Updated on 04/13/2012 5:06PM

New York horsemen release five-point medication reform proposal


The New York Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association on Friday released a five-point plan to reform medication policies in Thoroughbred racing and is asking the New York State Racing and Wagering Board to begin the process of adopting its proposal as state law.

“While we are hoping for industry-wide support for our proposal, our first obligation is to New York, and we believe the initiative should start here,” NYTHA president Rick Violette Jr. said.

NYTHA proposes the following plan:

◗ Establish a 2 micrograms threshold of phenylbutazone in post-race testing for all runners, not just graded stakes horses. Currently, the New York State Racing and Wagering Board mandates only a 48-hour withdrawal for phenylbutazone for all horses but does not set a testing threshold.

◗ Ban all “adjunct” raceday medication, as is currently enforced in New York. Adjunct medications are used in some jurisdictions to prevent exercise induced pulmonary hemorrhage, or bleeding.

◗ Establish a 15-day withdrawal for the steroid depo-medrol and a four-day withdrawal time for other corticosteroids.

◗ Expand the withdrawal time for the administration of clenbuterol, a broncho-dilator, from four to seven days.

◗ Require a third party to administer Lasix on race day. This practice is already enforced by the New York Racing Association, but NYTHA wants the practice to be adopted as a state regulation.

Violette said he first brought these proposals to the attention of the Jockey Club, the American Graded Stakes Committee, the Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders’ Association, “and other significant people as they were in full-speed ahead mode on banning Lasix. It received no traction at all.”

Violette said NYTHA is not in favor of banning Lasix, calling it “a scientifically proven safe and effective medication” to prevent bleeding.
Further, Violette said, “it’s borderline animal abuse to allow horses to run and bleed and turn a blind eye.”

NYTHA is asking the SRWB to being the rule-changing process which begins with a 45-day public comment period.

On Monday, the Race Day Medication Committee of the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission is expected to ask for an up or down vote to ban Lasix in Kentucky.