Equine Rescue

Dying Hollywood Mogul Sam Simon Secretly ‘Rescues’ Racehorse

Article by of NBC Dateline
Forward by R.T. Fitch ~ president/co-founder of Wild Horse Freedom Federation

“People don’t know what they’re watching when they’re watching a horse race”

“It’s ‘Feel Good Sunday’ and also the day after the Kentucky Derby and with two thrown away OTT TBs in our pasture we are sort of sensitive on the issue of horse racing; so what better to share with you, today, than a success story on a rescued race horse.  I am passionate on this subject as two souls that were hours away from the slaughterhouse now enlighten and entertain us in our backyard.  This is a good story for a very good day.  Keep the faith!” ~ R.T.


Valediction, a thoroughbred racehorse, retired in Loudoun County, Va. Sam Simon, producer of ‘The Simpsons,’ ‘Cheers,’ and ‘The Drew Carey Show,’ among other series, is giving away his fortune before he dies of cancer. He secretly funded the ‘rescue’ of a racehorse, Valediction, that animal advocates say was on the verge of being raced again despite the risk of serious injury.

A Hollywood producer who’s giving away his fortune before he dies of cancer secretly funded the “rescue” of a racehorse that animal advocates say was on the verge of being raced again despite the risk of “catastrophic” injury.

Sam Simon, producer of “The Simpsons,” “Cheers,” and “The Drew Carey Show,” among other series, says he ponied up the cash for two reasons. “One is an animal is no longer being abused and two, people are finding out what horse racing really is.”

The horse, Valediction, had been trained by two different top trainers who’ve been disciplined by authorities for allegedly over-medicating horses. One of the trainers, Steve Asmussen, has won more than 6,700 races and $200 million in his career and has a horse entered in Saturday’s Kentucky Derby. Valediction was being prepped to return to the track in February despite an injured leg when Simon — through a front man supplied by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals [PETA] — stepped in and bought him for $60,000.

On a videotape secretly recorded by PETA, Asmussen’s assistant can be heard talking about injecting horses with medication and how he could get a sore horse past track veterinarians. He can also be heard calling Valediction a “rat,” meaning a horse who doesn’t make money.

Said Simon, who was diagnosed with terminal colon cancer in 2012, “When you watch them talk about Valediction as a rat and now you know he’s a in a pasture someplace, it makes you feel good.”

In March, PETA revealed in a New York Times article that an undercover investigator had worked with Asmussen and his assistant Scott Blasi for more than four months in 2013 and shot secret video. After reviewing seven hours of footage and preparing a 285-page report, PETA charged in formal complaints to racing authorities in Kentucky and New York that Asmussen had “forced injured and/or suffering horses to race and train.”

Asmussen can allegedly be heard on video discussing how to manufacture paperwork for illegal workers, while Blasi makes apparent reference to an electric buzzer used to shock horses during a race.

Blasi and other staff members also talk about 2011 Kentucky Derby runner-up Nehro, and how the horse had kept racing despite problems with his hooves, which were held together with filler and glue. “His foot is a little bitty nub,” said a blacksmith on the tape.

The PETA report also alleges that horses were medicated daily with thyroid medication, diuretics and other drugs even when they didn’t need them, and that horses were burned with liquid nitrogen to increase blood flow to sore spots.

As a result of PETA’s undercover taping, racing regulators in Kentucky and New York announced probes of Asmussen. Authorities in both states say their investigations are ongoing. Asmussen fired Blasi, who had worked for him for 18 years, days after the release of the tape, and Nehro’s owner removed all his horses from Asmussen’s care. Asmussen had previously served a six-month suspension in 2006 after a horse he trained tested hundreds of times over the legal limit in Louisiana for an anesthetic…(Click to read much more)

Click (HERE) to read the rest of the story and to view video

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21 replies »

    • My thoughts exactly Barbara Warner, here is a wonderful human with the money to help horses/animals, is struck with a horrible disease!! Why is it I don’t read of the k-buyer, auction owner, horse owner….who abuses & finds it their mission in life to hurt/slaughter horses, with no remorse whatsoever, inflicted with this horrible disease?? That is how I would like to see karma work…take out the rotten ones!!!!


  1. God bless both Mr. Simon and Valediction. Everything is about money, today more so than ever – and it is nauseating. People are capable of unimaginable evil to those who can’t speak or fight back – soring horses, running injured horses in races, treating them like machines. The ones who can speak and fight back will be their undoing.


  2. Tankyou Mr. Simon for rescuing a Beautiful and Wonderous Horse. If people only knew the INHUMANE, uncompassionate and depraved money hungry morons that continue with the “SPORT” of Horse racing. As for Assmussen, well his name says it all: ASSmussen!!! One of the most greediest and ucaring idiot that’s allowed to breath air and exist, only to torture these Majestic and Magnificent Horses. Someone needs to “Juice” ASSmussen up, when he is “LAME” and in pain, tro his ASS around a track, in kind of weather. Oh yes, and don’t forget the “WHIP” to lay on him, for a better Performance!!!! Once again, Thankyou Mr. Simon for your devotion to a GREAT CAUSE :).

    Liked by 1 person

  3. yes i do…considering the misinformation and crap coming out of PETA of all places…no credibility or knowledge or responsibility. The ALLEGATIONS against Assumussen are unfounded and untrue. Who knows when and how these secret tapings took place and under what circumstances. And if you know racetrack lingo because you work on the back stretch too make a living, none of the comments above about rats and buzzers would be taken seriously. Let alone the allegations about illegal and wrong mediciations when no one even knows the horse in question, nor has bothered to question the VET attending as to why he is treating an animal. And as for Zeyat stable, the owner took the horses away because the big mouthed assistant insulted him, not because of the horses and care at all. |And the racing industry all across the country is filled with illegal workers, because you nice folks dont want to do the jobs…..and the immigration dept cant get their act together so those who want the jobs can legally do them. The States Governments all turn a blind eye to this whether these people are picking the vegetbles you eat at your own supper table, or other industries like racing who need people to work and cant get them. Get real folks…this is coming from PETA….and you believe the crap they put out. ?????? These articles and your comments say more about you than the people in racing.


  4. Sorry, NOT a supporter of PeTA.

    I thank Mr Simon for making the difference in the lives of these horses.

    But there are more in need and will be….wish some money could have been used on passing SAFE.


  5. I think people are correct in be suspicious of PETA as the source. Their president, Ingrid Newkirk, is no stranger to killing animals rather than letting humans interact with them. By her own admission.


    • Who is Richard Berman?
      Richard Berman is a Washington, D.C.-based hired gun who uses front groups to defend his corporate clients against the public interest. Using his lobbying and consulting firm, Berman and Company, as a revenue vehicle for his activities, Berman runs at least 23 industry-funded projects, such as the Center for Union Facts, and holds 24 “positions” within these various entities.

      The Many Faces of Berman and Company

      Lobbyists Hide Behind Non-Profit Fronts

      Richard Berman’s Front Groups and Projects:
      “PETA Kills Animals” is a project of the Center for Consumer Freedom created to defile the reputation of animal-rights activists and promote misinformation about animal cruelty.

      HumaneWatch.org is a project of the Center for Consumer Freedom funded by the food-and-beverage industry to promote misinformation about the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS).


  6. Let’s try to stay on topic please and not change the subject – this isn’t about PETA, it’s about the treatment of horses in general. There have been all kinds of scandals associated with animals that people ‘use’, and I’m not surprised at all, probably this is only scratching the surface of the horse racing industry. We don’t need PETA to tell us what experience already does – that when there’s a lot of money involved, people tend to take shortcuts and break laws, get greedy – even without money involved.


    • Ida, well said. I watched the race and the interview with Mr. Asmussen – don’t know enough of anything like facts to weigh in on that. But I did notice in the pre-race activities they featured a man selling $1,000 Mint Juleps to raise funds to rescue and retire racehorses. All good – but as they were boasting about the 127 or 147 horses thus saved, all I could think of was the nearly 200,000 (?) horses in the slaughter pipeline every year, of which a great many are ex racehorses. My next thought was about the claiming price for Valediction, which was printed as $20,000. Then Mr. Simon rescued the horses for $60,000. Anybody in their right mind would sell a horse like that for $40K cool profit in a heartbeat.

      So that equals 40 $1,000 Mint Juleps for a single horse. Guess that means 40 MJ’s x 200,000 more horses to make a dent… if I did the math right that is $80 million to stop the slaughter supply for one year (at equivalent values). Since we just saw the BLM sell horses for around 5 cents a pound, or $50 a head, one begins to see the profiteers laughing all the way to the bank. I’m sure if we could offer $40,000 for every horse in a kill pen today we could free them all.

      What a world.


      • Icy Spots:

        I agree.

        While I’m happy the horse didn’t end up in the slaughter pipeline (so far), that kind of money is ABSURD!

        Something doesn’t smell right here.


  7. Thank you Mr. Simon for giving Valediction a safe and peaceful life, which could have resulted in a horrible ending. Your compassion is appreciated, more than you know. Thank you for being such a wonderful and caring human being. My prayers are with you for a speedy recovery. Here’s a quote I found that I believe is so fitting …. ” Compassion for animals is intimately connected with goodness of character; and it may be confidently asserted that he who is cruel to animals cannot be a good man” – Schopenhauer


    • Via my experience it is weighed in the bad side. I took a horse to training and the track and I almost never saw or met the owners who dealt with their horses as an investment and nothing else. Either they made money or “get rid of them” and “we don’t care where or how”.


  8. Valediction means a statement of farewell. I do so hope Mr. Simon that you have many statements of farewell that go on for a very long time. May both you and Valediction find peace and happiness. You both have my love and appreciation.


  9. BTW – RT, I also have a throw-away TB. Prior to adopting her, she was confiscated by the Riverside Shelter before she made it to the track and held in a corral during the ensuing court battle for two years of her young life. She is even prettier than Valediction. And I must say one of the silliest, funniest, pleasing horses I have ever cared for. She was not my first TB and God willing she will not be my last. I adore her.

    There is nothing like a TB unless it is a Wild one.


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