Kentucky horsemen are losing patience with a new policy that requires regulatory veterinarians to administer furosemide (Salix, also commonly called Lasix) on race day after mistakes have led to horses being scratched on consecutive race days at Churchill Downs in November.
On Nov. 11 stewards scratched Booby Prize from the 10th race at Churchill after the 3-year-old gelding mistakenly was given two pre-race Salix shots instead of one. On Nov. 14, the same problem occurred with 4-year-old gelding Outofsiteoutofmind, again necessitating a scratch. Booby Prize is trained by Michael Laurer for Penny Laurer. Outofsiteoutofmind is trained by Phil Simms for Nelson McMakin.
Horsemen initially saw the rule change as an acceptable compromise but with Salix opponents continuing to pursue a race-day ban of the diuretic in graded and listed stakes in Kentucky, horsemen withdrew their support. They voiced that opposition to the Kentucky Legislature's Interim Joint Committee on Licensing and Occupations, which voted 19-1 last year against the reformed Salix administration policy. But Gov. Steve Beshear issued an executive order to override the panel's vote.
Maline noted that with horses being scratched because of mistakes by KHRC veterinarians, people are losing money. He said when a scratch occurs, a smaller field results in less handle for the track; and owners count on running on a given day.
"At the end of the day, the guy who is really out is the poor owner. You have a limited amount of opportunities to run in the fall," Maline said. "You're trying to get that last race in at Churchill, and you pay to ship in, and then you don't get to run."