AGSC Restates Desire for Salix Ban in Stakes

In advance of an expected vote by the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission (KHRC) June 13, the American Graded Stakes Committee (AGSC) reaffirmed its desire to ban all race-day medication in graded stakes for 2-year-olds.

The KHRC already has prepared a draft regulation that will be discussed and most likely voted upon. It calls for a three-year phase-out of race-day furosemide, also called Salix or Lasix, in graded and listed stakes from 2013-15. Furosemide is used to try to prevent or lessen the effects of exercise-induced pulmonary hemorrhage.

The regulation is in keeping with a KHRC proposal that would allow race-day administration of the anti-bleeding drug to all other racehorses. The Salix phase-out was discussed during a town hall meeting June 5 in the state capital.

The Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association, which oversees the AGCS, earlier this year backed away from mandating a race-day Salix ban in graded stakes for 2-year-olds. The organization in April said it still supports the ban but would prefer to work with regulators.

"The American Graded Stakes Committee remains as committed to the process and the need to eliminate race-day medication in all horses participating in 2-year-old graded stakes as we were last August," AGSC chairman J. David Richardson said June 12. "We have worked within the regulatory framework to implement our proposed ban and will continue to do so until the ban is enacted."

Richardson was recently elected to the Breeders' Cup board of members for a four-year term. Breeders' Cup still intends to ban race-day Salix in its 2-year-old World Championships stakes this fall.

A notice from the KHRC said the draft regulation will be discussed at the June 13 meeting, but it's widely believed there will be a vote. The regulation must go through the legislative process, and several pro-Salix racing commissioners said they believe even if the KHRC passes it, there could be difficulty winning enough support from lawmakers.

Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear does have the option of enacting an emergency regulation, but officials earlier said they didn't expect that to occur.

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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