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.

Tim Mazanec More than 1 year ago
To a novice this still sounds as if horseman needs drugs to train and run their horses. Everyone is a chemist and the best win. Unless horseman say No to drugs the perception of the sport will not change. It is just as simple as that. That is how the public views horseman.
Ray Sousa More than 1 year ago
this lasix contoversy is just plain silly,first racing is conducted world wide with out raceday lasix and with long withdrawl periods,and we are seeing what their horses are doing to ours on a regular basis,they fly in and sweep up graded races like stealing candy from a baby,this notion that 90% of horses are bleeders is bull,ive followed racing and been to places where racing is conducted without laxis and none of the apocalyptic consequences that the racing establishment here pedles is happening,the reason trainers defend laisix is because it masks many evils,including drugs,not to mention overpriced vet bills,after all if a trainer says he administered laxis and charges for it,the owner has no way of knowing whether it was given or not but pays the bill anyway,neat.
mrm More than 1 year ago
Money is money and people are people. if you think the euros's are running on hay,oats and water then there's a bridge I would like to sell you.
mm mm More than 1 year ago
Trainers don't administer or bill for lasix, the vet's do. Also if your horse is on lasix, and ends up in the spit box, the horse is tested for the presence of the drug, and if absent, the trainer will get penalized for that. You are right in that it does mask the presence of other drugs to a certain extent. The Euro argument is not really a valid one, because the minute they show up here to race, they empty out the vet's truck into their horses including using lasix. The only reason they don't medicate like we do in Europe is because its prohibited, but they still use anything and everything they can get away with. Also, they usually are superior on the turf, because that is what they breed, and predominantly race on.
Mike More than 1 year ago
Animal abuse is to keep breeding bleeders. How can anyone keep breeding these inferior horses. On top of that nonsense, we keep breeding frail horses. Talk about animal abuse.
Barbaro03 More than 1 year ago
Anything that brings some uniformity is a good start. As for the salix concerns, any horse that gets black type for a graded win should have acquired the black type drug (salix) free. The only way to improve the breed is to not breed to stallions that required "help" for their graded placings.
Joaquin Sanson More than 1 year ago
Trisha Rodney More than 1 year ago
I agree with everything besides the broncho dilator, clenbuterol has nothing to with this problem. Four days is almost double other states withdrawl time as it is.
Anthony Reinstedler More than 1 year ago
Great work Rick!
kingsailor2 More than 1 year ago
Lasix is necessary to thoroughbred horseracing. Yes, other countries don't allow it, but up to 80-90% of horses "bleed" into their lungs and the bleeders can come to the U.S. and have a great second career. If you ban lasix, as was done until the 1980's in the U.S., you can expect thousands of horses to be unable to race and therefore face a dire fate. And just try handicapping without lasix . . . it simply can't be done. If you ban lasix here, then do as they do in the U.K. and stop collecting any tax on racing winnings.
Brigitte de Saint Phalle More than 1 year ago
Wrong. You won't have any problem handicapping without Lasix when none of the horses have it. It 's a diuretic that causes a horse to lose 20-40 lbs of water. That's why almost all horses race on it: performance enhancement, not a bleeding problem. It also leaches minerals, including calcium, and racing dehydrated is stressful.. As for the bleeding, Lasix does help moderately, which enables bleeders to win and pass the hereditary tendency to bleed on. Bad idea!
offa54 More than 1 year ago
I don't understand why all the opposition to drug free racing.Cann't we just try it for 6 months and see what the results will be.