(Jockey Ricardo Santana, Jr. / Photo by Holly M. Smith)
Scott Blasi — the long-time Assistant Trainer for Hall of Fame Trainer Steve Asmussen and some-time fiery and controversial figure on the backside of racetracks — has been fined and suspended by the Kentucky State Stewards following an altercation with rider Ricardo Santana, Jr.
According to several witnesses, Blasi encountered the rider following the 8th race at Churchill Downs on May 23 when he was apparently upset with the performance on one of the Asmussen horses in a race.
Following a heated, verbal exchange, the incident turned physical and potentially violent and the parties had to be separated from each other at the time.
According to the Steward’s Ruling, Blasi has been fined $500 and suspended for a total of seven (7) days. The suspension, though, will be “stayed” if Blasi enters and successfully completes a certified program in “anger management” and does not have any further cases of “disorderly conduct” on a racetrack premises for the next 365 days.
This is not the first time that Blasi has been in the news for “off the track” issues. Several years ago, Blasi was the subject of an investigation by the Kentucky Racing Commission after a “plant” and “undercover” backside worker made video and audio tapes of the Asmussen and Blasi barn operation for PETA.
The tapes were released to the press and general public and created a stir both inside and out of the industry, and launched an intense investigation of how both Blasi and Asmussen treat horses in their care. At the time, Asmussen was nominated and under consideration for the Racing “Hall of Fame.”
After further review, though, there were serious questions as to the validity and credibility of the video and audio tapes and whether or not the conversations under consideration were “spliced” together and were not accurate in their essence or presentation.
When PETA officials failed to appear before the Kentucky Racing Commission to testify as to the validity of the tapes or present convincing evidence that the tapes had not been altered, the investigation was later dropped and neither Asmussen or Blasi were held to be accountable or responsible for any improper conduct or act.