The Washington Post

Ailing ‘Simpsons’ producer Sam Simon saved a racehorse

Thoroughbred trainer Steve Asmussen with Tapiture. (Danny Johnston/AP)

It’s pretty much the opposite of what Mr. Burns would do.

Sam Simon, the producer of “The Simpsons,” “Cheers,” “The Drew Carey Show” and more saved a racehorse’s life while fighting for his own. (Simon is battling terminal colon cancer). NBC News has the story:

“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.”

Simon tells NBC he decided to save Valediction for two reasons: “One is an animal is no longer being abused and two, people are finding out what horse racing really is.”

Like PETA, Simon has a poor view of the horse racing industry and in particular Asmussen’s operation, which PETA secretly videotaped. NBC writes of the PETA video:

“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.”

That part really touched Simon, an avid animal rights activist, who told NBC, “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.”

As for Asmussen, who trained Tapiture in this year’s Kentucky Derby? He fired the assistant who allegedly made the controversial remarks, but racing regulators in Kentucky and New York are still watching Asmussen’s operation closely, NBC writes. Many more people, however, will be watching the Kentucky Derby closely. Despite the controversy surrounding the ethics of horse-racing, the Derby is the most wagered on sporting event of the year.

Marissa Payne writes for The Early Lead, a fast-breaking sports blog, where she focuses on what she calls the “cultural anthropological” side of sports, aka “mostly the fun stuff.” She is also an avid WWE fan.



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