Oliver Tait, Darley's chief operating officer, has resigned from the board of the Breeders' Cup because of the organization's medication policy.
"The Breeders' Cup has reversed its previously agreed and stated position that the 2013 Breeders' Cup World Championships will be conducted without Lasix," said Tait in a Darley release issued March 3, referring to the anti-bleeding drug also known as Salix. "As a consequence, I have resigned from the board of the Breeders' Cup."
Board members voted March 1 to not expand its prohibition of Salix to additional championship races this year but opted to continue last year's policy of banning the diuretic in only juvenile races. Breeders' Cup had planned to expand a ban on race-day furosemide, also called Salix or Lasix, to all of its races in 2013, but board members voted to maintain the 2012 policy. That policy prohibits Salix use in Breeders' Cup races for 2-year-olds but allows it in all other races.
"Sheikh Mohammed, Darley's principal, has been one of the biggest players in American racing for the last 30 years," said Tait. "His vision for the sport in America is a future where racing is enjoyed and admired by a new generation of participants and enthusiasts. A true world championship, to be enjoyed and admired by all, needs to be medication-free.
"Progress is being made in all sports around the world in relation to drugs. This is not progress. The Breeders' Cup is a leader of this sport, and I was extremely proud to serve on its board. Having rightly and boldly chosen to lead the way on the issue of drugs in racing in 2011, it has now stepped back in time. I hope that in the near future it can lead again."
Breeders' Cup chairman Tom Ludt issued the following statement March 3: "On behalf of the Breeders' Cup Board, all of us are grateful to Olly for his dedication and distinguished service as a director, and we wish him continued success in our industry. We greatly value his work on behalf of Darley and their longtime support and enthusiastic participation in the Breeders' Cup program."