06/11/2012 1:30PM

Kentucky Horse Racing Commission poised to phase out Lasix from stakes


The Kentucky Horse Racing Commission on Wednesday is expected to approve a regulation that would phase out the raceday use of the anti-bleeding medication furosemide before stakes races beginning in 2013.

If approved, horses in the 2014 Kentucky Derby would be prohibited from receiving an injection of the drug for the first time since the mid-1970s, when the drug was first legalized for raceday administrations in Kentucky. The phase-out would begin with stakes races for 2-year-olds in 2013, be expanded to all stakes races in which 3-year-olds are eligible in 2014, and apply to all stakes races in 2015.

The commission is set to approve the rule over the objections of the Kentucky Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association and many veterinarians. The rule is supported by a number of national organizations, including the Jockey Club and the Breeders’ Cup, and it enjoys wide support from the state’s breeders.

The racing commission took up a similar rule in early April that would have applied the ban to all races, not just stakes, beginning in 2013. That rule failed to pass when the commission split 7-7. Racing officials have since said that several commissioners who voted against the rule in April will vote in support of the new rule on Wednesday.

If the rule is approved, horsemen are expected to wage an additional effort to stop the phase-out from being enacted as the regulation makes its way through the state legislature during the formal rule-making process.