Last night PETA came out with a video where an investigator disguised as a groom or something spent time with Scott Blasi, an assistant trainer to Steve Asmussen. It wasn't pretty.
The video was definitely sensationalized. PETA wants you to believe that every trainer is a cheating animal abuser.This couldn't be further from the truth. But it does raise an interesting point to me. We need to be careful who we consider great.
One scene in the video showed Hall of Fame rider Gary Stevens and Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas laughing about the use of 'buzzers,' an electrical device that shocks the horse into running faster. Completely illegal, and not a laughing matter. These supposed greats both got a good chuckle out of their past experience using buzzers. I'm not saying they are using the buzzers today, but regardless of how long ago it was, it's not funny. It's quite cruel. Are these the sort of people that horse racing wants to be remembered as the greatest?
Another big part of the video is 2011 Kentucky Derby runner-up Nehro and his bad feet. Really bad feet. Feet bad enough that the horse should have been retired. It's not as though the horse hadn't paid his bills, he only won twice in 12 starts but earned $978,381. You would think the great trainer Steve Asmussen would recognize that the horse should have stopped racing. Shame on the owner, Zayat Stables, who also should have known better.
You can go on and on about the supertrainers with very spotty records. Remember when Bob Baffert had seven horses drop dead, each with traces of a chemical found in rat poison in their blood? Todd Pletcher had a positive for procraine with Wait a While a few years ago. Richard Dutrow was given a 10-year suspension for the many positives he has gotten throughout his career. The corporate stables with a giant number of horses and the richest owners win the most races, but they also have the worst records for breakdowns.
In this age where success in racing is simply a numbers game, the wrong people are going down as the greatest. Don't let a high win percentage convince you that a certain trainer/jockey is the best at his/her craft.