PETA's investigator also witnessed the routine drugging of horses with muscle relaxants, sedatives and other potent pharmaceuticals. According to a trainer, one horse's legs were burned with liquid nitrogen, and other horses were blistered with chemical paint, purportedly to stimulate blood flow to their sore legs, leaving multiple scars. Continually sore horses were trained and raced and weren't allowed adequate time to recover from injury. Even Nehro, the horse who finished second in the 2011 Kentucky Derby, was forced to race on hole-ridden, chronically painful hooves that were held together with superglue and filler. And on and on.
We also found that many undocumented laborers were hired and forced to work long hours for little pay in difficult, dangerous jobs. Some of Asmussen's employees- approximately 90 percent of whom are from Mexico or Central or South America-may have been issued fake Social Security cards and forced to use false names on Internal Revenue Service forms.
PETA's investigation should be a wake-up call to racing fans. Even at this top level, the syringe and pill bottle are the main training tools in thoroughbred racing. PETA has filed 10 legal complaints with both federal and state agencies, but everyone reading this can also make a difference: Simply refuse to patronize or bet on horse races.