PETA's Investigation of Asmussen: Can It Help Boost Horse Racing's Popularity?

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PETA's Investigation of Asmussen: Can It Help Boost Horse Racing's Popularity?
Rob Carr/Getty Images
Embattled trainer Steve Asmussen facing PETA allegations

What do the people involved with horse racing really think when it comes to PETA's (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) undercover investigation of trainer Steve Asmussen?

When the dust settles, will horse racing suffer, or is it possible PETA will be recognized as the organization partially responsible for making "The Sport of Kings" even bigger than it already is with an influx of new fans and horseplayers alike?

When the story of PETA's undercover investigation of top horse racing trainer Asmussen's barn broke in a New York Times article on March 19, the initial reaction within racing circles was a combination of both shock and dismay.

Especially chilling was a secret nine-minute edited video (NSFW) shot by PETA's undercover agent, hired by the Asmussen team to assist in their stables without the knowledge the person was actually a spy for the animal rights organization.

Appearing in the video, assistant trainer Scott Blasi presented a wildly unflattering picture of the Asmussen stable activities. Within three days of the article's release, Blasi was fired by Asmussen after working for him for more than 18 years.

PETA has filed state and federal complaints against Asmussen for his alleged disregard for the safety and well-being of the horses he trains. Once eligible to be voted into the Horse Racing Hall of Fame, Asmussen's name was yanked from the 2014 ballot and tabled until further notice.

Although ranked second in career victories among the nation's trainers, Asmussen took another hit when owner Ahmed Zayat announced he was transferring 12 of his horses (once under Asmussen's care) to other stables and they were parting ways, as reported by The Daily Racing Form.

Important to remember at this time, the PETA investigation has resulted in proposed evidence and allegations against Asmussen. He has not officially been ruled guilty of anything yet.

Questions regarding the investigation and its outcome were posed to three individuals who are passionately involved with the sport of horse racing.

Represented are a racing media personality, a longtime horseplayer and fan and a professional stakes winning jockey, who actually competes on the New York Racing Association circuit where Asmussen has enjoyed some of his greatest successes throughout his illustrious career.

What follows are their candid written thoughts on the PETA investigation without pulling any punches. Each of their views are exclusive and independent of the others.

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