Review Cites Strong Safety Stats for Asmussen

Steve Asmussen’s horses have not suffered a single catastrophic breakdown in 721 Kentucky starts the past four seasons.
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As part of its extensive investigation into Thoroughbred trainer Steve Asmussen’s stable following allegations of horse mistreatment from an animal rights group, the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission (KHRC) compiled safety numbers in which the Eclipse Award-winning trainer’s stable fared well.

The KHRC stated that Asmussen-trained horses did not suffer a single catastrophic breakdown in 721 Kentucky starts the past four seasons (2011-14). Additionally, in 1,770 starts from 2007 through 2014, not a single Asmussen-trained horse was scratched by KHRC veterinarians (regulatory veterinarians observe horses on race day and on the track before the race and will scratch horses that could be at risk).

Those safety numbers would be featured prominently in a 27-page report compiled by KHRC staff following allegations of horse abuse against Asmussen and assistant Scott Blasi brought last year by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA). The group alleged abuse occurred in a four-month period in 2013 at Asmussen’s Churchill Downs stable, in Louisville, Kentucky, based on information gathered by PETA’s Kerin Rosen while working for the stable.

On Jan. 15 the KHRC cleared Asmussen and Blasi of all charges brought by PETA following the release of what the regulator determined to be a highly edited online video by the animal rights group in March 2014. The video, PETA suggested, showed equine abuse at Asmussen’s stables at Churchill Downs and Saratoga Race Course, in Saratoga Springs, New York

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Frank Angst is a staff writer for The Blood-Horse magazine. An American Horse Publications three-time winner in best news story category, Angst has covered horse racing for more than a decade. Angst spent ten years at Thoroughbred Times, where he earned awards as that magazine’s senior writer and helped launch Thoroughbred Times TODAY. Besides covering horse racing, Angst enjoys handicapping. Angst has written about sports for more than 20 years, including several seasons covering a nationally ranked Marshall Thundering Herd football team.

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