03/05/2002 1:00AM

Maryland noting 'adjunct' drugs


The Maryland Racing Commission has begun requiring racetracks to note which horses running in the state were administered an "adjunct" medication to furosemide, the popular diuretic that is used to treat bleeding and is commonly known as Lasix.

The commission passed a rule with the requirement last week. To indicate which horses have received an adjunct medication, the Maryland Jockey Club, the owner of Laurel and Pimlico, is publishing in its program an uppercase "A" adjacent to the "L" that is already used to denote Lasix use.

The adjunct medications include aminocaproic acid, tranexamic acid, and carbazochrome. Aminocaproic acid and tranexamic acid are both blood-clotting agents, while carbazochrome, which is commonly called "Kentucky Red" on racing backstretches, is used to treat high blood pressure.

According to its deputy director, Mike Hopkins, the commission passed the rule because commissioners felt bettors were not being properly notified about which drugs were being used on race day.

Two other states, Louisiana and Kentucky, allow the use of adjunct medications, which have grown in popularity over the last several years as trainers and veterinarians search for an effective treatment for pulmonary hemorrhaging, or bleeding in the lungs.

Alan Foreman, the legal counsel to the Maryland Thoroughbred Horsemen Association, said that the drugs were not effective, and he doubted whether the notification would ultimately aid handicappers.

"I don't think there's any scientific evidence that it helps at all," Foreman said. "Just some people on the backstretch think that it does a little bit of good."