01/06/2015 11:35AM

Asmussen kept off 2015 Hall of Fame ballot

Barbara D. Livingston
Steve Asmussen is the second leading trainer by wins of all time,

Steve Asmussen, the second-winningest trainer of all time and the trainer of horses who won three consecutive titles as Horse of the Year, again will not be on the final ballot for this year’s Hall of Fame pending investigations by racing authorities in Kentucky and New York, the Hall of Fame announced Tuesday.

Asmussen was on the original final ballot last year but had his status “tabled,” according to the Hall of Fame’s executive committee, after investigations were launched following a video produced by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals that largely focused on Asmussen’s top assistant, Scott Blasi. To date, no charges have been filed against Asmussen or Blasi. Blasi was fired by Asmussen after the video emerged last spring but was rehired in July.

In a notice sent Tuesday to Hall of Fame voters soliciting nominations for this year’s ballot, the Hall of Fame said, “Since the process leading to the 2015 election is beginning before either of the state racing commissions’ investigations in Kentucky and New York into Asmussen have been concluded, the tabling of Asmussen’s candidacy remains in effect for the 2015 election.”

Asmussen, 49, has won 6,930 races in his career. He trained Curlin, who was Horse of the Year in 2007 and 2008, and Rachel Alexandra, who was Horse of the Year in 2009. Asmussen has won five Breeders’ Cup races, including the 2014 Distaff with Untapable. He also has won the Kentucky Oaks twice, including last year with Untapable. Asmussen was the Eclipse Award-winning trainer in 2008 and 2009.

The final Hall of Fame ballot consists of the top 10 who receive support from a 14-person nominating committee, which is one level below the executive committee. The top 10 can include any combination of horses, trainers, and jockeys. Last year, Asmussen was one of the top 10 chosen for the final ballot by the nominating committee, but after the video was released, the executive committee ruled that his nomination be “tabled,” a status that remains in effect for this year’s ballot, according to Brien Bouyea, the communications officer for the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame.