Several trainers with mid-Atlantic bases are among the 25 who yesterday proposed the phased-in elimination of raceday medication in U.S. racing, according to the Paulick Report. That would end the common practice of treating horses with Lasix (furosemide) on raceday.
Those include Graham Motion, based at Fair Hill; Pennsylvania-based Jonathan Sheppard; and Jose Corrales, running this season at Charles Town and Delaware Park.
The group of trainers proposes that two-year-olds running in 2015 would not receive any raceday medication. Starting in 2016, no horses of any age would be allowed to receive raceday medication. The group also said that it supports in other respects the uniform medication rules currently being adopted and implemented by many states.
Breeders’ Cup chairman William Farish and president and CEO Craig Fravel immediately applauded the move.
“On behalf of the Board of Directors of Breeders’ Cup Limited we want to acknowledge and applaud the courage of the trainers who have recently pledged their support for the gradual elimination of the use of authorized medications on race day in the United States,” the two said in a statement. “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. 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 race-day medications. We look forward to participating in this initiative to create a workable plan with others in the industry, including the forward-looking trainers who are signatory to this statement, all of whom are long-time supporters of the Breeders’ Cup.”
The trainers’ proposal reignites an anti-Lasix movement that had largely run out of steam in recent years.
Breeders’ Cup Ltd. in 2011 had announced its intention to conduct medication-free racing during its two-day “World Championship” meeting, beginning with Lasix-free racing for juveniles in 2012. But field sizes for those races were disappointing, and opposition to the policy was vociferous and widespread. Eventually, Breeders’ Cup reversed course.
Moreover, some in the industry believed that the ongoing move towards uniform medication policies would blunt efforts to eliminate raceday medications.
The list of trainers on the anti-Lasix proposal includes many prominent horsemen with large, well-respected barns, including Tom Albertrani, Christophe Clement, D. Wayne Lukas, Shug McGaughey, Bill Mott, and Barclay Tagg.
Most trainers are thought to favor the use of Lasix, and the two major horsemen’s groups — the Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Associations and the Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association — are strong advocates of continued use of Lasix.