The National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame announced Friday it is tabling the 2014 nomination of trainer Steve Asmussen in the wake of allegations lodged against him by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA).
“Based on pending investigations by the New York State Gaming Commission and the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission into allegations made by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) and reported by various media outlets, the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame has decided it is in the best interests of the institution and the sport of thoroughbred racing in general to table the 2014 Hall of Fame nomination of trainer Steve Asmussen,” the statement read.
A note to voters added that any votes already cast in support of Asmussen will not be counted in the 2014 election process.
Asmussen was named a finalist for Hall of Fame induction for the first time this year. In his absence trainer Gary Jones, jockeys Chris Antley, Garrett Gomez, Craig Perret, and Alex Solis and Thoroughbreds Ashado, Curlin, Kona Gold, and Xtra Heat make up the list of finalists remaining.
Asmussen, who conditioned Curlin to back-to-back Horse of the Year titles in 2007 and 2008, was the subject of a New York Times story published this week that details the finding of an undercover investigator for PETA that worked in his barn for four months. Among the complaints filed by PETA in the wake of the investigator’s findings were allegations of severe mistreatment of both horses and staff in his care.
The Kentucky Horse Racing Commission and New York Gaming Commission both announced Thursday that the organizations were launching respective investigations into the allegations.