A group of North American racehorse trainers is proposing the gradual elimination of race-day medications in the United States.
The plan would bring to an end the common practice of treating horses with the diuretic Lasix (furosemide) on race-day.
Under the proposal, no two-year-olds would receive race-day medication beginning in 2015, and no horses of any age would receive race-day medication starting in 2016.
The group supports the Racing Medication and Testing Consortium’s efforts to approve model rules for 26 controlled medications by the board of directors of Racing Commissioners International.
“We believe it’s time to take a proactive position regarding the administration of race day medication,” said D. Wayne Lukas, a Hall of Famer who is one of the trainers supporting the race-day ban.
“American racing has always been a global leader, and it’s time to restore confidence in our game and in our international standing.”
The trainers are Thomas Albertrani, Roger Attfield, Christophe Clement, Jose Corrales, David Donk, Neil D. Drysdale, Jeremiah C. Englehart, Eoin Harty, Neil Howard, Michael E. Hushion, D. Wayne Lukas, Richard E. Mandella, Claude R. McGaughey III, Kiaran P. McLaughlin, Kenneth G. McPeek, H. Graham Motion, William I. Mott, Todd A. Pletcher, Kathy Ritvo, Jonathan E. Sheppard, Albert M. Stall, Jr, Dallas Stewart, Barclay Tagg, William Van Meter, and George Weaver.
The trainers have the backing of Breeders’ Cup chairman Bill Farish and Breeders’ Cup president and chief executive Craig Fravel. The pair issued a statement on behalf of the board of directors of Breeders’ Cup Ltd applauding their stand.
“The Breeders’ Cup has long advocated for policies that would bring the US in line with other major international racing jurisdictions and we fully support this group of prominent trainers,” the statement said.
“We believe a broad coalition of tracks and owners also share this view and we are committed to provide support, financial and otherwise, to an effort to implement on a national basis phasing out raceday medications.”
They said they looked forward to participating in this initiative to create a workable plan with others in the industry.
The senior vice-president of the animal advocacy group PETA, Kathy Guillermo, praised the trainers’ proposal, and singled out the use of Lasix on race-day.
The drug is a diuretic that is used to lessen the effects of pulmonary bleeding, but was often used to gain an advantage rather than for valid medical reasons because it made horses lighter and faster, Guillermo said.
“We urge the trainers who back this proposal, including Todd Pletcher, Bill Mott, and D. Wayne Lukas, to turn the proposal into action by being the first to dump Lasix in the trash can, where it belongs.”