01/23/2013 4:47PM

Proposal seeks to ban Lasix in New York


A New York State Senator has pre-filed a bill to the Racing, Wagering, and Gaming Committee seeking a ban on the raceday use of the anti-bleeding medication furosemide, commonly known by the brand name Lasix, and any other “performance-enhancing” drugs.

Sen. Adriano Espaillat, a Democrat who represents a district encompassing the west-side waterfront of Manhattan, referred the bill to the committee on Jan. 9, according to legislative records. The bill would “prohibit the use of a performance enhancing drug, including [furosemide], on horses that participate in horse racing” in New York, and provides for a minimum of a 180-day suspension for a first violation of the policy. A third violation would result in license revocation.

New York horsemen have staunchly opposed any efforts to prohibit the use of furosemide on raceday, and previous efforts to outlaw the practice have failed to find traction in New York’s legislature. However, over the past year, critics have attacked racing over its medication and safety policies, including in New York, where 21 horses died during Aqueduct’s 2011-12 meeting.

The bill is not specific on what would constitute a performance-enhancing drug, leading to uncertainty over how the statute could be interpreted if enacted.