Thoroughbred Trainers Against Potential Ban on Anti-Bleeder Medications

Saying they support efforts to limit race-day medications, two prominent Thoroughbred trainers say they hope the initiatives do not go so far as to ban use of the anti-bleeder drug furosemide (Salix).

During an April 11 panel discussion as part of the monthly meeting of the Kentucky Thoroughbred Farm Managers' Club, trainers Tom Amoss and Bob Hess Jr. agreed that some drugs, such as phenylbutazone (Bute) and cortisone, should not be allowed on race day.

"Knowing that horses bleed when they run, why put a horse through that?" Amoss, a leading conditioner in the Midwest, asked of the proposal to ban Salix, which was previously marketed under the trade name Lasix.

Amoss said when he was working in New York in the 1980s, Lasix was not permitted and trainers went to great lengths to simulate the beneficial effect of the anti-bleeder medication: "In an effort to simulate what Lasix does, they were spending $200 where it would cost $15 for a shot of Lasix. If we got to where there was no race-day Lasix, the only ones who benefit are the vets."

"We could get away with not having Lasix, but it's much better with it," said Hess, whose stable is based in Southern California.

While previous efforts to ban race-day medications have never materialized, Amoss said he believes the current initiative will come to fruition, especially considering the number of organizations that are lining up behind the movement. He noted that a significant development occurred earlier in the day April 11 when the Kentucky Thoroughbred Association announced support for the ban.

About the Author

Ron Mitchell/The Horse

Ron Mitchell is Online Managing Editor for The Blood-Horse magazine. A Lexington native, Mitchell joined The Blood-Horse after serving in editorial capacities with The Thoroughbred Record and Thoroughbred Times, specializing in business and auction aspects of the industry, and was editor-in-chief of the award-winning Horsemen’s Journal. As online managing editor, Mitchell works closely with The Blood-Horse news editor and other departments to make sure the website content is the most thorough and accurate source for all Thoroughbred news, results, videos, and data.

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