Collins: Banning drugs to ensure the breed’s integrity

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Lasix (Furosemide, Salix) Lasix (Furosemide, Salix)

It has become unfashionable to talk about the integrity of the Thoroughbred breed, but the breed is the bedrock of the Thoroughbred industry.  Anyone leaving Lexington by plane walks across an enormous chart almost literally etched in stone which details the carefully preserved lineage of Thoroughbred stallions dating back nearly 300 years.  Those 300 years have seen constant refinement of the breed by careful selection, evolving from match races run in four-mile heats to the extraordinary combination of stamina and speed that makes the modern racehorse.  

Anyone breeding a horse has the potential to change the breed and most people who breed horses, be they commercial or not, dream of being credited as the breeder of a Zenyatta or a Frankel.  Aristocrats and billionaires have bred great horses, but so have small breeders with limited resources and an unshakeable belief in their own methods.


The considerations in breeding a horse are myriad, among them:  How far will he stay?  Will he mature early? Will she be sound? And above all, will he be fast enough?  The test of all the theories and experiments lies only on the racetrack.  The best looking horse isn’t necessarily the winner, the most expensive horse isn’t necessarily the winner, but the winner on the track should be the best horse.  Unfortunately, the test has become corrupted in the United States and the corruption is that of widespread drug use.  

Scientific study1 indicates that severe bleeding is a heritable trait, confirming what breeders had concluded at least a century ago2.  By allowing horses to run on Lasix, this infirmity is largely hidden.  To make matters worse, Lasix seems to be a performance enhancer, so that in order for a horse that doesn’t have the infirmity (severe bleeding) to be competitive with the horse that does have the infirmity, the horse that doesn’t have the infirmity has to receive the drug the infirm horse receives.  Therefore virtually all horses run on Lasix and no one knows which are severe bleeders and which aren’t. This Kafkaesque situation can only serve to perpetuate severe bleeders in the North American Thoroughbred population.  

It would be wrong, however, to focus solely on Lasix.  A number of drugs can be present in a horse’s system on race day, which is unacceptable in other parts of the world and distorts our perception of the soundness and physical abilities of racehorses. Among them are the anti-inflammatory drugs Bute and Banamine and the bronchodilator Clenbuterol. Clenbuterol is particularly insidious since it, if administered on a regular basis and in large doses, has a steroidal effect that potentially circumvents the various bans on steroids enacted over the last few years. It should go without saying that we must also take steps to ensure that the “designer” drugs, which have destroyed the credibility of other sports, do not do the same to ours.

It is futile to argue about which drugs are “good” drugs and which drugs are “bad” drugs.  We should be focused on having no drugs present in a horse’s system on race day. It is the only way to ensure the integrity of our racing and of our breed.  Nobody should suggest that therapeutic drugs do not have a legitimate place in the training of a racehorse, but if a horse is not capable of racing without drugs in its system it shouldn’t be running at all.  

The pessimists say we have already ruined the breed.  I don’t agree – the North American Thoroughbred is too resilient to be destroyed in a couple of decades. Resilience, however, is not invincibility. We must end racing’s 30-year plus drug experiment before the pessimists are proven right.

Tomorrow: Counterpoint by trainer Dale Romans

Lincoln Collins, an international Thoroughbred consultant, is president of Kern Thoroughbreds.


1.) South African Journal of Animal Science 2004
 “A genetic analysis of epistaxis as associated with EIPH in the Southern African Thoroughbred “
H. Weideman, S.J. Schoeman and G.F. Jordaan

2.) Bloodstock Breeders’ Review 1913
J.B. Robertson

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  • Convene

    Exactly.

    Whatever you put into the breed today, someday someone will feel its echo. Best make sure it’s something good.

  • Convene

    Exactly.

    Whatever you put into the breed today, someday someone will feel its echo. Best make sure it’s something good.

  • http://twitter.com/BigSkyEquine SaratogaSid

    Beautifully stated: “We should be focused on having no drugs present in a horse’s system on race day. It is the only way to ensure the integrity of our racing and of our breed.  Nobody should suggest that therapeutic drugs do not have a legitimate place in the training of a racehorse, but if a horse is not capable of racing without drugs in its system it shouldn’t be running at all.”Thank you Lincoln. You sound like Abe!  

  • http://twitter.com/BigSkyEquine SaratogaSid

    Beautifully stated: “We should be focused on having no drugs present in a horse’s system on race day. It is the only way to ensure the integrity of our racing and of our breed.  Nobody should suggest that therapeutic drugs do not have a legitimate place in the training of a racehorse, but if a horse is not capable of racing without drugs in its system it shouldn’t be running at all.”Thank you Lincoln. You sound like Abe!  

  • Marc

    Thank you, Mr. Collins.

    “It is futile to argue about which drugs are “good” drugs and which drugs are “bad” drugs.  We should be focused on having no drugs present in a horse’s system on race day. It is the only way to ensure the integrity of our racing and of our breed.  Nobody should suggest that therapeutic drugs do not have a legitimate place in the training of a racehorse, but if a horse is not capable of racing without drugs in its system it shouldn’t be running at all.”

    I couldn’t agree more.

  • Marc

    Thank you, Mr. Collins.

    “It is futile to argue about which drugs are “good” drugs and which drugs are “bad” drugs.  We should be focused on having no drugs present in a horse’s system on race day. It is the only way to ensure the integrity of our racing and of our breed.  Nobody should suggest that therapeutic drugs do not have a legitimate place in the training of a racehorse, but if a horse is not capable of racing without drugs in its system it shouldn’t be running at all.”

    I couldn’t agree more.

  • Pluckedduck1

    Apologize for the tone of this post except we are dealing with serious Qs of horse health and uninformed persons attempting to foist their opinions.

    Ii quit reading after 3 paragraphs since author has never been on the end of a shank–obviously since people who have would never communicate in this manner– raising Q why people that know nothing about medical aspect of horses insist on foisting their opinions on EIPH. 

    If Mr. Collins would bother to read the SA study that he cites as foot note #1 he would understand ( or maybe otherwise) how flawed that study is and that it merely projects the prejudice of its authors.  People handling horses–I believe–understand primarily the physical nature of EIPH.  People are entitled to their opinions on the subject. Would it be better for the horse–instead of masquerading as an expert–that such as the OP begin–”I really know nothing about the subject, but here are my uninformed opinions.”???

    • Rachel

      Obviously you never read his bio.

    • RayPaulick

      Per his website biography, Mr. Collins was assistant to England’s champion trainer John Dunlop. I imagine he’s had his hands on a racehorse or two. And he’s willing to actually put his name with his opinions, something you might consider.

  • Pluckedduck1

    Apologize for the tone of this post except we are dealing with serious Qs of horse health and uninformed persons attempting to foist their opinions.

    Ii quit reading after 3 paragraphs since author has never been on the end of a shank–obviously since people who have would never communicate in this manner– raising Q why people that know nothing about medical aspect of horses insist on foisting their opinions on EIPH. 

    If Mr. Collins would bother to read the SA study that he cites as foot note #1 he would understand ( or maybe otherwise) how flawed that study is and that it merely projects the prejudice of its authors.  People handling horses–I believe–understand primarily the physical nature of EIPH.  People are entitled to their opinions on the subject. Would it be better for the horse–instead of masquerading as an expert–that such as the OP begin–”I really know nothing about the subject, but here are my uninformed opinions.”???

  • Forthegood

    Very interesting and informative.  Well stated Mr Collins!

  • Forthegood

    Very interesting and informative.  Well stated Mr Collins!

  • Bryan Langlois (ShelterDoc)

    Question: Does anyone know of a study that has been done or that is ongoing looking at the Lasix issue in North American Thoroughbreds and racing??  It seems to me all of these studies are done either in European Countries or South Africa or other places where the variables that go into things are not the same as here in the States.  I’m not a fan of drug use in horses, but I also think someone somewhere has to be looking at this in North American racing to give some sort of scientific answer in a true random study that is peer reviewed to help put the issue to rest…

    • FIVE2_THREE

      BL It’s hard to conduct a study in a country where just about every horse runs on lasix. its much easier to conduct such studies in countries where the drug is more regulated.
      In Europe some horses train on it,but in the US just about every body runs on it. USE VS ABUSE

      • Bryan Langlois (ShelterDoc)

        Hmm…good point.  Then I hope someone is going to be tracking how these horses that are owned by the group that has signed on to be Lasix free end up doing throughout their careers.  It would be the first real comparison study I would hope…

        • Hopefieldstables

          You can track lasix free horses all over the world (including US breds). If their outcome is superior to their US counterparts then the solution is to find out the underlying reason why and correct it. Drug use aimed at merely ameliorating a (thus) apparently avoidable condition is no solution at all.

          • Bryan Langlois (ShelterDoc)

            I understand what you are saying, but from a scientific standpoint what you are suggesting leads to a flawed model and experiment.  There are two many variables in training methods and housing methods and even racing methods to make the comparison viable in the eyes of the scientific world.  However, I do agree that it should be looked at to see what differences might attribute to the change, and I can tell you right off the bat the main ones are the way races are run other places and the training and housing methods of those horses.  However, it would take a severe shift in mindset of racing owners,trainers, and breeders over here to go to that type of set up

          • Hopefieldstables

            No, not flawed, the differences are the whole point. First a population study to establish the outcomes are in fact different and then controlled studies to identify the contributing variables. Within the UK, there have studies to understand the contributing factors to EIPH and naturally those results would be clues to examine if they are also the culprits on a broader scale. There is no question that things are vastly different in Europe. You are also right, what we may discover may require huge changes.

    • Hopefieldstables

      Birks, Shuler, Soma et al (2002) Over 500 horses at two racetracks examined up to 5 races under typical US racing conditions.

    • Hopefieldstables

      What issue would you like science to put to rest? whether the sport is humane ? Racing on drugs is not a scientific question. If you are asking a horse to perform some task for entertainment and it cannot do it unless you cause some harm to the animal rendering it in need of medication (with a drug of very poor efficacy) then you have no sport at all.

      • Bryan Langlois (ShelterDoc)

        Well…Science would help lend some credibility to the statement you just made.  The point I was trying to get across is people making claims one way or the other based on anecdotal evidence that they themselves have seen.  I’m not against anecdotal evidence at all, but I was curious to see if a true study looking at horses on lasix and not on lasix was ever done in the US (looking at other performance and medical variables..ie electrolytes, red blood cell counts, other things…and tracked that over a few years), since the other variables like stabling and environment here would be different than in other areas.  I realize a study like this would be nearly impossible to do…considering all the other things that would have to be considered.  I was just curious

        Im a little confused by your second statement.  What harm is one causing that would require the medication?  Are you referring to bleeding being a result of harm we caused?  Or are you asserting that trainers are alleging the drug is needed to prevent the harm of bleeding? 

        One could make the argument no sport is a sport at all anymore if you factor drugs and supplements and all the other stuff into the mix since every athlete now will do it or try to get an edge if they can…well..except for maybe chess for those that consider it a sport.  Although who knows…maybe they are doing the frog juice for it.  Lord knows I would to make my mind numb enough to watch a match that long :) 

        • Hopefieldstables

          Trainers are alleging that horses cannot perform without a drug. If that is the case, we have an inhumane sport. I dont agree with your latter claim. Clean horse racing is the simple principle that all horses shall compete free of effect of any drug (irrespective of the effect of that drug). It is hardly novel, it is a principle enshrined in the World anti doping code. It is the principle which guides racing everywhere else. It can be done.

          • Sevencentsstable

            Yes, “Everywhere Else”, where their testing is much less extensive than ours is and they use a lot of other anti-bleeder meds that we cannot use.  So, if we eliminate Lasix and extend the takeout on Bute and Banamine to conform to Everywhere Else’s standards, shall we also lower our testing standards to match up with theirs?

          • Hopefieldstables

            What a load of nonsense. You are just repeating propaganda.

          • Hopefieldstables

             http://www.bloodhorse.com/horse-racing/articles/55921/kentucky-has-new-equine-drug-testing-contract

  • Bryan Langlois (ShelterDoc)

    Question: Does anyone know of a study that has been done or that is ongoing looking at the Lasix issue in North American Thoroughbreds and racing??  It seems to me all of these studies are done either in European Countries or South Africa or other places where the variables that go into things are not the same as here in the States.  I’m not a fan of drug use in horses, but I also think someone somewhere has to be looking at this in North American racing to give some sort of scientific answer in a true random study that is peer reviewed to help put the issue to rest…

  • Rachel

    Obviously you never read his bio.

  • FIVE2_THREE

    BL It’s hard to conduct a study in a country where just about every horse runs on lasix. its much easier to conduct such studies in countries where the drug is more regulated.
    In Europe some horses train on it,but in the US just about every body runs on it. USE VS ABUSE

  • FIVE2_THREE

    I JUST WANT TO KNOW WHY JUST ABOUT EVERY HORSE RUNS ON LASIX IN THE USA, EVERY HORSES CANT BE A BLEEDER.

    • Grarick

       If you read the article, Mr. Collins gave you the answer, in the shortest and most easily-understood way I have yet read: “To make matters worse, Lasix seems to be a performance enhancer, so that
      in order for a horse that doesn’t have the infirmity (severe bleeding)
      to be competitive with the horse that does have the infirmity, the horse
      that doesn’t have the infirmity has to receive the drug the infirm
      horse receives.  Therefore virtually all horses run on Lasix.”

    • http://twitter.com/slewfan Di

      It’s an enhancer simply by being a diuretic..it rids 15 to 30 lbs of fluid from the horse’s body prior to race time! Those who prefer not to use Lasix are forced to do so to be on the same playing field.  However, you are seeing more and more horses running w/o Lasix these days and some are winning…that’s a good thing; but if you want to give your horse the best chance of winning, you give him/her Lasix.

      • nu-fan

        And, that is  the argument that some human athletes have used as well.  “I can’t compete with others who are using drugs, so I need to also level the playing field by doing the same.”

  • FIVE2_THREE

    I JUST WANT TO KNOW WHY JUST ABOUT EVERY HORSE RUNS ON LASIX IN THE USA, EVERY HORSES CANT BE A BLEEDER.

  • Bryan Langlois (ShelterDoc)

    Hmm…good point.  Then I hope someone is going to be tracking how these horses that are owned by the group that has signed on to be Lasix free end up doing throughout their careers.  It would be the first real comparison study I would hope…

  • Hopefieldstables

    Birks, Shuler, Soma et al (2002) Over 500 horses at two racetracks examined up to 5 races under typical US racing conditions.

  • Hopefieldstables

    What issue would you like science to put to rest? whether the sport is humane ? Racing on drugs is not a scientific question. If you are asking a horse to perform some task for entertainment and it cannot do it unless you cause some harm to the animal rendering it in need of medication (with a drug of very poor efficacy) then you have no sport at all.

  • Hopefieldstables

    You can track lasix free horses all over the world (including US breds). If their outcome is superior to their US counterparts then the solution is to find out the underlying reason why and correct it. Drug use aimed at merely ameliorating a (thus) apparently avoidable condition is no solution at all.

  • Bryan Langlois (ShelterDoc)

    Well…Science would help lend some credibility to the statement you just made.  The point I was trying to get across is people making claims one way or the other based on anecdotal evidence that they themselves have seen.  I’m not against anecdotal evidence at all, but I was curious to see if a true study looking at horses on lasix and not on lasix was ever done in the US (looking at other performance and medical variables..ie electrolytes, red blood cell counts, other things…and tracked that over a few years), since the other variables like stabling and environment here would be different than in other areas.  I realize a study like this would be nearly impossible to do…considering all the other things that would have to be considered.  I was just curious

    Im a little confused by your second statement.  What harm is one causing that would require the medication?  Are you referring to bleeding being a result of harm we caused?  Or are you asserting that trainers are alleging the drug is needed to prevent the harm of bleeding? 

    One could make the argument no sport is a sport at all anymore if you factor drugs and supplements and all the other stuff into the mix since every athlete now will do it or try to get an edge if they can…well..except for maybe chess for those that consider it a sport.  Although who knows…maybe they are doing the frog juice for it.  Lord knows I would to make my mind numb enough to watch a match that long :) 

  • Bryan Langlois (ShelterDoc)

    I understand what you are saying, but from a scientific standpoint what you are suggesting leads to a flawed model and experiment.  There are two many variables in training methods and housing methods and even racing methods to make the comparison viable in the eyes of the scientific world.  However, I do agree that it should be looked at to see what differences might attribute to the change, and I can tell you right off the bat the main ones are the way races are run other places and the training and housing methods of those horses.  However, it would take a severe shift in mindset of racing owners,trainers, and breeders over here to go to that type of set up

  • Hopefieldstables

    No, not flawed, the differences are the whole point. First a population study to establish the outcomes are in fact different and then controlled studies to identify the contributing variables. Within the UK, there have studies to understand the contributing factors to EIPH and naturally those results would be clues to examine if they are also the culprits on a broader scale. There is no question that things are vastly different in Europe. You are also right, what we may discover may require huge changes.

  • Hopefieldstables

    Trainers are alleging that horses cannot perform without a drug. If that is the case, we have an inhumane sport. I dont agree with your latter claim. Clean horse racing is the simple principle that all horses shall compete free of effect of any drug (irrespective of the effect of that drug). It is hardly novel, it is a principle enshrined in the World anti doping code. It is the principle which guides racing everywhere else. It can be done.

  • Polowonder

    Let’s presume that somehow all the different facets of american racing got together and decided Jan. 1, 2013 that new rules would go into effect to prohibit all drugs on raceday.  How could it be enforced?  Would it include joint injections?  How about shockwave therapy?  Legend or Adequan, drugs meant to help, not hurt?  What about new drugs as yet untried but surely to be used once salix is gone.  It is not the only diuretic in existance.  Is it really possible to keep up with cheaters let alone get ahead?  Public perception is everything, Eight Belles proved that.  What would happen to racing if a major breakdown would occur during the running of the Derby or Breeder’s Cup that causes an accident?  Even in a perfect world, no drugs and only sound screened horses, it can happen!  Is there a plan?

  • Polowonder

    Let’s presume that somehow all the different facets of american racing got together and decided Jan. 1, 2013 that new rules would go into effect to prohibit all drugs on raceday.  How could it be enforced?  Would it include joint injections?  How about shockwave therapy?  Legend or Adequan, drugs meant to help, not hurt?  What about new drugs as yet untried but surely to be used once salix is gone.  It is not the only diuretic in existance.  Is it really possible to keep up with cheaters let alone get ahead?  Public perception is everything, Eight Belles proved that.  What would happen to racing if a major breakdown would occur during the running of the Derby or Breeder’s Cup that causes an accident?  Even in a perfect world, no drugs and only sound screened horses, it can happen!  Is there a plan?

  • Grarick

     If you read the article, Mr. Collins gave you the answer, in the shortest and most easily-understood way I have yet read: “To make matters worse, Lasix seems to be a performance enhancer, so that
    in order for a horse that doesn’t have the infirmity (severe bleeding)
    to be competitive with the horse that does have the infirmity, the horse
    that doesn’t have the infirmity has to receive the drug the infirm
    horse receives.  Therefore virtually all horses run on Lasix.”

  • Grarick

    Bravo, Mr. Collins, for the clearest, most-concise article yet on this issue. It really IS that simple, and you made it short enough that almost anyone should be able to read it and comprehend it (I say almost, because it was clearly too much for “pluckedduck1).

  • Grarick

    Bravo, Mr. Collins, for the clearest, most-concise article yet on this issue. It really IS that simple, and you made it short enough that almost anyone should be able to read it and comprehend it (I say almost, because it was clearly too much for “pluckedduck1).

  • RayPaulick

    Per his website biography, Mr. Collins was assistant to England’s champion trainer John Dunlop. I imagine he’s had his hands on a racehorse or two. And he’s willing to actually put his name with his opinions, something you might consider.

  • Cancilla45

    Brilliant Lincoln,you just managed to reduce the number of racing days by about 30% and bankrupted 60% of racings smaller owners.

    Elistist, like you and those stumpimg “clean up the game’ should start your own industry as you have no idea of the “big picture”

    • nu-fan

      I can tell where you place your priorities.  (By the way, that is not a compliment.)

      • love the game

        Fact–Horses race an average of 6 times annually in todays world. In the 1960′s they raced an average of 11+ times a year.
         It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to compute that it takes nearly twice as many horses to achieve the same number of starts. Fact–Horses running on lasix require more time to recover.

    • Marc

      That is a rather pathetic justification for animal abuse.

  • Cancilla45

    Brilliant Lincoln,you just managed to reduce the number of racing days by about 30% and bankrupted 60% of racings smaller owners.

    Elistist, like you and those stumpimg “clean up the game’ should start your own industry as you have no idea of the “big picture”

  • http://twitter.com/slewfan Irene

    It’s an enhancer simply by being a diuretic..it rids 15 to 30 lbs of fluid from the horse’s body prior to race time! Those who prefer not to use Lasix are forced to do so to be on the same playing field.  However, you are seeing more and more horses running w/o Lasix these days and some are winning…that’s a good thing; but if you want to give your horse the best chance of winning, you give him/her Lasix.

  • http://www.facebook.com/SusanKayne Susan Kayne

    HALLELUJAH…”
     but if a horse is not capable of racing without drugs in its system it shouldn’t be running at all”….AMEN!!!! Rock on Lincoln Collins :)

  • http://www.facebook.com/SusanKayne Susan Kayne

    HALLELUJAH…”
     but if a horse is not capable of racing without drugs in its system it shouldn’t be running at all”….AMEN!!!! Rock on Lincoln Collins :)

  • nu-fan

    I can tell where you place your priorities.  (By the way, that is not a compliment.)

  • nu-fan

    And, that is  the argument that some human athletes have used as well.  “I can’t compete with others who are using drugs, so I need to also level the playing field by doing the same.”

  • racehorse lover

    Yet another article that is misleading, and has the facts twisted.  This publication continues to have people like this write these misleading blogs, and make everyone involved with horses seem like a bunch of crooks, and drug pushers…

    “A number of drugs can be present in a horses system on race day.”

    Yes Mr. Collins they can.  The reason for this is because our US testing is SO MUCH MORE SENSITIVE than that of the rest of the world. Positive tests in the US can now be measured in picograms which is ONE TRILLIONTH of a gram.  So in other words, a horse can be taken off a therapeutic medication as far as three weeks before a race, and our testing will in some cases, still detect it’s presence.  Because of this, we have developed (non performance enhancing) threshold levels for some of the most commonly used therapeutic medications such as bute, banamine, and clenbuterol… But I’m sure that’s what you meant when you made your comment????

    “Clenbuterol is particularly insidious since it, if administered on a regular basis, and in large doses has a steroidal effect.”

    Clenbuterol is a bronchiodilator that is known to speed the heart rate up.  If given in this so called “large dose” it would send a horse into cardiac arrest, and in some cases cause death. It has also been proven recently (which most horsemen are aware of) to show negative effects on a horses air passages if used for an extended period of time. It has also never been proven that clenbuterol has these “steroidal effects” that you speak of.

    For the record, I don’t feel that every horse should run on lasix, nor do I feel that any other drugs should be allowed on race day, but lets at least keep our facts straight, and stop misleading people with stories like this…   

  • racehorse lover

    Yet another article that is misleading, and has the facts twisted.  This publication continues to have people like this write these misleading blogs, and make everyone involved with horses seem like a bunch of crooks, and drug pushers…

    “A number of drugs can be present in a horses system on race day.”

    Yes Mr. Collins they can.  The reason for this is because our US testing is SO MUCH MORE SENSITIVE than that of the rest of the world. Positive tests in the US can now be measured in picograms which is ONE TRILLIONTH of a gram.  So in other words, a horse can be taken off a therapeutic medication as far as three weeks before a race, and our testing will in some cases, still detect it’s presence.  Because of this, we have developed (non performance enhancing) threshold levels for some of the most commonly used therapeutic medications such as bute, banamine, and clenbuterol… But I’m sure that’s what you meant when you made your comment????

    “Clenbuterol is particularly insidious since it, if administered on a regular basis, and in large doses has a steroidal effect.”

    Clenbuterol is a bronchiodilator that is known to speed the heart rate up.  If given in this so called “large dose” it would send a horse into cardiac arrest, and in some cases cause death. It has also been proven recently (which most horsemen are aware of) to show negative effects on a horses air passages if used for an extended period of time. It has also never been proven that clenbuterol has these “steroidal effects” that you speak of.

    For the record, I don’t feel that every horse should run on lasix, nor do I feel that any other drugs should be allowed on race day, but lets at least keep our facts straight, and stop misleading people with stories like this…   

  • Maureen Tierney

    Very well said!!  And very true.  I see that Dale Romans is slated to make a counter statement, but the truth is that only by eliminating all raceday drugs will the issue die.  This whole thing started as a result of legalizing Bute.  Once the door was opened it became the nightmare it is today.  Looking at the top 3 year olds this year is one of the best arguments against drugs.  Those horses were not trained or conditioned well enough to last a season.  The reliance on drugs is killing horsemanship.

  • Maureen Tierney

    Very well said!!  And very true.  I see that Dale Romans is slated to make a counter statement, but the truth is that only by eliminating all raceday drugs will the issue die.  This whole thing started as a result of legalizing Bute.  Once the door was opened it became the nightmare it is today.  Looking at the top 3 year olds this year is one of the best arguments against drugs.  Those horses were not trained or conditioned well enough to last a season.  The reliance on drugs is killing horsemanship.

  • Sevencentsstable

    Yes, “Everywhere Else”, where their testing is much less extensive than ours is and they use a lot of other anti-bleeder meds that we cannot use.  So, if we eliminate Lasix and extend the takeout on Bute and Banamine to conform to Everywhere Else’s standards, shall we also lower our testing standards to match up with theirs?

  • Equine Avenger

    “but if a horse is not capable of racing without drugs in its system it shouldn’t be running at all”

    Nuff said!

  • Equine Avenger

    “but if a horse is not capable of racing without drugs in its system it shouldn’t be running at all”

    Nuff said!

  • Hopefieldstables

    What a load of nonsense. You are just repeating propaganda.

  • love the game

    Fact–Horses race an average of 6 times annually in todays world. In the 1960′s they raced an average of 11+ times a year.
     It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to compute that it takes nearly twice as many horses to achieve the same number of starts. Fact–Horses running on lasix require more time to recover.

  • Marc

    Horses
    have raced for centuries without pre-race drugs. The issue today is not
    whether a racehorse has a good trainer, but whether the trainer has a
    good drug dealer offering the proper chemical concoctions able to give a
    physically compromised horse what it needs to stay in the game.

    Conformational
    defects, a tendency to bleed, or an increased tendency to suffer
    musculo-skeletal damage are characteristics likely to have some genetic
    predisposition. Compensating for these weaknesses though the
    inappropriate use of “therapeutic” medications only exacerbates and
    perpetuates the problem.  The truly best horses will prevail when they are all expertly conditioned and running on hay, oats and water.

    We need to be breeding a tougher, more durable racehorse whose drug-free wins make him a more desirable sire.

    The
    only way to achieve this is through tough, no-race day drug mandates,
    stiff penalties honored in all jurisdictions and an absolute commitment
    to put the safety of horse and rider above all other considerations.

  • Marc

    Horses
    have raced for centuries without pre-race drugs. The issue today is not
    whether a racehorse has a good trainer, but whether the trainer has a
    good drug dealer offering the proper chemical concoctions able to give a
    physically compromised horse what it needs to stay in the game.

    Conformational
    defects, a tendency to bleed, or an increased tendency to suffer
    musculo-skeletal damage are characteristics likely to have some genetic
    predisposition. Compensating for these weaknesses though the
    inappropriate use of “therapeutic” medications only exacerbates and
    perpetuates the problem.  The truly best horses will prevail when they are all expertly conditioned and running on hay, oats and water.

    We need to be breeding a tougher, more durable racehorse whose drug-free wins make him a more desirable sire.

    The
    only way to achieve this is through tough, no-race day drug mandates,
    stiff penalties honored in all jurisdictions and an absolute commitment
    to put the safety of horse and rider above all other considerations.

  • Ron Crookham

    While I neither condone or condemn the use of Lasix, racing has always had drug issues rearing it ugly head. I refer you to Steve Haskin’s excellent article:

    http://cs.bloodhorse.com/blogs

  • Hopefieldstables
  • voiceofreason

    Please realize that until recently, this sport had unrestricted and rampant abuse of steroids SUPPORTED and INSTITUTIONALIZED by the industry itself. This institutional support of a corrupt practice was/is a clear indication… the sport simply doesn’t care, unless forced to. Deal with it. The breed has become a laboratory (with no voice to protect itself…) and all the trainers, all the alphabets, all the excuses in the world can no longer rub the tarnish off that lamp. The sport doesn’t care about the horse’s welfare. It cares about utilization rates. Can i get this horse on the track, regardless of anything else. Period.

    So here is where lax laws and lack of integrity has gotten us.

    Utilization resourcing.

    • Hopefieldstables

      Well said. The same trainers who huff and puff about lasix and equine welfare are the very same ones who gave their horses anabolic steroids for no other reason than they could. A practice, banned in every other form of competition, hardly in the interests of the health and welfare of the horse.

      • Hopefieldstables

        Silly me, the steroids were for “appetite” and “vigor”. It is amazing the level of nonsense that people can self delude themselves to believe.

  • voiceofreason

    Please realize that until recently, this sport had unrestricted and rampant abuse of steroids SUPPORTED and INSTITUTIONALIZED by the industry itself. This institutional support of a corrupt practice was/is a clear indication… the sport simply doesn’t care, unless forced to. Deal with it. The breed has become a laboratory (with no voice to protect itself…) and all the trainers, all the alphabets, all the excuses in the world can no longer rub the tarnish off that lamp. The sport doesn’t care about the horse’s welfare. It cares about utilization rates. Can i get this horse on the track, regardless of anything else. Period.

    So here is where lax laws and lack of integrity has gotten us.

    Utilization resourcing.

  • Hopefieldstables

    Well said. The same trainers who huff and puff about lasix and equine welfare are the very same ones who gave their horses anabolic steroids for no other reason than they could. A practice, banned in every other form of competition, hardly in the interests of the health and welfare of the horse.

  • Hopefieldstables

    Silly me, the steroids were for “appetite” and “vigor”. It is amazing the level of nonsense that people can self delude themselves to believe.

  • Marc

    That is a rather pathetic justification for animal abuse.

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