A broad-based mix of US thoroughbred owners have pledged to race their 2-year-olds in 2012 without race-day medications.
The Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association today released the list of those who have undertaken there will be no race-day furosemide and adjunct bleeder medications used with their 2-year-old racers.
“The use of race-day medications has grown to the point where nearly every horse in every race is being
treated just hours before they go to the saddling paddock,” association chairman Peter Willmott.
“This practice is not in the long-term best interests of the horse, nor is it the proper message we need to communicate with our fans if we wish to increase the popularity of the sport.
“We should all take steps to reverse the use of race-day medication and at this time the best way is to encourage like-minded owners to race their 2-year-olds medication-free.”
Bill Casner, who has campaigned notable horses such as Super Saver, Well Armed and Colonel John, among others, said: “The original purposes of permitted race day medication were to treat horses that overtly bled from the nose
and to provide a larger pool of horses available for entry at a time when racing was proliferating.
“Trainers and veterinarians soon recognized that horses that raced on furosemide could have a competitive advantage and now almost all horses are being diagnosed as bleeders. Racing commissions, in an effort to level the playing field and
eliminate this advantage, relaxed their rules to allow furosemide for any horse.
“I believe the pervasive use of furosemide, and the dehydration stress it causes requiring more recovery time, has contributed to horses making fewer starts and has fueled the public’s belief that giving medication to performance horses is abusive and nefarious.
“Our racing industry thrived in a time prior to permitted race-day medications. Horses raced often and consistently.
We are a global industry and we are out of step with the rest of the world. Race day medications are a failed
experiment and it is time for us to do what is right for our horses and our industry.”
Association president Dan Metzger praised those who have made the pledge, saying the organisation would encourage others to add their name to the list.
Other owners who want to add their names can be added to the list by contacting the TOBA offices.
The list of those who have made the pledge can be viewed here.