Lasix Ban

In a hugely significant move, the anti-bleeding medication furosemide – commonly known by its former trade name Lasix – will be banned in graded stakes for two-year-olds in America in 2012.

The development follows news that such raceday medications are to be outlawed in juvenile contests at next year’s Breeders’ Cup as a stepping stone towards complete prohibition in 2013. The American Graded Stakes Committee on Wednesday said that it is to employ a pilot programme in 2012 banning the drug, after which it will reassess whether the move should be expanded to other graded stakes.

The committee, which acts under the auspices of the North American Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association, approved a measure outlawing the diuretic in races to which it ascribes graded status. In effect, this is a ban as any track that runs a two-year-old race allowing Lasix will immediately forfeit its place in the graded-stakes pyramid.

The issue of raceday medication has become a hot topic in Americanracing, often pitting owners and breeders against trainers, many of whomcontinue to oppose any ban.

“We view this as a positive step for the elite-level horses that will race in graded stakes, the ones most likely to perpetuate the breed,” said committee chairman, Dr. J. David Richardson, in a statement.

“There have been questions in many quarters about the integrity of the breed when so many of our horses race on medication.”

However, the move was criticised by Rick Violette, executive director of the New York horsemen’s group which claims furosemide is effective in mitigating the severity and frequency of bleeding. According to the Daily Racing Form, Violette said horsemen would go so far as to ask for a restraining order if the policy were to be enforced next year.

“I would be more than happy to walk in front of a judge who doesn’t know an ear from a tail and put the science in front of him to show the recent and historical data on Lasix,” Violette said.

“It is black and white, as opposed to the rhetoric on the other side.Horses bleed. That is a fact. To force an animal to race without it is premeditated, borderline animal abuse.”
extract Nicholas Godfrey, Racing Post

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