04/21/2014 8:22AM

Letter to the editor April 20, 2014


Standing up for Asmussen

At a time when it has become very popular to bash trainer Steve Asmussen, I would like to take exception with that. In my nearly 40 years as a trainer, I don’t think I have seen a person more unfairly treated or have seen a quicker rush to judgment. What has gone on over the last two months has been nothing less than a public lynching.

I thought long and hard before I wrote this letter. Why get involved? It’s none of your concern. I am not a close friend of Steve’s, never so much as had a beer with him, never had a meal with him, don’t know his wife or her name. In all honesty, it would be better for me to see Steve railroaded out of the business. We compete for the same owners, the same horses, and are both highly competitive. He has claimed several horses from me and done well with some of them.

But I just could not sit back and watch this continue. I enjoy competing against him.

I have been stabled next to Steve at Saratoga for the last several years, close enough to see what goes on in his barn, and I can tell you there is not a better caretaker of a horse than he is. His horses get the best. Period. His barn is second to none. In my career, I have never had a better neighbor. Is Steve a little brash? Sure. Is he a little opinionated? Absolutely. Is he cruel to his horses? No way. Never.

Steve is being vilified because of a PETA video that he is barely a part of. The video was very ugly. The language was disturbing. However, its contents hardly demand the injustice that Steve is receiving.

The two veterinarians featured in the video, Drs. James Hunt and Mark Cheney, are two of the most respected veterinarians in the business. Their client list reads like the who’s who of racing: Bill Mott, Todd Pletcher, Kiaran McLaughlin, Shug McGaughey, Charles LoPresti, etc. You would have a hard time finding anyone who would not stand up for these two veterinarians. The two medications alluded to in the video (Lasix and thyroid powder) are both legal to have and legal to use. So, what crime has Steve committed?

Scott Blasi has pretty much ruined his own career. He would have a hard time finding a job in an industry in which he has worked for more than 20 years. There isn’t much more harm to do to Scott, but before another man’s career and life are ruined, please let me know: What crime has he been convicted of? I have not seen it. It should take more than an eight-minute, sensationalized PETA video to erase 30 years of hard work.

George R. “Rusty”Arnold II,

Lexington, Ky.