10/10/2011 6:56PM

Medication panel approves draft rules on Lasix restrictions


The Racing Medication and Testing Consortium has approved draft rules that would prevent private veterinarians from administering the anti-bleeding medication furosemide on race day and prohibit all drugs but furosemide, commonly known as Lasix, to treat bleeding, the organization said.

The rules, which were approved at a board meeting of the consortium on Friday, are expected to be presented to the board of the Association of Racing Commissioners International during its meeting in Tucson., Ariz, on Dec. 8-9. If the RCI board approves the rules, then individual racing states would be encouraged to adopt the rules as well, though approval by the individual racing jurisdictions is not mandatory.

The rules encapsulate a general consensus that has emerged over the past six months as the result of an industry-wide debate over the use of furosemide, which is currently legal to administer on race day in all North American racing jurisdictions but banned in nearly every other jurisdiction worldwide. While horsemen have generally resisted an outright ban on raceday use of the drug, nearly all factions of the racing industry have supported restrictions on the raceday administration of the drug and a ban on so-called adjunct bleeder medications, which are allowed in a handful of states, including Kentucky, Maryland, and Louisiana.

In a release, the medication consortium reiterated that it will "continue to monitor and study" the issue of raceday use of the drug, and that it "stands ready to assist the industry in formulating rules and policies to support whatever change the industry decides." The consortium's members include representatives from nearly every faction in racing, including horsemen, tracks, and industry organizations.

Also at the Friday meeting, the consortium approved a grant for the development of a test to detect myo-inositol-trispyrophosphate, a blood-enhancing drug that has been rumored to be in use in racing.

Commonly called ITPP and first compounded in France in 2005, the drug is alleged to boost performance in horses by causing hemoglobin in the blood to release a greater amount of oxygen.