02/27/2012 1:11PM

Breeders' Cup keeps Lasix ban in 2-year-old races


Breeders’ Cup remains committed to a plan to ban the use of raceday furosemide in the five races restricted to 2-year-olds that are scheduled for its 2012 event at Santa Anita Park, a spokesperson for the organization said Monday, three days after a similar policy was abandoned by the American Graded Stakes Committee.

Questions over whether Breeders’ Cup would hew to the policy were raised after the graded stakes committee said on Friday that it would not enforce a policy to require bans on the raceday use of furosemide in order for juvenile races to be eligible for grades in 2012. The enforcement is being complicated by a raft of existing rules in racing jurisdictions that place restrictions on horses that have been taken off the drug.

Breeders’ Cup, however, said that it still plans to enforce the policy, which was adopted last July amidst a call from several influential groups, including the Jockey Club, to rollback rules allowing for the raceday use of the drug, which is used to treat bleeding in the lungs and is legal to administer in every racing jurisdiction in North America. 

 “Currently we are not planning any changes to our medication policy for the 2012 Breeders’ Cup World Championships,” said Jim Gluckson, the Breeders’ Cup spokesperson.

The effort by the graded stakes committee failed in large part because of the reluctance of state racing commissions to waive rules that would prevent a horse from starting on furosemide for 90 days if the horse had started in a race without the drug, according to Chris Scherf, the executive vice president of the Thoroughbred Racing Associations and a member of the board of the Racing Medication and Testing Consortium, an industry funded group that coordinates efforts to synchronize rules in racing jurisdictions.

Under the rule, if a horse that has received a raceday administration of furosemide starts in a Breeders’ Cup races without furosemide, the horse will be unable to run for three months with the drug no matter where the horse is entered. Further complicating enforcement are rules that require any horse that bleeds in a race to be placed on a bleeders’ list, requiring a one-month rest from racing. Under the rules, if a horse bleeds three times, the horse is prevented from racing for 180 days.

“The Breeders’ Cup is going to have similar issues,” Scherf said. “I don’t know if they can enforce their rule without all these waivers.”