Asmussen-Trained Horse Rescued on Eve of Trainer’s Hall of Fame Induction

PETA Rescues the Injured Thoroughbred, Charlie's Quest, Who Was Called a 'Rat' by Trainer's Assistant

For Immediate Release:
August 11, 2016

Contact:
David Perle 202-483-7382

Saratoga Springs, N.Y. – In the lead-up to Steve Asmussen’s induction into the horse-racing Hall of Fame on Friday—which comes just nine months after the New York State Gaming Commission fined him $10,000 for violations uncovered in a PETA investigation—PETA has rescued Charlie’s Quest, one of the two horses Asmussen’s assistant trainer Scott Blasi was caught on camera calling a “rat”—the racing term for a horse who loses. The action follows PETA’s 2014 rescue of Valediction—the other “rat”—after his leg was fractured in a race at Saratoga Race Course.

“Charlie’s Quest hasn’t had a good life and his future was bleak: He’s changed hands seven times in seven years, has dropped down to the $5,000 claiming level, and suffers from serious injuries that may require surgery,” says PETA Senior Vice President Kathy Guillermo. “Steve Asmussen should be indicted—not inducted into the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame—but at least Charlie’s Quest is safe now.”

As documented by a PETA eyewitness, Asmussen claimed Charlie’s Quest from trainer Rudy Rodriguez in July 2013 at Saratoga. Soon afterward, Rodriguez claimed Valediction from Asmussen in a trade that Blasi described as “a rat for a rat.” That month, a track veterinarian found Charlie’s Quest to be unsound and unfit to run, and Blasi threatened to attempt to fool veterinarians by disguising the horse’s injuries before his next exam.

Since then, Charlie’s Quest has changed hands three times and raced at lower-level tracks in West Virginia and Pennsylvania. PETA became concerned when he was raced four times in just one month in 2015 and asked West Virginia officials to step in. In June of this year, after he finished seventh out of eight horses, PETA took steps to acquire him. He is undergoing a complete physical examination with radiographs and ultrasound, but the initial exam shows that the 7-year-old Thoroughbred is unsound in both front and back legs and appears to suffer from an old ligament tear in the same ankle that was identified as injured while he was in Asmussen’s barn three years ago.

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