02/22/2013 5:22PM

Breeders' Cup board reconsidering its Lasix ban; may drop the Juvenile Sprint


The board of the Breeders’ Cup on Friday discussed making modifications to its current roster of races and to a policy that would ban the race-day use of furosemide, but it suspended any action on the items until it reconvenes later this year, according to sources.

The board discussed whether to drop as many as three races from the event’s current 15-race lineup, and it is likely that the board will vote at its next meeting on a proposal to drop the Juvenile Sprint, according to the officials who declined to be identified because of sensitivity over the issues discussed Friday. Added for the 2011 event, the Juvenile Sprint drew only five horses last year, and handle on the race was the lowest by far of any of the event’s 15 races.

[STEVEN CRIST: Lasix ban and Breeders' Cup cutback - cause and effect?]

The board discussed whether to retain a policy to ban the race-day use of the anti-bleeding medication furosemide for the entire two-day event this year. Under a policy adopted in 2011, the Breeders’ Cup banned the race-day use of the drug in the five races restricted to juveniles for the 2012 event, and the policy is set to be expanded to all races this year, despite heavy opposition from horsemen.

At last year’s event, held at Santa Anita Park in Southern California, field size in the five races restricted to juveniles fell 21.6 percent compared to the same races in 2011, while handle on the same five races dropped 23 percent compared to the races in 2011. That has led to concerns from some Breeders’ Cup board members that similar drops could hit the entire card this year, cutting into the organization’s revenues.

Several board members also have expressed concern that horsemen in the states where the Breeders’ Cup is held could withdraw their approval of the organization’s simulcast signal if the policy remained in place.

The Thoroughbred Owners of California, which represents horsemen in the state, has already given its approval for the Breeders’ Cup to sell its simulcast signal this year, under rights reserved to horsemen in a federal act. However, the TOC’s approval is not assured if the Breeders’ Cup were to return to Santa Anita in 2014; nor is that approval assured from horsemen in Kentucky, New York, or elsewhere, given the strength of the opposition among horsemen to a ban on race-day use of furosemide.

The proposal to cancel one or more races is an acknowledgment that the current number of races is taxing the bankrolls and attention spans of horseplayers while also diluting the quality of the fields in the races. The Breeders’ Cup has never dropped a race from its roster, while adding seven races to the card since 2007.

Forego137 More than 1 year ago
Losing the Juv. Sprint and perhaps some other race they run is a good idea.
Steve More than 1 year ago
They are forgetting that last year the BC was run on WEST COAST time. I know several people who had run BC parties for years, cancelled them because they didn't begin til 3pm. That had to have an impact on wagering. Time to split the two days, and forget this ladies-male days. Run the prime races at one track, and the lesser ones at another track the day before. Spread the joy!! And for God's sake don't pull the KY derby ploy at 1+ hours between races. I took groups there for 15 years, but had to stop, it was just too long of a day, with way too much time between races.
Georgia More than 1 year ago
I LOVE horse racing, but BC Day has too many races. Losing the Juv. Sprint is a good thing ,
Cliff Kobland More than 1 year ago
I agree Lasix has to go but the bottom line is this sport is for betting and as a handicapper, I am put in distinct disadvantage trying to decide how a horse will perform on the one day he has to race without it. Bottom line is that I won't bet as much (and I sure I won't be alone). You shouldn't start this ban on the penultimate day but phase it in by begin banning Lasix on all 2 year olds starting Jan 1, then on all 3 year olds the following year, and so on.
Ann Ferland More than 1 year ago
How about banning Bute for 2yos? Any 2yo that is arthritic enough to need daily Bute has no business running in a championship race, and any horse that needs Bute for any inury should not be running period.
John Martino More than 1 year ago
not for or against lasix. i'm not a trainer or a vet but the Breeders cup management is terrible. They have screwed up once again. You can't implement something like this WITHOUT cooperation and negotiation....saw this coming as soon as it was announced. A heavy handed move with recoil. There are so many big purse races many horseman will just say "screw you Breeders Cup we will run elsewhere" and the outfits with real pull will pull the signal. Don't care if the Breeders Cup dies all together, its a political mess between the rules and the locations, its nothing that it promised to be. The championship racing was better WITHOUT it, Horses actually had to compete against each other for a season.
nicola c More than 1 year ago
idiots if they backtrack on lasix, it aint no world championship if its not in line with the rest of the world.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
If the Breeders Cup backtracks on Lasix, they may as well close up shop for all the courage that will have disappeared from such a California-centric bunch of fools. What is wrong with saying that if you want to be a champion, you'll have to find a way outside from using a drug that may treat ills but also enhances performance? As a raceday med, it should be out, especially if you're going to proclaim yourself a World Championship event against other countries which don't use Lasix and see a thriving industry.
jttf More than 1 year ago
so the horsemen wanted to boycott the 2 year old no lasix races last year. now look what you horsemen did. now the b.c. committee is going to cut down the number of races. that means the horsemen dont have as many $million races. so you horsemen just cut your own salaries. your ancestors got along without lasix just fine 20 years ago. the foreign horsemen are laughing at how dependent you are on meds. the foreign horsemen cant believe how small the fields are over here. this years breeders cup races without lasix isnt going to be any different from everyday racing in america. 5 or 6 horse fields throughout the weekend.
W.G. More than 1 year ago
It would be a MAJOR step backwards for BC Ltd. to reverse itself on the ban of Lasix. If anything, we need Lasix to be phased out over a five-year stretch as I originally wrote two years ago at: http://www.toosmarttofail.com/forums/showthread.php/324 My plan would start with the Triple Crown, Breeders' Cup and other select Grade 1 events and ALL races for two year olds, expanding from there to ALL Grade 1 & 2 events and races for three year olds until after the Belmont Stakes, then ALL stakes events carrying a purse of at least $100,000, then ALL non-claiming races (including Allowance OCs and starter races) and finally ALL races. It would over time eliminate the sport of Lasix, which is widely considered to be a major factor in why horses don't race as often as they once did.
Robert More than 1 year ago
Do you understand that there is no national governing body in "horse racing". Your plan to start with the triple crown races would need 3 different tracks in 3 different states to work together to implement the policy. Just that first step getting Kentucky and Churchill Downs, Maryland and Pimlico, and Belmont Park and New York State to agree on a ban would be a herculian task. Horses will be extinct long before that happens. The Breeders Cup is in a unique position in that they control the conditions for a group of important races, and should be applauded for their attempt to remove a drug that can negatively impact a horses health and life from the sport. If they recind their ban on Lasix for the next Breeders Cup .then the battle against Lasiz is lost forever.