Last month, an undercover investigation documented evidence of chronic drug misuse on derby horses to mask injuries and enhance their performance, particularly on a 5-year-old thoroughbred named Valediction. Now, the story has taken a welcome turn -- Sam Simon, co-creator of "The Simpsons" and outspoken animal activist -- bought the horse and transported him to a farm in Virginia.
The investigation, conducted by PETA, revealed scars on Valediction's legs that were likely the result of freeze-firing, a cruel practice that involves burning horses' legs with liquid nitrogen to try to stimulate blood flow to damaged legs, so that injured horses can still run. But now thanks to Sam Simon, who is currently battling terminal cancer, the horse will be retired from racing.
"I was not in the best of shape when I saw PETA's video and heard about the condition of this horse, Valediction, but it was immediately clear the horse was in deep trouble," Simon said in a release. "He had been run on bad legs to start with and had clearly been injured during the race and had stood there shaking, unable to put weight on his feet. ... When I see him in his blanket eating carrots, I know I helped one great horse ... escape the track and live in clover until the day he dies."
The video, which focused on the practices of Steve Asmussen, the nation's second-winningest horse trainer, and his assistant Scott Blasi, prompted Kentucky to open investigations into horse training practices. And with the famed Kentucky Derby this weekend, it's important to consider the treatment of race horses.