11/01/2011 12:03PM

Eight horses to run without Lasix in Breeders' Cup

Barbara D. Livingston
Alpha will race without Lasix in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. – One year before a partial ban on raceday medication is set to go into effect for the 2012 Breeders’ Cup, all but eight of the 180 horses entered for the Breeders’ Cup’s 15 races on Nov. 4-5 will receive a raceday injection of furosemide, the anti-bleeding medication that is legal to administer to horses on raceday in all North American racing jurisdictions.

The horses that will receive furosemide include 18 horses whose most recent races were in jurisdictions where the raceday use of the drug is banned, including Goldikova, who is going for her fourth straight win in the Breeders’ Cup Mile; So You Think, the New Zealand-bred who is the 5-1 third choice in the Breeders’ Cup Classic; and four of the five European shippers entered in the Turf.

Seven of the eight horses that will not receive furosemide made their last starts outside of North America. The other is Alpha, a 2-year-old colt who has been entered in the Juvenile after a maiden win and a second-place finish in the Grade 1 Champagne. Alpha is trained by Kiaran McLaughlin for Godolphin Racing, which is owned by the Maktoum family of the United Arab Emirates, where raceday medication is banned.

“With all the talk about it being banned, [Godolphin Racing] just thought that we should try to race the 2-year-olds without it, unless they needed it,” said McLaughlin, who trained for 10 years in Dubai. Alpha “still scopes clean after every race, so we don’t feel he needs it.”

The 2012 ban will only be applied to the five Breeders’ Cup races restricted to 2-year-olds. It will be expanded in 2013 to all runners. Breeders’ Cup approved the policy earlier this year, citing the organization’s desire to be consistent with international rules of racing.

The raceday use of furosemide, also known as Lasix, is currently legal in all North American racing jurisdictions and in Argentina. Many influential U.S. organizations, including the Jockey Club and Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association, have backed an effort to prohibit the drug, though horsemen remain resistant, citing the drug’s efficacy in mitigating the severity of bleeding in the lungs.

The number of horses that will not be administered raceday furosemide at this year’s Breeders’ Cup is slightly higher than last year’s, when all but five of the 163 horses that ran in the 14 races were administered the drug. Breeders’ Cup added a 15th race this year, the Juvenile Sprint. All nine horses entered in the Juvenile Sprint will be administered furosemide.