Breeders' Cup will 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 juvenile races and allowing it in all others.
The board held a teleconference meeting March 1, one week after meeting in Florida. The earlier meeting produced discussion of medication but no action.
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.
The board also voted to eliminate the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Sprint, which was added in 2011.
As for Salix, Breeders' Cup board members called for more study on the diuretic used to prevent or lessen the severity of exercise-induced pulmonary hemorrhage in Thoroughbreds. The board pledged funding, and called upon other Thoroughbred racing organizations to support an industry-wide independent study of the causes, effects, and potential alternative methods of reducing the occurrence of EIPH in racehorses.
"We recognize that there has been great divisiveness in our industry over medication rules, but joining together in the common goal of independent scientific research of the effects of race-day medications, coupled with industry pursuit of uniform rules, will move us toward eliminating such divisions," said Breeders' Cup chairman Tom Ludt. "Our board feels this measure, keeping the policy in place for the juvenile races and maintaining the 2012 policy on the remaining races, is the most practical course of action at this time."
Like last year, in Breeders' Cup races that permit Salix, it will be administered only by veterinarians authorized by the California Horse Racing Board and approved by Breeders' Cup.
In its release, Breeders' Cup said that over the last decade it has taken a leading industry position in the areas of out-of-competition testing, security, pre-race exams, and post-race drug testing for its championships. All horses competing in this year's championships will be monitored for 72 hours prior to post time of the horse's race.
The Breeders' Cup also decided to drop the six-furlong, $500,000 Juvenile Sprint from its roster of races in the Breeders' Cup World Championships after two years.
"The number of starters and overall quality of the Juvenile Sprint fields for its two runnings did not meet the standards expected for the championships," Breeders' Cup president Craig Fravel said. "We also believe that the Juvenile Sprint had a negative impact on field sizes for both the Breeders' Cup Juvenile (gr. I) and Juvenile Fillies (gr. I).
"Even with the reduction from 15 to 14 races, we anticipate we will pay more than $25 million in purses and awards in 2013, more than last year, which is important to our owners and nominators. As far as the roster of races, during the expansion of the last few years and moving forward, our focus is on providing the most competitive fields for racing fans and ensuring opportunities to run at the highest levels for our horsemen and nominators around the world.
"We will continue to look at our races on an annual basis to ensure they are meeting those objectives."
Breeders' Cup also approved a full schedule of 2013 Breeders' Cup Challenge races ("Win and You're In"), which will be announced in the coming weeks.