Eric Mitchell, editorial director and editor-in-chief of The Blood-Horse, shares his thoughts on furosemide's state in the Thoroughbred racing industry.
A stance by 25 prominent American trainers Aug. 1 urging the elimination of race-day Salix (furosemide, also known as Lasix) over the next two years has not done much to clarify the debate over the medication’s use, but it has given new momentum to putting America on par with the rest of the racing world.
The intention of the phase-out, some of the supporting trainers said this week, is twofold: 1) get a conversation started on how the United States can square its racing policy with other major racing jurisdictions around the world, and 2) address an issue that continues to tarnish the reputation of horse racing as a sport.
“We’ve been in a negative cycle for a while, with a lot of the major indicators being down,” said leading trainer Todd Pletcher, who a couple of years ago described himself as “pro-Lasix” and disagreed with a Breeders’ Cup decision to ban Salix use in the World Championships’ races for juveniles. “We need something to change it up, and this is one way I think may make a difference. The rest of the world has been managing without it.”
Pletcher is not alone in having done a lot of soul-searching on the race-day medication issue. Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott said he had been “in the middle” on the issue but now, h