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.