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NY Gaming Commission fines race horse trainer, proposes new drug rules in wake of abuse probe


ALBANY, New York — New York regulators have fined one of horse racing's winningest trainers and say they're pursuing new equine drug regulations after a probe into abuse allegations by an animal-rights group.

The New York State Gaming Commission said Monday its investigation sustained 14 allegations made by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals against trainer Steve Asmussen, his assistant Scott Blasi and others during the 2013 Saratoga Race Course meet.

The commission issued a $10,000 fine to Asmussen for giving horses a thyroid hormone within 48 hours of racing. Thyroid hormone is used to boost metabolism in horses with thyroid deficiency, but trainers use it to enhance performance in horses that aren't deficient.

The proposed regulations are aimed at stopping trainers from giving horses drugs strictly to enhance performance.

In January, the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission cleared Asmussen and Blasi of allegations made by PETA.

Tulsa, Oklahoma, attorney Clark Brewster, who represents Asmussen and Blasi, said he was pleased with the findings and that his clients feel completely vindicated.

"None of the other PETA accusations had merit," he said.

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