Anne M. Eberhardt

AGSC Postpones Race-Day Medication Ban

Policy was to be implemented in graded stakes for 2-year-olds in 2012.

The Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association's American Graded Stakes Committee announced Feb. 24 that it will not implement a ban on race-day medication in graded stakes races for 2-year-olds in 2012.

The AGSC said in a press release that it will "continue to work with racing officials, state regulators, and others within the industry to advance the goal of conducting American graded stakes races at the highest level of integrity."

The new policy, aimed primarily at the anti-bleeding drug Lasix or Salix, was announced last August. The move followed action taken by the Breeders’ Cup to ban race-day drugs for 2-year-old races during the 2012 World Championships.

“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 the statement. “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.”

The Racing Medication and Testing Consortium last year endorsed tighter regulation of Lasix by having only regulatory veterinarians administer the drug. The RMTC, however, said at the time that further discussion was needed before it pushes for a ban on anti-bleeding drugs in 2-year-old races.