09/23/2011 5:23PM

Letters to the Editor Sept. 25

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Lasix advocates need firmer grip on issue's reality

This is in response to the Aug. 28 letter "Move to stop Lasix will quickly prove harmful mistake." There were a number of generalizations and interpretations that are not correct or open to dispute:

1. The comment, "Horses [in Europe] run only four or five times a year and get the entire winters off." But I play English racing and find the same horses running far more than four or five times a year, sometimes two or three times in five or six  weeks, sometimes within a few days.  At the highest level they run at about the same frequency as they do here, and without Lasix, so there is still a question of why top-level American horses need Lasix.

2. The climate is not so different as to warrant the conclusion that it is "less conducive" to bleeding. If you have been in England or Italy or France in July and August (and often June and September), you know how hot and humid it can be.

3. While it is true that racing styles differ in America and Europe, it is not true that "most races are slow-paced turf marathons." On the contrary, most races carded at English tracks are five to seven furlongs, some at a mile, one or two on the card at a mile or longer. They are not "marathons," unless 1 1/4 miles is now considered a marathon distance.

4. I agree with the letter-writer that it is an awful sight to see a horse "gushing blood" from his nostrils. But some horses do bleed through their Lasix, and more to the point, it rarely happens in other countries around the world where horses run without Lasix. Far more distressing is the number of breakdowns and injuries we have to witness on American tracks, some of them purely accidental, some of them because of training methods.  These have nothing to do with Lasix.

If American trainers paid more attention to training young horses for stamina, building bone density, and less for early speed, we would see fewer breakdowns and might find Lasix occasionally useful but mostly unnecessary. The rest of the world has figured this out. Why can't we?

Lyn Cowan - Eagan, Minn.