11/18/2015 12:03PM

New York commission to release Asmussen report Monday


A long-awaited New York State Gaming Commission report examining allegations made by an animal-rights group against trainer Steve Asmussen will be released to the public on Monday after being presented to the full commission at a regular meeting, officials for the commission said on Wednesday.

The report, which has twice appeared on the gambling commission’s agenda in the past three months only to be pulled from the table, will address the allegations made by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals in March 2014 based on audio and video recordings of an employee in the Asmussen stable who was secretly working for PETA. The employee worked in Asmussen’s stable during a four-month span in 2013, both at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Ky., and Saratoga Race Course in New York.

The New York report will be the second to examine the allegations. Last January, the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission exonerated Asmussen and was sharply critical of PETA’s accusations and its tactics in making its claims, saying it had found that Asmussen’s horses “were well cared for,” contrary to PETA’s contention that animals in the stable were abused. The report also claimed that PETA “extensively edited and overdubbed” materials provided to the commission for the investigation.

New York State Gaming Commission officials have not commented specifically on why the report has taken so long to prepare. Officials for the commission have said the report goes beyond the allegations made by PETA, which also claimed that Asmussen used undocumented workers in his operation. The KHRC did not investigate those accusations because the commission lacked jurisdiction, KHRC officials said at the time.

PETA’s accusations against Asmussen – which took the form of a 9 1/2-minute video – were circulated widely and spurred the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame to remove Asmussen from its 2014 ballot. The Hall of Fame also said it would not allow Asmussen to be placed back on the ballot until the regulatory investigations were complete.

PETA, which believes that racing is cruel and should be banned, draws strong support from some areas of downstate New York. Following the release of the KHRC report exonerating Asmussen, the organization’s senior vice president, Kathy Guillermo, compared the KHRC to the Syrian government, and she has since said that the organization’s accusations against Asmussen were solely responsible for the introduction of legislation that would lead to federal oversight of the sport.

Ray Sousa More than 1 year ago
Seriously its ridiculous for the racing industry to continue this shell game. Assmusssen has been caught cheating (that's the best word for getting caught doping multiple times) and for the industry to try once again to discredit evidence and delay this report for so long is ridiculous. I'm a racing fan and don't know P.E.T.A from Paul but i did watch the video and i know what i saw.no amount of editing is going to change the words coming out of ASSMUSSEN"S assistant BLASI"s mouth .or some of the others who were also caught with their foot in their mouth admitting to using electric devices to shock a horse during the race. you would think that this and some of the other embarrassing things that have come to light in the sport would cause the industry to change and fix some of its problems .instead it digs in.and doubles down on doing nothing .to the average fan this industry is incapable of change its as if its addicted to shady practices.in my opinion like all addicts it needs an intervention.in this case federal oversight. there is too much money involved for there to be no independent oversight. forget the fact that trainers who use drugs on horses are stealing from the betting public. This industry does not even understand that fans will not support any sport that mistreats animals. the nefarious part of this is that if you look at this trainers horse in a paddock at a race track they look amazing and then you find out in the video that a horse that finished 2nd in the derby and earned a loot of purse money (NEHRO) had his hooves filled with glue to keep him racing.so said BLASI in the video .the horse ended up dying. BLASI was fired because he blamed the owner of the horse (who is the same owner that owns AMERICAN PHAROAH ) .BLASI was rehired by ASSMUSSEN .and this story basically sums up the whole pattern in racing. The horse suffered the bettors who bet on this horse not knowing his feet were glued lost their money. The trainer continues as usual the assistant trainer BLASI got his job back. The owner of NEHRO bred a new champion and won the triple crown .and got a chance to do some public relations.The jockey Gary Stevens who appeared on the p.e.t.a video telling a story at a dinner with WAYNE LUKAS about almost falling off a horse after shocking himself while using a buzzer in a race is making a great comeback at 50. And the industry well they will continue to do the same thing they have done for decades. Ignore the problems and attack the messenger.
Mike Oliveto More than 1 year ago
Don't worry. Banning Lasix will straighten everything out.
Jim Fields More than 1 year ago
I get what you are saying, and tend to agree in part, but, and that is a big but!! Assmussen and Blasi were wrong in doing and talking about shady practices that they were and had done. Stevens and Lucas both have been involved in horse racing from the bush track fair type races, tot he Kentucky Derby. In the less regulated fairs, in times past, folks did, and got away with, things that wouldn't be done at a major track, or at least not with regularity. Horse racing, like any sport that has gambling and competition, is going to have an underbelly, and that underbelly should be exposed. However, the things that Blasi bragged about could be exposed by PETA or any other watchdog, with just the true facts, and we would probably be at the same deciding factor. Blasi overblew the circumstances and PETA overblew his overblow. The fact is, the trainer made decisions and the vet did things, that were detrimental to the horse and the public and they all should be used as examples of what happens when you do what these three did.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Just try and catch Assmussen on a winner. This guys horses do not run, 95% of the time. . Then all of a sudden when his horse does not figure, his horse runs like whirlaway. I strongly believe the guy is a cheat.
Bruce Epstein More than 1 year ago
Well written sir.