National HBPA Affiliates Back Use of Race-Day Salix

The majority of National Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association (HBPA) affiliates have adopted resolutions calling for continued regulated use of furosemide on race day.

The action follows the National HBPA summer convention, at which officials strongly suggested members would fight to protect use of the anti-bleeding medication, also known as Salix or Lasix. Use of the drug has been the subject of heavy debate and grandstanding since the spring of 2011.

The National HBPA said 24 of its 30 affiliates in North America passed pro-Salix resolutions. The rest are polling directors on the issue.

Officials said following affiliates have passed the resolutions: Arizona, Arkansas, British Columbia, Charles Town, Finger Lakes, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Mountaineer, Nebraska, New England, Ohio, Oklahoma, Ontario, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Tampa, Virginia, and Washington.

"These affiliate board resolutions demonstrate to one and all that the vast majority of owners and trainers in the United States and Canada support the use of race-day Lasix," National HBPA president Robin Richards said. "Owners and trainers who are at the barn every day, dealing directly with their horses, know that Lasix is a safe, effective, and beneficial medication for the prevention and treatment of (exercise-induced pulmonary hemorrhaging)."

The National HBPA, in a release, also said Thoroughbred owners Maggi Moss and Ken and Sarah Ramsey, along with top trainers Bob Baffert, Larry Jones, and Dale Romans, support continued use of Salix on race day.

Moss was a panelist during a medication forum at the summer convention, held in Iowa in late June. She called the effort to ban race-day Salix "insanity" and called for others to speak out on the issue.

Other major horsemen's groups that negotiate contracts with racetracks--including the Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association and the Thoroughbred Owners of California--oppose efforts to end use of Salix on race day. The Jockey Club, Breeders' Cup, Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association, and other newly formed groups are calling for a phase-out of Salix.

The Association of Racing Commissioners International recently said it will step up its examination of Salix use. Its current model rule calls for regulatory veterinarian administration of the drug on race-day.

About the Author

Tom LaMarra

Tom LaMarra, a native of New Jersey and graduate of Rutgers University, has been news editor at The Blood-Horse since 1998. After graduation he worked at newspapers in New Jersey and Pennsylvania as an editor and reporter with a focus on municipal government and politics. He also worked at Daily Racing Form and Thoroughbred Times before joining The Blood-Horse. LaMarra, who has lived in Lexington since 1994, has won various writing awards and was recognized with the Old Hilltop Award for outstanding coverage of the horse racing industry. He likes to spend some of his spare time handicapping races.

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