KY Equine Drug Research Council Now Supports Partial Ban on Raceday Lasix

(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.


The horse broke well today,” Gaffalione said. “I had the horse inside, Dunph, going to the lead and then (Gun It) showed a little bit of speed. When I saw they were intent on going I just tried to get him back and got him to relax. He came back to me nicely and settled well down the backside. Got a little keen going into the far turn and wanted to move a little early. But I didn’t want to take too much away from him so I tried to sit as long as I could. He was waiting on horses down the lane but I kept him at task and there was plenty of horse there.”

“Mark (Casse, the trainer) and his team have done a great job,” Gaffalione said. “They’ve had a ton of confidence in this horse the whole way. It’s just an honor to be able to ride the horse. He’s just so professional, trains great and he’s a pleasure to be around.”

Tyler Gaffalione, Rode of War of Will to victory in the G2 Risen Star Stakes at the Fair Grounds
  • Gene McLean

    Gene McLean

    Gene McLean began his professional career in 1977 as a sportswriter and columnist for the Lexington Herald-Leader in Lexington, Ky., and was recognized as one of the state’s best writers, winning the prestigious “Sportswriter of the Year” honor in 1985. Now the President and Publisher of The Pressbox, McLean sets ...

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