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Asmussen breaks silence on PETA video in Costas interview
Steve Asmussen broke his silence on the animal abuse allegations made against him by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals during an interview with NBC’s Bob Costas that aired partially during the network’s Kentucky Oaks broadcast Friday, calling the claims “horribly misleading and untrue.”
Asmussen, who has refused to talk to reporters about the allegations since PETA released a nine-minute video taken from seven hours of footage shot by one of his employees, said that the video and a complaint PETA forwarded to racing commissions in Kentucky and New York did not show “one actual rule violation.” The employee worked for Asmussen for four months last summer and was secretly shooting the footage as a PETA agent, PETA has claimed.
Asmussen also denied that any jockeys who had ridden his horses had used an electric shock device, an allegation made by PETA based on conversations about the machines among Asmussen associates. Specifically, PETA said that Ricardo Santana Jr., who will ride Asmussen’s Tapiture in the Derby on Saturday, had used a buzzer on a horse.
“That is not true,” Asmussen told Costas. “That is absolutely ridiculous.”
The allegations have cast a cloud over Asmussen and the sport of racing on its biggest weekend. On Friday, Asmussen won the Kentucky Oaks with Untapable, widely considered the leading 3-year-old filly in the country. Following the victory, Asmussen again declined to address the PETA allegations with reporters, leaving the Costas interview as his sole comment so far on the issue.
Following the release of the video in late March, Asmussen fired his longtime assistant, Scott Blasi, who was featured in the vast majority of the clips edited by PETA from the footage. Asmussen told Costas he fired Blasi because he referred to an owner, Ahmed Zayat, with a vulgarity and not because of the animal abuse allegations made by PETA.
“His comments were extremely disrespectful to an owner of ours, and that’s unwarranted,” Asmussen said.
Asmussen accused PETA of misrepresenting his stable’s operations with the video to further its goals.
“Their stated goal is to abolish horse racing,” Asmussen said, adding later, “They aren’t going to get anyone’s attention unless they throw in the shock value.”
Asmussen also said the accusations have unfairly affected his image.
“The most bothersome thing about this is for anyone to think that I am not a good caretaker,” Asmussen said. “That would be the first thing on my resume.”
Following the release of the video, the National Racing Museum and Hall of Fame withdrew its nomination of Asmussen for induction. Asmussen said the withdrawal was disappointing.
“I come from a racing family, and it would mean a lot to all of us,” Asmussen said.
Asmussen also indicated he plans to fight any allegations or charges that racing commissions might bring against him, and he said he may seek legal redress against PETA as well.
“They’ve certainly opened themselves up to that with such ridiculous claims,” he said.
Asmussen's problem is that he just doesn't get it....as the head if his operation he is responsible for the actions of every person under his supervision and that means he is responsible for the actions of Scott Blasi and the vets who tend to his horses. He is also responsible for making sure his employees are not violating employment and immigration laws. He can say what he wants but the video PETA has made public is a damning indictment of Asmussen's operation and of two of racing's most illustrious figures of the last 25 years in the form of Gary Stevens and D. Wayne Lukas; both of who are heard laughing and joking about the use of electrical devices by jockeys! If the racing industry doesn't step up and take control of the situation with swift and certain action then the industry is nothing more than a party to the conspiracy, Steven Asmussen be damned! Richie Dutrow also claimed he had done nothing wrong through several years of court battles and legal wrangling before he was finally given a ten year time out from racing and I think a similar cooling off period would do Stevie here some good.....as it would give him time to reflect on what it means to be a responsible employer, a responsible horse trainer and a responsible business owner!
HE'S A LIER...!
"Nevermind that A) use of a buzzer was discussed (uh, ILLEGAL!), B) Blasi vowed to fool stewards in order to run a lame horse (uh, ILLEGAL!), and C) purchasing fake IDs for undocumented workforce...(uh, ILLEGAL). But go ahead and keep "catapulting the propaganda". Maybe someone will buy it. Someone who just fell off a turnip truck...Gaye Goodwin23 hours ago"- The best and purest post from all the comments
BOO HOO -STEVE you said this crap last time you were busted. How bout those illegal SS # YOU PROVIDED FOR YOUR ILLEGAL HELP.I believe this is a criminal offense maybe you can go to jaill where you belong.The only one that believes your lying crap is George RUSTY Arnold,Maybe he can give your former henchman or assistant a job.I hope you fight every allegation because that cost $$$ as sad as it is I would rather see lawyers have all the money you have stolen from the public.
Blasi's comments about Zayat were SPOT ON....that owner kept racin a horse that should not have been on the track....then says he knew nothin.....typical ...the ones with all $$$ throw the others under the bus
PETA is an evil organization. They used to throw paint at people for wearing fur coats. There are few alter boys in racing or any sport. Everyone wants to be on top. What price do they pay to get there, im not sure,
If I was Steve..... I would never address the Peta folks. they are in no position to talk with their track record
I understand people are mad at Steve but think of it this way 9 min of bad material in 4 months what ain't that a little fishy cause if been around horse racing all my life not say people have not been caught doing wrong before but 9 min in 4 months and that's all they could come up with looks like they are looking for a fish to fry
Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah.......we all saw the video Steve, and it's pretty clear that you either have NO control over you racing operation OR you are complicit in the malfeasance of your employees. Regardless, you are responsible for the actions of your employees and anyone who would employee a foul-mouthed PIG like Scott Blasi, is deserving of whatever fate becomes you! There was a time when I held you in high regard, but you have been reduced to little more than a rotting piece of garbage in my eyes and there is nothing you can do to change my opinion. I plan to haunt every website that reports on your pathetic story and make sure your miserable face is smeared in mud for as long as you continue to saddle horses. You deserve the same 10 year sentence that Richie Dutrow received and you deserve the same lack of respect!
He fired his asst only because of comments abt owner. That says it all.