Racing Should Shame, Not Honor Drug and Labor Violators—and Remember Barry Bonds and Lance Armstrong, Group Says
For Immediate Release:
March 10, 2016
David Perle 204-483-7382
Saratoga Springs, N.Y. – This morning, PETA sent a letter urging the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame to correct the impression that it supports racehorse trainers who give drugs to horses for purposes other than medical need and who violate labor laws, by promptly withdrawing Steve Asmussen’s nomination. PETA points out that following its investigation—which exposed the trainer’s misuse of medication, including the daily use of a powerful thyroid hormone—the New York State Gaming Commission was able to confirm several of PETA’s allegations, fined Asmussen $10,000, and introduced, in its own words, “sweeping new regulations in wake of PETA investigation” to protect Thoroughbreds. Furthermore, the U.S. Department of Labor has sued Asmussen for alleged violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act in the U.S District Court for the Western District of Kentucky. This is the second time that Asmussen has been sued by the Department of Labor. In New York, he was forced to pay back wages. Internal Revenue Service and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement investigations into his conduct and operations are ongoing.
The letter also points out:
While Asmussen’s win and earnings totals cannot be disputed, there should be much more to being recognized as one of the elite of racing than simply high volume. Your nomination of Asmussen says two things about racing to the public: Winning is the only thing that counts and protecting the horses, jockeys and the employees on the backside is definitely not a priority – it’s not even a consideration.
“Other sports take drug violations seriously: Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens are not in the Baseball Hall of Fame, and Lance Armstrong was stripped of all seven of his Tour de France victories and has been banned for life from sanctioned cycling events,” says PETA Senior Vice President Kathy Guillermo. “Shame on horse racing for honoring its violators with a nomination to the Hall of Fame.”
PETA’s letter to the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame is available upon request. For more information, please visit PETA.org.