05/14/2012 3:18PM

New York prepares to study massive volume of comments on Lasix issue


A public-comment period on potential changes to rules in New York allowing for the raceday administration of the anti-bleeding medication furosemide was set to close on Monday after supporters and opponents had already submitted a “substantial” amount of commentary, according to an official with the New York State Racing and Wagering Board.

The two-week public-comment period was the first step in the possible phase-out of raceday furosemide – commonly marketed under the brand name Lasix – use in New York. However, the board has not yet scheduled any further action on a possible amendment of the rules, according to Lee Park, a spokesman for the board.

“The racing and wagering board will thoroughly review all comments submitted and weigh whether further rule changes or actions are in the best interest of racing in New York and equine health and safety,” Park said on Monday.

The board’s next scheduled meeting is May 30.

Both supporters and opponents of changes to the existing rules targeted the board with aggressive lobbying campaigns over the past week. The Jockey Club and the Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association, which both support a ban on raceday use of the drug, launched a website that allowed ban supporters to send a form letter to the board calling for a phase-out of the medication, while the New York Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association attached a link to its website that also allowed users to sign a letter opposing a rollback.

Park said he would not have a count on the number of comments the board received until Tuesday.

“Everything we’ve gotten has been logged, and everything we get will be reviewed,” Park said. “So far, it is substantial.”

The New York effort coincides with other pushes by supporters of a phase-out of the drug in other states. On Wednesday, the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission will discuss a rule providing for a phase-out of furosemide before stakes races beginning in 2013 with juvenile races. The chairman of the commission has said that the 15-member regulatory body will not call a vote on the proposal at the Wednesday meeting.

Last month, the commission abruptly took up a proposal to phase-out the use of furosemide in all races, not just stakes races, but the measure did not pass when the commission deadlocked at 7-7. Since then, John Phillips, the owner of Darby Dan Farm, has been appointed to fill an empty seat on the commission. Phillips, who will be sworn in on Wednesday, is a member of the Jockey Club and has served as a board member for Breeders’ Cup, an organization that has also supported efforts to phase-out the raceday use of the drug.

On Monday, Phillips declined to take a position on whether he would support or oppose a phase-out of the drug, though he acknowledged that he “had made his personal opinion known in the past.”

“I think it’s wise not to say anything until, one, I’m sworn in, and, two, I get a better understanding of the proposal and precisely how the Kentucky racing commission intends to deal with it,” Phillips said.

Several of the commission members who voted against the Kentucky proposal last month cited the fear that Kentucky would be avoided by horsemen seeking to race on the drug unless other states passed similar bans. With coincident efforts in both Kentucky and New York – where a majority of the stakes races for 2-year-olds are held in the U.S. – those fears might be allayed somewhat if both states act in concert on a ban starting with juvenile races in 2013.

Mary Adkins-Matthews More than 1 year ago
Ban lasix and the horses will pay a HUGE price.. some with their lives!!!! And what do you think they will use instead? People are so against the use of Lasix but they need to do their homework. Other countries that don't race with Lasix's still train with lasix and many of them will not allow horses much water 48 hours until the race to try to mimic the same results of the Lasix. Which is worse? You decide? With the ban of Lasix..more horses will go to slaughter than ever before. This is a fact that those against it are simply not addressing.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Whether there are drugs or no drugs there will always be someone looking to cheat, especially now with the size of purses. The problem isn't just the drugs, it's is also the enforcement. I have seen guys ruled off for small infractions because they were nobodies. Look at this list and tell me who they will rule off. Trainer Starts as of Oct 26, 2010 Starts Per Medication Violation Jamie Ness 4,349 - 217 Richard Dutrow Jr. 6,174 - 343 Bob Baffert 9,297 - 465 John Sadler 10,983 - 478 W. Bret Calhoun 7,882 - 525 Kiaran McLaughlin 4,262 - 710 Doug O’Neill 8,872 - 807 Michael Maker 2,650 - 883 Jerry Hollendorfer 24,452 - 978 Steve Asmussen 26,619 - 986 Dale Romans 8,628 - 1,438 Thomas Amoss 9,709 - 1,618 Anthony Dutrow 5,935 - 1,978 Mark Casse 8,214 - 2,054 Todd Pletcher 12,063 - 2,413 William Mott 19,551 - 2,444 Nick Zito 13,394 - 4,465 Roger Attfield 9,123 - 4,562 Christophe Clement 5,973 - 0 Graham Motion 7,659 - 0
jttf More than 1 year ago
i dont understand why everyone thinks it has to be drugs or no drugs. you can have both. racing secretaries can set up a level playing field for both sides. casner racing has proven that their horses dont need drugs to be competitive and healthy. but their horses are at a disadvantage without performance enhancing drugs. for breeding purpose incentive there should be a slight advantage for racing without drugs.
Kevin More than 1 year ago
Personally, I don't have a problem with horses running on Lasix. But, if they're going "ban drugs in horse racing", then they should BAN DRUGS IN HORSE RACING...all of them: Phenylbutazone, Flunixin, Hyaluronic Acid, Adequan, Xylazine Detomidine, Methyprednisolone and God only knows what else. Otherwise, this is all just much ado about nothing.
raymond More than 1 year ago
cleanhorseracing.com for an in depth look.
Kevin More than 1 year ago
If there's one thing that we can all be sure of it is that absolutely NOTHING of substance will come from this (a "mortal lock" if there ever was one.) And why all of the focus on furosemide; there are some far more nastier (and consequential) chemicals to target--if they're TRULY serious about this issue. Lasix? huh...that's just window dressing.
Todd Roberts More than 1 year ago
If they outlaw Lasix in NY, I will be much stingier with my betting dollars. There are enough variables to worry about. Now I am going to have to worry whether the hose I bet on is going to bleed and stop, too? No thanks!
chad mc rory More than 1 year ago
Todd, I suggested outlawing 2yo's before October... And "Classics" written for 4yos. Todd, in what year did you start betting at the track? Good luck !!!
chad mc rory More than 1 year ago
So, we out here in "America" get the 'Post Time' on the close and not the open of these blabbbbbs. They are close to real truth if they outlaw 2yos before October and begin to write our "Classics" for Four Year Olds...