The fallout over allegations lodged against trainer Steve Asmussen by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) continued Monday when owner Ahmed Zayat announced on Twitter he was transferring the 12 horses he had with the Eclipse Award winner to other conditioners.
Zayat’s son Justin confirmed on Twitter that upstart trainer Michael Wilson would receive some of the Zayat Stables horses. Daily Racing Form reported that Hall of Famer D. Wayne Lukas would take over the horses Asmussen had for Zayat currently based at Oaklawn Park and that Zayat’s Fair Grounds-based horses would go to fellow Eclipse Award winner Dale Romans.
The decision by Zayat to part ways with Asmussen comes on the heels of a story published in the New York Times last week that detailed the findings of an investigator for PETA that worked undercover in Asmussen’s barn for four months last spring and summer.
PETA has filed complaints in New York and Kentucky alleging charges of cruelty by Asmussen and his now former top assistant Scott Blasi. The callous treatment of Zayat Stables’ Nehro, runner-up in the 2011 Kentucky Derby, was a main focus of a 91/2-minute video PETA posted on its website regarding its findings.