(Photo by Holly M. Smith)
It took awhile, and a bit longer than some advocates would have hoped, but on Monday, the Kentucky Equine Drug Research Council finally made a decision and a recommendation to limit the use of the therapeutic, anti-bleeding medication Lasix at Kentucky Thoroughbred racetracks.
The Council, which serves as an advisory committee to the Kentucky Racing Commission, voted 6-2 in favor of a proposal that would prohibit the application of furosemide, more commonly known as Lasix, in races for all 2-year-olds in 2020.
The proposal went on to suggest that Lasix should be eliminated on race day for all horses in Stakes races in 2021.
The vote on Monday was a reversal of a similar attempt about a month ago, when the committee voted 5-3 to reject a similar recommendation. Now, the recommendation will be sent to the Kentucky Racing Commission, which is expected to place the issue on the agenda for its’ December meeting.
Those voting in favor of the measure were veterinarians Stuart Brown (chairman of the committee), James Morehead and Johnny Mac Smith and Kentucky State Senate Majority Leader Damon Thayer, Churchill Downs’ Director of Racing Mike Ziegler and Art Zubrod. Opposing the recommendation were veterinarians Mark Cheney and Andy Roberts. Veterinarian Michael Kilgore was not in attendance.
According to Ziegler, about 83% of the races conducted at Churchill Downs would continue to operate under the current rules, and would not be impacted by the new rule change, if officially adopted.