Anne M. Eberhardt

NY Lawmakers Oppose Ban on Race-Day Salix

Two senators are urging state regulators to maintain use of the anti-bleeding drug.

In a development that figures to play out in other racing states, two New York senators said June 12 the anti-bleeding medication furosemide should not be banned on race day.

The release came from Republican Sens. Jack Martins, who represents Mineola, and Roy McDonald, whose district includes Saratoga Springs. It includes a comment from the president of the New York Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association, which opposes a ban on furosemide, also called Salix or Lasix.

“The welfare of the racehorse should be the first and most important concern for anyone involved in the Thoroughbred racing industry,” McDonald said. “Making a change to race-day medications, specifically banning the use of Lasix to prevent exercise-induced pulmonary hemorrhaging, could have dangerous results.

“It would be unconscionable to make any horse more vulnerable to a condition that could potentially place the horse and rider into a fatal situation.”

“The safety of the racehorses should be the first priority,” Martins said. “For the racing industry to be successful, the health and safety of the horses are paramount. Putting any horse’s health in jeopardy by banning race-day medications is just the wrong thing to do.”

The senators referenced comments and a position by the American Association of Equine Practitioners on Salix use in racehorses.

The New York State Racing and Wagering Board has taken comments from industry stakeholders on the use of race-day Salix and has indicated it will formally address the issue.

Meanwhile, the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission June 13 is scheduled to discuss—and perhaps vote upon—a regulation that would phase out race-day Salix in graded and listed stakes over a three-year period beginning in 2014, not 2013 as originally planned. The move has come under fire from veterinarians and trainers.

The regulation, if passed by the KHRC, must clear legislative hurdles. Tom Conway, a member of the KHRC and a Thoroughbred owner who supports Salix use, earlier said he believes the regulation would fail to win approval from lawmakers given the tenuous nature of the Kentucky horse racing industry.

Members of the Kentucky Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association have suggested lawmakers will be asked to oppose the regulation. Horsemen with legislative clout in other states that pursue a Salix ban figure to do the same thing.

New York THA president Rick Violette Jr. said the two senators have urged the NYSRWB to consider the group’s medication reform policy, which includes administration of Salix by regulatory vets only.