Lasix: Enough of the dog-and-pony shows

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“I’m trying to find out what the other side of the argument is to the people that may not like the use of this medication,” Thoroughbred Owners of California chairman Mike Pegram said during a recent equine health forum that endorsed the continued use of furosemide to treat exercise-induced pulmonary hemorrhage.

Well, Mike, you came to the wrong place.

This was a dog-and-pony show, albeit one that came with lots of knowledge and a pretty hefty cost. Seattle heart surgeon Mark Dedomenico, a member of the TOC board and a man who at the 2011 Eclipse Awards referred to himself as a “visionary” (something more modest visionaries allow others to say about them), paid for the conference, including travel expenses of participants. He got the desired echo chamber he wanted.


In much the same way, some members of Congress put on a biased anti-furosemide hearing in Pennsylvania last spring, calling only on those people whose point out of view they agreed with in support of federal legislation to ban all drugs in racing. In that instance, at least, the meeting was open to the public and the press. That wasn’t the case here.

There was one reporter invited to attend the forum, and Dedomenico seemed so pleased with the story written (it had a Donald Trump-like reference to the doctor having played a “major role” in developing coronary bypass surgery and writing “many major landmark papers” on heart surgery) that a summarized version became the TOC’s press release.

That one story failed to point out that no one was invited from the “opposition party” – those owners, breeders, trainers and veterinarians from the United States and around the world who believe that top-class Thoroughbred racing can be conducted without treating 95%-plus of the horses with a diuretic on the day they race. The Jockey Club, Breeders’ Cup or Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association had no representation, nor was the California Horse Racing Board’s equine medical director invited to listen to the presentations.

There were just preachers and a choir.  We’ve had enough of these one-sided dog-and-pony shows. All they’ve accomplished is to polarize everyone on medication issues. What is needed is serious dialogue, give and take, and a better understanding of why North America has isolated itself from the rest of the racing world.

At one point during the proceedings, Dedomenico was quoted as saying research needed to be funded by “breeders and sales organizations, after all they created the product, and the product appears to have some defects.”

I’m not aware of any breeders or sales organizations being there, either. Most of the executives with Keeneland and Fasig-Tipton were 3,000 miles away that weekend, attending the Eclipse Awards in South Florida.

There were some strong comments reported, the most significant by owner Gary West, who said, “If raceday Lasix is banned, I will quit buying horses of all ages and systematically begin liquidating all of my Thoroughbred holdings.”

West then managed to insult horsemen in England, Ireland, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Hong Kong, Australia, New Zealand, and other racing countries that don’t allow race-day furosemide by saying it is “cruel and inhumane” not to give the drug to horses before they race. He described drug-free racing akin to “waterboarding your horse in their own blood.”

He wasn’t quite finished, either, according to the published report.

“There’s going to be $100-$200 million a year leave this business if they ban Lasix (furosemide) in November,” West said.

Ah, yes, November. While this forum took place in January, it really was all about November, and the Breeders’ Cup that will take place at Santa Anita Park on Nov. 1-2 under rules that, for the first time, would ban the use of furosemide in all races. At the 2012 Breeders’ Cup, furosemide was banned in the five of the 14 races restricted to 2-year-olds.

I expect owners like Gary West and one of his trainers, Bob Baffert, who believe it is wrong to ban furosemide on Breeders’ Cup, will work to overturn the race-day medication rule between now and November. They feel so strongly about the need for this medication that they are not willing to give it up for just one or two days a year.

Unless, of course, that one day happens to take place in the United Arab Emirates, home of the Dubai World Cup. West-owned and Baffert-trained horses are nominated to participate in World Cup races, where the rules will be like those at the Breeders’ Cup: namely, no furosemide.

Wouldn’t it be ironic if West won the $10 million Dubai World Cup, racing furosemide-free, with a horse he’s just nominated to the big race in hopes of getting that fabulous, all-expenses paid trip to the desert?

The horse’s name: Guilt Trip.

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  • Knowitall

    Awesome. Amen.

  • Knowitall

    Awesome. Amen.

  • tfly

    Right on Ray, and well said.  i stopped reading the forum’s press release/propaganda right after the false statement that ‘lasix is the only drug to prevent…’  The hypocracy of many of these people, including some owners and trainers, is insulting.  A discussion about lasix should be had, but should that take precedent over cleaning up the use of other performance enhancing drugs, both legal and illegal?  When pre-race vet bills in NY are often about $1500, something is drastically wrong.

     

    • concerned horseowner

      Performance enhancing drugs should be banned!  Is Lasix really a performance enhancing drug? Is it a therapeutic drug that prevents exercise-induced pulmonary hemorrhage?     It would be interesting to perform a study on the use of Lasix. Study should include testing horses with history of bleeding (ie, scoped by license vet and was + bleeder after race/breeze). Also test horse that were never diagnosed as bleeders (tested negative with scope), but the horseman/trainers felt that Lasix would help. Compare running with and without lasix….As a horse owner that has owned a horse that did scope positive,  I will not run that horse without Lasix. I believe that Lasix protects him. Yes he should run better with it. Maybe I am wrong,  do the study and prove me wrong, but my horse will not be the guinea pig. There are alot of great horses that are bleeders (scope shows a drop of blood in lungs). Uncle Mo ?    I don’t know

      • Hornsix1

        Ray”s article pointed out that “in England, Ireland, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Hong Kong, Australia, New Zealand, and other racing countries don’t allow race-day furosemide”  Unless their Thoroughbreds are physically different from those running in the US, I believe you have your “study” there!  They have been the “guinea pigs” well ahead of the horses here. Why not research the relevant statics of race horses in these countries?  It may set your mind at ease some. 

        • Watcher1

          Based on personal experience I know that both pollution and humidity exacerbate bleeding. Racetracks near large U.S. cities generally tolerate high levels of both. Conversely, a lot of overseas race meets are held in the country and presumably are easier on the horses’ respiratory systems. In addition they are almost universally conducted on turf, thereby minimizing dust particulants.

          IMO racing in the U.S. is harder on horses than in other countries.  To compare them is to avoid several critical distinctions.

          • Barry Irwin

            Allergens are even more problematic for horses with a bent toward bleeding and these are often found more often in country-like settings than in cities. 

          • Barney Door

             Yes.  And in barns, whatever the location.

          • Hornsix1

            Some brief research using google maps:
            Sandown and Ascot tracks are just outside of London. According to March
            15, 2012 article in The Guardian, “London air pollution is at record
            high. Traffic
            fumes, weather and dirty air from northern England and France add up to
            worst air pollution since 2008′s more stringent monitoring”  This track is 20 miles from the English Channel, so when it comes to humidity, not exactly an “arid” region, in fact London is known for its fog.

            Nad
            Al Sheba, which has dirt tracks, in Dubai  six miles from the International Airport, 2
            miles from downtown Dubai  and within 2-4 miles from several “industrial
            areas” named Al Quoz, Al Aweer, Ras Al Khor This track is very near the Persian Gulf, so I’m assuming humidity can be found here.

            Flemington
            Racecourse in Melbourne, Australia is 2 miles from downtown from the
            major city of Melbourne and 4 miles from an airport and far from being in “the
            country” but rather (looking at a map) the area 360 degrees surrounding
            the the track is cris-crossed by highways and interstates.I could google other. Again, Melbourne is situtated right on the coastline, so a humid, not dry region.I suppose I could continue to google conditions at other tracks worldwide, but I don’t have the time.  

          • Barney Door

            What is your personal experience at Happy Valley? One of the least informed comments ever posted re: lasix and there is no dearth of competition for that honor.

        • http://www.facebook.com/MaureenTierney51 Maureen Tierney

          The key phrase is “race-day”.  Other countries do use Lasix, for training.  Not on race day.  And it seems to work well for them.  What is so frustrating about people supposedly searching for the truth of what is best for the horse is the total ignoring of the question why does Lasix still work if given days ahead of a race?  Why do other breeds of horses bleed as well as TB’s?  It really appears as though no one wants to know the truth, they are just focused on their own agendas.  That is one of the problems with racing. 

          • Train N Go

            It is common knowledge that if you give lasix days out from the time  you race then your horse would stand a good chance of racing while being in a dehydrated condition. Even giving electrolytes, it would be hard to keep him hydrated on race day. It is much better for the horse to give build ups and electrolytes before and after race day and only give lasix on race day.

          • Matt Clarke

            Interesting point Maureen, however having spent 35 plus years in England, my mother, grandfather and great grandfather were trainers I cannot ever remember one instance when a horse trained on lasix. I also spent many years in the yards of some of the best trainers in the U.K. Same thing, lasix was simply not used. If its use is now widespread for training purposes, which I doubt it has happened only in the last few years.

          • McGov

            Can’t imagine a horse training on Lasix…if they can’t handle training without bleeding than wow..big problem.  And if they train on Lasix and then don’t race on it???  Doesn’t make sense in this corner.

          • Barney Door

             You have more to learn than can be covered in a blog.

          • Barney Door

             The use of lasix and other meds is widespread in most foreign jurisdictions except HK and Germany.  Using lasix for training-only prevents hemorrhaging during training and enhances post race recovery.  Whether you are for against lasix, placing other jurisdictions on a pedestal of virtue is inaccurate and has no bearing on whether it should be permitted or not.

        • Train N Go

          Just because they don’t allow Lasix in these other countries doesn’t mean that all of their horses are free from bleeding. It would be interesting to get some input from these countries as to how they deal with these horses that bleed. Do they rule them off the track, how do they handle those horses that bleed. Don’t tell me they are all so physical fit and nutritionally sound that they don’t have any bleeders. I have raced horses that were as fit as they could be with the best nutrition available and some  would bleed. Most horses will bleed at some time during their race career. it is much less severe if they are on Lasix.

          • McGov

            They send them to North America!

      • Michael Martin

        That study has already been conducted, and concluded that furosemide is a performance enhancing drug.  The Jockey Club, and the Grayson Foundation funded the study, and it is easy to check it out.

        • Train N Go

          It  is not performance enhancing, it just helps with bleeding

      • Yovankajojo

        I know Marion Scott Dupont other wise known as Lessburg vet. hosp. did a study years ago I mean years ago they used one of my horse known to be a bad bleeder end result 10 cc lasix 2 hrs out helped him termendously if they don’t need it I don’t give it but if they need  it they should be able to get it.

        • Matt Clarke

           Great in theory……but most jurisdictions require lasix to be given as one single IV shot FOUR hours out.

    • http://profile.yahoo.com/GM4MKOH3SRM3GAZLMIKOOOAI74 jttf

       i cant believe what i am hearing.  gary west says that it is cruel and inhumane to race a horse without lasix.   gary west and mike pegram ran 2 year olds without lasix in the breeders cup.   so are these 2 guys cruel to animals ?   they also use trainers who run their best horses without lasix when they run in dubai.  why would they use trainers that are cruel to animals ?   did you see who won the eclipse award for best owner in 2012 ?   godolphin won the award.   godolphin does not race their 2 year olds with lasix, because its stunts their growth.  how come a common part time horse racing fan can know more about the effects of lasix than horsemen who make this their living everyday ?  i have seen this effect for many years.   we need to have an incentive for racing horses without lasix.  especially if they dont need it.   assign less weight.   then we can have horses with and without lasix running in the same world.

      • Train N Go

        There is no evidence or study that proves that lasix stunts a horses growth.

        Some  have suggested it interfers with bone growth, but there is no research that proves this.  It will however remove fluid from the joint and
        horses that use lasix should also use adequan.

        • Circusticket

           Would you do this to yourself?

        • http://profile.yahoo.com/GM4MKOH3SRM3GAZLMIKOOOAI74 jttf

          there is plenty of evidence.   there has been no dropoff in beyer pars for 2 year olds since 1992.   there has been a 7 point dropoff in beyer pars for the horses who are 3 years and older.   you can also do some research for the top 3 canidates for horse of the year.  go back and look at how many of HOY canidates raced on lasix when they were 2 years old.  it isnt often when you find a hoy horse that raced more than twice on it.   thank goodness the breeders cup is delivering the message.   now the horses that ran in the b.c. juvenile races have a better chance of improving during 3 year old season.

      • Barney Door

         Not bad.  How about bonus for placing without lasix? Reduced stakes entry fees or even entry preference to non-lasix horses.

  • tfly

    Right on Ray, and well said.  i stopped reading the forum’s press release/propaganda right after the false statement that ‘lasix is the only drug to prevent…’  The hypocracy of many of these people, including some owners and trainers, is insulting.  A discussion about lasix should be had, but should that take precedent over cleaning up the use of other performance enhancing drugs, both legal and illegal?  When pre-race vet bills in NY are often about $1500, something is drastically wrong.

     

  • http://www.facebook.com/debbie.rhodes.752 Debbie Rhodes

    Thanks for continuing to bring this up.

  • http://www.facebook.com/debbie.rhodes.752 Debbie Rhodes

    Thanks for continuing to bring this up.

  • Onthefly

    I don’t pay much attention to your opinions, but it seems that you’re anti-furosemide.  Really there should be a happy medium somewhere; although, considering that Lance Armstrong is a shy innocent compared to many horse trainers (all – not just racing), it would seem that we will never come up with a way to firmly regulate it.  Having seen MY horse choking on her own blood (still having nightmares), I think that it is a drug that has it’s place on raceday.

    If we move to a total ban, I think there should be a rule inforced that all stud farms must make the vet records of their stallions available for review.  I will want to know what I’m getting into before I breed.

    • Forego

      Right on point Mr. Paulick.

      That that is exactly where the problem lies, BREEDING!!/Training. We are very successful in breeding frail, faster horses for shorter distances. (OH please let’s stop the nonsense about how we still breed/train for the Triple Crown and classic distance horses that are sturdy and have stamina. Let’s not even go there)

      Yet, we don’t even attempt to breed the bleeding out of our horses or attempt other means of training to minimize it.  JUST PURE LAZINESS.

      A horse who has some bleeding after racing should be banned from the breeding shed. Other jurisdiction does it, why can’t we?

      It is unfair to the animal because they DO NOT HAVE A CHOICE.

      So let’s stop this drama about a horse choking in their own blood and the nightmares. We did not do anything to help these animals.

      • Onthefly

        My comments wasn’t about drama, it was about life.  If memory serves me right, the horse in question raced as a three and possibly four-year-old sans lasix (1998 & 99) and showed a little distress after a work, was scoped and the vet reccommended lasix.  I believe she was seven when she bled “through lasix” and we immediately retired her.  Mostly because she did make the choice to continue racing as her jockey realized something was wrong and fought her to pull up.  A decade later, she still acts out when the racing stock ships out in January and she has to stay home (as a 10-yr-old she sailed over her fence to follow the trailer down the drive).

        Everyone is responsible for their own choices, and I am vaguely offended by your generalization that “we” don’t help these animals.  Personally, owners who continue to send their horses to trainers like Dutrow (who so blatantly deserved his suspension) should be investigated and held responible for their support of cheating.

        To that end, local racing jurisdictions are either unable or unwilling to police their people and I believe that race day medications violations should not just be a visit to the Commission, but also to the local court house (perhaps with handcuffs and an official escort).

        • Michael Martin

          Drugging an animal to make a profit is inherently cruel, and animal cruelty is criminal.  the animal doesn’t know its welfare is compromised when racing on these so called therapeutic medications,

    • Hornsix1

      “If we move to a total ban, I think there should be a rule inforced that all stud farms must make the vet records of their stallions available for review.  I will want to know what I’m getting into before I breed.”
      Excellent idea! Responsible breeding is and should be at the root of solving many issues that plague the sport

  • Onthefly

    I don’t pay much attention to your opinions, but it seems that you’re anti-furosemide.  Really there should be a happy medium somewhere; although, considering that Lance Armstrong is a shy innocent compared to many horse trainers (all – not just racing), it would seem that we will never come up with a way to firmly regulate it.  Having seen MY horse choking on her own blood (still having nightmares), I think that it is a drug that has it’s place on raceday.

    If we move to a total ban, I think there should be a rule inforced that all stud farms must make the vet records of their stallions available for review.  I will want to know what I’m getting into before I breed.

  • Self Proclaimed Genius
  • Self Proclaimed Genius

    http://www.paulickreport.com/n

    More on this from the Jockey Club.

  • Liber5yb

    Banning lasix will probably end summer racing in Florida,Louisiana,Texas,New Mexico, Arizona, Oklahoma and Kentucky because of the oppressive heat. And from what I understand, horses tend to bleed in those conditions.

    • Vic Zast

      No racing in these states during the summer would be a good start to fixing horse racing’s over-saturation problem.  But I think you’re being over-reactive.

    • Marshall Cassidy

      If horses tend to bleed in summer conditions, they should not be raced. If those tracks you’ve mentioned would probably close during the oppressive heat of summer, OK. What’s your point?

      • Hossracergp

        Why not look at individual populations of horses…..Calder in the summer runs mostly two year old races where as if you took the horses on a card at Penn National and ran them in the summer at Calder the chances are bleeding would be more of an issue. Different things are not the same are they?

    • Roisin

      It is even worse to further dehydrate a horse in hot weather. Hot weather is a dehydrator in and of itself, and then to give Lasix on top of that…

      We know to drink more fluids to prevent dehydration in hot weather, don’t we !

    • Sean Kerr

       Liber… does it really make sense to give an intense diuretic to an athlete in oppressive heat? Is it a good idea to force an athlete to urinate and eliminate crucial electrolytes, potassium and other minerals BEFORE the competitive high performance event? The heat has absolutely nothing to do with bleeding in the lungs. That is a wives tale – don’t buy in to it.

      What other athlete in the world is barred from drinking fluids before a competition? Only the American race horse. It is ridiculous and the use of furosemide as practiced here is based purely on ignorance and a fear of losing an edge to the competition.

      • Joe Jock

        What other athlete in the world is barred from drinking fluids before a competition?  Uhm..the dehydrated athlete riding the horse.

        • Sean Kerr

           Joe Jock: LOL – bravo – that was excellent.

        • Dcurtis78

          The horses are not banned from drinking fluids before a race, it is old school to take the water away when the lasix is given, but it is not banned and studies show unnecessary.

      • Hornsix1

        Human athletes chug drinks containing electrolytes/minerals on the sidelines during a game. Our horses are PEEing their elecs/mins onto the ground thanks to a drug that supposedly “protects” them. Defies logic!

    • Jimlang

      My father trained and raced in florida, louisiana, texas, oklahoma, new mexico, arizona and kentucky in the summer months from 1950 right up to the day that they started allowing lasix(early to mid 70s?)…..racing was stronger then ever.

    • diastu in tempe

      We don’t race in AZ in the summer. But – Dubai? South Africa? Australia? Not exactly cold climates and they are racing without furosemide just fine, thank you.

      • Dcurtis78

        Until 2 years ago we did race in the summer in AZ. And hopefully will this year.

        • diastu in tempe

          Racing at Yavapai Downs in Prescott at elevation is not the same as racing at Turf Paradise in Phoenix. Prescott rarely tops 90 in the summer whereas Phoenix is routinely 110. Apples to oranges. TUP has never raced in the summer.

    • Randyp

      Singapore, Hong Kong, Dubai all have very similar climates.

  • Liber5yb

    Banning lasix will probably end summer racing in Florida,Louisiana,Texas,New Mexico, Arizona, Oklahoma and Kentucky because of the oppressive heat. And from what I understand, horses tend to bleed in those conditions.

  • Dadscountrygirl

    Excellent, Ray! So many points to consider, and unless one is on the backside after a horse getting over the limit Lasix (happens all the time; trainers ask for up to 20ccs, put cash in vets’ pockets for the ‘favor’) one wouldn’t see the effects, especially on hot days, of this practice on the horses. It’s unnecessary, and downright inhumane. NOT good for racing when crowds see horses topple over from dehydration, either, eh?

    • Train N Go

      Vets give the Lasix not the trainer. No vet is going to give a horse 20cc or 20 ml of lasix. this would show up  in the test lab and they would be in serious trouble. Your statement is ridiculous. It is these kind of off the wall statements  that gives the public a bad opinion about racing.

  • Dadscountrygirl

    Excellent, Ray! So many points to consider, and unless one is on the backside after a horse getting over the limit Lasix (happens all the time; trainers ask for up to 20ccs, put cash in vets’ pockets for the ‘favor’) one wouldn’t see the effects, especially on hot days, of this practice on the horses. It’s unnecessary, and downright inhumane. NOT good for racing when crowds see horses topple over from dehydration, either, eh?

  • Vic Zast

    No racing in these states during the summer would be a good start to fixing horse racing’s over-saturation problem.  But I think you’re being over-reactive.

  • Barry Irwin

    Ray, you are such a troublemaker!

  • Barry Irwin

    Ray, you are such a troublemaker!

  • mike

    Ray, you really should stop writing about lasix, you seriously dont have a clue. Europe does NOT race medication free as you and fools like Barry Irwin suggest.Raced there for 15 years and have huge vet bills for medicinal drugs and who cares what happens in mickey mouse venues that run botique meets

    • Knowitall

      What do they race on, Mike? On race day?

      • Matt Clarke

         Yes please Mike enlighten us all. Not just blanket statements but specific medications. I am not going to hold my breath waiting for a cogent response.

    • Ssk12955

      Mike, you are the fool. Public perception is that we drug our horses. Until horses race drug free, on race day, we are doomed. If the horse is unable to race without the aid of drugs, then it should not race. Wise up fool.

    • Michael Martin

      Everyone is a fool except the guy with the needle?  Give me a break, and stop name calling and offer up some substantiated evidence instead of little-boy tactics like this.  Nobody has a clue except the guy on the inside of the doping-drugging for profit scheme?  What a wise guy.  Following this wisdom, one concludes that we need more medications on race day.  That ought to open up the betting;  more drugs will produce more fans at the windows?  Mike, you are addicted to addiction itself.

  • Marshall Cassidy

    If horses tend to bleed in summer conditions, they should not be raced. If those tracks you’ve mentioned would probably close during the oppressive heat of summer, OK. What’s your point?

  • mike

    Ray, you really should stop writing about lasix, you seriously dont have a clue. Europe does NOT race medication free as you and fools like Barry Irwin suggest.Raced there for 15 years and have huge vet bills for medicinal drugs and who cares what happens in mickey mouse venues that run botique meets

  • Forego

    Right on point Mr. Paulick.

    That that is exactly where the problem lies, BREEDING!!/Training. We are very successful in breeding frail, faster horses for shorter distances. (OH please let’s stop the nonsense about how we still breed/train for the Triple Crown and classic distance horses that are sturdy and have stamina. Let’s not even go there)

    Yet, we don’t even attempt to breed the bleeding out of our horses or attempt other means of training to minimize it.  JUST PURE LAZINESS.

    A horse who has some bleeding after racing should be banned from the breeding shed. Other jurisdiction does it, why can’t we?

    It is unfair to the animal because they DO NOT HAVE A CHOICE.

    So let’s stop this drama about a horse choking in their own blood and the nightmares. We did not do anything to help these animals.

  • http://equineprep.com/ John O’Hara

    We keep forgetting that one of the main voices for the bettor – Steven Crist – has stated numerous times that bettors don’t want to see lasix leave (unlike what the loud minority wants you to believe) – they just want the cheaters to be punished.

    We have a simple solution and one that has been there all along but has a very big conflict of interest when it comes to removing the illegal element and that solution is that race tracks can simply say that those trainers convicted are no longer permitted on their grounds.  That would be the end of it – no laws to defend.  The problem with that simple solution is that some of these trainers have a very large number of horses in training and the racing offices don’t want to lose their horses in the entry (pretty short sighted because those horses will go to another trainer).  

    The minority of non-lasix users are definitely trying to control the vast majority of owners and their trainers who prefer to continue to use lasix. Why doesn’t the Jockey Club pay to do an independent survey of all owners. Why didn’t the Jockey Club and Breeders Cup do a 100% scoping of all two year olds that ran this year at the Breeders Cup who were forced to run with out lasix. It could have been discreet and not named any horse but at least – we the majority of owners and trainers that want to run on lasix could have had some real data to analyze how many didn’t bleed at all – and how many had grades of bleeding from 1-5? 

    We consistently are reading about trying to compare global racing and the USA – it’s comparing apples and oranges.  Every where else other than America there are very few race tracks that run simultaneously on the same day in a country.  We have at least 35 states and our horses are spread across them – I think – that race. We don’t have 10,000 horses to support a race meet like other global circuits.  We also have in general a much tougher racing experience on our horses.  First quarter miles on dirt are run far faster than those of turf.  I think it is fair to say if the horse is only pushed for its last 1/4 mile run that the horse experiences a better opportunity not to bleed.  We also run in very hot summer  temperatures unlike a lot of the global racing like the European countries.

    Why don’t the vast minority of owners who don’t prefer lasix – run their horses this year without it and then let independent vets scope them for the entire year so that there will be more data to help analyze the results.        

    • Marshall Cassidy

      Mr. O’Hara:

      You are a proponent of Lasix use who has a partial understanding of horse racing, breeding and and the economics of our business: entirely self-centered. Rather than pick apart each of your positions, I ask what purpose would be served by The Jockey Club’s surveying of owners for their opinions, when such a survey would obviously yield just more of the same acrimony, pro and anti? The Jockey Club’s position on this subject seems firm, which is good, for one side alligns itself with efforts to make money, while the other promotes horse welfare. 

    • Sean Kerr

       John – a couple of problems with your arguments here: ever been to Australia and South Africa? We’ll talk about heat when you get back. ALL horses should be scoped: not just the non-salix users. Racetrack vets at Belmont tell me that out of every 20 horses scoped maybe one or 2 show any signs of bleeding. So clearly there is a disconnect by the pro-salix claims and reality. 95% to 99% of horses have no need for this diuretic. So – don’t single out those horses where owners prefer to forgo salix: all horses should be digitally photo-scoped after every race, and those images downloaded to a centralized database. Cold – objective truth. I bet the hand-wringing over letting go of salix will disappear in one year. But we could go on about all of the other over-used therapeutic medications actually contribute to whatever bleeding there is. So – it is not a simple situation as you imply in your post.

      • Hornsix1

        Also-Dubai has a dirt track and it’s hot as blazes there!

        • Lowechris18

          Dubai,at least Meydan, has turf and Tapeta, not dirt.

          • Hornsix1

            I didn’t say ALL venues in Dubai had a dirt track, just “Dubai has a dirt track”.

            Nad Al Sheba has a dirt track and is, in fact, in Dubai.  http://www.triposo.com/poi/W__10711280

      • Train N Go

        If only 2 or so show any signs of bleeding out of 20 and since they are all on lasix, it must be doing a fairly good job.

    • horseowner

      If we are concerned about the horses, as we should be, We should let independent vets scope these horses and make the diagnoses of bleeders . If the Lasix is used therapeutically to prevent problems , it should not be banned.  Also we need to perform study of Lasix vs Non lasix use in non bleeders to see if there really is any difference in the results. Does it really enhance performance in all horses?  or Is Lasix a crutch for some trainers/owners/vets?……..These are tough issues……What if your son was a little league pitcher with asthma but needed Proventil , albuterol inhaler or syrup to perform. These medications have some stimulant effect. Since it has the propensity to be abused,  banned at most race tracks during performance.    ……Should the kid be banned?  I would hope not! 

      • Michael Martin

        Clembuterol is very similar to albuterol, and both are banned in racing.  Steroids and growth hormone, as well as erythropoietin, can all be used therapeutically.  Bench the kid if he has to be given drugs to compete.

        • Train n Go

          clembuterol is not banned in racing. Different racing jurisdictions just have different withdrawal times

    • Ann Maree

      Scoping is not the issue.  The definition in the rest of the world of a bleeder is a horse who bleeds from his nose.  The definition was changed in the U.S. I believe to justify the use of lasix in nearly all horses.  This is why the broad use of the scope.  According to some sources, even human athletes may show evidence of some bleeding during competitive exertion.  Again, and again, and over and over, those who favor the use of lasix never do address how the rest of the world manages to get along without it.  As someone pointed out here, there is your laboratory, there is the definitive study.  No more studies are needed.  They have studied this issue ad nauseum.  Get rid of the drugs period!  JMHO

    • Whobet

      Whobet has a novel idea.

      how about adding into the Race Conditions,

      NO horse can be on LASIX

      • Randyp

        The conditions of a race can not supersede the rules of the state in which the race is run with regards to allowable medication.

    • SteveG

      The problem with the rather provincial notion that bettors want lasix ( as opposed to MTV or Ovaltine) is the fact that non-lasix jurisdictions, Japan, Hong Kong, France, the UK, Australia, have robust race betting & that there was robust betting in the US prior to lasix & no surge in betting upon its advent.

      To the same extent (some) trainers fear racing without lasix because they’ve never trained without it, some bettors irrationally fear a collapse of bettable form without any empirical evidence to support the idea.

    • Michael Martin

      That would only be fair if the horses receiving Lasix also received weight equal to the drop in weight caused by Lasix, to eliminate the unfair advantage caused by Lasix.

  • http://equineprep.com/ John O’Hara

    We keep forgetting that one of the main voices for the bettor – Steven Crist – has stated numerous times that bettors don’t want to see lasix leave (unlike what the loud minority wants you to believe) – they just want the cheaters to be punished.

    We have a simple solution and one that has been there all along but has a very big conflict of interest when it comes to removing the illegal element and that solution is that race tracks can simply say that those trainers convicted are no longer permitted on their grounds.  That would be the end of it – no laws to defend.  The problem with that simple solution is that some of these trainers have a very large number of horses in training and the racing offices don’t want to lose their horses in the entry (pretty short sighted because those horses will go to another trainer).  

    The minority of non-lasix users are definitely trying to control the vast majority of owners and their trainers who prefer to continue to use lasix. Why doesn’t the Jockey Club pay to do an independent survey of all owners. Why didn’t the Jockey Club and Breeders Cup do a 100% scoping of all two year olds that ran this year at the Breeders Cup who were forced to run with out lasix. It could have been discreet and not named any horse but at least – we the majority of owners and trainers that want to run on lasix could have had some real data to analyze how many didn’t bleed at all – and how many had grades of bleeding from 1-5? 

    We consistently are reading about trying to compare global racing and the USA – it’s comparing apples and oranges.  Every where else other than America there are very few race tracks that run simultaneously on the same day in a country.  We have at least 35 states and our horses are spread across them – I think – that race. We don’t have 10,000 horses to support a race meet like other global circuits.  We also have in general a much tougher racing experience on our horses.  First quarter miles on dirt are run far faster than those of turf.  I think it is fair to say if the horse is only pushed for its last 1/4 mile run that the horse experiences a better opportunity not to bleed.  We also run in very hot summer  temperatures unlike a lot of the global racing like the European countries.

    Why don’t the vast minority of owners who don’t prefer lasix – run their horses this year without it and then let independent vets scope them for the entire year so that there will be more data to help analyze the results.        

  • Roisin

    It is even worse to further dehydrate a horse in hot weather. Hot weather is a dehydrator in and of itself, and then to give Lasix on top of that…

    We know to drink more fluids to prevent dehydration in hot weather, don’t we !

  • Knowitall

    What do they race on, Mike? On race day?

  • Matt Clarke

     Yes please Mike enlighten us all. Not just blanket statements but specific medications. I am not going to hold my breath waiting for a cogent response.

  • Sean Kerr

     Liber… does it really make sense to give an intense diuretic to an athlete in oppressive heat? Is it a good idea to force an athlete to urinate and eliminate crucial electrolytes, potassium and other minerals BEFORE the competitive high performance event? The heat has absolutely nothing to do with bleeding in the lungs. That is a wives tale – don’t buy in to it.

    What other athlete in the world is barred from drinking fluids before a competition? Only the American race horse. It is ridiculous and the use of furosemide as practiced here is based purely on ignorance and a fear of losing an edge to the competition.

  • concerned horseowner

    Owners don’t need the medication…The horse needs it….its therapeutic and avoids exercise-induced pulmonary hemorrhage (bleeding)…….Other than preventing bleeding (if a horse bleeds, it will interfere with his breathing and of course that would also interfere with his performance), how does lasix enhance performance?…… Yes , i concede it is probably used too often. I dont believe 85 to 90 percent of horses are bleeders….. Unfortunately we breed for speed/ wins,  at the expense of other hand me down poor traits, such as thin hoof walls, etc…..I am not sure if there is really an increase in bleeders or not?   But again other than preventing bleeding , how does lasix enhance performance?  ………

    • Matt Clarke

       why is “first time lasix” such a good handicapping tool? Horses tend to invariably improve when put on lasix and it has nothing to do with bleeding.

      • nu-fan

        Matt:  I’ve often wondered why the daily programs that are handed out at tracks list whether a horse is on Lasix–and even, if a first time user of the drug?  Isn’t the program guide used primarily for handicapping purposes?  I’ve also noticed that the handicappers on television often will note whether a horse is first time Lasix and wondered why they would mention that as well?  What other purposes for these notations if not for determining the performance of a horse?  There may be other reasons but are they valid ones?

        • Matt Clarke

           You got it!

    • Sean Kerr

       ’concerned’ – re-read the study: salix does not prevent EIPH (bleeding). And: why is it that so many horses bleed through it?

  • concerned horseowner

    Owners don’t need the medication…The horse needs it….its therapeutic and avoids exercise-induced pulmonary hemorrhage (bleeding)…….Other than preventing bleeding (if a horse bleeds, it will interfere with his breathing and of course that would also interfere with his performance), how does lasix enhance performance?…… Yes , i concede it is probably used too often. I dont believe 85 to 90 percent of horses are bleeders….. Unfortunately we breed for speed/ wins,  at the expense of other hand me down poor traits, such as thin hoof walls, etc…..I am not sure if there is really an increase in bleeders or not?   But again other than preventing bleeding , how does lasix enhance performance?  ………

  • Ejb3810

    Very well written Ray.  It seems to me that these self serving purported geniuses are doing more to damage the industry than anything. Better people than Gary West have already come and gone from this industry and it has survived.
    They wonder why more people don’t come to the track, and they don’t seem to have a clue that the general public thinks it is a corrupt drug plagued activity that they would have less of a chance winning at than with a slot machine.   

  • Ejb3810

    Very well written Ray.  It seems to me that these self serving purported geniuses are doing more to damage the industry than anything. Better people than Gary West have already come and gone from this industry and it has survived.
    They wonder why more people don’t come to the track, and they don’t seem to have a clue that the general public thinks it is a corrupt drug plagued activity that they would have less of a chance winning at than with a slot machine.   

  • Jimlang

    “There were some strong comments reported, the most significant by owner Gary West, who said, “If raceday Lasix is banned, I will quit buying horses of all ages and systematically begin liquidating all of my Thoroughbred holdings.”
    It sounds like this guy and others with the same mentality are not in the game for the love of the horses or the industry, but instead, simply for the love of money. We don’t need guys like him and the horses would be better off in the long run without guys like him. Anyone who truly was in this industry for the love of the horses and the sport, wouldn’t make a comment like that.

    • Train N Go

      Jimlang,

      Horseracing  has to be run like any other business. If you don’t turn a profit you are history.Yes, it can be an enjoyable business, but it is an expensive business.
      Mr. West believes like I do,that if you want to take care of your horses you  better try to help them perform at the highest level you can.

  • Jimlang

    “There were some strong comments reported, the most significant by owner Gary West, who said, “If raceday Lasix is banned, I will quit buying horses of all ages and systematically begin liquidating all of my Thoroughbred holdings.”
    It sounds like this guy and others with the same mentality are not in the game for the love of the horses or the industry, but instead, simply for the love of money. We don’t need guys like him and the horses would be better off in the long run without guys like him. Anyone who truly was in this industry for the love of the horses and the sport, wouldn’t make a comment like that.

  • Marshall Cassidy

    Mr. O’Hara:

    You are a proponent of Lasix use who has a partial understanding of horse racing, breeding and and the economics of our business: entirely self-centered. Rather than pick apart each of your positions, I ask what purpose would be served by The Jockey Club’s surveying of owners for their opinions, when such a survey would obviously yield just more of the same acrimony, pro and anti? The Jockey Club’s position on this subject seems firm, which is good, for one side alligns itself with efforts to make money, while the other promotes horse welfare. 

  • concerned horseowner

    Performance enhancing drugs should be banned!  Is Lasix really a performance enhancing drug? Is it a therapeutic drug that prevents exercise-induced pulmonary hemorrhage?     It would be interesting to perform a study on the use of Lasix. Study should include testing horses with history of bleeding (ie, scoped by license vet and was + bleeder after race/breeze). Also test horse that were never diagnosed as bleeders (tested negative with scope), but the horseman/trainers felt that Lasix would help. Compare running with and without lasix….As a horse owner that has owned a horse that did scope positive,  I will not run that horse without Lasix. I believe that Lasix protects him. Yes he should run better with it. Maybe I am wrong,  do the study and prove me wrong, but my horse will not be the guinea pig. There are alot of great horses that are bleeders (scope shows a drop of blood in lungs). Uncle Mo ?    I don’t know

  • Joe Jock

    What other athlete in the world is barred from drinking fluids before a competition?  Uhm..the dehydrated athlete riding the horse.

  • http://www.facebook.com/ben.vandenbrink.52 Ben van den Brink

    An true bleeder (from the nostrils) will bleed anyhow, no matter how much lasix it will get.
    No matter how much weight it will loss. Thanks the diuretic part, races are run faster, than where the locomotive system is natural build for.

  • http://www.facebook.com/ben.vandenbrink.52 Ben van den Brink

    An true bleeder (from the nostrils) will bleed anyhow, no matter how much lasix it will get.
    No matter how much weight it will loss. Thanks the diuretic part, races are run faster, than where the locomotive system is natural build for.

  • Sean Kerr

     John – a couple of problems with your arguments here: ever been to Australia and South Africa? We’ll talk about heat when you get back. ALL horses should be scoped: not just the non-salix users. Racetrack vets at Belmont tell me that out of every 20 horses scoped maybe one or 2 show any signs of bleeding. So clearly there is a disconnect by the pro-salix claims and reality. 95% to 99% of horses have no need for this diuretic. So – don’t single out those horses where owners prefer to forgo salix: all horses should be digitally photo-scoped after every race, and those images downloaded to a centralized database. Cold – objective truth. I bet the hand-wringing over letting go of salix will disappear in one year. But we could go on about all of the other over-used therapeutic medications actually contribute to whatever bleeding there is. So – it is not a simple situation as you imply in your post.

  • Roisin

    To illistrute how detrimental the combo. of hot weather and Lasix can be for the horse: I know  a very well bred mare (Hennessy and Relaunch) who was racing in FL. She showed a lot of speed but could not always maintain it. She was diagnosed with Synchronous Diaphramatic Flutter (SDF) commonly referred to as “Thumps”.

    The cause of this condition: Dehydration and elyctrolyte imbalance. The condition can be very serious if not treated; treatment is fluid and elyctrolyte replacement.

    Yes, she was racing on Lasix and no, she was not a known bleeder. She was never raced without Lasix and was soon retired. If she had been my horse I would have insisted on her racing without the drug, Lasix.

  • horseowner

    If we are concerned about the horses, as we should be, We should let independent vets scope these horses and make the diagnoses of bleeders . If the Lasix is used therapeutically to prevent problems , it should not be banned.  Also we need to perform study of Lasix vs Non lasix use in non bleeders to see if there really is any difference in the results. Does it really enhance performance in all horses?  or Is Lasix a crutch for some trainers/owners/vets?……..These are tough issues……What if your son was a little league pitcher with asthma but needed Proventil , albuterol inhaler or syrup to perform. These medications have some stimulant effect. Since it has the propensity to be abused,  banned at most race tracks during performance.    ……Should the kid be banned?  I would hope not! 

  • Jimlang

    My father trained and raced in florida, louisiana, texas, oklahoma, new mexico, arizona and kentucky in the summer months from 1950 right up to the day that they started allowing lasix(early to mid 70s?)…..racing was stronger then ever.

  • Roisin

    To illistrute how detrimental the combo. of hot weather and Lasix can be for the horse: I know  a very well bred mare (Hennessy and Relaunch) who was racing in FL. She showed a lot of speed but could not always maintain it. She was diagnosed with Synchronous Diaphramatic Flutter (SDF) commonly referred to as “Thumps”.

    The cause of this condition: Dehydration and elyctrolyte imbalance. The condition can be very serious if not treated; treatment is fluid and elyctrolyte replacement.

    Yes, she was racing on Lasix and no, she was not a known bleeder. She was never raced without Lasix and was soon retired. If she had been my horse I would have insisted on her racing without the drug, Lasix.

  • kyle

    Pegram appears to have perfected the practice of willfull ignorance. Not surprising considering what one would have to overlook to make it big in his primary vocation.

  • kyle

    Pegram appears to have perfected the practice of willfull ignorance. Not surprising considering what one would have to overlook to make it big in his primary vocation.

  • Sean Kerr

    The solution is really very simple: all racehorses at every track after every race should be digitally photo-scoped after every race. The photos are downloaded to a centralized database. That is the only way to get to the objective unbiased truth. We have the technology and it is cheap to implement. We could learn a lot from such information. It could help us improve the sport from wherever the truth emerges. But there is a small set of three crucial obstacles to making this fact find relevant: 1) ALL medications from foaling to training must be recorded and also downloaded into a centralized database; 2) all feed regimens must be recorded (do horses living on processed feed pellets from Purina Strategy tend to bleed more than those living on oats?); 3) ALL urine must be analyzed to determine if the leaching of potassium and electrolytes are compromising the equine athlete system.

    If we can handle this simple process of data and information gathering, we could unshackle the forces that are driving American horse racing to oblivion: we could turn this great game into the next NFL. All we need is the courage and willingness to do the work of seeking and verifying the truth. Whatever that truth turns out to be.

    • Rrn56

      i’ve been told that my horse bleeds and it is not viewable via scoping.  I guess its deep pulmonary bleeding.  What will I have to do shoot the horse is lasix is taken from him?

      • Matt Clarke

         No you don’t shoot him, you do the responsible thing. Accept that he does not have the necessary attributes to be a racehorse, retire him and find him a good home with a second career. If you cannot afford to do this or do not want to accept the responsibility do not own a racehorse. Simple. Period.

        • Hornsix1

          Thank you for stating what *should* be the obvious!

      • Sean Kerr

        Rrn56 – afraid to state your name I see. That is ridiculous: how can it be determined that the horse bled if it can’t be scoped? That seems a bit silly and someone is feeding you baloney.

  • Sean Kerr

    The solution is really very simple: all racehorses at every track after every race should be digitally photo-scoped after every race. The photos are downloaded to a centralized database. That is the only way to get to the objective unbiased truth. We have the technology and it is cheap to implement. We could learn a lot from such information. It could help us improve the sport from wherever the truth emerges. But there is a small set of three crucial obstacles to making this fact find relevant: 1) ALL medications from foaling to training must be recorded and also downloaded into a centralized database; 2) all feed regimens must be recorded (do horses living on processed feed pellets from Purina Strategy tend to bleed more than those living on oats?); 3) ALL urine must be analyzed to determine if the leaching of potassium and electrolytes are compromising the equine athlete system.

    If we can handle this simple process of data and information gathering, we could unshackle the forces that are driving American horse racing to oblivion: we could turn this great game into the next NFL. All we need is the courage and willingness to do the work of seeking and verifying the truth. Whatever that truth turns out to be.

  • Roisin

    Pardon my error. Illustrate !

    • nu-fan

      Roisin:  It’s okay.  Wouldn’t it be great if there was a spell-check with this program?  I have gone in and edited my comments, from time to time, because I didn’t catch a typo earlier.  Drives me nuts!

  • Roisin

    Pardon my error. Illustrate !

  • salthebarber

    I am going to take a cold hearted player’s point of view on this topic. I suspect most players believe that Lasix is used as a PED. It comes down to a matter of trust. When trainers deny Lasix can be used as a PED, it just creates greater distrust. If the above theory is correct, then I believe there is a compromise that can be found here. Probably, something similar to the one put in place recently by the NYRA for other drugs. I just don’t know why the players and their point of views are not a bigger part of this debate.

    • kyle

      My objection as a player to lasix has little or nothing to do with its performance enhancing quality. Its near universal use has so obscured that aspect as to make it a non-handicapping factor. My objections involve the long-term health of the game – declining durability of the equine athlete, breeding implications, and the concentration of stock in the stables of a few factory trainers.

      • salthebarber

        kyle, I am not sure there is uniform use of lasix on raceday. If the dosage varies then it is possible that it could be used more as a PED on some days than others. Maybe someone can shed more light on this.

    • diastu in tempe

      Sal, we are talking about the welfare of living creatures here, not race cars. If the use of furosemide is detrimental to the welfare of the horse, both short term and long term, and to the welfare of the breed, both short term and long term, then that trumps the “cold hearted players” in my opinion. If North American racing can move to drug free over the next few years (breeding away from bleeding will be a crucial part of this) then all the players will have their level field again, just as they do in other countries.

      • salthebarber

        diastu in tempe, if Lasix is detrimental both in the short and long term then there is no doubt the game should move away from it. I agree.

  • salthebarber

    I am going to take a cold hearted player’s point of view on this topic. I suspect most players believe that Lasix is used as a PED. It comes down to a matter of trust. When trainers deny Lasix can be used as a PED, it just creates greater distrust. If the above theory is correct, then I believe there is a compromise that can be found here. Probably, something similar to the one put in place recently by the NYRA for other drugs. I just don’t know why the players and their point of views are not a bigger part of this debate.

  • Sean Kerr

     Joe Jock: LOL – bravo – that was excellent.

  • kyle

    My objection as a player to lasix has little or nothing to do with its performance enhancing quality. Its near universal use has so obscured that aspect as to make it a non-handicapping factor. My objections involve the long-term health of the game – declining durability of the equine athlete, breeding implications, and the concentration of stock in the stables of a few factory trainers.

  • Madelyn

    West shows just how IGNORANT he is.  He has definitely been Baffert-ized, like his horses.  One of my biggest arguments against Lasix is that it is often used to mask other substances, NOT to help the horse.  I have a filly/mare running Lasix-free and I feel like a salmon swimming upstream, but I believe that it WILL be banned and my mare will be ahead of the curve… 

    • RayPaulick

      The science shows that Lasix does not mask other drugs, if given under regulated guidelines. However, private veterinarians being allowed into the stalls of horses four hours before they race does facilitate prohibited practices.

      • Hopefieldstables

         Ray that claim about lasix is simply not accurate.

        • RayPaulick

          My comments about Lasix not masking other drugs are based on testimony given by Dr. Rick Sams of HFL labs before the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission in November 2011. His testimony begins on page 69 but he pages 83-84 he specifically addresses how regulating administration of Lasix eliminates the masking issue.

          http://www.khrc.ky.gov/Documents/RaceDayMedicationTranscript.pdf

          • Hopefieldstables

            I hear you but it is simply not accurate. However, it depends largely on the approach and its impact is less for the US approach than it is for the approach of say EHSLC countries. Much too complicated to explain. In short, lasix would compromise their testing standards but does not compromise the more liberal thresholds available in US testing

          • Michael Martin

            The standards in US racing have changed, in many instances to a zero-tolerance model, with more sophisticated testing than anywhere in the world, not “more liberal” standards in any way.  Currently, samples reveal even minute, non-therapeutic levels of drugs, or of metabolites.

          • Hopefieldstables

             If the threshold is high, it matters not one iota how good the lab is.

          • Sean Kerr

             Ray – thanks for the link: that was a helpful presentation. I will reach out to Dr. Sams – my question would be did his or Dr. Tobin’s determination of masking include the testing of sample drugs from all 5 of the classifications referred to in the the ARCI medication list (which in turn is derived from the DEA) i.e., classes I through class V. He covers a few relatively innocuous drugs but I wonder if there are yet some drugs that can be masked by furosemide. For the sake of disclosure I do not consider Dr. Tobin to be a credible commentator on the subject because to my mind some of his work and public comments are biased and subjective (read: agenda driven). I am curious to see what Dr. Soma has to say about this presentation: Dr. Sams answer to Mr. Ward’s question is in direct contradiction to Dr. Soma’s testimony before congress in 2008. If memory serves me right you were in attendance for that hearing.

          • Michael Martin

            Living and working in a zero-tolerance racing state–Colorado–we are assured that there is no masking effect associated with furosemide.  HPLC and Mass Spec/GC are commonly used in other laboratories to separate compunds;  sensitivites and specificities are in the picogram ranges, and less.  In other words, virtually any exogenous substance would be detected.  More labile compunds, such as peptides like cobrotoxin, which was found in Patrick Biancone’s possession, disappear in the protein fraction of blood and are less detectable.  The race between pharmacology and detection will always be present.  All these arguments miss the point:  Should we require that horses be needled before every race?  This is what furosemide usage creates:  all horses (95%) are drugged before they race.  What a fine thing to share with your children.  Should we give them all aderol or ritalin so that they can “live up to their potential”?  This is more popular on college campuses than ever.  Methamphetamine was given to the Nazi Army to make them more effective.   

          • Train N Go

            I am afraid that you are the one mkissing the point.  Giving horses lasix is not drugging them. it is therapeutic. The definition of therapeutic is serving to preserve health. If 95% of horses are racing on lasix, they are preserving their health. You can tell your children that ritalin and aderol will not make it through the test barn and lasix will not mask these drugs. You have the though process that all drugs are harmful ,but I bet if you had a blood clot, in your body, you would want your doctor to put you on a blood thinner to try to dissolve it before it broke loose and hit your heart or lungs.

      • Sean Kerr

         Sorry Ray – but I think you are wrong here: can you post the study to back up your claim here? You ought to reach out to Dr. Lawrence Soma – your masking information would be news to him.

      • Barry Irwin

        Ray, when I read the statement that Lasix does not mask drugs, I called up the United States Anti-Doping Association and asked whether Lasix is considered by them to be a diuretic OR a masking agent, OR both.

        Here is what they sent to me:

        WADA ClassificationDiuretics and Other Masking Agents (S5)Masking agents are prohibited. They include:Diuretics, desmopressin, plasma expanders (e.g. glycerol; intravenous administration of albumin, dextran, hydroxyethyl starch andmannitol), probenecid; and other substances with similar biological effect(s). Local application of felypressin in dental anaesthesia is not prohibited.Diuretics include:Acetazolamide, amiloride, bumetanide, canrenone, chlorthalidone, etacrynic acid, furosemide, indapamide, metolazone, spironolactone, thiazides (e.g. bendroflumethiazide, chlorothiazide, hydrochlorothiazide), triamterene; and other substances with a similar chemical structure or similar biological effect(s) (except drospirenone, pamabrom and topical dorzolamide and brinzolamide, which are not prohibited).The use In- and Out-of-Competition, as applicable, of any quantity of a substance subject to threshold limits (i.e. formoterol, salbutamol, morphine, cathine, ephedrine, methylephedrine and pseudoephedrine) in conjunction with a diuretic or other masking agent requires the deliverance of a specific Therapeutic Use Exemption for that substance in addition to the one granted for the diuretic or other masking agent.

        • Train N Go

          Barry,

          It sounds to me like this orginazation is Anti-lasix and  their members are made up of industry members who are ant- Lasix.
          If Lasix is a masking age,t Our Racing Comission labs would not be able to detect the dermorphin tests that they produced

      • Train N Go

        Ray,
        The large majority of vets are only going to give Lasix 4 hours out from race time.  A few trainers will try to give their horse an illegal drug, however the State racing commission lab sites are equipped to pick up these drugs even down to the nanogram and these trainers will receive a bad test.

    • Train N Go

      now ,who is showing her ignorace? The trainers who got  bad tests for dermorphin were also running on Lasix. Lasix does not hinder the labs ability to detect any drugs period.

      • Sean Kerr

         Not so Train N Go: you are assuming that all drugs are the same. Dr. Lawrence Soma testified in congress back in 2008 that it masks ‘some’ drugs. Demorphin is an extremely powerful narcotic. I doubt furosemide can mask any drug of this potency. But I don’t think you can make a blanket unqualified generalization that applies to ‘all’ or ‘any’.

        • Sean Kerr

           BTW: just about every research paper I have read on any furosemide study references numerous other studies performed and published by Dr. Soma.

        • Train N Go

          Yes all or any. There are no drugs that the lab can not pick up. All drugs are not the same , but the lab can pick them up just the same. The lab can pick up any performance enhancing drug period.

  • Madelyn

    West shows just how IGNORANT he is.  He has definitely been Baffert-ized, like his horses.  One of my biggest arguments against Lasix is that it is often used to mask other substances, NOT to help the horse.  I have a filly/mare running Lasix-free and I feel like a salmon swimming upstream, but I believe that it WILL be banned and my mare will be ahead of the curve… 

  • Ebracin1945

    There an extreme horse shortage , what would happen to field sizes when we start running without lasix(heaven forbid !!)and horses come to the barn after the race visibly bleeding out the nostrils or for some reason a horse with good consistent form runs up the track an is scoped by the veterinarian informs the trainer he bled on a scale of 1to10 a 7 advises a course of antibiotics clembutrol rest for @ least 30 days so the lungs have a chance to heal
    NOW HERE IS THE BAD NEWS the owner has excessive vet bills ,horse rest for 30 days another 30 to 50 days to get back to the races 3 months traing bills .
    What about the guy who bet on this and lost his money!!!!!! If he knew why I got to think he wouldn’t be a happy customer ther goes another fan . Now let’s consider the racing dept.
    Fact that about 60 to 70 percent of horses bleed ( south African study look into there study)

    • Abbers

      Horse shortage???? What a hoot! The over-breeding in this industry is ridiculous. So many castaways it is shameful.

    • Forego

       If the horse is a 7, his racing days is over and don’t even send him or her to the breeding shed. Excessive vet bills? Why would anyone get into a business not knowing the negatives and positives. Shortage of horses? ever wonder why there is a shortage? guess when fields size started to decrease to the introduction of Lasix!!

      There goes another fan because these lasix running horses can barely run half a dozen races a year. The “stars” do not run long enough to gather fans and make them regular customers/gamblers.

      Lasix is one of the big reason this industry is nothing more than a NICHE INDUSTRY!!

      • Herewego

        Great theory Forego unfortunately the facts get in the way of your story. The U.S. was third in the world in terms of average starts per year per horse in the early 80′s and today remains third in the world in terms of average starts per year per horse.

        The reality is that average starts per year per horse are falling in countries where lasix is not being used as well as the U.S. Lasix is obviously not the reason for this but rest assured the misinformation in your post is no worse than that in many other posts on this topic.

        • Tinky

          Average starts per year is relatively meaningless. Average starts in a horse’s career are what count. Around 1970 in the U.S. it was over 30. Now? Under 11.

    • Matt Clarke

       Rest a horse for 30 days???? Good grief God forbid any horse gets a 30 day rest.

    • Dcurtis78

       Clembutrol even in therapeutic use as you mention, is very damaging to the heart, research it. 

  • Ebracin1945

    There an extreme horse shortage , what would happen to field sizes when we start running without lasix(heaven forbid !!)and horses come to the barn after the race visibly bleeding out the nostrils or for some reason a horse with good consistent form runs up the track an is scoped by the veterinarian informs the trainer he bled on a scale of 1to10 a 7 advises a course of antibiotics clembutrol rest for @ least 30 days so the lungs have a chance to heal
    NOW HERE IS THE BAD NEWS the owner has excessive vet bills ,horse rest for 30 days another 30 to 50 days to get back to the races 3 months traing bills .
    What about the guy who bet on this and lost his money!!!!!! If he knew why I got to think he wouldn’t be a happy customer ther goes another fan . Now let’s consider the racing dept.
    Fact that about 60 to 70 percent of horses bleed ( south African study look into there study)

  • Lex. Trainer

    Talk about an ‘echo chamber’.

    Did Barry Irwin dictate this to you or just sign off on it?

    • RayPaulick

      No, and at least Barry uses his real name. 

      As I wrote last spring, the anti-Lasix presentation before members of Congress was a stacked deck in favor of a ban http://www.paulickreport.com/news/ray-s-paddock/congressional-hearing-on-horse-racing-will-it-have-an-impact/ . 

      I am suggesting real dialogue on the issue where both sides listen as well as speak.

      • Lex. Trainer

        “I am suggesting real dialogue on the issue where both sides listen as well as speak.”

        Admirable.  But in front of who?  The Kentucky Horse Racing Commission?   

        They already did that, remember?  It did no good.

        This is a political issue, Ray.  It is already a stacked deck.

        • Raysghost

          We’ve had 30 years of your approach, Lex–easy raceday drugging.  What have you built?

      • Bonniemcdo

        I agree–real dialogue.  I think cool heads need to do studies and then meet again .  At least it is being discussed. A complete ban without a good look at both sides at this time should not occur.  There may be ways to allow the use of lasix in some of the horse population to let people run their horses but to make it part of a horses medical history. Bleeding mares may run but you want to know that and they may not be used to breed. Colts that win races may run but they may not be used as sires. Just one thought.  This site has a nice exchange of ideas on issues in racing—bravo for  you for doing this.

    • Sean Kerr

      Lex (?) – I note that you ignored Ray’s comment. Are you afraid to stand behind your comments?

  • Ebracin1945

    Continue : the racing dept would really be scrambling for entries short fields lower handle now lower purses very bad scenario for everyone involved in our game
    Don’t believe that trainers and owners with big pocketbooks wouldn’t have a big edge as they pay to have some alternitive herb or drug made so that ther horse don’t bleed ( it’s done in euorpe ) don’t think ther horses don’t bleed otherwise all those grass horses that come over here and run on lasix suddenly run lights out ( 1 st time in states on lasix big angle ) I hope all these people that think horses don’t bleed understands the consequences !!!!!!!!!!

    • Matt Clarke

       What is done in Europe? Don’t make wild unsubstantiated claims tell us what is done.

      • Roisin

        Yes, I also have heard about some remedy for EIPH. I believe it was said it came from Ireland. I can’t provide any other information, unfortunately.

        Perhaps someone knows about it ?

        • Hopefieldstables

          World’s greatest secret LOL.

      • Michael Martin

        More training replaces the drug.  Physiological adaptation enables the horse to run without bleeding.

    • Sean Kerr

       Ebracin1945: I understand the consequences: our horses run fewer starts and are less sound. My wager is that if we stop using furosemide, our horses will become more sound, recover faster and race more often. Your way of thinking has failed. Why don’t we let go of the medicine cabinet and start becoming horsemen again?

    • Ssk12955

      If the horse bleeds, give it time and therapy. If it continues to bleed, then It should not be racing. If fifteen to twenty percent are chronic bleeders, that they should not race. They are not stallion potential. Who need to pass on the bleeder gene. Public perception is that we drug our horses. Until we cease doing so, we are on our way to oblivion. Wake up.

  • Lex. Trainer

    Talk about an ‘echo chamber’.

    Did Barry Irwin dictate this to you or just sign off on it?

  • Ebracin1945

    Continue : the racing dept would really be scrambling for entries short fields lower handle now lower purses very bad scenario for everyone involved in our game
    Don’t believe that trainers and owners with big pocketbooks wouldn’t have a big edge as they pay to have some alternitive herb or drug made so that ther horse don’t bleed ( it’s done in euorpe ) don’t think ther horses don’t bleed otherwise all those grass horses that come over here and run on lasix suddenly run lights out ( 1 st time in states on lasix big angle ) I hope all these people that think horses don’t bleed understands the consequences !!!!!!!!!!

  • Forego

    Mr. Paulick is right on –

     
    The problem lies, in the BREEDING!!/Training. We
    are very successful in breeding frail, faster horses for shorter
    distances. (OH please let’s stop the nonsense about how we still
    breed/train for the Triple Crown and classic distance horses that are
    sturdy and have stamina. Let’s not even go there)

    Yet, we don’t even attempt to breed the bleeding out of our horses or
    attempt other means of training to minimize it.  JUST PURE LAZINESS.

    A horse who has some bleeding after racing should be banned from the breeding shed. Other jurisdiction does it, why can’t we?

    It is unfair to the animal because they DO NOT HAVE A CHOICE.

    So let’s stop this drama about a horse choking in their own blood and
    the nightmares. We did not do anything to help these animals.Save us the crocodile tears!!

    • Hornsix1

      Well said!

    • Craig Brogden

      What stallions do Breeders use in NA

      Sprinting stallions struggle to stand at stud commercially in Kentucky

      The majority of commercial stallions that retire to Kentucky and succeed showed that they could run around two turns.

      At most tracks in America that means at least a mile and a sixteenth and often a mile an an eighth and even a mile and a quarter.
       Tiznow
      A.P. Indy
      Giants Causeway
      Empire Maker
      Dynaformer
      Lemon Drop Kid
      Awesome Again
      Ghostzapper
      Kittens Joy
      Medaglia Doro
      Bernardini
      Include
      Proud Citizen
      Street Cry
      This is a quick list of highly commercial stallions that performed at distances over a mile and an eighth at the highest level, many who managed to win at a mile and a half at the highest level.

       If those stallions cannot pass on enough stamina to run a mile and a quarter then there is something really wrong with the transmission of genetic material.

      Training techniques may contribute to horses failing to run the distance, pace of the race, surface on day of race or maybe the preception of the people watching the race. The losers always appear to not make the distance when maybe they are inferior racehorses.
      Breeders produce what the buyers, that is the racehorse owners, want to buy, we do not breed what we want them to buy. We would fail in our business very quickly if we tried to make the end user buy what we wanted them to.
      We breeders sell at auction where the buyer has the choice to purchase our product for the use that they desire. Would they buy a sprinter type from us breeders if that was their goal at the racetrack!!!
      Or a bleeder? if their goal was to medicate their racehorse?

      If Lasix was so important and inhumane to these owners and trainers then they would not chase the money in Dubai and nominate their medication dependant horses to a $10 million dollar race that does not allow the use of Lasix.

      Inhumane or Greedy!!!!

      • Larry Ensor

        I would agree by and large. But I feel in the last 30 years 2 types of breeders have evolved. Private breeders, those who breed for their racing stable and the Commercial breeder, those that breed for the “ring”. Your comments IMO falls under the latter. There has always been commercial breeders but for the most part they owned the farm and a lot of the mares bred and sold. They were highly educated in the art and IMO chose their matings with the end result being on the race track not just in the ring. I have done plenty of matings over the years and when my suggestions go to committee be it for our own or clients a stallion that really fit a mare more times then not would be by passed for one that was “more commercial”. I am guilty of this as I am sure the majority of commercial breeders are. As you said we breed for the buyers and cater to their whims. Having to make an educated guess what the flavor of the month will be 3 years down the road. Just look at the top 25 third crop sires list. The majority of the 11-25 most likely will not be considered for a “commercial mating”.
        Has this evolution of Thoroughbred breeding had a detrimental effect on today’s racehorse? I have no idea without studying commercial breeders of the past, sales performance and race track performance. But intuitively it seems to suggest a possibility.
        Personally I don’t feel that breeders are responsible for the perceived increase of EIPH in American racehorses in the past 20-30 years. I believe the science of genetics will back me on this. Personally I think it has more to do with the type of horsemanship in this day and age and the type of racing we have now. But this is just supposition.
        I keep reading about how we need more studies on why our horses have or develop EIPH. Which is fine. But what I think what begs the question is why aren’t studies being done on why EIPH is not a major issue with the majority of horses in rest of the racing world. At least that is what we are being told.

  • Rrn56

    i’ve been told that my horse bleeds and it is not viewable via scoping.  I guess its deep pulmonary bleeding.  What will I have to do shoot the horse is lasix is taken from him?

  • Forego

    Mr. Paulick is right on –

     
    The problem lies, in the BREEDING!!/Training. We
    are very successful in breeding frail, faster horses for shorter
    distances. (OH please let’s stop the nonsense about how we still
    breed/train for the Triple Crown and classic distance horses that are
    sturdy and have stamina. Let’s not even go there)

    Yet, we don’t even attempt to breed the bleeding out of our horses or
    attempt other means of training to minimize it.  JUST PURE LAZINESS.

    A horse who has some bleeding after racing should be banned from the breeding shed. Other jurisdiction does it, why can’t we?

    It is unfair to the animal because they DO NOT HAVE A CHOICE.

    So let’s stop this drama about a horse choking in their own blood and
    the nightmares. We did not do anything to help these animals.Save us the crocodile tears!!

  • salthebarber

    kyle, I am not sure there is uniform use of lasix on raceday. If the dosage varies then it is possible that it could be used more as a PED on some days than others. Maybe someone can shed more light on this.

  • http://www.facebook.com/angelika.halakerr Angelika Hala Kerr

    Thank you, Ray Paulick.  I would gladly have an open and constructive discussion on furosemide/Lasix.  The HBPA forum on race day medications was also behind closed doors and no transcript available – I asked. 
    I have yet to hear/read any pro-Lasix argument that is not based on hearsay, liberal interpretation of science and, sadly, suggesting the downfall and bankruptcy of scores of trainers and owners.  I will gladly listen to any sound and scientifically substantiated argument. Considering that there is only ONE study on furosemide available, and this study was set out to show nothing but the efficacy of the drug in reducing pulmonary bleeding, which it did, but neither the ELIMINATION of EIPH, nor the side effects of repeat usage, nor the effects of furosemide and the combination on other drugs – to name just a few aspects that I as a horse woman would want to know about when I administer a drug with regularity – I don’t find the study gives sufficient insight in the usage of furosemide.   I rather race my horses without using the drug or any drug – if they are sound and healthy and well prepared to be athletes they don’t need them.  If I can’t afford to race without drugs anymore I have no place in the game if I care about my horses.  And they have no one but me to look after them.  

    • http://www.facebook.com/MaureenTierney51 Maureen Tierney

      Well said!

    • GRR

      Totally agree! It’s time for more rigorous analysis and studies and less rhetoric!

  • http://www.facebook.com/angelika.halakerr Angelika Hala Kerr

    Thank you, Ray Paulick.  I would gladly have an open and constructive discussion on furosemide/Lasix.  The HBPA forum on race day medications was also behind closed doors and no transcript available – I asked. 
    I have yet to hear/read any pro-Lasix argument that is not based on hearsay, liberal interpretation of science and, sadly, suggesting the downfall and bankruptcy of scores of trainers and owners.  I will gladly listen to any sound and scientifically substantiated argument. Considering that there is only ONE study on furosemide available, and this study was set out to show nothing but the efficacy of the drug in reducing pulmonary bleeding, which it did, but neither the ELIMINATION of EIPH, nor the side effects of repeat usage, nor the effects of furosemide and the combination on other drugs – to name just a few aspects that I as a horse woman would want to know about when I administer a drug with regularity – I don’t find the study gives sufficient insight in the usage of furosemide.   I rather race my horses without using the drug or any drug – if they are sound and healthy and well prepared to be athletes they don’t need them.  If I can’t afford to race without drugs anymore I have no place in the game if I care about my horses.  And they have no one but me to look after them.  

  • RayPaulick

    No, and at least Barry uses his real name. 

    As I wrote last spring, the anti-Lasix presentation before members of Congress was a stacked deck in favor of a ban http://www.paulickreport.com/n… . 

    I am suggesting real dialogue on the issue where both sides listen as well as speak.

  • RayPaulick

    The science shows that Lasix does not mask other drugs, if given under regulated guidelines. However, private veterinarians being allowed into the stalls of horses four hours before they race does facilitate prohibited practices.

  • Hornsix1

    Ray”s article pointed out that “in England, Ireland, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Hong Kong, Australia, New Zealand, and other racing countries don’t allow race-day furosemide”  Unless their Thoroughbreds are physically different from those running in the US, I believe you have your “study” there!  They have been the “guinea pigs” well ahead of the horses here. Why not research the relevant statics of race horses in these countries?  It may set your mind at ease some. 

  • Hornsix1

    Well said!

  • Lex. Trainer

    “I am suggesting real dialogue on the issue where both sides listen as well as speak.”

    Admirable.  But in front of who?  The Kentucky Horse Racing Commission?   

    They already did that, remember?  It did no good.

    This is a political issue, Ray.  It is already a stacked deck.

  • Hornsix1

    Also-Dubai has a dirt track and it’s hot as blazes there!

  • Hornsix1

    Human athletes chug drinks containing electrolytes/minerals on the sidelines during a game. Our horses are PEEing their elecs/mins onto the ground thanks to a drug that supposedly “protects” them. Defies logic!

  • Milezinni

    I have read all your comments, and have done alot of furosemide research as well. And I have a distinct impression of what’s behind the obvious smoke screen, and misinformation, coming primarily from the Owners, Trainers and Breeders organizations. And I admit, I could be wrong, but, it is a theory with evidence enough that I am thoroughly convinced.  And I believe alot of people are giving these guys too much credit.

    Want the truth about Furosemide? And what’s motivating such stern resistance?

    Simple.

    There is already alot of research done that verifies that the meds dehydrating properties will cause horses to lose anywhere from 8-10 lbs up to even 25-30 lbs, depending on the dosage.

    Write into the conditions that any horse racing on Salix must carry 8-10 lbs more weight! These guys will drop it like a bad habit, and never bring it up again.

    Here’s a quote from Trainer Mark Casse (during last years Breeders Cup)

    “I’ve raced where there was no Lasix,” he said, “and I know the extreme measures that some people will take, like maybe withdrawing your horse’s water for 48 hours, or not feeding them. Is that kinder to the horses? I don’t think so.”

    I could fill this whole page with similar quotes and the impression is clear to me. Mostly because the reverse argument, Pro-Lasix, doesn’t add up, and is very contradictory.

    These “horseman” have painted themselves into a corner with economic disaster written all over it. Most of these trainers were behind the Owners purchases. And some very expensive purchases.
    Ban Salix, and alot of these horses wont be able to win at all. Most wont be able to race at all.
    And alot more horses are going to wind up destroyed, but, you have to look at the big picture. Most of the horses in racing were bred with the legal medications in mind, and without Salix, they wont be bred in the future.   

    And with a Salix ban, they’re going to have to start weighing the horses. That’s what they figured out in Hong Kong.

    The reality is, it’s a HUGE mess. But horse racing can’t survive they way it is, and fixing the problems will require much sacrifice. And it’s the Owners, Trainers and Breeders that stand to lose the most.
     

    • NY Owner

      You cannot compare water weight lost by a horse to rider weight added.  That is a ridiculous statement. 

      • http://www.facebook.com/MaureenTierney51 Maureen Tierney

        I don’t think it’s that ridiculous.  If you are a woman and you are bloated with excess water – you weigh more, you feel heavier, etc.  On the days when you’re not bloated you feel a lot lighter on your feet.

        • Train N Go

          would you rather run a race when you are bloated or light on your feet?

          • Hornsix1

            I don’t think there is any reason for a HEALTHY horse to be described as “Bloated”. A healthy horse is neither bloated nor dehydrated but in perfect fluid balance. Healthy horses are the ONLY ones that should be racing! Healthy horses do not need a diruetic to relieve them of “excess” water because, quite simply, their IS NO EXCESS water! When you remove water from a horse in healthy fluid balance you are automatically moving toward the dehydrated state. Dehyration is NOT the optimum status for any living being because every body cell is in a compromised state while in dehydration…..so don’t try to euphamize it by calling it “light on your feet”. 

      • Roisin

        As far as I know 10 lbs of weight = 10lbs regardless of the form !!  
         
         
         
         
         
         
         
         
         
         
         
         
         
         
         
         
         

        • Dcurtis78

          There is a big difference,  in weight placement and weight distribution.

    • http://www.facebook.com/MaureenTierney51 Maureen Tierney

      What amazes me is the idea of drawing horses for 48 hours.  When was that done?  In the 60′s – before Lasix, the horses I knew were drawn for several hours, not 48.  And if trainers really knew about horses they would know that the horse’s digestive system is over 100 feet long and holds over 200 quarts of matter at a time.  Imagine what that weighs.   There is a great video on YouTube which shows the dissection of a racehorse – and the size of the lungs, heart, and digestive system are truly amazing.   http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QsvS6gEBJuE

      • Matt Clarke

         Maureen you are so correct. Drawing a horse, restricting intake of fluids and hay is accomplished over a 8-12 hour period not a 48 hour period. This is simply a lie put forth by the pro-lasix crowd. Furthermore we are talking about restriction not total denial of water and hay. By the way thousands of humans do this prior to having blood work done.

        • McGov

          lol…do thousands of humans do this prior to running a race as fast as they can? sorry…couldn’t resist….and when you talk about what a trainer does in terms of withdrawing a horse from water and hay…how is it that you know that they are only withdrawn for 12 hours and it’s a “restriction”…cause I’ll tell ya…there are lots and lots of idiots out there that will take water and hay completely away from a horse for 48 hours because their grandpa told them so…just sayin

          • Matt Clarke

             Probably the difference between being a horseman and thinking you are a horseman! Does not common sense tell you that a horse totally deprived of feed and more importantly fluids will not be able to perform effectively and at peak performance? Guess the strange thing about common sense is that its not common.

          • http://equineprep.com/ John O’Hara

             Then with that train of thought – “common sense tell you that a horse totally deprived of feed and more importantly fluids will not be able to perform effectively and at peak performance” – horses on lasix certainly can’t perform at the levels of horses that are not on lasix – so how can lasix be performance enhancing ?

          • Michael Martin

            Read the study.  Horses drop weight in a short time, due to the diuretic effect; times also improved following furosemide administration.  Loss of weight plus an additional drop in times equates to performance enhancement.

          • McGov

            Unfortunately there are lots of “horsemen” out there that practice very old techniques that MAY actually work but are at great expense to the horse…I mean it’s not just withdrawal of hay and water I’m talking about…some of these things are quite obvious like pin firing…pretty brutal thing if you really think about it…but the fact remains that it does work…but so do many other solutions for the same problem.  This is how we need to think about the problem with bleeders…we need to address the problem in a different way…in a kinder way to the horse…Lasix is not kind to the horse at all…takes at least a week to get hydration back and they suffer the whole time…and obviously withdrawal is pretty brutal too…at least withdrawal from water is…hay is good for a horse but going without hay for a day doesn’t seem so harsh…but water? eeeeeek..bloody awful to imagine.

  • Milezinni

    I have read all your comments, and have done alot of furosemide research as well. And I have a distinct impression of what’s behind the obvious smoke screen, and misinformation, coming primarily from the Owners, Trainers and Breeders organizations. And I admit, I could be wrong, but, it is a theory with evidence enough that I am thoroughly convinced.  And I believe alot of people are giving these guys too much credit.

    Want the truth about Furosemide? And what’s motivating such stern resistance?

    Simple.

    There is already alot of research done that verifies that the meds dehydrating properties will cause horses to lose anywhere from 8-10 lbs up to even 25-30 lbs, depending on the dosage.

    Write into the conditions that any horse racing on Salix must carry 8-10 lbs more weight! These guys will drop it like a bad habit, and never bring it up again.

    Here’s a quote from Trainer Mark Casse (during last years Breeders Cup)

    “I’ve raced where there was no Lasix,” he said, “and I know the extreme measures that some people will take, like maybe withdrawing your horse’s water for 48 hours, or not feeding them. Is that kinder to the horses? I don’t think so.”

    I could fill this whole page with similar quotes and the impression is clear to me. Mostly because the reverse argument, Pro-Lasix, doesn’t add up, and is very contradictory.

    These “horseman” have painted themselves into a corner with economic disaster written all over it. Most of these trainers were behind the Owners purchases. And some very expensive purchases.
    Ban Salix, and alot of these horses wont be able to win at all. Most wont be able to race at all.
    And alot more horses are going to wind up destroyed, but, you have to look at the big picture. Most of the horses in racing were bred with the legal medications in mind, and without Salix, they wont be bred in the future.   

    And with a Salix ban, they’re going to have to start weighing the horses. That’s what they figured out in Hong Kong.

    The reality is, it’s a HUGE mess. But horse racing can’t survive they way it is, and fixing the problems will require much sacrifice. And it’s the Owners, Trainers and Breeders that stand to lose the most.
     

  • diastu in tempe

    Sal, we are talking about the welfare of living creatures here, not race cars. If the use of furosemide is detrimental to the welfare of the horse, both short term and long term, and to the welfare of the breed, both short term and long term, then that trumps the “cold hearted players” in my opinion. If North American racing can move to drug free over the next few years (breeding away from bleeding will be a crucial part of this) then all the players will have their level field again, just as they do in other countries.

  • diastu in tempe

    We don’t race in AZ in the summer. But – Dubai? South Africa? Australia? Not exactly cold climates and they are racing without furosemide just fine, thank you.

  • Mboyle852

    Excellent column.  It is time to address the issue with deeds, not words.

    It scratches the surface of a subject most do not want to endure as some
    make a comfortable living off of the status quo.

  • Mboyle852

    Excellent column.  It is time to address the issue with deeds, not words.

    It scratches the surface of a subject most do not want to endure as some
    make a comfortable living off of the status quo.

  • salthebarber

    diastu in tempe, if Lasix is detrimental both in the short and long term then there is no doubt the game should move away from it. I agree.

  • Abbers

    Horse shortage???? What a hoot! The over-breeding in this industry is ridiculous. So many castaways it is shameful.

  • Hossracergp

    Why not look at individual populations of horses…..Calder in the summer runs mostly two year old races where as if you took the horses on a card at Penn National and ran them in the summer at Calder the chances are bleeding would be more of an issue. Different things are not the same are they?

  • Ann Maree

    Scoping is not the issue.  The definition in the rest of the world of a bleeder is a horse who bleeds from his nose.  The definition was changed in the U.S. I believe to justify the use of lasix in nearly all horses.  This is why the broad use of the scope.  According to some sources, even human athletes may show evidence of some bleeding during competitive exertion.  Again, and again, and over and over, those who favor the use of lasix never do address how the rest of the world manages to get along without it.  As someone pointed out here, there is your laboratory, there is the definitive study.  No more studies are needed.  They have studied this issue ad nauseum.  Get rid of the drugs period!  JMHO

  • Forego

     If the horse is a 7, his racing days is over and don’t even send him or her to the breeding shed. Excessive vet bills? Why would anyone get into a business not knowing the negatives and positives. Shortage of horses? ever wonder why there is a shortage? guess when fields size started to decrease to the introduction of Lasix!!

    There goes another fan because these lasix running horses can barely run half a dozen races a year. The “stars” do not run long enough to gather fans and make them regular customers/gamblers.

    Lasix is one of the big reason this industry is nothing more than a NICHE INDUSTRY!!

  • Raysghost

    We’ve had 30 years of your approach, Lex–easy raceday drugging.  What have you built?

  • Matt Clarke

     why is “first time lasix” such a good handicapping tool? Horses tend to invariably improve when put on lasix and it has nothing to do with bleeding.

  • Matt Clarke

     What is done in Europe? Don’t make wild unsubstantiated claims tell us what is done.

  • Matt Clarke

     Rest a horse for 30 days???? Good grief God forbid any horse gets a 30 day rest.

  • Hopefieldstables

     Ray that claim about lasix is simply not accurate.

  • Matt Clarke

     No you don’t shoot him, you do the responsible thing. Accept that he does not have the necessary attributes to be a racehorse, retire him and find him a good home with a second career. If you cannot afford to do this or do not want to accept the responsibility do not own a racehorse. Simple. Period.

  • Hornsix1

    Thank you for stating what *should* be the obvious!

  • Hopefieldstables

    I guess that Mr West is ok with being “cruel and inhumane” (by his estimation) with his own horse as long as there is enough money on the line ?

    Perhaps he does not believe his own rhetoric  

    • nu-fan

      Hopefieldstables:  It is always about money.  The rest is just rationalization.

  • Hopefieldstables

    I guess that Mr West is ok with being “cruel and inhumane” (by his estimation) with his own horse as long as there is enough money on the line ?

    Perhaps he does not believe his own rhetoric  

  • Hornsix1

    “If we move to a total ban, I think there should be a rule inforced that all stud farms must make the vet records of their stallions available for review.  I will want to know what I’m getting into before I breed.”
    Excellent idea! Responsible breeding is and should be at the root of solving many issues that plague the sport

  • Craig Brogden

    What stallions do Breeders use in NA

    Sprinting stallions struggle to stand at stud commercially in Kentucky

    The majority of commercial stallions that retire to Kentucky and succeed showed that they could run around two turns.

    At most tracks in America that means at least a mile and a sixteenth and often a mile an an eighth and even a mile and a quarter.
     Tiznow
    A.P. Indy
    Giants Causeway
    Empire Maker
    Dynaformer
    Lemon Drop Kid
    Awesome Again
    Ghostzapper
    Kittens Joy
    Medaglia Doro
    Bernardini
    Include
    Proud Citizen
    Street Cry
    This is a quick list of highly commercial stallions that performed at distances over a mile and an eighth at the highest level, many who managed to win at a mile and a half at the highest level.

     If those stallions cannot pass on enough stamina to run a mile and a quarter then there is something really wrong with the transmission of genetic material.

    Training techniques may contribute to horses failing to run the distance, pace of the race, surface on day of race or maybe the preception of the people watching the race. The losers always appear to not make the distance when maybe they are inferior racehorses.
    Breeders produce what the buyers, that is the racehorse owners, want to buy, we do not breed what we want them to buy. We would fail in our business very quickly if we tried to make the end user buy what we wanted them to.
    We breeders sell at auction where the buyer has the choice to purchase our product for the use that they desire. Would they buy a sprinter type from us breeders if that was their goal at the racetrack!!!
    Or a bleeder? if their goal was to medicate their racehorse?

    If Lasix was so important and inhumane to these owners and trainers then they would not chase the money in Dubai and nominate their medication dependant horses to a $10 million dollar race that does not allow the use of Lasix.

    Inhumane or Greedy!!!!

  • EUGENE LEVEY

    I AM WITH GARY WEST….I started in 1947 at the ”RACES”  &  not the “BUSHES: & still
    know a little bit about the game…

    • Michael Martin

      Respecting your success, and your investment of time and knowledge, the drops in handle, and the perception of drugging create a HUGE need for CHANGE.  What worked before Lasix?  How many starts characterized Triple Crown horse in those times?  How did they start so many times if they all bled?   

  • EUGENE LEVEY

    I AM WITH GARY WEST….I started in 1947 at the ”RACES”  &  not the “BUSHES: & still
    know a little bit about the game…

  • Sean Kerr

     Sorry Ray – but I think you are wrong here: can you post the study to back up your claim here? You ought to reach out to Dr. Lawrence Soma – your masking information would be news to him.

  • Sean Kerr

     ’concerned’ – re-read the study: salix does not prevent EIPH (bleeding). And: why is it that so many horses bleed through it?

  • Sean Kerr

     Ebracin1945: I understand the consequences: our horses run fewer starts and are less sound. My wager is that if we stop using furosemide, our horses will become more sound, recover faster and race more often. Your way of thinking has failed. Why don’t we let go of the medicine cabinet and start becoming horsemen again?

  • Sean Kerr

    Lex (?) – I note that you ignored Ray’s comment. Are you afraid to stand behind your comments?

  • Sean Kerr

    Rrn56 – afraid to state your name I see. That is ridiculous: how can it be determined that the horse bled if it can’t be scoped? That seems a bit silly and someone is feeding you baloney.

  • Bonniemcdo

    I agree–real dialogue.  I think cool heads need to do studies and then meet again .  At least it is being discussed. A complete ban without a good look at both sides at this time should not occur.  There may be ways to allow the use of lasix in some of the horse population to let people run their horses but to make it part of a horses medical history. Bleeding mares may run but you want to know that and they may not be used to breed. Colts that win races may run but they may not be used as sires. Just one thought.  This site has a nice exchange of ideas on issues in racing—bravo for  you for doing this.

  • Concerned Racing Fan

    They don’t want to address the big picture!!! Lasix is nothing!! We have trainers that after many years of trainng at a 10-15% win percentage now 30-40%. Its amazing how they finally figured how to train..LOL. ITPP>>>FROG JUICE<<< who knows what else. PEDS are making the super trainers. Its a shame whats happened to the business. The days of good caretakers, training , feeding, good horse care means nothing  anymore in the big picture. The cheaters are putting the hard workers out of business. They can't compete. Its a sad situation.

    • Roisin

      Amen to that ! too many in the business for all the wrong reasons.

      Also, when Lasix was first introduced, I believe it was to be used to treat EIPH. Then it was figured out it was a performance enhancer and suddenly, or so it seemed, every horse was getting Lasix on race day !

      Is there such a thing as VETINARY MALPRACTICE ? Giving a drug to an animal when it is not needed is malpractice and  animal abuse.

  • Concerned Racing Fan

    They don’t want to address the big picture!!! Lasix is nothing!! We have trainers that after many years of trainng at a 10-15% win percentage now 30-40%. Its amazing how they finally figured how to train..LOL. ITPP>>>FROG JUICE<<< who knows what else. PEDS are making the super trainers. Its a shame whats happened to the business. The days of good caretakers, training , feeding, good horse care means nothing  anymore in the big picture. The cheaters are putting the hard workers out of business. They can’t compete. Its a sad situation.

  • Gordon Tallman

    Often times, the only “Middleground” to be found in horse racing is the 1950 Kentucky Derby and Belmont Stakes winner.

    This is a serious issue, and like many other such issues we face, the answer is neither quick nor easy.

    I find myself torn on this one.  Are we being fair to the horse if any and all medications used are looked at in the same disapproving manner?  I’m an NBA fan, and I can tell you that if you told me Michael Jordan took two aspirin before every game, it would not diminish his athletic prowess or performance in my mind one bit.

    While I love the concept of drug-free racing in the United States, I believe medication-free racing would seriously alter the structure of racing in this country.  The Keenelands, Saratogas and Del Mars could probably make adjustments and survive, but small tracks with long meets would probably fall by the wayside.  Those tracks rely heavily on older runners facing some physical challenges.  Racing is not the same kind of grind in most other countries that it is in the United States.
     
    I don’t have the answers, but like Mr. Paulick, I believe the discussion needs to include all points of view.  On both sides of this argument stand people who love Thoroughbreds and are concerned for their welfare.

    • Noelle

      If the structure of of racing in this country is the reason horses must be drugged in order to race, then the structure should change. 

      It’s fine to compare an older racehorse to an older Michael Jordan, but Jordan was in a position to make his own decisions.  He could tell his management whether he was (or was not) up to performing.  At any point in a game, if he felt something was wrong, he could stop and take himself out.  If by chance he misjudged his own physical condition and hurt himself while playing at less than 100%, the question of euthanasia on the basketball court never arose.

      • nu-fan

        Noelle:  Thank you for reminding the readers about this one point:  Humans can communicate and decide for themselves regarding medication, whereas horses are at our mercy.  And, yes, I do not know of any human athlete (at least, not in our culture) that gets “put down” because of any injury.  Why can’t everyone get that through their heads?

  • Gordon Tallman

    Often times, the only “Middleground” to be found in horse racing is the 1950 Kentucky Derby and Belmont Stakes winner.

    This is a serious issue, and like many other such issues we face, the answer is neither quick nor easy.

    I find myself torn on this one.  Are we being fair to the horse if any and all medications used are looked at in the same disapproving manner?  I’m an NBA fan, and I can tell you that if you told me Michael Jordan took two aspirin before every game, it would not diminish his athletic prowess or performance in my mind one bit.

    While I love the concept of drug-free racing in the United States, I believe medication-free racing would seriously alter the structure of racing in this country.  The Keenelands, Saratogas and Del Mars could probably make adjustments and survive, but small tracks with long meets would probably fall by the wayside.  Those tracks rely heavily on older runners facing some physical challenges.  Racing is not the same kind of grind in most other countries that it is in the United States.
     
    I don’t have the answers, but like Mr. Paulick, I believe the discussion needs to include all points of view.  On both sides of this argument stand people who love Thoroughbreds and are concerned for their welfare.

  • Eugenelevey

    I LOOKED AT 75 COMMENTS & NOBODY SAID ANYTHING ABOUT BLOOD PRESSURE.

    #1 LASIX LOWERS THE BLOOD

    #2 THEY HAVE OTHER “STUFF” IN EUROPE…THAT WORKS PRETTY GOOD..
                                   =====

    • Tinky

      I had almost forgotten how nice and quiet it was around here while you were enjoying your vacation.

      Almost.

    • Matt Clarke

       Enough of the BS about Europe. Unless you can be more specific than “they have stuff” probably better to be quiet.

    • Hornsix1

       It is true that Lasix lowers the blood pressure. In humans it is given to hypertensive patients to bring their abnormally high blood pressure down to within normal limits.  Correct me if I misunderstood….  Are you suggesting that lowering the blood pressure in the horses is somehow a *beneficial* side effect?  Normal b/p in a  healthy horse does not need to be lowered. B/P below normal range is not “healthier”, but detrimental.

  • Eugenelevey

    I LOOKED AT 75 COMMENTS & NOBODY SAID ANYTHING ABOUT BLOOD PRESSURE.

    #1 LASIX LOWERS THE BLOOD

    #2 THEY HAVE OTHER “STUFF” IN EUROPE…THAT WORKS PRETTY GOOD..
                                   =====

  • voiceofreason

    “There’s going to be $100-$200 million a year leave this business if they ban Lasix (furosemide) in November,” West said.

    …and that’s just the vets!

  • voiceofreason

    “There’s going to be $100-$200 million a year leave this business if they ban Lasix (furosemide) in November,” West said.

    …and that’s just the vets!

  • Roisin

    Amen to that ! too many in the business for all the wrong reasons.

    Also, when Lasix was first introduced, I believe it was to be used to treat EIPH. Then it was figured out it was a performance enhancer and suddenly, or so it seemed, every horse was getting Lasix on race day !

    Is there such a thing as VETINARY MALPRACTICE ? Giving a drug to an animal when it is not needed is malpractice and  animal abuse.

  • Barry Irwin

    Ray, when I read the statement that Lasix does not mask drugs, I called up the United States Anti-Doping Association and asked whether Lasix is considered by them to be a diuretic OR a masking agent, OR both.

    Here is what they sent to me:

    WADA ClassificationDiuretics and Other Masking Agents (S5)Masking agents are prohibited. They include:Diuretics, desmopressin, plasma expanders (e.g. glycerol; intravenous administration of albumin, dextran, hydroxyethyl starch andmannitol), probenecid; and other substances with similar biological effect(s). Local application of felypressin in dental anaesthesia is not prohibited.Diuretics include:Acetazolamide, amiloride, bumetanide, canrenone, chlorthalidone, etacrynic acid, furosemide, indapamide, metolazone, spironolactone, thiazides (e.g. bendroflumethiazide, chlorothiazide, hydrochlorothiazide), triamterene; and other substances with a similar chemical structure or similar biological effect(s) (except drospirenone, pamabrom and topical dorzolamide and brinzolamide, which are not prohibited).The use In- and Out-of-Competition, as applicable, of any quantity of a substance subject to threshold limits (i.e. formoterol, salbutamol, morphine, cathine, ephedrine, methylephedrine and pseudoephedrine) in conjunction with a diuretic or other masking agent requires the deliverance of a specific Therapeutic Use Exemption for that substance in addition to the one granted for the diuretic or other masking agent.

  • nu-fan

    Roisin:  It’s okay.  Wouldn’t it be great if there was a spell-check with this program?  I have gone in and edited my comments, from time to time, because I didn’t catch a typo earlier.  Drives me nuts!

  • Ssk12955

    Mike, you are the fool. Public perception is that we drug our horses. Until horses race drug free, on race day, we are doomed. If the horse is unable to race without the aid of drugs, then it should not race. Wise up fool.

  • Ssk12955

    If the horse bleeds, give it time and therapy. If it continues to bleed, then It should not be racing. If fifteen to twenty percent are chronic bleeders, that they should not race. They are not stallion potential. Who need to pass on the bleeder gene. Public perception is that we drug our horses. Until we cease doing so, we are on our way to oblivion. Wake up.

  • Whobet

    Whobet has a novel idea.

    how about adding into the Race Conditions,

    NO horse can be on LASIX

  • Whobet

    I got a better idea

    How about one day a week we run only LASIX free races

  • Whobet

    I got a better idea

    How about one day a week we run only LASIX free races

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/GM4MKOH3SRM3GAZLMIKOOOAI74 jttf

     i cant believe what i am hearing.  gary west says that it is cruel and inhumane to race a horse without lasix.   gary west and mike pegram ran 2 year olds without lasix in the breeders cup.   so are these 2 guys cruel to animals ?   they also use trainers who run their best horses without lasix when they run in dubai.  why would they use trainers that are cruel to animals ?   did you see who won the eclipse award for best owner in 2012 ?   godolphin won the award.   godolphin does not race their 2 year olds with lasix, because its stunts their growth.  how come a common part time horse racing fan can know more about the effects of lasix than horsemen who make this their living everyday ?  i have seen this effect for many years.   we need to have an incentive for racing horses without lasix.  especially if they dont need it.   assign less weight.   then we can have horses with and without lasix running in the same world.

  • Lowechris18

    Dubai,at least Meydan, has turf and Tapeta, not dirt.

  • Tinky

    I had almost forgotten how nice and quiet it was around here while you were enjoying your vacation.

    Almost.

  • Randyp

    The conditions of a race can not supersede the rules of the state in which the race is run with regards to allowable medication.

  • Randyp

    Singapore, Hong Kong, Dubai all have very similar climates.

  • Watcher1

    Based on personal experience I know that both pollution and humidity exacerbate bleeding. Racetracks near large U.S. cities generally tolerate high levels of both. Conversely, a lot of overseas race meets are held in the country and presumably are easier on the horses’ respiratory systems. In addition they are almost universally conducted on turf, thereby minimizing dust particulants.

    IMO racing in the U.S. is harder on horses than in other countries.  To compare them is to avoid several critical distinctions.

  • RayPaulick

    My comments about Lasix not masking other drugs are based on testimony given by Dr. Tim Sams of HFL labs before the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission in November 2011. His testimony begins on page 69 but he pages 83-84 he specifically addresses how regulating administration of Lasix eliminates the masking issue.

    http://www.khrc.ky.gov/Documents/Race...

  • NY Owner

    You cannot compare water weight lost by a horse to rider weight added.  That is a ridiculous statement. 

  • http://www.facebook.com/MaureenTierney51 Maureen Tierney

    The key phrase is “race-day”.  Other countries do use Lasix, for training.  Not on race day.  And it seems to work well for them.  What is so frustrating about people supposedly searching for the truth of what is best for the horse is the total ignoring of the question why does Lasix still work if given days ahead of a race?  Why do other breeds of horses bleed as well as TB’s?  It really appears as though no one wants to know the truth, they are just focused on their own agendas.  That is one of the problems with racing. 

  • http://www.facebook.com/MaureenTierney51 Maureen Tierney

    I don’t think it’s that ridiculous.  If you are a woman and you are bloated with excess water – you weigh more, you feel heavier, etc.  On the days when you’re not bloated you feel a lot lighter on your feet.

  • http://www.facebook.com/ben.vandenbrink.52 Ben van den Brink
  • http://www.facebook.com/MaureenTierney51 Maureen Tierney

    Well said!

  • http://www.facebook.com/ben.vandenbrink.52 Ben van den Brink
  • Herewego

    Great theory Forego unfortunately the facts get in the way of your story. The U.S. was third in the world in terms of average starts per year per horse in the early 80′s and today remains third in the world in terms of average starts per year per horse.

    The reality is that average starts per year per horse are falling in countries where lasix is not being used as well as the U.S. Lasix is obviously not the reason for this but rest assured the misinformation in your post is no worse than that in many other posts on this topic.

  • Onthefly

    My comments wasn’t about drama, it was about life.  If memory serves me right, the horse in question raced as a three and possibly four-year-old sans lasix (1998 & 99) and showed a little distress after a work, was scoped and the vet reccommended lasix.  I believe she was seven when she bled “through lasix” and we immediately retired her.  Mostly because she did make the choice to continue racing as her jockey realized something was wrong and fought her to pull up.  A decade later, she still acts out when the racing stock ships out in January and she has to stay home (as a 10-yr-old she sailed over her fence to follow the trailer down the drive).

    Everyone is responsible for their own choices, and I am vaguely offended by your generalization that “we” don’t help these animals.  Personally, owners who continue to send their horses to trainers like Dutrow (who so blatantly deserved his suspension) should be investigated and held responible for their support of cheating.

    To that end, local racing jurisdictions are either unable or unwilling to police their people and I believe that race day medications violations should not just be a visit to the Commission, but also to the local court house (perhaps with handcuffs and an official escort).

  • http://www.facebook.com/MaureenTierney51 Maureen Tierney

    What amazes me is the idea of drawing horses for 48 hours.  When was that done?  In the 60′s – before Lasix, the horses I knew were drawn for several hours, not 48.  And if trainers really knew about horses they would know that the horse’s digestive system is over 100 feet long and holds over 200 quarts of matter at a time.  Imagine what that weighs.   There is a great video on YouTube which shows the dissection of a racehorse – and the size of the lungs, heart, and digestive system are truly amazing.   http://www.youtube.com/watch?v

  • Barry Irwin

    Allergens are even more problematic for horses with a bent toward bleeding and these are often found more often in country-like settings than in cities. 

  • Michael Martin

    That study has already been conducted, and concluded that furosemide is a performance enhancing drug.  The Jockey Club, and the Grayson Foundation funded the study, and it is easy to check it out.

  • Eddie Donnally

    Ray, though I have no polarized viewpoint on Lasix, except to say that I once took it as a jockey, there was a delay at the starting gate and I had to walk around behind the gate wanting to pee so badly I felt like my teeth were floating. I just wanted to make the point that you do indeed have some writing chops. Always enjoy reading you.
    Eddie Donnally

       

  • Eddie Donnally

    Ray, though I have no polarized viewpoint on Lasix, except to say that I once took it as a jockey, there was a delay at the starting gate and I had to walk around behind the gate wanting to pee so badly I felt like my teeth were floating. I just wanted to make the point that you do indeed have some writing chops. Always enjoy reading you.
    Eddie Donnally

       

  • Michael Martin

    Everyone is a fool except the guy with the needle?  Give me a break, and stop name calling and offer up some substantiated evidence instead of little-boy tactics like this.  Nobody has a clue except the guy on the inside of the doping-drugging for profit scheme?  What a wise guy.  Following this wisdom, one concludes that we need more medications on race day.  That ought to open up the betting;  more drugs will produce more fans at the windows?  Mike, you are addicted to addiction itself.

  • Ed Bowen

    There were numerous reasons why South Africa was a proper venue
    for the Lasix study supported by Grayson-Jockey Club Research Foundation and referenced in some of these comments. The horses there had not been exposed to racing on Lasix
    in the past, because of the country’s rules, so they would have begun the study
    on even ground. Also, in order to make the study scientifically valid, a great
    many logistical issues had to be solved, and the economics of South African
    racing were conducive. For example, owners had to be compensated for letting
    their horses participate and to ensure that all horses were driven to their
    best efforts. The racing authorities condoned what were not official races but
    were run under the exact conditions of races. The jockeys, of course, had to be
    paid as well, and purse money had to be provided. While we are not suggesting
    that it would have been impossible to replicate true racing conditions in an
    experiment in any other country, the whole combination of logistics, including
    the cost of incentives, were practical in South Africa. The participating
    scientists represent various countries and did not regard the results as
    scientifically  diminished because of differences in racing from one
    country to another.

    Edward L. Bowen
    President
    Grayson-Jockey Club Research Foundation

     

     

     

    • Roy Jackson

      Regarding the South African study two questions I have not been able to get an answer to: why was the study conducted at 4,900 ft.altitude?( would this not affect the results ) and why were the times not published? ( was performance enhanced )

  • Ed Bowen

    There were numerous reasons why South Africa was a proper venue
    for the Lasix study supported by Grayson-Jockey Club Research Foundation and referenced in some of these comments. The horses there had not been exposed to racing on Lasix
    in the past, because of the country’s rules, so they would have begun the study
    on even ground. Also, in order to make the study scientifically valid, a great
    many logistical issues had to be solved, and the economics of South African
    racing were conducive. For example, owners had to be compensated for letting
    their horses participate and to ensure that all horses were driven to their
    best efforts. The racing authorities condoned what were not official races but
    were run under the exact conditions of races. The jockeys, of course, had to be
    paid as well, and purse money had to be provided. While we are not suggesting
    that it would have been impossible to replicate true racing conditions in an
    experiment in any other country, the whole combination of logistics, including
    the cost of incentives, were practical in South Africa. The participating
    scientists represent various countries and did not regard the results as
    scientifically  diminished because of differences in racing from one
    country to another.

    Edward L. Bowen
    President
    Grayson-Jockey Club Research Foundation

     

     

     

  • Larry Ensor

    I would agree by and large. But I feel in the last 30 years 2 types of breeders have evolved. Private breeders, those who breed for their racing stable and the Commercial breeder, those that breed for the “ring”. Your comments IMO falls under the latter. There has always been commercial breeders but for the most part they owned the farm and a lot of the mares bred and sold. They were highly educated in the art and IMO chose their matings with the end result being on the race track not just in the ring. I have done plenty of matings over the years and when my suggestions go to committee be it for our own or clients a stallion that really fit a mare more times then not would be by passed for one that was “more commercial”. I am guilty of this as I am sure the majority of commercial breeders are. As you said we breed for the buyers and cater to their whims. Having to make an educated guess what the flavor of the month will be 3 years down the road. Just look at the top 25 third crop sires list. The majority of the 11-25 most likely will not be considered for a “commercial mating”.
    Has this evolution of Thoroughbred breeding had a detrimental effect on today’s racehorse? I have no idea without studying commercial breeders of the past, sales performance and race track performance. But intuitively it seems to suggest a possibility.
    Personally I don’t feel that breeders are responsible for the perceived increase of EIPH in American racehorses in the past 20-30 years. I believe the science of genetics will back me on this. Personally I think it has more to do with the type of horsemanship in this day and age and the type of racing we have now. But this is just supposition.
    I keep reading about how we need more studies on why our horses have or develop EIPH. Which is fine. But what I think what begs the question is why aren’t studies being done on why EIPH is not a major issue with the majority of horses in rest of the racing world. At least that is what we are being told.

  • Roisin

    As far as I know 10 lbs of weight = 10lbs regardless of the form !!  
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     

  • Train N Go

    Just because they don’t allow Lasix in these other countries doesn’t mean that all of their horses are free from bleeding. It would be interesting to get some input from these countries as to how they deal with these horses that bleed. Do they rule them off the track, how do they handle those horses that bleed. Don’t tell me they are all so physical fit and nutritionally sound that they don’t have any bleeders. I have raced horses that were as fit as they could be with the best nutrition available and some  would bleed. Most horses will bleed at some time during their race career. it is much less severe if they are on Lasix.

  • SteveG

    The problem with the rather provincial notion that bettors want lasix ( as opposed to MTV or Ovaltine) is the fact that non-lasix jurisdictions, Japan, Hong Kong, France, the UK, Australia, have robust race betting & that there was robust betting in the US prior to lasix & no surge in betting upon its advent.

    To the same extent (some) trainers fear racing without lasix because they’ve never trained without it, some bettors irrationally fear a collapse of bettable form without any empirical evidence to support the idea.

  • Train N Go

    It is common knowledge that if you give lasix days out from the time  you race then your horse would stand a good chance of racing while being in a dehydrated condition. Even giving electrolytes, it would be hard to keep him hydrated on race day. It is much better for the horse to give build ups and electrolytes before and after race day and only give lasix on race day.

  • Train N Go

    There is no evidence or study that proves that lasix stunts a horses growth.

    Some  have suggested it interfers with bone growth, but there is no research that proves this.  It will however remove fluid from the joint and
    horses that use lasix should also use adequan.

  • Train N Go

    would you rather run a race when you are bloated or light on your feet?

  • Dcurtis78

    There is a big difference,  in weight placement and weight distribution.

  • Matt Clarke

    Interesting point Maureen, however having spent 35 plus years in England, my mother, grandfather and great grandfather were trainers I cannot ever remember one instance when a horse trained on lasix. I also spent many years in the yards of some of the best trainers in the U.K. Same thing, lasix was simply not used. If its use is now widespread for training purposes, which I doubt it has happened only in the last few years.

  • Matt Clarke

     Maureen you are so correct. Drawing a horse, restricting intake of fluids and hay is accomplished over a 8-12 hour period not a 48 hour period. This is simply a lie put forth by the pro-lasix crowd. Furthermore we are talking about restriction not total denial of water and hay. By the way thousands of humans do this prior to having blood work done.

  • GRR

    Totally agree! It’s time for more rigorous analysis and studies and less rhetoric!

  • Dcurtis78

     Clembutrol even in therapeutic use as you mention, is very damaging to the heart, research it. 

  • Noelle

    If the structure of of racing in this country is the reason horses must be drugged in order to race, then the structure should change. 

    It’s fine to compare an older racehorse to an older Michael Jordan, but Jordan was in a position to make his own decisions.  He could tell his management whether he was (or was not) up to performing.  At any point in a game, if he felt something was wrong, he could stop and take himself out.  If by chance he misjudged his own physical condition and hurt himself while playing at less than 100%, the question of euthanasia on the basketball court never arose.

  • Dcurtis78

    Until 2 years ago we did race in the summer in AZ. And hopefully will this year.

  • Dcurtis78

    The horses are not banned from drinking fluids before a race, it is old school to take the water away when the lasix is given, but it is not banned and studies show unnecessary.

  • Yovankajojo

    I know Marion Scott Dupont other wise known as Lessburg vet. hosp. did a study years ago I mean years ago they used one of my horse known to be a bad bleeder end result 10 cc lasix 2 hrs out helped him termendously if they don’t need it I don’t give it but if they need  it they should be able to get it.

  • Hornsix1

    I don’t think there is any reason for a HEALTHY horse to be described as “Bloated”. A healthy horse is neither bloated nor dehydrated but in perfect fluid balance. Healthy horses are the ONLY ones that should be racing! Healthy horses do not need a diruetic to relieve them of “excess” water because, quite simply, their IS NO EXCESS water! When you remove water from a horse in healthy fluid balance you are automatically moving toward the dehydrated state. Dehyration is NOT the optimum status for any living being because every body cell is in a compromised state while in dehydration…..so don’t try to euphamize it by calling it “light on your feet”. 

  • nu-fan

    Noelle:  Thank you for reminding the readers about this one point:  Humans can communicate and decide for themselves regarding medication, whereas horses are at our mercy.  And, yes, I do not know of any human athlete (at least, not in our culture) that gets “put down” because of any injury.  Why can’t everyone get that through their heads?

  • nu-fan

    Hopefieldstables:  It is always about money.  The rest is just rationalization.

  • Train N Go

    Vets give the Lasix not the trainer. No vet is going to give a horse 20cc or 20 ml of lasix. this would show up  in the test lab and they would be in serious trouble. Your statement is ridiculous. It is these kind of off the wall statements  that gives the public a bad opinion about racing.

  • nu-fan

    Matt:  I’ve often wondered why the daily programs that are handed out at tracks list whether a horse is on Lasix–and even, if a first time user of the drug?  Isn’t the program guide used primarily for handicapping purposes?  I’ve also noticed that the handicappers on television often will note whether a horse is first time Lasix and wondered why they would mention that as well?  What other purposes for these notations if not for determining the performance of a horse?  There may be other reasons but are they valid ones?

  • Circusticket

     Would you do this to yourself?

  • Train N Go

    now ,who is showing her ignorace? The trainers who got  bad tests for dermorphin were also running on Lasix. Lasix does not hinder the labs ability to detect any drugs period.

  • Train N Go

    Ray,
    The large majority of vets are only going to give Lasix 4 hours out from race time.  A few trainers will try to give their horse an illegal drug, however the State racing commission lab sites are equipped to pick up these drugs even down to the nanogram and these trainers will receive a bad test.

  • Train N Go

    Barry,

    It sounds to me like this orginazation is Anti-lasix and  their members are made up of industry members who are ant- Lasix.
    If Lasix is a masking age,t Our Racing Comission labs would not be able to detect the dermorphin tests that they produced

  • Train N Go

    Jimlang,

    Horseracing  has to be run like any other business. If you don’t turn a profit you are history.Yes, it can be an enjoyable business, but it is an expensive business.
    Mr. West believes like I do,that if you want to take care of your horses you  better try to help them perform at the highest level you can.

  • McGov

    Can’t imagine a horse training on Lasix…if they can’t handle training without bleeding than wow..big problem.  And if they train on Lasix and then don’t race on it???  Doesn’t make sense in this corner.

  • McGov

    They send them to North America!

  • Khansen1

    another thing to consider is that race day is not the only time a horse gets lasix, the 1L only indicates today. some horses adversly to laasix so i can bet wiith great certaintanty that everthing racing on lasix has had it atleast for one work iasix is not the only drug on race day. i think the true point is getting muddeled by the lasix descission. in the places where i have spent backside time it is not all that uncommon to lasix a horse the night before the race then again tow hours out. overages unless extream are mostly written off as differences in matabolism.

  • Khansen1

    another thing to consider is that race day is not the only time a horse gets lasix, the 1L only indicates today. some horses adversly to laasix so i can bet wiith great certaintanty that everthing racing on lasix has had it atleast for one work iasix is not the only drug on race day. i think the true point is getting muddeled by the lasix descission. in the places where i have spent backside time it is not all that uncommon to lasix a horse the night before the race then again tow hours out. overages unless extream are mostly written off as differences in matabolism.

  • Roisin

    Yes, I also have heard about some remedy for EIPH. I believe it was said it came from Ireland. I can’t provide any other information, unfortunately.

    Perhaps someone knows about it ?

  • McGov

    lol…do thousands of humans do this prior to running a race as fast as they can? sorry…couldn’t resist….and when you talk about what a trainer does in terms of withdrawing a horse from water and hay…how is it that you know that they are only withdrawn for 12 hours and it’s a “restriction”…cause I’ll tell ya…there are lots and lots of idiots out there that will take water and hay completely away from a horse for 48 hours because their grandpa told them so…just sayin

  • Tinky

    Average starts per year is relatively meaningless. Average starts in a horse’s career are what count. Around 1970 in the U.S. it was over 30. Now? Under 11.

  • Abosibe

     I believe the Triple Crown winners all ran without lasix and/or bute.

  • Abosibe

     I believe the Triple Crown winners all ran without lasix and/or bute.

  • Mark

    Hey Ray, was Barry Irwin dictating this to you or did you cut and paste from one of his emails to you. Puppet.

    PS – pretty sure West doesn’t need his expenses paid anywhere.

    • RayPaulick

      Mark,

      At least Ray Paulick and Barry Irwin are willing to put their names on their respective opinions. And, for the record, Barry wasn’t involved in the writing of this piece in any way.

      That’s really a pretty lame criticism. Maybe you don’t have any facts to dispute what was written.

      • Mark

        If you say so Ray.

        I can dispute the Guilt Trip thing. Not having any money in the game whatsoever, and having never paid a training bill or anything, I fully understand that you would never know that nominating means absolutely nothing. 

        And I know for a fact that Gary West would not accept a “fabulous, all expenses paid trip” as you termed it in an effort to sensationalize. One, he doesn’t need the money, and two, he would never go to Dubai.

        To suggest otherwise is irresponsible.

  • Mark

    Hey Ray, was Barry Irwin dictating this to you or did you cut and paste from one of his emails to you. Puppet.

    PS – pretty sure West doesn’t need his expenses paid anywhere.

  • RayPaulick

    Mark,

    At least Ray Paulick and Barry Irwin are willing to put their names on their respective opinions. And, for the record, Barry wasn’t involved in the writing of this piece in any way.

    That’s really a pretty lame criticism. Maybe you don’t have any facts to dispute what was written.

  • Matt Clarke

     Great in theory……but most jurisdictions require lasix to be given as one single IV shot FOUR hours out.

  • Hopefieldstables

    World’s greatest secret LOL.

  • Matt Clarke

     Probably the difference between being a horseman and thinking you are a horseman! Does not common sense tell you that a horse totally deprived of feed and more importantly fluids will not be able to perform effectively and at peak performance? Guess the strange thing about common sense is that its not common.

  • Matt Clarke

     You got it!

  • Matt Clarke

     Enough of the BS about Europe. Unless you can be more specific than “they have stuff” probably better to be quiet.

  • Hopefieldstables

    I hear you but it is simply not accurate. However, it depends largely on the approach and its impact is less for the US approach than it is for the approach of say EHSLC countries. Much too complicated to explain. In short, lasix would compromise their testing standards but does not compromise the more liberal thresholds available in US testing

  • Mark

    If you say so Ray.

    I can dispute the Guilt Trip thing. Not having any money in the game whatsoever, and having never paid a training bill or anything, I fully understand that you would never know that nominating means absolutely nothing. 

    And I know for a fact that Gary West would not accept a “fabulous, all expenses paid trip” as you termed it in an effort to sensationalize. One, he doesn’t need the money, and two, he would never go to Dubai.

    To suggest otherwise is irresponsible.

  • http://equineprep.com/ John O’Hara

     Then with that train of thought – “common sense tell you that a horse totally deprived of feed and more importantly fluids will not be able to perform effectively and at peak performance” – horses on lasix certainly can’t perform at the levels of horses that are not on lasix – so how can lasix be performance enhancing ?

  • Hornsix1

    Some brief research using google maps:
    Sandown and Ascot tracks are just outside of London. According to March
    15, 2012 article in The Guardian, “London air pollution is at record
    high. Traffic
    fumes, weather and dirty air from northern England and France add up to
    worst air pollution since 2008′s more stringent monitoring”  This track is 20 miles from the English Channel, so when it comes to humidity, not exactly an “arid” region, in fact London is known for its fog.

    Nad
    Al Sheba, which has dirt tracks, in Dubai  six miles from the International Airport, 2
    miles from downtown Dubai  and within 2-4 miles from several “industrial
    areas” named Al Quoz, Al Aweer, Ras Al Khor This track is very near the Persian Gulf, so I’m assuming humidity can be found here.

    Flemington
    Racecourse in Melbourne, Australia is 2 miles from downtown from the
    major city of Melbourne and 4 miles from an airport and far from being in “the
    country” but rather (looking at a map) the area 360 degrees surrounding
    the the track is cris-crossed by highways and interstates.I could google other. Again, Melbourne is situtated right on the coastline, so a humid, not dry region.I suppose I could continue to google conditions at other tracks worldwide, but I don’t have the time.  

  • diastu in tempe

    Racing at Yavapai Downs in Prescott at elevation is not the same as racing at Turf Paradise in Phoenix. Prescott rarely tops 90 in the summer whereas Phoenix is routinely 110. Apples to oranges. TUP has never raced in the summer.

  • Am_Pugs

    This is getting silly, if it wasn’t so sad.  I would take a good guess that training ‘secrets’ have been around since day one [thousands of years ago]. There probably was a time around 50 years ago when lasix was a secret ‘magic’ shot.  I’ve heard ‘Bute’ was too. Trainers don’t like to give up their secrets – breeders don’t either.  And I don’t mean just horses.  This stuff goes on with every type of animal showing.  Hell, this stuff goes on with human athletes, their trainers, and support staff.  Back to horses.  I’ve seen several articles about those nose patches doing as well as lasix – but they were banned at last year’s Belmont the same as a new drug.  I haven’t done much in depth pedigree analysis on TB’s except where they enter AQHA pedigrees, But the beginning of the last century saw many pedigrees made up out of whole cloth. Trainers and breeders didn’t want any competition bred the same way [but one of the horses mentioned was a Kentucky Derby winner].  I would love to see TB racing be just that – TB racing.  Not who has found the best combination of drugs to make their horse run faster.

    • nu-fan

      Am-Pugs:  I’m glad that you mentioned those nose patches.  As a fan, I am a bit bewildered as to why they were prohibited at the Belmont Stakes.  Why?  Do they hide some sort of chemical that is absorbed into the system?  If not, I see very little difference in why blinkers are allowed and a “nasal strip”–which I call them–is not.  Just wanted to see if you or someone else can explain this to me.  I never really heard the reasoning for the banning at the Belmont and always wondered about it. And, of course, if this product can be used in lieu of a drug, it makes it more the perplexing to me as to why it was disallowed. Thanks.

  • Am_Pugs

    This is getting silly, if it wasn’t so sad.  I would take a good guess that training ‘secrets’ have been around since day one [thousands of years ago]. There probably was a time around 50 years ago when lasix was a secret ‘magic’ shot.  I’ve heard ‘Bute’ was too. Trainers don’t like to give up their secrets – breeders don’t either.  And I don’t mean just horses.  This stuff goes on with every type of animal showing.  Hell, this stuff goes on with human athletes, their trainers, and support staff.  Back to horses.  I’ve seen several articles about those nose patches doing as well as lasix – but they were banned at last year’s Belmont the same as a new drug.  I haven’t done much in depth pedigree analysis on TB’s except where they enter AQHA pedigrees, But the beginning of the last century saw many pedigrees made up out of whole cloth. Trainers and breeders didn’t want any competition bred the same way [but one of the horses mentioned was a Kentucky Derby winner].  I would love to see TB racing be just that – TB racing.  Not who has found the best combination of drugs to make their horse run faster.

  • Hornsix1

     It is true that Lasix lowers the blood pressure. In humans it is given to hypertensive patients to bring their abnormally high blood pressure down to within normal limits.  Correct me if I misunderstood….  Are you suggesting that lowering the blood pressure in the horses is somehow a *beneficial* side effect?  Normal b/p in a  healthy horse does not need to be lowered. B/P below normal range is not “healthier”, but detrimental.

  • Roy Jackson

    Regarding the South African study two questions I have not been able to get an answer to: why was the study conducted at 4,900 ft.altitude?( would this not affect the results ) and why were the times not published? ( was performance enhanced )

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/GM4MKOH3SRM3GAZLMIKOOOAI74 jttf

    there is plenty of evidence.   there has been no dropoff in beyer pars for 2 year olds since 1992.   there has been a 7 point dropoff in beyer pars for the horses who are 3 years and older.   you can also do some research for the top 3 canidates for horse of the year.  go back and look at how many of HOY canidates raced on lasix when they were 2 years old.  it isnt often when you find a hoy horse that raced more than twice on it.   thank goodness the breeders cup is delivering the message.   now the horses that ran in the b.c. juvenile races have a better chance of improving during 3 year old season.

  • Michael Martin

    Read the study.  Horses drop weight in a short time, due to the diuretic effect; times also improved following furosemide administration.  Loss of weight plus an additional drop in times equates to performance enhancement.

  • Michael Martin

    More training replaces the drug.  Physiological adaptation enables the horse to run without bleeding.

  • Michael Martin

    The standards in US racing have changed, in many instances to a zero-tolerance model, with more sophisticated testing than anywhere in the world, not “more liberal” standards in any way.  Currently, samples reveal even minute, non-therapeutic levels of drugs, or of metabolites.

  • Michael Martin

    Respecting your success, and your investment of time and knowledge, the drops in handle, and the perception of drugging create a HUGE need for CHANGE.  What worked before Lasix?  How many starts characterized Triple Crown horse in those times?  How did they start so many times if they all bled?   

  • Michael Martin

    That would only be fair if the horses receiving Lasix also received weight equal to the drop in weight caused by Lasix, to eliminate the unfair advantage caused by Lasix.

  • Michael Martin

    Clembuterol is very similar to albuterol, and both are banned in racing.  Steroids and growth hormone, as well as erythropoietin, can all be used therapeutically.  Bench the kid if he has to be given drugs to compete.

  • Michael Martin

    Drugging an animal to make a profit is inherently cruel, and animal cruelty is criminal.  the animal doesn’t know its welfare is compromised when racing on these so called therapeutic medications,

  • McGov

    Unfortunately there are lots of “horsemen” out there that practice very old techniques that MAY actually work but are at great expense to the horse…I mean it’s not just withdrawal of hay and water I’m talking about…some of these things are quite obvious like pin firing…pretty brutal thing if you really think about it…but the fact remains that it does work…but so do many other solutions for the same problem.  This is how we need to think about the problem with bleeders…we need to address the problem in a different way…in a kinder way to the horse…Lasix is not kind to the horse at all…takes at least a week to get hydration back and they suffer the whole time…and obviously withdrawal is pretty brutal too…at least withdrawal from water is…hay is good for a horse but going without hay for a day doesn’t seem so harsh…but water? eeeeeek..bloody awful to imagine.

  • Hopefieldstables

     If the threshold is high, it matters not one iota how good the lab is.

  • Louise

    This controversy makes me very sad.  Why we continue a practice like the use of this drug in racing is beyond me.  And, on a personal level, the last sentence struck me right in the pit of my stomach.  You see, I owned the 1983 version of “Guilt Trip.”  I couldn’t help contrasting the 26 years of life, all except the first four in my care, this unraced and much loved little bay mare lead with the life that the current “Guilt Trip” will lead.  I wish him a safe landing, after his racing days are over.

  • Louise

    This controversy makes me very sad.  Why we continue a practice like the use of this drug in racing is beyond me.  And, on a personal level, the last sentence struck me right in the pit of my stomach.  You see, I owned the 1983 version of “Guilt Trip.”  I couldn’t help contrasting the 26 years of life, all except the first four in my care, this unraced and much loved little bay mare lead with the life that the current “Guilt Trip” will lead.  I wish him a safe landing, after his racing days are over.

  • nu-fan

    Am-Pugs:  I’m glad that you mentioned those nose patches.  As a fan, I am a bit bewildered as to why they were prohibited at the Belmont Stakes.  Why?  Do they hide some sort of chemical that is absorbed into the system?  If not, I see very little difference in why blinkers are allowed and a “nasal strip”–which I call them–is not.  Just wanted to see if you or someone else can explain this to me.  I never really heard the reasoning for the banning at the Belmont and always wondered about it. And, of course, if this product can be used in lieu of a drug, it makes it more the perplexing to me as to why it was disallowed. Thanks.

  • Hornsix1

    I didn’t say ALL venues in Dubai had a dirt track, just “Dubai has a dirt track”.

    Nad Al Sheba has a dirt track and is, in fact, in Dubai.  http://www.triposo.com/poi/W__

  • Barney Door

    What is your personal experience at Happy Valley? One of the least informed comments ever posted re: lasix and there is no dearth of competition for that honor.

  • Barney Door

     The use of lasix and other meds is widespread in most foreign jurisdictions except HK and Germany.  Using lasix for training-only prevents hemorrhaging during training and enhances post race recovery.  Whether you are for against lasix, placing other jurisdictions on a pedestal of virtue is inaccurate and has no bearing on whether it should be permitted or not.

  • Barney Door

     You have more to learn than can be covered in a blog.

  • Barney Door

     Not bad.  How about bonus for placing without lasix? Reduced stakes entry fees or even entry preference to non-lasix horses.

  • Barney Door

    Credibility is an unknown element in California. The TOC, CHRB, Stewards,and racetracks  cannot buy it.

  • Barney Door

    Credibility is an unknown element in California. The TOC, CHRB, Stewards,and racetracks  cannot buy it.

  • Barney Door

     Yes.  And in barns, whatever the location.

  • Sean Kerr

     Not so Train N Go: you are assuming that all drugs are the same. Dr. Lawrence Soma testified in congress back in 2008 that it masks ‘some’ drugs. Demorphin is an extremely powerful narcotic. I doubt furosemide can mask any drug of this potency. But I don’t think you can make a blanket unqualified generalization that applies to ‘all’ or ‘any’.

  • Sean Kerr

     BTW: just about every research paper I have read on any furosemide study references numerous other studies performed and published by Dr. Soma.

  • Sean Kerr

     Ray – thanks for the link: that was a helpful presentation. I will reach out to Dr. Sams – my question would be did his or Dr. Tobin’s determination of masking include the testing of sample drugs from all 5 of the classifications referred to in the the ARCI medication list (which in turn is derived from the DEA) i.e., classes I through class V. He covers a few relatively innocuous drugs but I wonder if there are yet some drugs that can be masked by furosemide. For the sake of disclosure I do not consider Dr. Tobin to be a credible commentator on the subject because to my mind some of his work and public comments are biased and subjective (read: agenda driven). I am curious to see what Dr. Soma has to say about this presentation: Dr. Sams answer to Mr. Ward’s question is in direct contradiction to Dr. Soma’s testimony before congress in 2008. If memory serves me right you were in attendance for that hearing.

  • Michael Martin

    Living and working in a zero-tolerance racing state–Colorado–we are assured that there is no masking effect associated with furosemide.  HPLC and Mass Spec/GC are commonly used in other laboratories to separate compunds;  sensitivites and specificities are in the picogram ranges, and less.  In other words, virtually any exogenous substance would be detected.  More labile compunds, such as peptides like cobrotoxin, which was found in Patrick Biancone’s possession, disappear in the protein fraction of blood and are less detectable.  The race between pharmacology and detection will always be present.  All these arguments miss the point:  Should we require that horses be needled before every race?  This is what furosemide usage creates:  all horses (95%) are drugged before they race.  What a fine thing to share with your children.  Should we give them all aderol or ritalin so that they can “live up to their potential”?  This is more popular on college campuses than ever.  Methamphetamine was given to the Nazi Army to make them more effective.   

  • Train N Go

    I am afraid that you are the one mkissing the point.  Giving horses lasix is not drugging them. it is therapeutic. The definition of therapeutic is serving to preserve health. If 95% of horses are racing on lasix, they are preserving their health. You can tell your children that ritalin and aderol will not make it through the test barn and lasix will not mask these drugs. You have the though process that all drugs are harmful ,but I bet if you had a blood clot, in your body, you would want your doctor to put you on a blood thinner to try to dissolve it before it broke loose and hit your heart or lungs.

  • Train N Go

    It  is not performance enhancing, it just helps with bleeding

  • Train N Go

    Yes all or any. There are no drugs that the lab can not pick up. All drugs are not the same , but the lab can pick them up just the same. The lab can pick up any performance enhancing drug period.

  • Train n Go

    clembuterol is not banned in racing. Different racing jurisdictions just have different withdrawal times

  • Train N Go

    If only 2 or so show any signs of bleeding out of 20 and since they are all on lasix, it must be doing a fairly good job.

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