Steve Asmussen is one of the most successful Thoroughbred race horse trainers of all time. Asmussen also has the most extensive record of rule and drug violations of all major trainers in U.S. horse racing. PETA conducted a four-month investigation of Steve Asmussen’s operations at the famous Churchill Downs and Saratoga racetracks in order to expose what it takes to get to the top in horse racing and the price that the horses pay. On average, 24 horses die per week on racetracks in the U.S. During the course of the investigation, PETA’s undercover agent documented standard practices in this industry, in which death and injuries are business as usual. The horses were sore and injured all the time and constantly getting injections and treatments of all kinds. To train and race through all the injuries, exhaustion, and pain, horses are subjected to an endless cycle of performance-enhancing medications and pain-masking drugs. This regiment takes its toll on fragile, young horses, whose bones aren’t fully developed. Even Asmussen’s prized horse Nehro, who finished second in the 2011 Kentucky Derby, was forced to continue training and racing on painful, chronically damaged feet. Animal Kingdom wins the Derby! Nehro in second! Just a few days later on Kentucky Derby Day 2013 Nehro died after a severe bout with colic at Churchill Downs. From birth to death, most horses used for racing are treated like disposable commodities. While gamblers at the Kentucky Derby sip mint juleps the horses are served a steady diet of drug cocktails. With all the medications the horses were being given, even in their feed, it felt more like working at a pharmacy than a stable. One of Asmussen’s drugs of choice was thyroxine. The drug was being given to every horse in Asmussen’s barns, apparently without testing or evidence of any thyroid condition. This drug was recklessly administered, seemingly just to speed up metabolism, not for any therapeutic purpose. Similarly, Lasix, a controversial drug banned in Europe on race days, was injected into all of Asmussen’s horses who were being raced or timed. PETA’s investigator recorded New York’s top horse racing veterinarian admit that the primarily reason why lasix is given to most of the horses is for performance enhancement. PETA’s investigator also documented an array of painful treatments performed on horses. I would see bettors in the stands reading statistics in the Daily Racing Form and I would think, “They don’t know how sore and injured these horses are and how many medications they’re on.” They’re being duped. Here, Asmussen’s chief assistant trainer, Scott Blasi, angry that his horse got scratched by stewards before a race, tells the investigator how he will fool the stewards next time. Trainers will do just about anything to gain an advantage, regardless of the consequences to the horses. Here, Scott Blasi jokes about how one of his leading jockeys, Ricardo Santana Jr., used a concealed shocking device on the horses. The investigator also recorded Hall of Fame jockey Gary Stevens and Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas laughing about the use of these painful and dangerous shocking devices. Although during nationally televised races owners and trainers will wax on about how much they love their horses, here’s what they say when they think the cameras aren’t rolling. Here, Scott Blasi celebrates losing one of his poorly performing horses in a claiming race to a new owner. The horse, Valediction, later had to have emergency surgery but Blasi was overjoyed that he had unloaded the horse. Then, Blasi and the new trainer for Valediction, Rudy Rodriguez, joked about Valediction, saying that he was a rat, horse-racing vernacular for a horse who doesn’t win money. PETA’s investigator also documented the terrible conditions for the exploited workers in Asmussen’s barns. Many undocumented laborers were required to work long, hard hours for little pay. It was awful to see them getting exploited like this. Many couldn’t even live in the staff dorms at the track because they were undocumented workers. They had to sleep in barns and tack rooms. Here, Asmussen is explaining how to manufacture paperwork illegally. The horse-racing industry tries to project the image of rolling, bluegrass hills and family farms. But these are factory farms where syringes are the most important tools of the trade.