Breeders' Cup: No Change in Medication Policy

Breeders' Cup plans to prohibit race-day medication in its 2-year-olds races.

Breeders’ Cup Ltd. has reaffirmed its plan to ban race-day medications in World Championships races for 2-year-olds this year, despite recent action by the American Graded Stakes Committee to delay implementation of such a ban in juvenile graded stakes races run in 2012.

“Currently we are not planning any changes to our medication policy for the 2012 Breeders’ Cup World Championships,” the Breeders’ Cup said in a statement released following the action by the AGSC, which is a division of the Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association.

The AGSC’s decision to ban race-day medications for 2-year-old graded stakes last August followed the Breeders’ Cup’s announcement that it would begin a phaseout of allowing medications for World Championships races and would begin with the five juvenile races scheduled for the Nov. 2-3 event at Santa Anita in California.

Elimination of race-day medications are primarily aimed to prohibiting the widespread use of the anti-bleeder medication furosemide marketed as Lasix, or Salix.

The Jockey Club has been outspoken on the race-day issue since the current and past chairmen of the Association of Racing Commissioners last year called for a five-year phase-out of furosemide. During a hearing conducted last fall by the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission Race-Day Medication Committee, it was obvious that there is no consensus on such bans.

Many trainers are especially opposed to banning race-day medications they consider therapeutic.

Although it has backed off trying to implement its race-day medication ban for 2-year-olds in 2012, the AGSC vowed to continue to work toward positive changes in medication use within racing.

“Due to the nature of the various entities involved in implementation of rules governing racing, the policy has taken longer to implement than the committee hoped when the announcement regarding the ban was made in August 2011,” said Dr. J. David Richardson, chairman of the AGSC, in a statement announcing that organization’s delay of implementing the medication ban. “Over the past six months, through the leadership of the American Graded Stakes Committee and others in the industry, a great deal of valuable discussion has occurred regarding the important issue of medication administered to racehorses.

“Consistent with TOBA’s mission to improve the economics and integrity of the sport, the committee will continue to engage in productive discussions within the industry, to educate the public, and to explore all avenues to effect positive changes with regard to the responsible use of medication for the benefit of graded stakes races, and the preservation of the integrity of those races.”