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.”

Brigitte de Saint Phalle More than 1 year ago
Bleeding has a strong hereditary component so using Lasix enables bleeders to run well and pass the bleeding tendency on, creating more Lasix dependency in the next generation. The owner gets a short term benefit and weakens the breed. The study that showed bleeding has a strong hereditary component was done in South Africa (almost all horses in the US race on Lasix so it couldn't be done here). They also found that bleeding is increasing in frequency. The other problem is that Lasix works by dehydrating horses (about 30 lbs worth!) and leaches minerals, including calcium, from their blood. This is stressful! to the horse. They inject them with supplements the next day. The increasing fragility of thoroughbreds may well be associated to the use of Lasix. The BC should be praised for trying to eliminate the Chemical Horse here.
David Craighead More than 1 year ago
I'am not entirely agreement with this new rulings for the Lasix policy attempted to be used by the breeders' Cup committee. and especially with the older racing foes having been established medication user. In most cases where a horse needs the medication of lasix it's necessary and appropiate and without the medication then the horse probable won't perform to the max because of the lungs filling with blood which stops the horse from preforming as what the medication is to prevent from the bleeding . hog wash with the ruling!!!
Ian Fick More than 1 year ago
If the Breeder;s Cup folks want to ban lasix, then I will ban their races. If there is one thing I can't stand is someone telling me that I now have to throw in yet another handicapping ecuation into the picture of selecting a winner. Wont do it. The BC people are shooting themselves in the foot with this one. I.F.