Salix Accidentally Administered to Horse before Race

Salix Accidentally Administered to Horse before Race

A Kentucky state veterinarian accidentally administered furosemide to a racehorse at Keeneland on Oct. 5.

Photo: Anne M. Eberhardt/The Horse

A Kentucky state veterinarian accidentally administered furosemide to a racehorse at Keeneland Race Course on Oct. 5, the first day a new state rule was enacted that requires the anti-bleeding medication to be administered by Kentucky Horse Racing Commission (KHRC) vets.

The horse, 3-year-old Exothermic, had been entered to race without the drug commonly known as Salix or Lasix, but was administered the diuretic due to a transcription mistake made by a state veterinarian. Racing for Richard Masson's Green Lantern Stables, he finished second in the seventh race of the day for trainer Rusty Arnold.

"He ran very, very well, and I think he would have run very, very well either way," said Arnold, who was bringing the previously unbeaten colt back off an eight-month layup. "It was an innocent mistake that they made; they're trying to do something that's good. We're sorry it happened to this horse. Were we a little upset by it? Yes, but we're not against their program at all."

Exothermic, a homebred by Empire Maker out of the Caesour mare Iridescence, was previously unbeaten in two starts. Masson opposes the use of the drug, but decided to run the horse rather than scratch.

"He was gracious enough to say, 'We'll go ahead,' and the trainer was cooperative," said John Ward, KHRC executive director. "The betting public was informed."

Ward said the snafu resulted when assignments were readjusted due to a veterinarian requiring emergency gall bladder surgery the morning of the Lexington racetrack's fall meet opening day.

"There was a reassignment, and during the reassignment, there was a piece of information that got dropped," Ward said. "It was just human error and we'll revise it."

Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear issued the new regulation, which went into effect Oct. 5, in order to further regulate the use of race-day medication in racehorses.

About the Author

Claire Novak

Winner of the 2011 Eclipse Award for Feature/Commentary and the 2008 Louisville Metro Journalism Award for Sports Writing, Claire Novak has melded her love for human-interest journalism and the equine breed into a successful Turf writing career. Since her first freelance article on racing was published at in 2005, her byline has appeared in the New York Times, ESPN The Magazine, and on, among others. She lives near Lexington and, when not writing about racing, can often be found jumping her Thoroughbred, Bob.

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