserve to be taken care of with respect, decency and quality care.

23 Mar 2014 8:32 AM
Karen in Indiana

There is a tendency, when it concerns the care of the care of the horses, to paint the industry as all black or all white. It is good, Claire, that you acknowledge there are people in racing who do right by the horse and others who don't. The industry would do itself a BIG favor by doing a better job policing itself and if it can't or won't do that, by embracing outside policing. Rick Dutrow, by all accounts, was a horseman who cared about his horses. But he had so many drug violations that he was a huge black eye on the industry and how can you say you care about the horse and then inject them with something that may be harmful? Steve Asmussen did nothing to redeem himself by firing Scott Blasi - they have been close associates for too long and Steve Asmussen is the boss. In this age of twitter and youtube, the industry HAS to clean itself up if they don't want more exposes such as this one. It's not a question anymore of if bad behavior will be exposed.

23 Mar 2014 8:57 AM
peggy conroy

The Times purports to be all the news fit to print so why do they always show the seamy side of horse racing especially at the time of year it gets any decent coverage at all. They sould be forced to show alternate pictures of many excellent trainers who perhaps aren't the best "politicians" in the racing business, but do a great job with what they have.  We are all in it because we love the thoroughbred. The trouble starts when we have to pay the bills like every other business, large and small.

23 Mar 2014 8:59 AM
ellenadd

Your writing is great and your ideas are good but you fail to address the real issue.  Based on a disgusting and deceitful video made by an organization of individuals who are radical misfits, a man's reputation and life's work have been destroyed.  Based on a  video that would not be admitted into evidence in a court of law because of it's unknown origin.  It has been edited to support their agenda which is stopping TB racing altogether.  I agree that there are bad people on the backside of the race track but Steve Asmussen is not one of them. The biggest concern should be stopping PETA not Steve.    

23 Mar 2014 9:32 AM
Duster

I watched the PETA video and I didn't feel they meant all trainers are bad. I'm very saddened to see that a popular trainer such as Asumman is treating his horses that way. I know there is a bad side and most people involved with TBs love them dearly. But I expected the the trainers that are in the news the most would stoop this low. :(

23 Mar 2014 11:34 AM
Old Old Cat

I Love you Claire.  This much needed, well written article is wonderful. I am going to send something out to my friends who are following my horse very similar to what you have exposed.  PETA has launched a broadside attack against one trainer, throwing everything at him including the kitchen sink.  If he has illegal or undocumented foreign workers, that is not a matter for PETA, it is a matter for the immigration and naturalization board.  If he is encouraging falsifacation of documents to avoid taxes that is a matter for the internal revenue service.  If he is using an electrical device to cause his horses to win that is a matter for the track stewards and the racing commissions.  In any event, these charges are meaningless in any discussion of animal CRUELITY, which is all that should concern PETA.  That the NY Times is once again the source of sensationalistic accusations is a black eye in their reputation as a RELIABLE source of newsworthy FACTS, and destroys any credibility they may have left.

That PETA is clamoring about medication, including LASIX (SALIX), IS THE HEIGHTH OF IGNORANCE.  I'm on Lsix.  It's keeping me alive. I have suffered recurring bouts of congestive heart failure, where my lungs fill up with fluid, and although I'm breating, not enough oxygen is passing by the fluis barrior to keep my heart beating.  Is this Lasix cruel to me??? I would rather be on Lasix instead of being DEAD... Bleeders have been part of the Thoroughbred population back into the 1700's, as long as they have been running fast - at the extreme edges of their capabilities.  Does PETA wish to kill these horses??

Obviously, some people will misuse horses or their medication.  But PETA is not concerned with that.  PETA follows the precepts of some Asian religions that we do not own animals, we cannot confine animals, we cannot leash animals, we cannot eat animals, and we should let them run rampant in our churches and buIndiildings untethered, like the holy cows and sacred monkeys in India and other Southeast Asian countries.  

PETA will continue their attacks which involve these religious beleifs until all the farmers give up their livestock, all the children give up their pets, and all the people give up eating any form of meat.  This is a RELIGIOUS crusade, not an animal rights issue.

Sorry I went off on a tangent.      

23 Mar 2014 1:53 PM
anna12

the thing in that damning video, i don't mean to say that in a profanity way. but that is what the video is. my thoughts on it, the biggest thing that infuriates me beyond belief, is that they openly admitted to poisoning nehro, by saying that they put superglue into the open holes, in the soles of his hooves, and to me, that is what made him colic, and killed him, for it most likely bound up all of his internal organs, etc.

23 Mar 2014 3:10 PM
rprovost

Running horses that are lame is most certainly

abuse. Giving a horse a medication with no medical

Diagnosis is malpractice... Yes there are many who

love and do their best to take care if their horses,

But to turn ones head and say this is just PETA

being PETA, makes no sense. The horse race/show disciplines

are guilty of such poor practices within their

ranks,  the BLM included. Everyone needs to stop turning their heads and

hold those guilty accountable... This is an opportunity I hope those in

a position to help make a change step up and standup

for the Horses..

23 Mar 2014 6:21 PM
kincsem

Old Old Cat, it is irrelevant that you rely on Laox to live. A three year old Thoroughbred does not need Lasix to live. You will (hopefully) not be asked to work 5/8ths in 1:00 - 1:01 tomorrow morning. By selective breeding, human beings created the Thoroughbred. By allowing bleeders to breed, we do not weed them out.

Yes, of course there are several people at the track who are caring human beings, who love the horses. Why then, are the heinous bad elements allowed to thrive? Assmusen was standing in the doorway of the HOF, and Lukas/Stevens ARE in the HOF! Yet, they feel free to joke about buzzers, and Blasi vowed to trick the stewards next time in order to run a lame horse. Get RID of these bottom feeders. Expel them from the HOF: they don't belong. It is easy to win when you are cheating and the majority are not. You want to be seen by the general public as a humane, animal loving and respectful industry? Get rid of the riff raff!

23 Mar 2014 6:44 PM
Thoroughbreds are the best

Just a clarification about super glue. It was developed during the Vietanm war specifically to close wounds quickly.  It has been used by farriers for decades to help horses with bad feet as has wood putty and rubber compounds.

23 Mar 2014 6:49 PM
Alicia McQuilkin

Growing up in a heavily agriculture state, I've seen the damage that groups like PETA (and particularly off-shoots like ALF) have tried to do. And because people are educated about the truths, for the most part, they ignore their outrageous blanket accusations and it quickly blows over as another sad attempt at ending animal agriculture. Unfortunately in horse racing, the money made is so much more dependent on public opinion. I have been fortunate to never met anyone in racing who was abusive or disregarding the horses' health and the jockey's safety. What I've seen are the people who truly love the sport and the animal. I'm glad to see the industry banding together in a public way to show what the real backside is like. There will always be those that try to break the rules and see what they can get away with, but so long as they're the anomaly and the honest people stay successful and at the forefront, the industry will be in okay shape. There is a lot that needs to change, quickly and dramatically, so perhaps this is a wakeup call on how everyone, no matter how honest and clean they are, conducts their business. Particularly on how they speak of it and it comes across to an outsider's ears. It doesn't matter your intent as much as how your words are understood.

24 Mar 2014 9:05 AM
lysa slater

I saw a photograph on bloodhorse.com much like the ones posted in this blog article of Ahmed Zayat and Nehro. By all appearances in the photograph Zayat apparently "loved" Nehro. Love is not enough.  It is easy for an owner like Zayat to say they love their horses, but for him to then claim he did not know what was going on?  Well, that is something other than love in my book.

24 Mar 2014 9:45 AM
fb0252

if u want to do something for the horses, get them out of those closets. anybody see anything "happy" about this?

24 Mar 2014 10:44 AM
J McGuire

It's true we enjoy our sport, with all the highs and lows it brings. Professionalism at all levels reflects on everyone involved whether Owners, Trainers, Assistant's, Exercise Riders, Grooms, Vets, etc.

The lack of professionalism displayed by the Asst Trainer goes a long way in painting a negative picture both in actions and communication. With the potential to tarnish the reputation and brand of a highly successful oranization.

Mr Asmussen as head of the organization - unfortunately is in a position of responsibility for  his assistants actions of unprofessional behavior, appearance of lack of respect for charges or accusations of employee hiring/pay practices.

Situation is an example to the industry to walk the highest standards of ethics and ensure others in our organizations do the same, we are all accountable to address any issues and protect the industries "Brand".

Fortunately the majority of individuals I've encounterd in the industry are honest, courteous and compassionate toward thier charges.

PETA's story reflects strong negative images/comments without a back ground for the vet care which I suspect is called for, there is nothing on the background that support care for the horses being shown. This type of vet care is used widely in other horse applciations - sporthorse/reining/jumpers/hunters/etc.

As an active Member in the sport - I'll await the outcome, supporting any decisions to correct wrongdoings which may surface during the investigations.

Good luck to Mr Asmussen and his organization!

24 Mar 2014 11:49 AM
txhorsefan

Thank you for this article and sharing the photos I most likely would never have found on Twitter.  So many of us do care, but don't have the ways to show it.  Thank you for getting these together.

24 Mar 2014 11:56 AM
eyeswatching

I'm glad PETA exposed the naked raw truth. I hope they continue to do so. GO PETA!!  Asmussen and BLaise ought to be fined and imprisoned. I hope Nehro's owner does something about it too.  I can't stand how all these "bettors" want to take up for those two thugs..just goes to show it's about the money not the poor helpless animal that's getting abused to help you make your winnings...I'm so happy PETA used a popular name to expose the truth.

24 Mar 2014 12:31 PM
eyeswatching

I'll never forget how Blasi just pulled poor RA when she was looking back at the camera when they were taking her to the farm....he could have at least let her get seen since she was officially retired...no wonder she looked so sad. Breaks my heart. Now we know why she was never her old self again.Look at the thugs that was training her.

24 Mar 2014 12:34 PM
lysa slater

I'm happy that these racehorses are well loved and cared for, but that does not take away from the fact that many others aren't.  Why not put our energy into change for all of US racing.  Why waste time with sweet photos when real change is soooo sorely needed!

Why isn't the US changing racing???

24 Mar 2014 3:36 PM
sceptre

"...in my trust of horsemen whose lifelong skill and ability I have seen play out race after race, month after month..." -What exactly have you "seen" to make such a statement? Aside from witnessing a majority completing their race without breaking down, what else could you have seen? This alone doesn't say much about "skill and ability". And what a joke whomever titled that "Full Story"-it's anything but.  

24 Mar 2014 11:41 PM
Eliza

I adore the equine photography! Horse racing does have a much softer side that PETA seems to chronically overlook. I also enjoyed reading the comments. I like when people are civil. I will raise a question: Is the horse racing industry re-evaluating its breeding practices? I wonder if acquiring more fresh blood from the Middle and Far East, Europe, Australia and South America (etc) would help strengthen our next generation or at least the generation after that? Far too many supremely talented young horses are dying or being retired after "bad steps" and the like. Wouldn't it be nice if USA thoroughbreds were not only fast but strong and built to last?

25 Mar 2014 3:51 AM
Curlin Eyes

Thank you, Claire, for writing this article. I'm glad to see that some people are fighting back against PETA's despicable universal condemnation of horse racing.  I know there are some bad players in the industry, but everyone cannot be tarred with the same brush. I have not seen the video( nor do I want to), but I know that if 4 months of "undercover" work only yielded 9 minutes of video, then that video was most likely edited.  Animal mistreatment in any form makes me sick and angry.  I don't know whether Asmussen is guilty or not, but what happened to the American justice standard of innocent until proven guilty? It makes me furious that a man's career has been ruined by the New York Times based on a secret video by an anonymous source whose employment was a lie. He will not get his day in court.  I guess that's what we can expect from the New York Times.

25 Mar 2014 9:24 AM
pdeblin

I wonder where people would have put Steve Asmussen in the good guy/bad guy count before PETA released their videos? I didn't think that the video that PETA video was all that newsworthy. But that's just me because I covered racing for 15 years and agree with what Claire says: there are good guys and bad guys. However, at many tracks the bad guys are winning. There is much documentation about excessive deaths and injuries in Thoroughbred racing. Little has been done to address that. Industry groups still keep their heads in the sand, especially trainers. The same goes with the drug issue: there needs to be a ban on all race day medication. It is too late to explain to the public that some drugs are performance enhancing and some aren't. It's a public perception issue and racing is losing. The backside at racetracks is a problematical place. Do you find it amazing that the owner of Nehro--a horse that ran in the Derby--didn't know his prized horse had bad feet. Probably everyone at the track knew. Had he never even looked at the horse? He should find something else to put his money into if he is that disinterested in his horses. We all know he isn't making money from horse racing. You can show us all the pretty pictures of the nice horsies but the public knows all about racing already. If it stays the same it will lose. The other thing few racing journalists ever write about is the mistreatment of backstretch workers. The owner of Nehro had to know how little the grooms and other workers were making caring for his million-dollar horses. Maybe he didn't. But everyone else who has entered a shedrow knows--they are underpaid, often illegally underpaid. They have no health insurance, they live in horrible conditions, they are often undocumented, sometimes even underage. This is a secret racing keeps and often jokes about. Look how jockeys are treated--do they have health insurance? There are so many things that racing has turned its back on for decades. It is time to say: no more and to dramatically address all these problems. If you want to keep fighting PETA and other groups just keep your heads in the sand. I have been out of racing for 12 years and nothing has hanged for the better. In fact, the problems are worse. It's not like Steve Asmussen was a claiming trainer, chalking up wins at some dinky track no one ever covers. He has been prominent for 25 year. He comes from a dedicated and knowledgeable horse family.  When I knew Steve well he had a few horses at one track and was starting to add others. Now he has a widespread Lukas-style operation. It has to be tough to run a stable like that. I have a;ways wondered why an owner would pay top dollar to have their horse trained by an assistant to a top trainer. Would that same person pay for a Cadillac and get a Chevy? Would he accept a painting from Monet's student instead of Monet? I have often thought that many horse owners are MMTBs (more money than brains). They have the money, they control the sport. It;s time for them to step up.

25 Mar 2014 10:15 AM
Old Old Cat

To answer a response to my post: That Lasix keeps me alive is very relevant to the discussion.  That my dentist put caps on my teeth with space-age polymers used in the space shuttle and super-sonic aircraft is relevant.  That my close freind of 86 has her many stomach ulsers clamped together and closed with super glue (not sewn, they no longer do that) to stop her internal bleeding, monthly blood transfusions, and shortness of breath is relevant.  The medical profession (also building profession, manufacturing profession, etc) are all using new materials and methods to make life better.  They are doing the same for horses.  Super glue to suture a wound - immediately fixed, no waiting, no ripping stitches.  Epoxys and polymers on hoofs - immediate structural integrity, with no undue strain on joints.  Lasix to control bleeding - lower blood pressure causes less breakdown at the weakest point.  None of these should be mentioned in any serious discussion about animal CRUELITY.  They are not cruel.

All of these things are good for the health of the horse but when ignorant people see them they think something is wrong.  Ignorance from lack of knowledge is is understandable, but continued criticism in the face of knowledge is stupid (or bull-headed, or predjudiced).

I beleive that racing should clean its house, and rid itself of trainers who perform cruel acts.  My comments were not on the validity of the main charge and what should be done if it is found to be true.  My comments were directed against the stupidity of throwing the kitchen sink (unrelated meaningless finger-pointing)in with possibly valid charges by ignorant, uneducated, or fanatical people who know not what they are talking about.  

LASIX IS LEGAL.  LASIX IS LEGAL.

Lasix (Salix) can be used as a crutch by trainers even when not absolutely necessary.  No trainer wants to see his or her horse coming down the stretch clearly winning, only to suddenly slow up because the horse now has bursted blood vessels in the lungs (weakest point), can no longer breathe, and to have to tell the owner "Well we would have won with Lasix, but now your $300,000 horse has suffered too much lung damage and will have to be put down."  THAT'S CRUEL - and not good business.

Germany has solved their bleeding issue by not allowing stallions to breed unless they are genetically sound (no bleeders, no foot problems, no conformation issues).  England has solved their problem by shipping their young bleeders to America, where they run with Lasix and usually are first time grass winners despite their dismal showings back home.  

You may think the situation should change, and maybe it should, but the dynamics exist outside of medication.  We in America are breeding horses, not for the long haul over the yeilding grass, but to be as fast as possible, as young as possible, with fragile thin legs that will carry them over our pounding hard dirt as quickly as their overtaxed lungs will allow,,,, (*L)

25 Mar 2014 12:45 PM
sceptre

Curlin Eyes:

Your logic and, perhaps, ethics, somehow escape me. Not that they stated it, but what is so "despicable" (your words) in calling for a universal condemnation of horse racing? While you may not reach this conclusion surely, from the perspective of the horses' well-being, you must agree that a reasonable case could be made for such a position...And, since when does editing automatically equate to falsehoods? And, if this video hadn't been accomplished secretly, what's the likelihood it could have revealed any truths? Do the ABSCAM videos ring any bells? Bet you didn't object to those, and the subsequent damage to some reputations. How about viewing the PETA video before you engage in editorializing?

25 Mar 2014 1:38 PM
juststacey

pdeblin

Just a little something about Steve Asmussen's dedicated and knowledgable horse family:

www.drf.com/.../asmussen-family-mares-found-slaughter-auction

25 Mar 2014 5:28 PM
John from Baltimore

When you keep sending horses to stud that can't even make ten starts the drug problem and retirement problem will only get worse.  You can't breed an animal that lives between twenty and thirty years that has a ten race career.  It is time for the Jockey Club to stop lookin at drugs and everything else.  If their board members wern't the big breeder they might look at the problem at the starting point, breeding.

25 Mar 2014 5:56 PM
Curlin Eyes

Sceptre,

You do not know me and have no idea about my thoughts on ABSCAM.  I said in my post, that I don't know whether Asmussen is guilty of mistreating his horses; he may be.  And if he is, he should be punished. But I believe it is wrong to try and convict someone via the media.  Guilty or not, his career is ruined.  That's just my "ethics".  As for editorializing--you and everyone who posts is editorializing.

26 Mar 2014 7:49 AM
lysa slater

I have been learning as much I can in these days since the PETA story was printed.  Prior to reading the story, I knew next to nothing about the medications so abundantly given to racehorses, both for training and on race day.

I have been stunned to learn about lungs bleeding and the horrible condition of some of these horses feet.  I am incredulous to learn that many race horses are not rested when not fit to run, but instead are patched together with medications to mask pain and raced anyway.

As a former unknowing fan, I have considered what my options are now based on the truths that I have been made aware of.  I have decided to join and support WHOA in response to what I have learned.

I would love to see change come to horse racing and it seems to me that a ban on all race day medication would be monumental for this sport.  I have learned that a ban on race day medication is not unusual. In fact, the US is the only country that doesn't have this ban.  If it is good enough for the UK, all of Europe, Japan, and Australia, why not the United States?

27 Mar 2014 12:16 PM
Paula Higgins

Claire, very nice blog and the pictures are simply wonderful! There are many good people in racing and good people who support the sport. PETA has always had a "take no prisoners" approach, which is a problem. I totally agree with people who have issues with their methods. But viewing this video is stomach churning and there is more video that we have not seen. Asmussen is the person ultimately in charge. He has to take responsibility for what goes on in his barn. He could not have been totally in the dark. The situation with the buzzers makes me sick. I have a feeling this was standard behavior a while back if people like Gary Stevens were doing it. I would love to hear what he has to say about it. I have always thought so well of him, so this was disappointing to say the least. If the people in horse racing would simply police their sport, none of this would happen, or at least it would be a rare event. I am a R.N. and you can bet we are held accountable by our peers, the hospital and a governing board. Elevate the sport and show the world we care enough about the horses to do the right thing.

27 Mar 2014 3:24 PM

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