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‘Simpsons’ Co-Creator Rescues Horse Labeled ‘Rat’

Written by Alisa Mullins | May 2, 2014

Valediction, one of the racehorses at trainer Steve Asmussen‘s stables at Churchill Downs, is the son of Vindication and grandson of Seattle Slew. While bathing him one morning, PETA’s investigator saw several dozen round, white scars on his forelegs that were dime-sized and evenly spaced. They were the telltale signs of freeze firing, a painful mutilation that involves burning horses with liquid nitrogen to stimulate blood flow to an injury. She had also witnessed Valediction’s knees repeatedly being injected. Both were signs that he was likely suffering from chronic injuries.

Despite his leg problems, a few months later, Valediction was run in a claiming race (in which horses are bought, or “claimed”) at Saratoga Race Course. The horse had to be vanned off the track: He was in so much pain that he could not walk to his new owner’s barn, having suffered a bone fracture in his leg.

Hearing that Valediction had been sold, Asmussen’s longtime assistant trainer, Scott Blasi, was apparently so glad to be rid of the chronically injured horse that he said he “could do a f***ing cartwheel.” Blasi joked that Valediction was a “rat”—industry slang for a horse who doesn’t make money.

Valediction later underwent surgery to repair the injuries to his legs, but we were worried that he would be forced back onto the track and that he would likely run until he suffered a catastrophic breakdown, probably in the very next race he entered. From there, the specter of the butcher loomed.

PETA patron Sam Simon stepped right up when he heard the story and said, “Let’s get him,” and so we did. As reports, because of Sam, Valediction will never suffer the fate of Nehro or Finesse, two horses our investigator cared for who died at the track.

“[W]hen I saw PETA’s video and heard about the condition of this horse, Valediction, … it was immediately clear the horse was in deep trouble,” says Sam. “He had been run on bad legs to start with and had clearly been injured during the race and had stood there shaking, unable to put weight on his feet .”

A veterinarian who examined Valediction after the purchase noted that although he is only 5 years old, he is so plagued by arthritis that he can never be used again, even as a “pleasure horse.” Valediction is now enjoying retirement at a beautiful farm in Virginia owned by other PETA supporters, and he will never be forced to run for his life again.

Valediction the Horse Rescued (2) Valediction the Horse Rescued (3)

“When I see him in his blanket eating carrots, I know I helped one great horse … escape the track and live in clover until the day he dies,” says Sam.

Commenting is closed.
  • Vitoria says:

    Thank you Sam Simon and all the animal lovers , hope the law change as well and wonder how much of the government makes out of this barbaric and cruel way of animal abuse
    would love to see more laws to protect the innocent and helpless animal like Valediction !
    I could not sleep when i first watch his video and how the f…. a…. of his ex owner treated him and cursed at him , he should never be able to have such a power on horses and not be able to profit on them as well .
    God bless Sam and protect all he animals which they are the gift ornaments of our beautiful universe , the mother nature .
    Thank you Peta again !

  • Ksenia says:

    It’s a great things you do. Thank you!

  • My horse, whose 27th birthday was today, and who has been a dressage horse for the majority of his life, only started to get arthiritis (I think I spelled that wrong) really within the last year or so. And he still loves to gallop in the turnout! (he is half thoroughbred half Welsh pony) Therefore reading the fates of these race horses just breaks my heart. I”m very happy this horse, Valediction, now has a loving forever home.

  • Thank you Sam Simon for stepping in to save this abused horse and for your friends that let this abused creature spend the rest of his life being taken care of.
    There was mention of this horse being labeled a rat. Well there are rats in this but its not the horse, but excuse me I’m sorry I shouldn’t insult the animal rats by comparison. They have more intelligence to say the least.

  • Ashie says:

    We need to stop horse abuse….there are way too many horses getting abused everyday just for the sport…God bless you Valediction and all of them who saved you!!

  • T. Hicks says:

    If only the same laws were instated for animals as for humans then maybe these sadistic cowards would think twice before abusing these beautiful sensitive creatures in this way. They should be named and shamed. Horse racing and riding should be illegal. Thank you PETA for rescuing this lovely horse from the clutches of these evil individuals.

  • Patti Rohwedder says:

    I cried when I read this story about Valediction. I am appauled at how horses are abused for money! Many thanks to those who care enough to save these horses from a horrible fate!
    I am glad to hear that one more is rescued and will support this cause in any way! Happy trails, Patti in Fla

  • Nikki Gray says:

    Horse racing is motivated by money and greed – and seldom has anything to do with the love of horses!!

  • Roxanna Evans says:

    What a great person so compassionate to save this horse; horses are majestic! Thank you on behalf of all those who love horses as well as other animals.

  • Marcia Geiger says:

    I am so happy that he was saved. Owners and trainers like this should be fanned forever form the track. Take a lesson from the basketball news

  • e r says:

    I am so glad he is rescued and now with people who really care about him. He will also get the attention and love he deserves.

  • D.J. Benson says:

    I had the pleasure of loving on his father, Vindication at Hill n Dale Farm. I am so pleased PETA stepped up and saved him. This type of abuse has to stop NOW!!!! These so called “trainers” and inhumane “owners” need to spend the rest of their lives in jail!

  • l bergeron says:

    Sam SImon…I love the Simpsons and I love you for saving this horse! Way to use your power for good!!

  • Gillian Bell says:

    Why is it humans can be so cruel to these beautiful creatures, it also happens here in the UK some owners go out and buy another horse if theirs are killed on the track or they break down. A law needs to be passed to help all animals or possible what they do the animals humans who care and love animals should be able to do exactly the crime to them

  • Lana says:

    Thank you PETA for exposing this story so happy the horse is free and able to live naturally without being humiliated by cruel humans who have no idea of why animals are on this beautiful planet.

  • Thank you for rescuing Valediction so he can enjoy the good life!

  • Sandra Jorgensen says:

    This just an obscene example of what goes on in horse-racing, it will never be ethical because the animals are treated as gambling machines

  • Mona Sespe says:

    I just wanted one horse to ride I rode as a child. Someone I cared very much for rescued some horses things went bad between us and I always wanted to have a horse again. Eagle and I rescued each other. My cousin who’s a horse woman and her husband came to see my horse and brought her presents, she told me Mona there is a horse that needs rescuing so I said OK she could get lonely one more I can handle. Eagle has her story too she is a rescue I paid 500.00 cuz I knew he wouldn’t let her go. Vet check done they said she may never be able to be rode but I fell in love with her and got her anyway and I knew she loved me. A yr. Later I have 4. I rescued two more in real bad shape but they are doing good. Went to buy panels at a ranch and they were tucked back no shade hair matted I cried quietly and prayed for them came home it haunted me so I called the guy he wanted a 1000.00 so I said ok.

  • Marjorie Coey says:

    THANK YOU PETA AND MR. SIMON…the guy who called the horse a “rat” should be kicked out of racing period! What a jerk…let’s not even go to Asmussen…I am so happy for Valediction…horses are just so neat!

  • Wow Asmussen’s trainer was a real NICE guy to have around horses. How can this go on for so long and no one know? Guess so many treat horses badly in racing, no one will speak up.

  • Nan Newall says:

    Sam Simon, you are truly an angel to the countless abused animals. I often admire your compassion and generosity. I truly wish there were more people like you.

  • Inkin says:

    Thank you PETA! Please send photos of the cruelty that these and other animals go through to every senator, congressman, the president, the Pope…where is the USDA in all this?

  • Lynne says:

    So glad he’s being taken care of and is safe. If they would get him in a cold saltwater hydrotherapy spa it would work wonders on getting the circulation moving and bring safe natural healing. Those spas are the best!

  • Suzanne Marienau says:

    Asmussen is still training horses. He has a filly running in the Kentucky Oaks today and a colt in the Derby tomorrow. I doubt he’s changed his abusive ways. People in racing are killing it. They won’t agree on removing drugs from horse racing and they allow cheating trainers to continue to train. Asmussen shouldn’t be allowed to come near a horse. Why do owners leave their horses with someone like him? Obviously they don’t care about these animals. They want money. The horsey media is still fawning over Asmussen and many are vilifying PETA. I don’t believe horse racing will ever learn. And the horses pay the price for this. I am so thankful that Valediction has a wonderful forever home. Thank you to everyone who played a part in this.

  • M. Salerno says:

    Thank heavens for good hearted, humane people. I am glad to know that this four legged guy is going to have shelter, food and people to care for him.

  • Frankie Strickland says:

    Bless you. Valediction…live happily ever after!