In a reversal of a decision made in late October, the Kentucky Equine Drug Research Council has voted to phase out the use of the pulmonary drug Lasix on race day. That recommendation will go to the Kentucky Racing Commission in early December.
If given final approval, the ban on race day Lasix use for two year olds would begin next year with that same prohibition for all stakes races in 2021. Kentucky Horse Racing Commission Equine Medical Director Bruce Howard said British trainers have learned how to manage the health of the horse’s airways without Lasix on race day. “This doesn’t say that Lasix cannot be used in horses it just can’t be used on race day. So if a horse was to receive Lasix to maintain the health of their airway during training, that’s not restricted,” said Howard.
The matter next goes to the Kentucky Racing Commission. Howard says a total ban on Lasix use is not on the table. Kentucky Thoroughbred Association Director Chauncey Morris noted there’s a public perception the equine industry isn’t doing enough to protect horses. He said it’s been a philosophical question because horses can race safety with Lasix and without it. Morris called the race-day ban a compromise.
The breeders and owners organization director added the current racing commission has worked well in moving forward with reforms related to the health and safety of horse and rider. The decision comes on a year when dozens of horses were injured on tracks across the country. That includes several deaths at Keeneland's spring and fall meets.
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