07/29/2014 1:16PM

Blasi rejoins Asmussen's stable

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Shigeki Kikkawa
Assistant trainer Scott Blasi was fired by trainer Steve Asmussen in March but rejoined the stable Tuesday.

Scott Blasi returned to work for trainer Steve Asmussen at Saratoga on Tuesday, four months after the longtime assistant was fired for inappropriate behavior detailed in a video released by the activist group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.

“It’s great to be back doing what I love,” Blasi said.

“He makes us better,” Asmussen said. “I’m better with him. He’s done a lot of good for us in 18 years.”

Blasi was depicted using crude language about horses and insulted one horse owner during a nine-minute video released by PETA in March. The edited video was part of several hours of footage taken during a five-month undercover operation in 2013 in which a female PETA employee got hired by Asmussen and had a personal relationship with Blasi.

As a result of the operation, PETA filed complaints against Asmussen and Blasi with governing bodies in Kentucky and New York as well as the Department of Labor. Thus far, neither the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission nor the New York State Gaming Commission has released the results of their investigations.

Lee Park, a spokesman for the New York State Gaming Commission, said the investigation is “expected to wrap up soon.” He also said that Blasi’s license was never suspended or revoked, so the commission did not have to grant approval for Blasi to return.

Asmussen said Tuesday he fired Blasi at the time due to the “unacceptable language” he used in the video. Clark Brewster, the attorney who represents Asmussen and Blasi, said Asmussen’s action represented “a respect for the process” of those investigations.

Brewster also said that Asmussen directed him to make all employees available to authorities to be interviewed.

“No matter what any regulator wanted, there was complete transparency,” Brewster said.

Asmussen said he chose this time to bring Blasi back because he needs his other assistant, Darren Fleming, to take horses to West Virginia for races this weekend, and “I need to be a little more mobile,” said Asmussen, who has divisions at tracks around the country.

Asked if he needed Blasi to change, Asmussen said, “You need to improve how you do everything. You always have to do that – learn from your mistakes and improve from them.”

During the last four months, Blasi said he spent time with family, specifically his 18-year-old son, who recently began basic training in the U.S. Army, and nieces and nephews. He never thought about having to leave racing.

“I don’t think my care or love or passion for the game has ever been a question,” Blasi said. “There are obviously ways you can grow and get better as a person. Everybody’s trying to do that all the time, especially myself. There are better ways to handle things, that’s for sure. Self-reflection has never hurt anybody. I got to do a lot of that. I’m really happy with where I’m at in my life.”

With Blasi as his assistant, Asmussen has vaulted into second among all trainers in racing history with 6,823 victories and ranks fifth in purse earnings with $218 million. Asmussen trained two-time Horse of the Year Curlin and Horse of the Year Rachel Alexandra and was the Eclipse Award-winning trainer in 2008-09. Asmussen was on the Hall of Fame ballot this year but was removed after the PETA video was released.

“There’s so many great things that we’ve done,” Blasi said. “I think the people that know us know how compassionate we are about the sport and the animals we take care of.”

In a statement Tuesday, PETA senior vice president Kathy Guillermo said, "Steve Asmussen's 'suspension' of Scott Blasi always seemed a sham. Ultimately, Asmussen is responsible for the cruelty shown in PETA's investigation, including the use of sedatives, pain-masking drugs, and chemical stimulants; running sore and injured horses; and smearing caustic chemicals on horses' legs. If the racing industry cares at all about Thoroughbreds, the end of the mock suspension will be seen as a return to business as usual and should be condemned by everyone who gives a hoot about horses."

Barbara Land More than 1 year ago
This is a move by Assmussen to keep Blasi from turning on him and testifying against. Smart move to cover one's behind.
Hail No More than 1 year ago
He's not covering his rear, he just bolstered his case against peta.
B More than 1 year ago
Can't believe it! Really bad PR move by Asmussen. Guess he's faithful though.
Ray Sousa More than 1 year ago
bad guy good guy routine by these two miscreants goes back a long time. when assmussen was suspended blasi took over and trained for a year now blasi gets caught mouthing off about all that's wrong with this stable so assmussen gives him a 4 month suspension. of course he was never fired he just had to lay low for a while ill bet he was at the assmussen farm working all along. that's the way cons work they complement each other and try to fool everybody.
m More than 1 year ago
ATA boy Steve! Get out there and keep WINNING Micky Mantle ain't gonna pay your rent.
mike More than 1 year ago
eye roll
FESTUS ELROY More than 1 year ago
mike aka Peta
mike More than 1 year ago
You aren't the sharpest tool in the shed,are you? Try Biomechanical Engineer. lol
FESTUS ELROY More than 1 year ago
Sure you are!
mike More than 1 year ago
Don't have to prove anything to you,will bet my job trumps your rodeo clown job by miles.
John Murphy More than 1 year ago
Kathy G. is a joke. She is not only nasty but a horrible person to everyone in life. Go away and live in a hut somewhere in the jungle with your animals. See how long you survive there lady.
mike More than 1 year ago
Isn't that your summer home?
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
PETA is the sham. Blasi was out of line for one thing only. No one wants to hear the foul language. He can train for me any day. Every thing else he said in that tape was accurate.
mike More than 1 year ago
No,you're the sham.
Pagani Zonda More than 1 year ago
Oh please Troll. Blasi is a piece of sh*t and he showed by commenting on the horses the way he did. That POS shouldn't be touching horses.
mike More than 1 year ago
Pagani, that's exactly what he is. Like to see him and his boss stranded in Death Valley desert. lol
Hail No More than 1 year ago
Seems like a good move. Litigation against peta, next..
Steve More than 1 year ago
Steve Asmussen - From Hall of Fame to Hall of Shame
FESTUS ELROY More than 1 year ago
Steve to Scott upon the rehire interview.".Promise ,No more sleeping with the help" Scott "Promise,cross my heart"Steve"And zip the lip"Scott "I Promise" Steve" Now get to work"