Though Breeders' Cup this year will "monitor the performance" of 2-year-olds that must race without race-day furosemide in its World Championships, the therapeutic medication will be available for use in all races for the 2014 event.
The California Horse Racing Board discussed the matter Aug. 22, and Breeders' Cup issued a detailed statement Aug. 23. Earlier this year, the organization backed away from its plan to ban furosemide, also called Salix or Lasix, in all races during this year's World Championships at Santa Anita Park, but had intended to maintain the ban for 2-year-old races.
The 2014 Breeders' Cup will be held at Santa Anita for a third straight year. But the Thoroughbred Owners of California opposes any ban on Salix, and horsemen's groups in other potential host states—Kentucky and Florida, for instance—also would fight the race-day ban.
Santa Anita was announced as the 2014 host site a few months ago.
"We were successful in implementing event-specific race conditions for 2012 and 2013 which prohibited race- day administration of furosemide in Breeders' Cup 2-year old races in cooperation with the CHRB, Santa Anita, and the TOC," the Breeders' Cup said. "However, in evaluating host-site options for 2014, it became apparent that the race-day medication policy for 2014 would have to be consistent with rules in effect in any eligible host jurisdiction at the time of the event.
"The horsemen's groups in potential host jurisdictions indicated that they would withhold their approval of simulcast rights unless this was the case, jeopardizing our ability to conduct simulcast wagering on our event, and thus the event itself."
Though some prominent owners have pledged, as they did last year, to not race their 2-year-olds on Salix, no jurisdiction has banned the drug in races for 2-year-olds.
Breeders' Cup said it "remains committed to the goal that the world's major international racing events, including the Breeders' Cup World Championships, should be conducted under the same rules and conditions with regard to race-day medication. We will continue to work constructively with stakeholders in the U.S. and elsewhere, including potential host sites, racing commissions, and horsemen's groups, toward that objective."
Breeders' Cup cited "good progress toward uniformity on model rules" in the U.S. but noted efforts to ban race-day Salix have stalled. "None of our potential future host sites has been able to offer assurances that such an eventuality is likely in the near term," the organization said.