The American Graded Stakes Committee said Aug. 10 it will employ a pilot program that will ban race-day medications—primarily the anti-bleeding drug Salix—in graded 2-year-old stakes in 2012.
The policy will be evaluated at the end of next year, when a decision will be made whether to continue it or expand it to other graded stakes. The committee falls under the Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association.
The move dovetails with action taken by Breeders’ Cup to ban race-day drugs for 2-year-old races in the 2012 World Championships. However, unless most racing jurisdictions in short order adopt similar regulations, it appears Salix will be permitted in non-graded 2-year-old stakes next year.
“There have been questions in many quarters about the integrity of the breed when so many of our horses race on medication,” Dr. J. David Richardson, chairman of the AGSC, said after the organization met Aug. 10 in Saratoga Springs, N.Y. “We view this as a positive step for the elite-level horses that will race in graded stakes, the ones most likely to perpetuate the breed.
“We are reaching out to the regulators and tracks in each of the six states that currently conduct 2-year-old graded stakes and look forward to working with them to implement this policy.”
In 2011 there are 49 2-year-old stakes races assigned graded status. The AGSC in the past has tied adoption of various policies to retaining grades for stakes.
Earlier in August the Racing Medication and Testing Consortium endorsed tighter regulation of Salix by having only regulatory veterinarians administer the drug. The RMTC, however, said further discussion is needed before it pushes for Salix ban in 2-year-old races.