At one such session last year, trainer John Kimmel lambasted those who thought that mistreatment of horses was a problem, blaming it on - wait for it - the media. He challenged them to go to the backstretch to observe how well the horses are cared for. Little did he know that as he was speaking, someone was doing just that, armed with a video camera. This week, the work of the undercover investigator for PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) became public courtesy of Joe Drape of The New York Times and PETA’s web site.
According to Drape’s piece, the investigator worked in Steve Asmussen’s barn at Churchill Downs and Saratoga for four months. It is clear no one was aware they were being recorded. PETA has filed complaints with ten federal and state agencies based on the investigation, but it is a nine-minute video that has the racing world abuzz. Among PETA’s allegations are the mistreatment of horses, the use of batteries to shock horses, administration of Lasix as a performance-enhancing drug, and numerous violations of employment laws