06/11/2012 2:30PM

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.

Anonymous More than 1 year ago
You can go to just about any track in America today and stand by the unsaddling area and before the races are over you will see at least one horse a day come back with some form of blood trickling from there nose , I have had horses bleed in the winners circle during the picture, horses still bleed thru LASIK some are just so classy they run thru it, your heart will be broken when you see one bleed bad when lasix should be available to help them. The horse and the spectators will be traumatized at the sight. I believe keeping lasix from any race horse is animal cruelty. You can't compare Australian breeding to american breeding on this matter.
Peter Miller More than 1 year ago
Once again the horse,the owners,and the gamblers take it in the shorts. No wonder we are going the way of the dinosaur. To race without lasix is inhumane! PETA , If they understood the science and the distress bleeding causes horses would be in favor of lasix , It has been a proven effective way to control bleeding with little or no side effects. Those that try to compare racing in Europe and Australia to racing in the United States are ignorant to the facts. 1) in other parts of the world horses gallop for most of the race and sprint for an eighth of a mile. Here we race hard/sprint for the entire race. 2) In other parts of the world most racing is done in clean aired countrysides. Here we race in every large city with smog and pollution. 3) In other parts of the world racing is seasonal,then horses enjoy mandatory time off. Here we race year round five days a week. 4) They emphasize stamina and distance racing, we race for speed and the majority of our races are six furlongs.5) In Europe and Australia horses have large grass paddocks to be turned out in daily. Here land is at a premium and horses are kept in there stalls most of the day. In closing, These are just a few of the differences between racing here and abroad. We are America ! since when do we allow the rest of the world dictate to us what we "should" be doing?
Robert Smith More than 1 year ago
Awesome post peter. You know the business well. Horses in the states train under stressful conditions. This doesnt seem to be taken into consideration.
Yvette Gillam More than 1 year ago
So Sydney and Melbourne are not large cities? Not seasonal in Australia. 2 race meets a day, 7 days a week in Victoria. No we don't have "large grass paddock" to turn out in of a day, they are stabled and walked either in hand or on the walker of an afternoon. The horses are stabled in the city. How many top rated sprinters are from Nth America again?
nicola c More than 1 year ago
yvette well said, and all true so it craps all over your argument peter
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This will lead to less handle. Obviously the handicappers who wager on the sport will need to know how the horse will run without lasix. If they run with it upto the stake race who can guess how they will run without it. The insiders who don't mind slot fueled purses care little about the wagerer. Especially since more and more of the purse is created by slot money. They get checks in New York regardless of finish position. So they are taken care of. But the handicappers/wagerers will no longer see consistency they can depend on in a horses performance. Remember New York racing before Lasix was legalized. Very little consistancy then. Handicappers/wagerers have had little say in this industry. Now with slot money they are totally ignored. I hope this is better for the horse, I wonder though. Horse racing supported by slots and casino gambling will become an art show or stage show. Successful wagering will not be possible soon.
Herman's Kennel More than 1 year ago
When they watch a horse bleed., and not be able to take a breath, maybe they will reconsider...sigh....they couldn't find anything better to do? There are so many drugs they could have spent thier time going after, this is NOT one of them.....sigh......
Yvette Gillam More than 1 year ago
The trouble with Hermans comment is this. I grew up and work for over 15 years in the horse racing industry in Australia, Lasix is not allowed race day and only allowed in horses that have bleed before, cut off for race race is 4-5 days. In my time I only witnessed 1 (one) horse bleed. It was not gushing, just a very slight trickle, news went through the barn like you wouldn't believe.We trained 300 horses at that trainers barn, 300 in work 365 days a year . She was turned out for 3 months, came back in and her training program was altered. Laxis was never used on her. She retired as a 6 year and went off to pony club (bleeders should not be breed as it is PROVEN to be past on to progeny). I just love all the comments from some of the people in the US, the doom and gloom "horses will be bleeding" "the industry will die". May I remind you Nth American trainers do not have a strong International race presents, Yet Nth American horses have proven they can race and win International races drug free and Lasix free. If your horses can race fine with out it else where, why can't they in Nth America?
Monte Couch More than 1 year ago
Yvette, your comments on the surface seem quite reasonable and plausible. However, when you say that the horse simply trickled rather than gushed you obviously do not understand bleeding in race horses. Having trained horses for well over 20 years if blood is detected by sight in the nostrils that horse bled a great deal whether he or she gushed or trickled. The issue is that a substantial number of horses bleed and most are not evident even when scoped post race. You fail to address the multitude of bleeders sent over from Europe so they can run on lasix here in the states. It is clear that these horses have struggled in Europe as bleeders and become non competitive. Lasix does not enhance their ability it simply allows them to breath. Once again horse racing is reacting to public scrutiny of the sport by taking away the one drug that helps horses acheive their potential by simply allowing them to do the one thing they need to perform which is breath. If you could have a 12 horse field day in and day out and know that lasix was the only drug in each horses system you would have an extremely clean sport. We need to have stricter policies in place for all horsemen and vets, but banning lasix should not be part of that. I never had a horse break down or get injured because they took lasix on race day. I also never had a horse get faster because he was on lasix. He simply performed to his God given talent, because he could breath.
Yvette Gillam More than 1 year ago
If a horse requires drug to race, should it be racing in the first place? No. Saying that it helps a horse reach potential is hog wash. Do you really want that talent passed on? No. So Monte, what your saying is sub standard horses should be bred and drugs used to race them, to "allow" them to reach their "god given" potential. If they could run, they would be able to do it with out it. So Monte, why are other countries able to race quite fine with out lasix on race day? Training horses is not about using drugs to get the horse to it's potential. If you need drugs to get it around the track, you have a lot more problems then you think.
Robert Smith More than 1 year ago
Training conditions are different in Australia than the states. This is a big factor.
Yvette Gillam More than 1 year ago
We train on dirt, sand and grass. Other conditions is we are willing to take our time and condition the horse so we don't need drugs to get the horse around the track. We train in the big cities (heck, you'll even see horses come out of someones drive way within 2 blocks of the inner city tracks), we have smog and such (pencil in heavy smoke when there are bush fires). We start working horses at 4am and track closes for work at 9am. We swim our horses (pool and beach). Our horses go to Pre-Trainers for 6 weeks before they get to the stable for race training. We don't rely on drugs alone to train our horses, we treat the cause and not the symptom.