06/26/2017 1:56PM

Talk of partial Lasix ban in N.Y. renewed

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The New York Gaming Commission on Monday approved a rule formalizing a requirement that third-party veterinarians administer the legal raceday medication furosemide, but only after 10 minutes of discussion over whether the commission should reconsider measures that would restrict the use of the anti-bleeding drug.

The rule approved on Monday put in place formal regulations that restrict the administration of raceday furosemide injections to veterinarians “who are not caring for the horses of a trainer or owner who participates at the race meeting.” Third-party administrations of furosemide are already required at New York’s Thoroughbred tracks, and the new rule will extend those restrictions to Standardbred tracks.

Although the approval was pro forma, the agenda item led to renewed discussion among some commissioners about considering measures in the future that would restrict the use of furosemide in some instances, such as the running of graded stakes races in New York. The commissioners said they may re-open the discussion at the next scheduled meeting in August in Saratoga Springs.

The issue of raceday furosemide use is highly controversial in North America, where it is legal in every major racing jurisdiction. Some racing constituencies, including many tied to breeders, have been seeking to restrict or prohibit raceday use through a variety of measures over the last decade, with little success.

One commissioner suggested that racetracks should be required to offer races in which horses are not permitted to receive raceday administrations of the drug. Gulfstream Park in Florida held several 2-year-old races under those conditions several years ago, but a similar effort in Kentucky ran into legal roadblocks when a legislative group said that allowing racetracks to put those restrictions in place violated laws that prohibit commissions from delegating regulatory powers to businesses.