A licensing committee of the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission on Jan. 28 approved the license request of Scott Blasi, Steve Asmussen's assistant trainer who last year was at the center of allegations from an animal rights group.
The KHRC License Review Committee on Wednesday unanimously approved Blasi's request to be licensed as an assistant trainer in Kentucky. Blasi did not work in Kentucky last year after the release of a video from People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals in March alleging horse abuse in 2013 by the Asmussen stable at Churchill Downs and Saratoga Race Course.
The license approval came less than two weeks after a KHRC investigation found no wrongdoing in the Asmussen stable following PETA's allegations based on video footage shot by a PETA agent, Kerin Rosen, working for the stable in 2013 at Churchill and Saratoga.
The KHRC investigation exonerated Asmussen and Blasi of horse abuse allegations that included "maintaining horses in poor physical condition," and "cruel or injurious mistreatment," by forcing horses in poor condition to continue to train.
Blasi, who uses profane language throughout the video, initially was dismissed from the Asmussen stable. He said that during that time he spent about six weeks with his brother Greg Blasi at a ranch in Oklahoma and with a son who had just graduated from high school.
At Wednesday's hearing, Blasi expressed regret about the language he used that was documented in the PETA video. He did note that the taped conversations in which he used profanity were in a private setting with blacksmiths and veterinarians that he'd known for years. Still, Blasi expressed regret about the coarse language.
"I think there are better ways to conduct yourself, that's for sure," Blasi said.
Blasi, 41, also said he'll take more care about who he hires in the future. Blasi had a personal relationship with Rosen, who sent him a text message one day before the video was posted on the New York Times website saying, "You're a good person." Blasi said he has not communicated with Rosen since that day.
The KHRC investigation concluded that some of Blasi's comments were edited from when he actually said them and moved to different parts of the video. It also said the video used misleading subtitles, at least once, to change the meaning of what Blasi had said.
Blasi returned to the Asmussen stable last year and currently is working for the two-time Eclipse Award winner at Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots.
The New York State Gaming Commission said it has concluded its investigation of PETA allegations against the Asmussen stable, although those findings have not yet been released. PETA provided the New York regulator with much more video, more than seven hours, than it turned over to the KHRC.