Salix-Only Policy on Race Day Advocated for Kentucky

The chairman of the Kentucky Racing Commission has advocated a Salix-only policy on race day in the state, and said he would schedule meetings around the state to get feedback. Currently, five medications are permitted on race day in Kentucky.

Frank Shoop, during the commission's Oct. 2 meeting near Lexington, said he wants Kentucky to fall in line with recommendations by the national Racing Medication and Testing Consortium, which intends to circulate a Salix-only policy to regulators in December in Tucson, Ariz. Salix is the anti-bleeder medication formerly known as Lasix.

The consortium, which met Sept. 26 in Southern California, hasn't publicly stated it unanimously agreed to a Salix-only policy. Sources, however, confirmed it has done so. The consortium meets behind closed doors, and at times conflicting information has leaked out of the meetings.

Shoop said he wants Kentucky to be the first racing jurisdiction to adopt the consortium's model policy. He called the subject "vitally important" and said he also wants to see a uniform race-day medication policy for the country.

When asked after the meeting what would happen if the model policy isn't Salix-only on race day, Shoop said Kentucky's policy "probably would be what the consortium's policy is."

"The information we're getting is it's going to be Salix-only," Shoop said.

When asked why such a policy would be advantageous for Kentucky, Shoop said: "You need to ask the experts that. I'm a regulator, not a scientist."

Under current Kentucky rules, the race-day therapeutics other than Salix on the approved list are: no more than two NSAIDs, namely phenylbutazone (Butazolidin) and flunixin meclofenamic acid (Banamine), naproxen, or ketoprofen; no more than one steroidal anti-inflammatory agent such as prednisolone, dexamethasone, prednisone, or triamcinolone; and furosemide and aminocaproic acid (amicar), both of which can be used to treat exercise-induced pulmonary hemorrhage.

The list was whittled down from 16 to five amid much fanfare in September 2002. At the time, officials said it wouldn't have been realistic to go from 16 to one in one shot. The 2002 proposal had the support of the Kentucky veterinary community.

During the Oct. 2 commission meeting, Marty Maline, executive director of the Kentucky Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association, said the organization does not have a representative on the national consortium and hasn't had the opportunity to state its case. The National HBPA is represented on the consortium by Kent Stirling, executive director of the Florida HBPA.

"A reasonable therapeutic medication plan (on race day) is in the best interests of racing," Maline said.

Shoop didn't give a timetable for the meetings, which would be held around the state, he said. He did say they would be open forum.

"I think Kentucky needs to step up and be the first and show major leadership," Shoop said. "Everybody keeps saying Kentucky is a major stumbling block (to national uniformity)."