Some foreign racing organizations issued statements June 14 backing action by the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission to phase out use of race-day furosemide in graded and listed stakes over three years beginning Jan. 1, 2014.
The regulation must now go through a lengthy legislative process. Opponents of the ban said they intend to lobby Kentucky lawmakers to reject it.
Louis Romanet, chairman of the International Federation of Horseracing Authorities, said the KHRC “made the right decision.” He said the IFHA hopes other United States racing jurisdictions follow suit.
“I am convinced that this decision will surely be a historical milestone for all racing sectors in the U.S.,” Romanet said. “I am sure that our international racing community will also strongly support this bold step forward, and (the) IFHA will pledge to give its full support to further development of this policy into other racing jurisdictions in the U.S.”
The Hong Kong Jockey Club also weighed in.
“This is a progressive and internationally welcomed move by the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission, and one which the Hong Kong Jockey Club fully supports and applauds,” HKJC chief executive officer Winfried Engelbrecht-Bresges said. “Kentucky is the heartbeat of the American breeding industry and home to the Kentucky Derby. It is, therefore, fitting that the Bluegrass State has broken ranks and pushed through this groundbreaking measure.
“I hope that this is the first step towards full global harmonization on the issue of race-day medication.”
New York is the only other state that has taken any action in looking at furosemide, also called Salix or Lasix. One KHRC member said June 13 he has serious doubts other states will follow Kentucky’s lead in phasing out the drug on race day.