Coalition Puts Plans in Place to Ban Race-Day Medications in Thoroughbreds

Beginning Jan. 1, 2020, 2-year-olds would be prohibited from receiving furosemide within 24 hours of a race at coalition tracks. Beginning in 2021, the same prohibition would extend to all horses participating in any stakes race.
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race-day medications in thoroughbreds
A coalition of leading Thoroughbred racing associations and organizations announced April 18 a new initiative committed to phasing out the use of furosemide (marketed as Salix and often called Lasix) beginning in 2020 and eliminating the drug’s use in stakes races held at their racetracks beginning in 2021. | Photo: Anne M. Eberhardt/The Horse

A coalition of leading Thoroughbred racing associations and organizations announced April 18 a new initiative committed to phasing out the use of furosemide (marketed as Salix and often called Lasix) beginning in 2020 and eliminating the drug’s use in stakes races held at their racetracks beginning in 2021.

Veterinarians prescribe furosemide to prevent or reduce the effects of exercise-induced pulmonary hemorrhage (EIPH, bleeding into the lungs or out the nose). Current U.S. rules permit veterinarians to administer it a few hours before a horse races, however international drug rules prohibit race-day furosemide administration in all horses.

Coalition racetracks that have signed on to this initiative include all tracks owned or operated by Churchill Downs Incorporated (CDI), the New York Racing Association, Inc. (NYRA), and The Stronach Group, as well as Del Mar Thoroughbred Club, Keeneland, Lone Star Park, Remington Park, Los Alamitos Racecourse (for Thoroughbreds), Oaklawn Park, and Tampa Bay Downs. Taken together these tracks represent 86% of the stakes races assigned graded or listed status in the United States in 2018. The coalition tracks will work diligently with their respective horsemen’s associations and racing commissions towards implementing this effort

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