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Oaklawn Trainer Accused of Mistreating Horses

HOT SPRINGS, Ark. -- The 2013 top trainer at Oaklawn Park in Hot Springs, Arkansas, is in the middle of a controversy.
HOT SPRINGS, Ark. -- The 2013 top trainer at Oaklawn Park in Hot Springs, Arkansas, is in the middle of a controversy.

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) released a nine minute video it claims was a result of a four month undercover investigation.  PETA claims the video is proof Steve Asmussen and his employees, mishandled horses and misused drugs on horses in Kentucky and New York.

Asmussen has yet to comment on the video, calls to his lawyer were not returned.

While the Kentucky and New York Racing Commissions are investigating, the Arkansas Racing Commission is waiting and taking note.

 "It's a matter of great concern to us.  The abuse of the animals, not complying with rules, anything of that nature is always an immediate concern and a grave concern for us," said Ron Oliver from the Arkansas commission.

"We are monitoring and it's a situation that we are following very closely."

Asmussen is one of the top trainers for 2014 at Oaklawn Park but changes are coming to Hot Springs because of this video.

Ahmed Zayat is a horse owner who is moving 12 horses out of Asmussen's barn, which included at least one at Oaklawn.

"It's just a nightmare, it's a bad nightmare," said Zayat.

"Trust has been broken, and I can't keep my horses in an environment where I can't have the caretakers communicate facts with me and be transparent and honest," explained Zayat.


Zayat's horse Nehro was featured in the video, and PETA alleges the horse was mishandled.

"I froze, I didn't have any thoughts, I was extremely upset, very emotional, I loved that horse," said Zayat.

Nehro died in 2013.

Asmussen continues to have horses race at Oaklawn. 



(KARK, Little Rock)
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