01/29/2013 1:24PM

Jockeys' Guild endorses Jockey Club medication rules proposal

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Barbara D. Livingston
“Our unanimous vote to support these rules should send a strong signal . . . .” said the Jockey Guild’s chairman, John Velazquez.

The Jockeys’ Guild has endorsed a proposed set of medication rules devised and supported by the Jockey Club, in a statement that specifically referenced the rules’ allowance for the continuing raceday use of the anti-bleeding medication furosemide.

In a release coming out of its annual assembly in Florida the past two days, the guild said its members unanimously endorsed the rules, which were first devised by the Jockey Club several years ago to address its concerns that medication rules need to be consistent in all 38 U.S. racing jurisdictions and that penalties for drug violations need to be stiffened. The rules initially called for a ban on the raceday use of furosemide – commonly known as Lasix, it is the only drug allowed on raceday in the United States – but the Jockey Club amended those rules last year to allow for raceday administrations because of resistance from groups that remain supportive of the drug.

The guild’s explicit endorsement of the section of the rules that allows for raceday furosemide adds to a growing body of support for the proposed rules – as long as furosemide use on raceday is not banned. Many horsemen’s groups have said that they can back the rules as long as it does not prohibit raceday furosemide, even as the Jockey Club and several other high-profile organizations, including the Breeders’ Cup, continue to advocate a raceday prohibition on the drug.

“Our unanimous vote to support these rules should send a strong signal that the Jockeys’ Guild is united in efforts to make racing safer for both jockeys and horses,” said the guild’s chairman, John Velazquez, in a release. “This is our livelihood, and we strongly encourage these efforts which will strengthen the integrity of racing.”

The guild endorsed the rules 10 days after one of its most high-profile members, three-time Eclipse Award winner Ramon Dominguez, was thrown from a horse in a race at Aqueduct racetrack on Jan. 18, suffering serious injuries. Dominguez was initially found to have a skull fracture and was listed in serious condition. He was transferred out of an intensive care unit on Jan. 24.

The Association of Racing Commissioners’ International, an umbrella group for U.S. racing jurisdictions, is in the process of lobbying for support of a section of the proposed rules that would identify 24 specific medications that would be allowed to be administered to horses for therapeutic use. Under those rules, all other drugs would be banned, in the sense that no trace of the medications would be allowed to appear in postrace samples without a violation being called.

The rules are expected to be forwarded to racing commissions for consideration for adoption within the next several weeks.

Mary Raymond More than 1 year ago
When will they ever get to the bottom of this meds issue & finally have the courage to make a decision? You're not going to have total agreement with owners, trainers etc., no matter what decision is reached, but it seems to be that the tail is wagging the dog at the moment. Uniformity among all racing jurisdictions is paramount first in my opinion. Another ridiculous rule is that if an owner runs horses in different states he/she has to have a seperate license for each state, stupid.........I digress sorry................Bert D.
jttf More than 1 year ago
why are we making horses that dont need lasix, take it ? bad side effects involved when taking meds. reward caring horsemen who dont force their horse to take meds. assign their horses less weight in races.
Big Jeff More than 1 year ago
That is really not a bad idea. I'm surprised I have not heard it put forward by now...Maybe even a purse bonus. Great approach that all could live with.
ron More than 1 year ago
go by the grandfather standard,and let it work itself out. im 100% for leaving everything as it is. you will still hear the same thing they got this drug that cant be found in there system. most common with people that cant handicap ,a big favorite or their horse that they bet on.
Mike B More than 1 year ago
Increased trust and transparency can lead to increased investment by owners and more interest among handicappers. It is the same with securities or horses. This is a good step forward. I think if you add the horses medical history disclosure like the track in Hong Kong, you would see even more value added and trust in the process and in the transaction. Right now there is an inherent risk discount in all the claiming prices. The private sells with full vet out are probably closer to the market value, but even then people may be discounting drugs in the past performance equation in some cases. The better uniformity and added trust could increase interest by investors (albeit highly speculative and risky). All investments are risky but when one crook with frog juice or a milkshake can mess up your six or seven figure investment--you have issues. So the gaudy numbers at auction represent the most efficient mechanism for pricing. The claiming system now is fraught with peril with bizarre incentives to conceal the condition of horses through substances.
Bruce Epstein More than 1 year ago
John, John . . . I've loved you for over 25 years and I've finally decided it's time to tell you to give it up. Your ride (or mail in job of a ride) on the 8 horse in the last on Saturday was,. not a race ride, it was clear it was a "just stay out of the way" ride to get second. If your not going to try or if your hurt, give it up man. Cordero will be OK without you. Either stop mailing in your rides or retire.
chad mc rory More than 1 year ago
You're whining again Bruce. Riders don't come any better. You don't like John, don't bet the horse.
Big Jeff More than 1 year ago
You Chad, may be wisest of all....Another fine statement.
Bruce Epstein More than 1 year ago
Big Jeff, grow up, while we all love John, he's just mailing it in on most rides. Even a beginner can see that.
Bruce Epstein More than 1 year ago
Chad, did not come any better, (I love John) but even a novice can see he's just mailing it in most of the time. It's not what you've done, it's what your doing now. Chad, still got your eye's in your beer?
raymond More than 1 year ago
I agree that Johnny is not at 100%, if it's because he is hurting with a minor injury then he should make it public or take a break from riding til he can give it 100%. Sorry folks but I watch him very closely and he is hurting.
geno More than 1 year ago
Johnny V is winning @ 20%, 53% in the $$, and has the HIGHEST $ average per start at by far the toughest winter meet in the country! Nuff said!
Jon Cohen More than 1 year ago
Before they start telling everyone else what to do, maybe they should create some standards and come up with a penalty system that monitors and controls the behavior of their own members. How many drug positives, DUI's, assaults, or domestic violence charges each before they are booted out of the game for their own lack of "integrity"