National solution, not surrender, answer to Lasix issue

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My suggestion last week that federal legislation is the best approach to changing medication rules in horse racing, including a phase-out on the race-day use of the anti-bleeder drug furosemide, was widely panned by people on both sides of this issue.

Comments ranging from “Congress doesn’t care about horse racing” to “You’re a buffoon” to “We won’t give up the anti-Lasix fight just because believers in the status quo want us to” did everything except explain to me how furosemide, better known as Lasix, will be phased out under the current state regulatory structure.

Let me clarify a few things.

I agree, first of all, that Congress has bigger issues to deal with right now, especially before the first of the year with the so-called “fiscal cliff” looming. But there are more than a few people in Congress who can be convinced to care about an issue that involves gambling, animal welfare, and perceived corruption or mistreatment of animals.

Federal legislation filed in 2011 to amend the Interstate Horseracing Act and eliminate all drugs in racing will expire with the new Congress, but sponsors Tom Udall, a New Mexico Senator, and Kentucky Rep. Ed Whitfield are not going to give up on this issue. And the series of articles in the New York Times (which haven’t run their course yet, by the way), along with the revelations from the New York Task Force report on the Aqueduct fatalities earlier this year, and the dermorphin scandal in multiple states, are all fodder for some Congressional grandstanding.

If leaders in the horse industry, rather than fight Udall and Whitfield, work with them to develop an acceptable bill that would amend the Interstate Horseracing Act to include national rules on medication, testing and penalties, there is a far better chance of passage than there is to get racing commissions in the major states to agree on model rules.

Yes, I know, there are some who claim we already have “near uniformity” on medication rules in major states. I guess that depends on two things: what constitutes a “major state,” and what the definition of “near uniformity” is.

Fact is, there are plenty of differences now in medication, drug testing and enforcement guidelines, and articles like the one this past weekend in the South Florida Sun-Sentinel (click here) help demonstrate just how inadequate regulation is in at least one racing state I certainly consider “major”  – Florida.

It was recently brought to my attention that another racing state that I consider “major,” Pennsylvania, has been allowing race-day furosemide administration in 2-year-olds despite a clearly-worded state regulation against it. The commission said it will start enforcing that rule in 2013. Furthermore, as some states move to push use of a drug like clenbuterol 21 days out before a race, Pennsylvania allows its administration 48 hours before a race. That’s not uniformity. And Florida and Pennsylvania are from being the only states that have widely differing rules and penalties related to medication.

There are medical miracle workers saddling horses and winning races at mystifying percentages at tracks throughout the United States. Lasix isn’t turning a 5% trainer into a 30% winning machine. It’s lax regulation, inadequate security, and aggressive medication treatments – which can border on illegal or jump way over the line – that are transforming some of these horsemen into super trainers.

There is so much work to do on these and other issues, and though (to answer another critic’s charge) I may be a buffoon, I am smart enough to know that state racing commissions have failed the industry and will continue to fail the industry.

Example: the New York State Racing and Wagering Board is just now getting around to regulations on shock-wave therapy, which can numb the pain in a horse for several days after it’s been treated. This is not new. Ten years ago, at the 2002 Jockey Club Round Table in Saratoga Springs, N.Y. (where I’m sure some State Racing and Wagering Board members were in attendance), the potential danger of shock-wave therapy to horse and rider were highlighted, and it’s been discussed in many other forums since then. Why, then, has it taken 10 years for the New York board to get around to regulating its use?

There is some progress being made in keeping private veterinarians out of the stalls of horses on race day, but it’s slow going and far from universal. The well-publicized missteps made in Kentucky by veterinarians hired by the horse racing commission to give Lasix shots are unfortunate and have been seized upon by trainers who want to continue the practice of having their own vet go into the stall and treat the horse. It’s mystifying to me why the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission has sat on some news about violations of race-day drug administrations by a private vet that would explain why this rule is necessary.

I’m not suggesting those who want to eliminate race-day Lasix should give up – only that there might be more important issues that can be achieved in the short term, and that federal legislation may be the best long-term strategy for uniform rules on medication.

Finally, the Breeders’ Cup can do what it wants to do on Lasix – to a point. Its policy for 2013 at Santa Anita Park is to ban race-day Lasix in all of its championship races, no matter what the state regulations permit. To simulcast Breeders’ Cup races across state lines, however, they’ll need horsemen’s consent, in this case from the Thoroughbred Owners of California. They’ll need similar simulcast contract approval from horsemen in Kentucky when the Breeders’ Cup returns to Churchill Downs, and from Florida horsemen if Frank Stronach manages to bring the event back to Gulfstream Park. (Only New York horsemen are exempt from approval, based on the Interstate Horseracing Act language.)

Have I suggested those who want to reform American racing’s medication rules raise the white flag and give up trying to eliminate race-day drugs? No. Only that they focus on a one-time, national solution that will put an end to the increasingly failed efforts of the state regulatory structure.

Racing stopped being an insular, state or local industry when simulcasting took off in the 1980s. Interstate wagers now account for the overwhelming majority of bets placed on 21st Century horse races. It’s time we have national solutions reflecting that reality.

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  • No Penalties in Horse Racing

    J. Guadalupe Guerrero

    1991-2011
    80 wins from 822 starts

    2012
    79 wins from 282 starts

     

  • No Penalties in Horse Racing

    J. Guadalupe Guerrero

    1991-2011
    80 wins from 822 starts

    2012
    79 wins from 282 starts

     

  • nu-fan

    Ray, I’m just a fan of horseracing but I agree with you entirely about the need for federal intervention and regulation in this area.  There is no way anyone is going to tell me that 80 out of 81 horses that ran at Golden Gate Fields, on Nov. 24, were all bleeders and should have racing on Lasix.  The comments made by the pro-Lasix group may be those who have a vested interest in their horses winning at any cost.  And, many of the comments were pure garbage meant to muddy the water and as a distraction to keep a federal decision from happening.  Your stand on the safety and welfare of racehorses is the main reason that I follow your website.  I believe that there are a lot of horseracing fans who have the same values that I have.  Horseracing is great but injury to these athletes (as well as jockeys) is not acceptable.  That fear and disgust is what keeps many people from attending horseracing.  In addition, I was watching an old segment about the Breeders Cup from many years ago (somewhere around 2000) and the commentators were discussing the controversy about Lasix.  Good grief.  If this issue hasn’t been settled yet, in 2012, why not?  Because there will always be those in any industry who will try to acquire a benefit for their own personal gain–at any cost.  That is why federal legislation is needed.  There doesn’t seem to be any other group with enough gumption or clout to get this done!  By the way, please disregard those who call you a buffoon or any other derogatory names.  These are individuals who do so because that is what those who can’t win an argument do: resort to name calling or yelling.

  • nu-fan

    Ray, I’m just a fan of horseracing but I agree with you entirely about the need for federal intervention and regulation in this area.  There is no way anyone is going to tell me that 80 out of 81 horses that ran at Golden Gate Fields, on Nov. 24, were all bleeders and should have racing on Lasix.  The comments made by the pro-Lasix group may be those who have a vested interest in their horses winning at any cost.  And, many of the comments were pure garbage meant to muddy the water and as a distraction to keep a federal decision from happening.  Your stand on the safety and welfare of racehorses is the main reason that I follow your website.  I believe that there are a lot of horseracing fans who have the same values that I have.  Horseracing is great but injury to these athletes (as well as jockeys) is not acceptable.  That fear and disgust is what keeps many people from attending horseracing.  In addition, I was watching an old segment about the Breeders Cup from many years ago (somewhere around 2000) and the commentators were discussing the controversy about Lasix.  Good grief.  If this issue hasn’t been settled yet, in 2012, why not?  Because there will always be those in any industry who will try to acquire a benefit for their own personal gain–at any cost.  That is why federal legislation is needed.  There doesn’t seem to be any other group with enough gumption or clout to get this done!  By the way, please disregard those who call you a buffoon or any other derogatory names.  These are individuals who do so because that is what those who can’t win an argument do: resort to name calling or yelling.

  • La Paloma

    Fair and Balanced opinion, thanks. Rules and regulations go a long way. Realistically there will always be cheaters. Serious change comes from within;the honesty and integrity of owners, trainers, and racing officials. Coming forward, having a confidential whistle blower protection policy in place. Close loop holes and put a bite into existing rules, and above all everyone gets the same treatment, post the docket in a conspicuous area for all to see. Tighten security on the backside and get rid of the track mafia. Compact agreements between states to honor banned or restricted trainers and horses and give racing commissions binding authority. Thanks for the sounding board could go on and on but preaching to the choir. 

    • nu-fan

      La Paloma:  Like all of your suggestions.  But, I also think that horseracing and all sports need to get the backing of federal legislation.  They have the big club and everyone will be on the same page because of that.  However, as you stated, “…there will always be cheater.”  True.  And, it really needs the cooperation of everyone in the horseracing industry, as you had noted, to bring those cheaters into the spotlight of a federal judicial system.

  • La Paloma

    Fair and Balanced opinion, thanks. Rules and regulations go a long way. Realistically there will always be cheaters. Serious change comes from within;the honesty and integrity of owners, trainers, and racing officials. Coming forward, having a confidential whistle blower protection policy in place. Close loop holes and put a bite into existing rules, and above all everyone gets the same treatment, post the docket in a conspicuous area for all to see. Tighten security on the backside and get rid of the track mafia. Compact agreements between states to honor banned or restricted trainers and horses and give racing commissions binding authority. Thanks for the sounding board could go on and on but preaching to the choir. 

  • Steve Zorn

    Lasix and a nationally uniform drug policy are two different, unconnected issues. Most horsemen support tough, uniform medication rules. They also support using Lasix, and are happy with state-supervised Lasix administration, so that private vets can’t get into a horse’s stall on race day. It’s only the rich aristocrats of the Jockey Club and their hangers-on and lackeys who keep pushing the Lasix ban , with the effect that they slow down progress toward good, uniform rules on everything else.

    I’d hope that California horsemen ban next year’s Breeders Cup simulcast. Jockey Club folks might then get the message.

    • Mike_Cadiz

       I agree with you, Steve Zorn.  The best part is when the Jockey Club and TOBA put forward their bogus “witnesses” at Senate and House hearings. 

    • 5k-claim

      Steve Zorn,
       
        Very well said.

         As a trainer, I move between “amazed” and “outraged” at any given time whenever I see that the anti-Lasix crowd claims to have the best interest of the horses’ health and well-being at heart.

        

      • Kyle

        Lasix should be banned if only because second hand exposure seems to cause so much hysteria and myopia.

      • Janet Delcastillo

        Steve,  i agree that Lasix is a minor offense compared to many other more potent and dangerous drugs used. And its use should not cloud the bigger issue of the more dangerous drugs. But…remember…it treats a symptom…and is not a cure for any cause of bleeding. It is harmful when used in training and racing young horses as it effects bone development.
        I agree it can deflect the use of many more harmful treatments…such as Shock wave therapy…though vets may have to state when it is used…what about the off track stables that use it without a Vet supervising?
        I do find it difficult to know how to stay ahead of the cheaters… for those of us how love the horse and the sport, it has been daunting to try and compete in the present environment .

        • http://www.theracehorseexperiment.com/ Maureen Tierney

          I agree.  What I can’t stand is that those who use drugs and other “therapies” to enhance performance (or at least think they are enhancing performance) look at anyone who really cares about the horse as “naive”, “unrealistic”, “stupid”, “out there” or whatever.  And to them that is true.  They tell us racing is a business.  And that IS how they think of it.  It’s not about the horse.  It’s not about sport. It’s not about the breed.  It’s about competition.  It’s about ‘beating the other guy’, no matter what has to be done to do it.  Many fool themselves into believing they love horses.  But they don’t. They love RACING and competing.

          I think tracks should offer races for drug-free horses and see what happens.  It would cost NOTHING.  Let the public choose.

        • Roisin

          Yes indeed, it is a daunting task to compete under the present circumstances.

    • Tinky

      Do you expect to be taken seriously when you reduce the significant number of those who argue for a Lasix ban to this?

      “It’s only the rich aristocrats of the Jockey Club and their hangers-on and lackeys who keep pushing the Lasix ban…”

      That’s not an argument, it’s a gross caricature. And it says much more about you than any of the intended targets.

      The reason that most horsemen want to keep Lasix legal is because they have never trained without it, and are scared silly about possibly having to do so. When you spend your life walking on crutches, the idea of moving without them is horrifying.

      The reason that two-thirds of the horsemen around the world are quite happy to continue racing their horses without Lasix is because they have been doing it for decades, and know very well that it can be done successfully.

      • Dcurtis78

        Tinky how many race horses do you care for/train or own? And why don’t you ask that 2/3′s of horsemen around the world what they “do” use instead of lasix.

        • Tinky

          I have been a professional in the industry for nearly 30 years, and have worked closely with trainers both in the U.S. and abroad.

          • Dcurtis78

            Most of your remarks do not indicate anymore than you standing at the stable gate looking in. Most likely at the mutual window.

          • Tinky

            When you resort to ad hominem attacks, it simply reveals that you are unable to seriously argue the substance of the matter.

          • Dcurtis78

            Funny Tinky, kinda thought you had the problem with the substance of the matter.

    • http://www.theracehorseexperiment.com/ Maureen Tierney

      Absolutely. By keeping the Lasix issue tied to the drug issue – no progress will be made for a long long time.  Just what crooks want.  No wonder Reed was smiling as he held up his koozie.

    • Fishtank

       ”I’d hope that California horsemen ban next year’s Breeders Cup simulcast. Jockey Club folks might then get the message.”

      Dream on.

    • Noelle

       Most horsemen do not support using Lasix.  Possibly you meant to say that most AMERICAN horsemen support using Lasix.  The rest of the world gets along fine without it, so there is really no rational justification for its use here.  Unless there’s something inherently wrong with American horses that makes them uniquely require Lasix? 

      • S.

         IMO American trainers are dependent on the vet, instead of their horsemanship skills.  Horses here are dependent on ponies to be controlled to post, racing rails must “withstand the force of a galloping horse”.  How about American trainers stop mooching of the tracks, set up their own training centers (like the UK) and LEARN TO TRAIN!  A 4f breeze 1x a week doesn’t prepare a horse to go 1+ miles.  Maybe THAT is WHY they bleed!  Hay net use- show me a horse that eats out of trees- they are GRAZERS- they are designed to eat grass off the ground- when they put their heads down to eat, all the irritants that case bleeding have a chance to go out- not down.  Bring back the horsemanship.  IMO a C level pony clubber or FFA kid has more horse sense than 90% of the trainers out there today.  I agree- the rest of the world knows how to actually train while Americans look to the vet truck and gadgets to cut corners…their in lays the problem.  True horseman know there are NO shortcuts!

        • http://www.theracehorseexperiment.com/ Maureen Tierney

          Absolutely!!!!  Thank you!  Knowledge of horses and simple things like even teaching a horse to lead are sadly lacking at U.S. tracks.  

    • Roisin

      I’m happy that 2 of our 2yr. olds are running Lasix free. They have only started once and did not win but ran very well. I predict they will win in the future.

  • Steve Zorn

    Lasix and a nationally uniform drug policy are two different, unconnected issues. Most horsemen support tough, uniform medication rules. They also support using Lasix, and are happy with state-supervised Lasix administration, so that private vets can’t get into a horse’s stall on race day. It’s only the rich aristocrats of the Jockey Club and their hangers-on and lackeys who keep pushing the Lasix ban , with the effect that they slow down progress toward good, uniform rules on everything else.

    I’d hope that California horsemen ban next year’s Breeders Cup simulcast. Jockey Club folks might then get the message.

  • Mick

    That’s what I like about you Ray. You run an article clearly defining a position, get ‘panned’ from all parties for being impractical and misinformed, and then immediately change your position. Boy, what a bastion of integrity you are.

    • RayPaulick

      There’s no change in position. Original article stated best long-term solution for a Lasix phase-out was federal legislation, and this reiterates that position. It is pointless to try and get multiple jurisdictions to agree on something that is a dramatic departure from current policy.

      • Christopherlally

        It is like trying to amend the Constitution of the United States.

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=779308866 Jill Pflugheber

         Uniformity of rules, uniformity of sanctions, and transparency. It just has to be.

  • Mick

    That’s what I like about you Ray. You run an article clearly defining a position, get ‘panned’ from all parties for being impractical and misinformed, and then immediately change your position. Boy, what a bastion of integrity you are.

  • Sue M. Chapman

    Well thought out, as always, Ray.  Thank you for addressing the biggest problem of to self govern or Be governed.  Breeders’ Cup made a medication decision and stuck with it without a bother about anything but the welfare of the industry.  A bit bumpy, yes; amendments to the plan needed, agreed.  But there is no other Racing Entity capable of accomplishing that amount of change on their own.  We need to charge BC to lead our industry now.

    Once again, the NYSRWB has backed itself into a corner wearing the dunce cap with the new ruling on reporting the use of Shock Wave and other treatments in a specific time frame.  Will there be Shock Wave Police?  It is unenforceable.

    What was the resolution on the claiming rule?  When is a claim valid?  When is it void?  Who mans the clock?  NY is on the brink of beginning a meet with significant drops in Claiming prices.  Has a solution been announced? 

    Is it within the realm of possibility that the States paying and supplying their own veterinarians to administer Lasix are using sup par quality generic medication?  Which begs the question, what horses really bleed?  Eliminating the cost of racetracks funding the administration would be better spent on improving the dorms which Churchill and Calder now Rent to barn workers, or NYRA could use to eliminate its’ rat infestation.

    If the Federal Government is blind to the ineptitude of the States regulating our sport, what can they possibly forsee without taking a much bigger look in their own mirrors?  
     

  • Sue M. Chapman

    Well thought out, as always, Ray.  Thank you for addressing the biggest problem of to self govern or Be governed.  Breeders’ Cup made a medication decision and stuck with it without a bother about anything but the welfare of the industry.  A bit bumpy, yes; amendments to the plan needed, agreed.  But there is no other Racing Entity capable of accomplishing that amount of change on their own.  We need to charge BC to lead our industry now.

    Once again, the NYSRWB has backed itself into a corner wearing the dunce cap with the new ruling on reporting the use of Shock Wave and other treatments in a specific time frame.  Will there be Shock Wave Police?  It is unenforceable.

    What was the resolution on the claiming rule?  When is a claim valid?  When is it void?  Who mans the clock?  NY is on the brink of beginning a meet with significant drops in Claiming prices.  Has a solution been announced? 

    Is it within the realm of possibility that the States paying and supplying their own veterinarians to administer Lasix are using sup par quality generic medication?  Which begs the question, what horses really bleed?  Eliminating the cost of racetracks funding the administration would be better spent on improving the dorms which Churchill and Calder now Rent to barn workers, or NYRA could use to eliminate its’ rat infestation.

    If the Federal Government is blind to the ineptitude of the States regulating our sport, what can they possibly forsee without taking a much bigger look in their own mirrors?  
     

  • RayPaulick

    There’s no change in position. Original article stated best long-term solution for a Lasix phase-out was federal legislation, and this reiterates that position. It is pointless to try and get multiple jurisdictions to agree on something that is a dramatic departure from current policy.

  • Mike_Cadiz

     I agree with you, Steve Zorn.  The best part is when the Jockey Club and TOBA put forward their bogus “witnesses” at Senate and House hearings. 

  • 5k-claim

    Steve Zorn,
     
      Very well said.

       As a trainer, I move between “amazed” and “outraged” at any given time whenever I see that the anti-Lasix crowd claims to have the best interest of the horses’ health and well-being at heart.

      

  • Christopherlally

    It is like trying to amend the Constitution of the United States.

  • Tinky

    Do you expect to be taken seriously when you reduce the significant number of those who argue for a Lasix ban to this?

    “It’s only the rich aristocrats of the Jockey Club and their hangers-on and lackeys who keep pushing the Lasix ban…”

    That’s not an argument, it’s a gross caricature. And it says much more about you than any of the intended targets.

    The reason that most horsemen want to keep Lasix legal is because they have never trained without it, and are scared silly about possibly having to do so. When you spend your life walking on crutches, the idea of moving without them is horrifying.

    The reason that two-thirds of the horsemen around the world are quite happy to continue racing their horses without Lasix is because they have been doing it for decades, and know very well that it can be done successfully.

  • August Song

    Uniformity via a National Horseracing Commission. Johnny Nerud had the insight and the wisdom to project what real issue(s) was years ago. Here the sport of horseracing has done nothing many years later, and it’s still dealing with the same issue(s). Is it any wonder why people in the sport and outside the sport have lost the faith in the sport’s ability to adequately & appropriately govern itself. It’s all very, very sad.

  • August Song

    Uniformity via a National Horseracing Commission. Johnny Nerud had the insight and the wisdom to project what real issue(s) was years ago. Here the sport of horseracing has done nothing many years later, and it’s still dealing with the same issue(s). Is it any wonder why people in the sport and outside the sport have lost the faith in the sport’s ability to adequately & appropriately govern itself. It’s all very, very sad.

  • Kyle

    Lasix should be banned if only because second hand exposure seems to cause so much hysteria and myopia.

  • http://www.theracehorseexperiment.com/ Maureen Tierney

    Absolutely. By keeping the Lasix issue tied to the drug issue – no progress will be made for a long long time.  Just what crooks want.  No wonder Reed was smiling as he held up his koozie.

  • Tveazey

    Doesn’t Lasix prevent a horse from bleeding?  Is bleeding good for the animal?  That is my question.  Do we want the horse harmed or do we want to do what is best for the horse?
    Please explain why you would want  the horse to bleed?  I am confused on this matter.

    • Mary2

      It’s my understanding that Lasix would not be needed (there wouldn’t be anywhere near the number of bleeders we have now) if trainers trained their animals properly.  The horses need much more physical work than 1 hour a day in order to build up their pulmonary capacity and strength.  As things stand now, virtually all trainers use Lasix on every horse because they think (maybe they’re right?) not using it will leave their horse at a disadvantage, bleeder or not, carrying extra water in its body.  It’s all just crazy …

      • Ben K McFadden

         Mary2, your understanding and assessments are largely correct.  Reference “Maryland Training Program” for info on the proper conditioning of a racehorse.

    • Circusticket

      Bleeding is caused by high pulmonary pressure (high blood pressure) according to a study from Kansas State U.  That’s why Lasix will work on horses with extra high blood pressure just like it does in humans.  But horses with high blood pressure should not be racing.  Only healthy horses should be considered athletes.  Humans with high blood pressure do not compete in sports.

      Drugs, including Lasix, always have side effects but there have been no studies on its long term use on horses.  In the South African study, horses were treated only once with Lasix, and they came to some pretty quick conclusions from using Lasix once.  Would you, personally, be willing to take a drug that was tested only once?

      Banning Lasix would be good for the animal.

      • http://www.theracehorseexperiment.com/ Maureen Tierney

        Good points.  There are healthy ways to combat high blood pressure, but of course a shot is so much easier, cheaper, and faster.  It’s never about the horse, it’s always about people and what they want.

      • nu-fan

        Circusticket:  Agree with you.  My knowledge of pharmaceuticals is limited to those who I personally know in the medical field (doctors, pharmacists and pharm. reps, registered nurses).  All of them have been very clear about drugs (legal ones): Use only what is absolutely required and use no more.  If that is true for humans, why wouldn’t it be true for all animals?  I find it very alarming to hear some in the horseracing industry think of Lasix (or other drugs) as benign and use them indiscriminately.  That is why there needs to be a single body that has a definite answer to this misuse of drugs in sports, including horseracing.  But, something tells me that there must have been sufficient studies already completed regarding Lasix, since it has been so controversial for such a relatively long time.  If it is still being discussed, is there a reason why?  Is it because there are too many who are blocking the banning of it for the reason that the ends justify the means?  Is it being used by far too many for that remote chance that the horse will bleed?  Is it being used because it is perceived as a performance-enhancing drug?  Looking through the Official Daily Racing Program guide for Saturday, November 24, 2012, one just needs to look at all of the “L’ codes at all tracks to really see the overwhelmingly huge extent to which Lasix is used.  Alarming!  Perhaps, all of us should send a copy of this form (doesn’t matter which dates) to our senators and have the federal government take notice of this current situation. 

    • Easygoer13

       Actually, Tveazey, the manufacturer of Lasix makes no claim that it prevents bleeding, and never has.  Lasix is a diuretic.  Many horsemen use it as a crutch because it indirectly, among a number of effects, prevents bleeding.  The main problems with Lasix, Confused Tveazey:  it masks other drugs including pain killers, effectively hiding them from the drug testers; Lasix weakens the breed and  contributes to the decades-long trend of fewer starts per season/fewer starts per career.  Thoroughbreds used to race every two weeks without Lasix.  Now you no longer need be confused, Tveazey!

      • Ben K McFadden

         There is absolutely no significant scientific evidence that lasix use weakens the breed.  This argument ignores facts, including that offspring of U.S. stallions race successfully in other countries.  Proponents of this argument would have us believe that foreign owners that breed to U.S. shuttle stallions are doing so to farther “weaken the breed”.  Does it allow bleeders to remain in the gene pool?  Maybe, but there is not evidence that lasix is sufficiently effective to permit chronically serious bleeders to compete at a top level and thus become useful at stud or as broodmares.

        As a breeder/owner I neither oppose or support lasix, and can accept either set of rules.  However, unsubstantiated claims are do not morph into facts just because enough people repeat them.

        • kyle

          Let’s say it doesn’t weaken the “breed;” or, at least, what affect it has is difficult to ascertain. Would you accept that it weakens horses? It used to be that two year old racing seemed highly beneficial and two year old stars regularly carried their superiority forward. That pattern has all but disappeared and I don’t think precosiousness and lack of stamina in our breeding can explain it, especially in light of the fact that three year old classic winners are increasingly showing an inability to carry that form on into the fall and beyond.

          • http://www.theracehorseexperiment.com/ Maureen Tierney

            I agree with Easygoer13 that Lasix has not weakened the breed.  It does weaken individuals, through its side effects.  The breed is NOT weaker.  There are just too few real horsemen training horses, and too many relying on drugs to fake it.

          • Ben K McFadden

             Others have addressed the shortcomings in our training, racing, and breeding practices.  Lasix is not the reason we have brittle sprinters as foundation sires in the U.S.

          • kyle

            I don’t know how you can remove lasix from a discussion about training and racing shortcomings. It’s so essential to the modern trainer as to be foundational. As for breeding, accepting your categorization of the producers, we then pump that get from the time they hit the training track with a drug that leeches calcium from their bones and purposely dehydrates them over and over and we pretend that doesn’t have a profoundly negative affect over time?

          • Ben K McFadden

            You have either misread or ignored the points made.

            There is also no evidence that the acute effects you cite have any long term impact on the breed. So, the answer would be NO.

      • Train N Go

        Those trainers that came up with the dermorphin tests. most of those horses ran on Lasix. it did not keep them from getting a bad test. lasix does not mask illegal drugs.

    • Ben K McFadden

      High blood pressure results from exercise induced stresses, not from salty oats. Diuretics reduce capillary pressure. Serious
      bleeding and organ trauma also result  from asynchronous bio-mechanical
      movements that are associated with fatigue. Proper conditioning AND
      lasix address both.  Lasix should not be substituted for effective
      training techniques, but it probably too frequently is.

      Mfr’s and Easygoer13′s claims notwithstanding, lasix does reduce bleeding. The debate should be whether any
      resulting harm outweighs the benefits.  Difficult to quantify based on
      evidence (or lack thereof).

      • http://www.theracehorseexperiment.com/ Maureen Tierney

        Exactly!

  • Tveazey

    Doesn’t Lasix prevent a horse from bleeding?  Is bleeding good for the animal?  That is my question.  Do we want the horse harmed or do we want to do what is best for the horse?
    Please explain why you would want  the horse to bleed?  I am confused on this matter.

  • Dcurtis78

    Tinky how many race horses do you care for/train or own? And why don’t you ask that 2/3′s of horsemen around the world what they “do” use instead of lasix.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=779308866 Jill Pflugheber

     Uniformity of rules, uniformity of sanctions, and transparency. It just has to be.

  • Mary2

    It’s my understanding that Lasix would not be needed (there wouldn’t be anywhere near the number of bleeders we have now) if trainers trained their animals properly.  The horses need much more physical work than 1 hour a day in order to build up their pulmonary capacity and strength.  As things stand now, virtually all trainers use Lasix on every horse because they think (maybe they’re right?) not using it will leave their horse at a disadvantage, bleeder or not, carrying extra water in its body.  It’s all just crazy …

  • Fishtank

     ”I’d hope that California horsemen ban next year’s Breeders Cup simulcast. Jockey Club folks might then get the message.”

    Dream on.

  • Circusticket

    Bleeding is caused by high pulmonary pressure (high blood pressure) according to a study from Kansas State U.  That’s why Lasix will work on horses with extra high blood pressure just like it does in humans.  But horses with high blood pressure should not be racing.  Only healthy horses should be considered athletes.  Humans with high blood pressure do not compete in sports.

    Drugs, including Lasix, always have side effects but there have been no studies on its long term use on horses.  In the South African study, horses were treated only once with Lasix, and they came to some pretty quick conclusions from using Lasix once.  Would you, personally, be willing to take a drug that was tested only once?

    Banning Lasix would be good for the animal.

  • http://www.theracehorseexperiment.com/ Maureen Tierney

    Good points.  There are healthy ways to combat high blood pressure, but of course a shot is so much easier, cheaper, and faster.  It’s never about the horse, it’s always about people and what they want.

  • Easygoer13

     Actually, Tveazey, the manufacturer of Lasix makes no claim that it prevents bleeding, and never has.  Lasix is a diuretic.  Many horsemen use it as a crutch because it indirectly, among a number of effects, prevents bleeding.  The main problems with Lasix, Confused Tveazey:  it masks other drugs including pain killers, effectively hiding them from the drug testers; Lasix weakens the breed and  contributes to the decades-long trend of fewer starts per season/fewer starts per career.  Thoroughbreds used to race every two weeks without Lasix.  Now you no longer need be confused, Tveazey!

  • Train N Go

    I am totally against performance-enhancing drugs in racing and I believe we need uniform
    rules to regulate this, so all racing jurisdictions will have to be on the same page, however I also believe in therapeutic medication such as bute and lasix.I am an owner,trainer and breeder for over 40 years. Some say that if your horse bleeds in a race that he is not properly conditioned ,or is not well bred or has not received the proper nutrition. This is simply not true. I have a Masters degree in Animal Science and Nutrition and I have raced and trained hundreds of horses. I have raced horses who sire and dam never bled in a race (at least not outwardly) and then one of their foals would bleed. There are many factors that cause bleeding most of them being enviromental rather than genetic. Horses retain lots of fluid.before a race and they need lasix to rid the body of this excess fluid before they race. Years ago before we used lasix ,trainers would remove the water  and hay from the horse several hours before a race. However this caused most horses to run in a dehydrated state, whereas Lasix allows a 4 hour window to remove excess fluid and electrolytes can be replaced quickly.

    • http://www.theracehorseexperiment.com/ Maureen Tierney

      Horses retain a lot of fluid before racing?  What study proves that?  When people “retain a lot of fluid” they are bloated and their extremities swell.  The fact is that horses do not get enough regular exercise to be fit – being fit means all systems need to be “stressed” in order to adjust to the demands being made on them.  Surely as someone with a Masters in Animal Science, you should know that less than 10 minutes of exercise a day is not enough for any animal to be considered fit, with the exception perhaps of koalas and sloths.

      • Train N Go

        First of all the blood pressure increases in all horses when they race. A large portion of horses bleed some during a race. I have had lots of horses scoped after they have raced and many of them bled, some a little some more than others, a few did not bled at all inside. All had high level conditioning and were fit. In 1986 a quarter horse named Ronas Ryan who was bred in Florida, qualified for a big futurity at Delta Downs. he bled in the trials and was not allowed to race back in the finals. Later in the year, he went to Texas and won a big futurity and in the fall won the All American Futurity in New Mexico. and won over a million dollars.  He was able to compete at a high level on lasix, but would have had to retire without it. Now, I have raced several of his sons and daughters and none were excessive bleeders.  They were able to  compete at a high level. Does this mean because this stallion bled in a race that he is an a poor risk as a sire.
        Absolutely not.

        • http://www.theracehorseexperiment.com/ Maureen Tierney

          I did not say Lasix doesn’t help bleeders.  What I object to is ridiculous statements such as racehorses retain fluids before racing.  I also object to people talking about bleeding as if they know what they’re talking about.  it is not just racing that causes bleeding. Draft horses bleed, cutting horses bleed, as do horses in other activities.  So “racing” is not what causes bleeding.  It’s not speed that causes bleeding.  Blood pressure could be the cause.  Why can’t we just stick to facts sometimes?  Why offer false justification? Aren’t the facts enough?  

          • Train N Go

            If race horses don’t have a lot of fluid in their systems before they race,why do they pee so much after lasix.

          • http://www.theracehorseexperiment.com/ Maureen Tierney

            Honestly?  Lasix is a diuretic.  We humans are 70% water.  I’m sure horses are close to that. Unless we are dehydrated, all of use have water in us.  Diuretics FORCE water out.

          • Roisin

            Animals and people urinate a lot following administration of Lasix. The drug is a diuretic. The diuretic effect is dramatic when given IV as opposed to oral administration.

             Unless the horse is ill it should not have fluid retention. The horse actually depletes his normal fluid balance along with electrolytes and other minerals and that, intuitively, is not a good thing.

            And Lasix does not help all bleeders, period.

    • S.

       So you would rather have your horses’ blood chemistry off for 28 + days, according to a study published in the Thorograh blog a few months ago, that is how long it takes for a horse to return to normal after a race + lasix administration.  Race recovery with no lasix is 48-72 hours.  That is why horses in non-lasix jurisdictions can run back so fast.  Also, proper preparation is key. Check out the Thoroughraph blog… great scientific info from a physiologist

      • Train N Go

        The majority of Quarter horses run on lasix. Many of them qualify  for large futurities and derbys, then they run back in two weeks. Most of the time their performance  and Speed Index is faster in the finals than they were in the trials. So much for your and thrograh’s theory about blood chemistry. If a horse does not come back ,it is because he is not receiving electrocytes or
        build ups, after he races.  Also, lasix does not interfer with bone developement. What it will do is deplete the hyaluronic acid in the joints areas of the horse. High performance horses that use lasix should also use Adequan or legend to compensate.

        • Roisin

          So medicate and then medicate some more to mitigate the first medicatio and so on. Really makes a lot of sense and especially since the horse was not sick in the first place, right. It sure sounds absurd. 

          /

  • Train N Go

    I am totally against performance-enhancing drugs in racing and I believe we need uniform
    rules to regulate this, so all racing jurisdictions will have to be on the same page, however I also believe in therapeutic medication such as bute and lasix.I am an owner,trainer and breeder for over 40 years. Some say that if your horse bleeds in a race that he is not properly conditioned ,or is not well bred or has not received the proper nutrition. This is simply not true. I have a Masters degree in Animal Science and Nutrition and I have raced and trained hundreds of horses. I have raced horses who sire and dam never bled in a race (at least not outwardly) and then one of their foals would bleed. There are many factors that cause bleeding most of them being enviromental rather than genetic. Horses retain lots of fluid.before a race and they need lasix to rid the body of this excess fluid before they race. Years ago before we used lasix ,trainers would remove the water  and hay from the horse several hours before a race. However this caused most horses to run in a dehydrated state, whereas Lasix allows a 4 hour window to remove excess fluid and electrolytes can be replaced quickly.

  • Noelle

     Most horsemen do not support using Lasix.  Possibly you meant to say that most AMERICAN horsemen support using Lasix.  The rest of the world gets along fine without it, so there is really no rational justification for its use here.  Unless there’s something inherently wrong with American horses that makes them uniquely require Lasix? 

  • http://www.theracehorseexperiment.com/ Maureen Tierney

    Horses retain a lot of fluid before racing?  What study proves that?  When people “retain a lot of fluid” they are bloated and their extremities swell.  The fact is that horses do not get enough regular exercise to be fit – being fit means all systems need to be “stressed” in order to adjust to the demands being made on them.  Surely as someone with a Masters in Animal Science, you should know that less than 10 minutes of exercise a day is not enough for any animal to be considered fit, with the exception perhaps of koalas and sloths.

  • Ben K McFadden

    High blood pressure results from exercise induced stresses, not from salty oats. Diuretics reduce capillary pressure. Serious
    bleeding and organ trauma also result  from asynchronous bio-mechanical
    movements that are associated with fatigue. Proper conditioning AND
    lasix address both.  Lasix should not be substituted for effective
    training techniques, but it probably too frequently is.

    Mfr’s and Easygoer13′s claims notwithstanding, lasix does reduce bleeding. The debate should be whether any
    resulting harm outweighs the benefits.  Difficult to quantify based on
    evidence (or lack thereof).

  • Ben K McFadden

     There is absolutely no significant scientific evidence that lasix use weakens the breed.  This argument ignores facts, including that offspring of U.S. stallions race successfully in other countries.  Proponents of this argument would have us believe that foreign owners that breed to U.S. shuttle stallions are doing so to farther “weaken the breed”.  Does it allow bleeders to remain in the gene pool?  Maybe, but there is not evidence that lasix is sufficiently effective to permit chronically serious bleeders to compete at a top level and thus become useful at stud or as broodmares.

    As a breeder/owner I neither oppose or support lasix, and can accept either set of rules.  However, unsubstantiated claims are do not morph into facts just because enough people repeat them.

  • Ben K McFadden

     Mary2, your understanding and assessments are largely correct.  Reference “Maryland Training Program” for info on the proper conditioning of a racehorse.

  • Lhebdon

    Why does everyone care so much what the rest of the world does? Who cares if what the rest of the world does?? They crap in the streets of Mexico too so we should follow their lead too?? Lets concentrate on THE UNITED STATES and what we want to do. It drives me crazy talking about “we’ll they do it so why don’t we”?? WHO CARES WHAT THEY DO!!!! Pay attention to us!! My parents use to get after me severely for saying ” I did it cause Johny did it”!! If Johny jumped off a cliff would you follow!!!!! Do the right thing with lasixs (whatever WE decide that is) because its the right thing and not because that’s what everyone else does !!

  • Lhebdon

    Why does everyone care so much what the rest of the world does? Who cares if what the rest of the world does?? They crap in the streets of Mexico too so we should follow their lead too?? Lets concentrate on THE UNITED STATES and what we want to do. It drives me crazy talking about “we’ll they do it so why don’t we”?? WHO CARES WHAT THEY DO!!!! Pay attention to us!! My parents use to get after me severely for saying ” I did it cause Johny did it”!! If Johny jumped off a cliff would you follow!!!!! Do the right thing with lasixs (whatever WE decide that is) because its the right thing and not because that’s what everyone else does !!

  • kyle

    Let’s say it doesn’t weaken the “breed;” or, at least, what affect it has is difficult to ascertain. Would you accept that it weakens horses? It used to be that two year old racing seemed highly beneficial and two year old stars regularly carried their superiority forward. That pattern has all but disappeared and I don’t think precosiousness and lack of stamina in our breeding can explain it, especially in light of the fact that three year old classic winners are increasingly showing an inability to carry that form on into the fall and beyond.

  • http://www.theracehorseexperiment.com/ Maureen Tierney

    Exactly!

  • http://www.theracehorseexperiment.com/ Maureen Tierney

    I agree with Easygoer13 that Lasix has not weakened the breed.  It does weaken individuals, through its side effects.  The breed is NOT weaker.  There are just too few real horsemen training horses, and too many relying on drugs to fake it.

  • Janet Delcastillo

    Steve,  i agree that Lasix is a minor offense compared to many other more potent and dangerous drugs used. And its use should not cloud the bigger issue of the more dangerous drugs. But…remember…it treats a symptom…and is not a cure for any cause of bleeding. It is harmful when used in training and racing young horses as it effects bone development.
    I agree it can deflect the use of many more harmful treatments…such as Shock wave therapy…though vets may have to state when it is used…what about the off track stables that use it without a Vet supervising?
    I do find it difficult to know how to stay ahead of the cheaters… for those of us how love the horse and the sport, it has been daunting to try and compete in the present environment .

  • Sue M. Chapman

    John Nerud was my mentor and is to this day, my friend.  I learned to gallop horses at Tartan Farm, which was a fabulous place to breed and raise horses.  The 2YO trainer was South African and understood the mental parts of a horse.  “The Chief” as we called him, was still climbing around in the gate. 

  • Sue M. Chapman

    John Nerud was my mentor and is to this day, my friend.  I learned to gallop horses at Tartan Farm, which was a fabulous place to breed and raise horses.  The 2YO trainer was South African and understood the mental parts of a horse.  “The Chief” as we called him, was still climbing around in the gate. 

  • http://www.theracehorseexperiment.com/ Maureen Tierney

    I agree.  What I can’t stand is that those who use drugs and other “therapies” to enhance performance (or at least think they are enhancing performance) look at anyone who really cares about the horse as “naive”, “unrealistic”, “stupid”, “out there” or whatever.  And to them that is true.  They tell us racing is a business.  And that IS how they think of it.  It’s not about the horse.  It’s not about sport. It’s not about the breed.  It’s about competition.  It’s about ‘beating the other guy’, no matter what has to be done to do it.  Many fool themselves into believing they love horses.  But they don’t. They love RACING and competing.

    I think tracks should offer races for drug-free horses and see what happens.  It would cost NOTHING.  Let the public choose.

  • Train N Go

    First of all the blood pressure increases in all horses when they race. A large portion of horses bleed some during a race. I have had lots of horses scoped after they have raced and many of them bled, some a little some more than others, a few did not bled at all inside. All had high level conditioning and were fit. In 1986 a quarter horse named Ronas Ryan who was bred in Florida, qualified for a big futurity at Delta Downs. he bled in the trials and was not allowed to race back in the finals. Later in the year, he went to Texas and won a big futurity and in the fall won the All American Futurity in New Mexico. and won over a million dollars.  He was able to compete at a high level on lasix, but would have had to retire without it. Now, I have raced several of his sons and daughters and none were excessive bleeders.  They were able to  compete at a high level. Does this mean because this stallion bled in a race that he is an a poor risk as a sire.
    Absolutely not.

  • http://www.theracehorseexperiment.com/ Maureen Tierney

    I did not say Lasix doesn’t help bleeders.  What I object to is ridiculous statements such as racehorses retain fluids before racing.  I also object to people talking about bleeding as if they know what they’re talking about.  it is not just racing that causes bleeding. Draft horses bleed, cutting horses bleed, as do horses in other activities.  So “racing” is not what causes bleeding.  It’s not speed that causes bleeding.  Blood pressure could be the cause.  Why can’t we just stick to facts sometimes?  Why offer false justification? Aren’t the facts enough?  

  • Train N Go

    Those trainers that came up with the dermorphin tests. most of those horses ran on Lasix. it did not keep them from getting a bad test. lasix does not mask illegal drugs.

  • Train N Go

    If race horses don’t have a lot of fluid in their systems before they race,why do they pee so much after lasix.

  • nu-fan

    Circusticket:  Agree with you.  My knowledge of pharmaceuticals is limited to those who I personally know in the medical field (doctors, pharmacists and pharm. reps, registered nurses).  All of them have been very clear about drugs (legal ones): Use only what is absolutely required and use no more.  If that is true for humans, why wouldn’t it be true for all animals?  I find it very alarming to hear some in the horseracing industry think of Lasix (or other drugs) as benign and use them indiscriminately.  That is why there needs to be a single body that has a definite answer to this misuse of drugs in sports, including horseracing.  But, something tells me that there must have been sufficient studies already completed regarding Lasix, since it has been so controversial for such a relatively long time.  If it is still being discussed, is there a reason why?  Is it because there are too many who are blocking the banning of it for the reason that the ends justify the means?  Is it being used by far too many for that remote chance that the horse will bleed?  Is it being used because it is perceived as a performance-enhancing drug?  Looking through the Official Daily Racing Program guide for Saturday, November 24, 2012, one just needs to look at all of the “L’ codes at all tracks to really see the overwhelmingly huge extent to which Lasix is used.  Alarming!  Perhaps, all of us should send a copy of this form (doesn’t matter which dates) to our senators and have the federal government take notice of this current situation. 

  • McGov

    The only reason I agree with banning Lasix is because I don’t think that the movement against drugs in racing will make any progress without including Lasix in the basket.  Is Lasix performance enhancing?  Absolutely.  Why?  No freakin idea.  Does it help bleeders?  Absolutely.  Does it also help certain horses become champions and hit the breeding shed and thereby further exacerbate the problem bringing it into the next generation?  Without any doubt.
    However, I do think that banning Lasix is like throwing the baby out with the bathwater.

    • http://www.theracehorseexperiment.com/ Maureen Tierney

      I agree.  It’s unfortunate that the pro-drug crowd realizes the Lasix issue is holding up changes.

  • McGov

    The only reason I agree with banning Lasix is because I don’t think that the movement against drugs in racing will make any progress without including Lasix in the basket.  Is Lasix performance enhancing?  Absolutely.  Why?  No freakin idea.  Does it help bleeders?  Absolutely.  Does it also help certain horses become champions and hit the breeding shed and thereby further exacerbate the problem bringing it into the next generation?  Without any doubt.
    However, I do think that banning Lasix is like throwing the baby out with the bathwater.

  • nu-fan

    La Paloma:  Like all of your suggestions.  But, I also think that horseracing and all sports need to get the backing of federal legislation.  They have the big club and everyone will be on the same page because of that.  However, as you stated, “…there will always be cheater.”  True.  And, it really needs the cooperation of everyone in the horseracing industry, as you had noted, to bring those cheaters into the spotlight of a federal judicial system.

  • S.

     IMO American trainers are dependent on the vet, instead of their horsemanship skills.  Horses here are dependent on ponies to be controlled to post, racing rails must “withstand the force of a galloping horse”.  How about American trainers stop mooching of the tracks, set up their own training centers (like the UK) and LEARN TO TRAIN!  A 4f breeze 1x a week doesn’t prepare a horse to go 1+ miles.  Maybe THAT is WHY they bleed!  Hay net use- show me a horse that eats out of trees- they are GRAZERS- they are designed to eat grass off the ground- when they put their heads down to eat, all the irritants that case bleeding have a chance to go out- not down.  Bring back the horsemanship.  IMO a C level pony clubber or FFA kid has more horse sense than 90% of the trainers out there today.  I agree- the rest of the world knows how to actually train while Americans look to the vet truck and gadgets to cut corners…their in lays the problem.  True horseman know there are NO shortcuts!

  • http://www.theracehorseexperiment.com/ Maureen Tierney

    Honestly?  Lasix is a diuretic.  We humans are 70% water.  I’m sure horses are close to that. Unless we are dehydrated, all of use have water in us.  Diuretics FORCE water out.

  • http://www.theracehorseexperiment.com/ Maureen Tierney

    I agree.  It’s unfortunate that the pro-drug crowd realizes the Lasix issue is holding up changes.

  • S.

     So you would rather have your horses’ blood chemistry off for 28 + days, according to a study published in the Thorograh blog a few months ago, that is how long it takes for a horse to return to normal after a race + lasix administration.  Race recovery with no lasix is 48-72 hours.  That is why horses in non-lasix jurisdictions can run back so fast.  Also, proper preparation is key. Check out the Thoroughraph blog… great scientific info from a physiologist

  • http://www.theracehorseexperiment.com/ Maureen Tierney

    Absolutely!!!!  Thank you!  Knowledge of horses and simple things like even teaching a horse to lead are sadly lacking at U.S. tracks.  

  • Trishoe

    My question is what do we do with all the horses that bleed, and we can’t run on lasix?
    Because, we can’t slaughter them! Its going to be pretty hard to feed them!

    • http://www.theracehorseexperiment.com/ Maureen Tierney

      Look to history. Science says horses have always bled, we just couldn’t tell until scoping was invented.  Look at all the horses who not only ran, but ran over 50 times!   And here’s a question:  what do we do with all the horses who lose?  What happens to all the horses for whom Lasix causes catastrophic breakdown because it takes the calcium out of their bones?

      • Big Red

        Again, “what do we do with all the horses that bleed, and we can’t run on lasix” is a simple question that never seems to get answered.

        Maureen, since you replied to Trishoe’s question with 3 more questions, I’ll ask you just one:  What is your address so I can send my bleeders to you if lasix is banned ?

        • http://www.theracehorseexperiment.com/ Maureen Tierney

          They were rhetorical questions.  Here is my email:  If you have bleeders you must get rid of feel free to contact me.  I’d like the opportunity to show what real health can do for a horse.  maureen@forthehorse.net

      • Trishoe

        As I like to say, it is similar too, if we did not eat beef, beef cattle wound, not exist or very few. And with the number of horses decreasing it, may be the end of racing, then the end of the race horse and bleeders. Well at least we will have Casinos and mind less slots!
        In an ideal racing world lasix or any medications would not exist, but that probably will take many generation to fix. As a human in this day in time, instant gradification is the way of most!
        If a Horse has to be a proven bleeder to run on lasix, and compeat against
        horses that are not proven bleeders, then money is the only way to fix it.
        The non bleeders with no lasix need to make more money, or all horses need to be able to run on lasix.

        • http://www.theracehorseexperiment.com/ Maureen Tierney

          Lasix is not the problem in racing.  Lack of intelligence is!  Lack of horsemanship is.  Reliance on drugs is (excluding Lasix).  If every horse ran with no drug other than Lasix, wouldn’t that be great?  What would be the problem?  

  • Trishoe

    My question is what do we do with all the horses that bleed, and we can’t run on lasix?
    Because, we can’t slaughter them! Its going to be pretty hard to feed them!

  • Train N Go

    The majority of Quarter horses run on lasix. Many of them qualify  for large futurities and derbys, then they run back in two weeks. Most of the time their performance  and Speed Index is faster in the finals than they were in the trials. So much for your and thrograh’s theory about blood chemistry. If a horse does not come back ,it is because he is not receiving electrocytes or
    build ups, after he races.  Also, lasix does not interfer with bone developement. What it will do is deplete the hyaluronic acid in the joints areas of the horse. High performance horses that use lasix should also use Adequan or legend to compensate.

  • http://www.theracehorseexperiment.com/ Maureen Tierney

    Look to history. Science says horses have always bled, we just couldn’t tell until scoping was invented.  Look at all the horses who not only ran, but ran over 50 times!   And here’s a question:  what do we do with all the horses who lose?  What happens to all the horses for whom Lasix causes catastrophic breakdown because it takes the calcium out of their bones?

  • Ben K McFadden

     Others have addressed the shortcomings in our training, racing, and breeding practices.  Lasix is not the reason we have brittle sprinters as foundation sires in the U.S.

  • kyle

    I don’t know how you can remove lasix from a discussion about training and racing shortcomings. It’s so essential to the modern trainer as to be foundational. As for breeding, accepting your categorization of the producers, we then pump that get from the time they hit the training track with a drug that leeches calcium from their bones and purposely dehydrates them over and over and we pretend that doesn’t have a profoundly negative affect over time?

  • Big Red

    Again, “what do we do with all the horses that bleed, and we can’t run on lasix” is a simple question that never seems to get answered.

    Maureen, since you replied to Trishoe’s question with 3 more questions, I’ll ask you just one:  What is your address so I can send my bleeders to you if lasix is banned ?

  • http://www.theracehorseexperiment.com/ Maureen Tierney

    They were rhetorical questions.  Here is my email:  If you have bleeders you must get rid of feel free to contact me.  I’d like the opportunity to show what real health can do for a horse.  maureen@forthehorse.net

  • Ben K McFadden

     No.

  • diastu in tempe

    There is no one solution. The “tool box” should contain more than one. National, uniform regulations are one tool that should be in the box – you are correct, Ray, the state by state approach is a joke. Working from the horse side of things, specifically on EIPH issues, here’s another tool: Stop breeding bleeders! Uh oh, that would mean that greedy people might have to consider the long-term welfare of current and future horses. Without strong and uniform regulations, that won’t happen. New fans of racing don’t want drugged up horses and don’t understand any of the “theraputic” arguments offered by trainers caught abusing medications. They don’t want to hear about used-up horses going off to slaughter either. Tool? Stop over breeding horses with bad legs or other conformation issues just because “heshe is a descendant of Secretariat and might be a Derby contender”. Continue to turn off the fans new or old, and the death knell of racing gets louder and louder.

    • http://www.theracehorseexperiment.com/ Maureen Tierney

      Why blame breeders?  The fact is that racing takes its toll on horses.  Bad training takes a bigger toll, drugs take a toll, and being confined in a box for 23 hours a day takes a toll.  Just because a horse breaks down does NOT mean there was something flawed in the horse.  If a football player has bad knees at the end of his career do we say his breeding was bad?

      All horses bleed.  I would bet that 99% of horses bleed, they just are not all scoped. If cutting horses bleed and draft horses bleed it’s pretty universal – not from any one line of horses. 

      As to conformation.  Conformation doesn’t guarantee soundness, winning, or breakdown.  There have been horses who run well and stay sound with “bad” legs.  There are horses with “perfect” conformation who can’t win and do break down.  

      Each horse, like each person, is an individual.  And in the case of racehorses – environment plays a huge part in soundness or lack thereof.

      • Sue M. Chapman

        Most horses DO NOT Bleed.  Please, give this crap a rest.  Lasix is a performance enhancing drug.  Focus your research on how Lasix works on horses who are not bleeding.

    • http://www.theracehorseexperiment.com/ Maureen Tierney

      And further more – ALL horses leave the track eventually.  Every single one.  Not just those with bad conformation or lameness.  Every single horse.  The lucky ones find homes or go for breeding.  The unlucky thousands who don’t get lucky – what happens to them?  It has little to do with bleeding!

      • Sue M. Chapman

        It has to do with animal welfare.  Attach a bank account to every horse registered by the JC.  Dream up some rules about money being deposited in their account for each start.  Send them to retirement with a pension.

  • diastu in tempe

    There is no one solution. The “tool box” should contain more than one. National, uniform regulations are one tool that should be in the box – you are correct, Ray, the state by state approach is a joke. Working from the horse side of things, specifically on EIPH issues, here’s another tool: Stop breeding bleeders! Uh oh, that would mean that greedy people might have to consider the long-term welfare of current and future horses. Without strong and uniform regulations, that won’t happen. New fans of racing don’t want drugged up horses and don’t understand any of the “theraputic” arguments offered by trainers caught abusing medications. They don’t want to hear about used-up horses going off to slaughter either. Tool? Stop over breeding horses with bad legs or other conformation issues just because “he\she is a descendant of Secretariat and might be a Derby contender”. Continue to turn off the fans new or old, and the death knell of racing gets louder and louder.

  • Trishoe

    As I like to say, it is similar too, if we did not eat beef, beef cattle wound, not exist or very few. And with the number of horses decreasing it, may be the end of racing, then the end of the race horse and bleeders. Well at least we will have Casinos and mind less slots!
    In an ideal racing world lasix or any medications would not exist, but that probably will take many generation to fix. As a human in this day in time, instant gradification is the way of most!
    If a Horse has to be a proven bleeder to run on lasix, and compeat against
    horses that are not proven bleeders, then money is the only way to fix it.
    The non bleeders with no lasix need to make more money, or all horses need to be able to run on lasix.

  • http://www.theracehorseexperiment.com/ Maureen Tierney

    Why blame breeders?  The fact is that racing takes its toll on horses.  Bad training takes a bigger toll, drugs take a toll, and being confined in a box for 23 hours a day takes a toll.  Just because a horse breaks down does NOT mean there was something flawed in the horse.  If a football player has bad knees at the end of his career do we say his breeding was bad?

    All horses bleed.  I would bet that 99% of horses bleed, they just are not all scoped. If cutting horses bleed and draft horses bleed it’s pretty universal – not from any one line of horses. 

    As to conformation.  Conformation doesn’t guarantee soundness, winning, or breakdown.  There have been horses who run well and stay sound with “bad” legs.  There are horses with “perfect” conformation who can’t win and do break down.  

    Each horse, like each person, is an individual.  And in the case of racehorses – environment plays a huge part in soundness or lack thereof.

  • http://www.theracehorseexperiment.com/ Maureen Tierney

    And further more – ALL horses leave the track eventually.  Every single one.  Not just those with bad conformation or lameness.  Every single horse.  The lucky ones find homes or go for breeding.  The unlucky thousands who don’t get lucky – what happens to them?  It has little to do with bleeding!

  • http://www.theracehorseexperiment.com/ Maureen Tierney

    Lasix is not the problem in racing.  Lack of intelligence is!  Lack of horsemanship is.  Reliance on drugs is (excluding Lasix).  If every horse ran with no drug other than Lasix, wouldn’t that be great?  What would be the problem?  

  • Tinky

    I have been a professional in the industry for nearly 30 years, and have worked closely with trainers both in the U.S. and abroad.

  • Roisin

    So medicate and then medicate some more to mitigate the first medicatio and so on. Really makes a lot of sense and especially since the horse was not sick in the first place, right. It sure sounds absurd. 

    /

  • Roisin

    Animals and people urinate a lot following administration of Lasix. The drug is a diuretic. The diuretic effect is dramatic when given IV as opposed to oral administration.

     Unless the horse is ill it should not have fluid retention. The horse actually depletes his normal fluid balance along with electrolytes and other minerals and that, intuitively, is not a good thing.

    And Lasix does not help all bleeders, period.

  • Roisin

    I’m happy that 2 of our 2yr. olds are running Lasix free. They have only started once and did not win but ran very well. I predict they will win in the future.

  • Tbower

    I notice that Tracy Farmer is now running his two year olds, as well as his older horses, on Lasix.  What happened to the firm stance against Lasix as laid out in his long diatribe last August on the Paulick Report?  Way to hang in there Tracy!   

  • Tbower

    I notice that Tracy Farmer is now running his two year olds, as well as his older horses, on Lasix.  What happened to the firm stance against Lasix as laid out in his long diatribe last August on the Paulick Report?  Way to hang in there Tracy!   

  • Roisin

    As we know, Lasix is a drug intended to treat sick humans and sick animals. It is a diuretic which will rid the body of excess fluid that accumulates mostly because of conjestive heart failure. The drug is given intraveniously(IV) only in emergency situations such as pulmonary edema. Otherwise Lasix is given in pill form. IV administration produces dramatic results which is what is needed in an emergency situation.
     
    When Lasix is administered to a healthy person or animal, especially IV, it the depletes the normal fluid level, it dehydrates them. Also, we know it depletes potassium etc. Why is this good for the horse especially one that does not have EIPH ?

     Further, some horses race with just a few days of  recovery. Does anyone know if it is enough time for the horse to regain homeostasis ?. There are no rules concerning this. 

    The weight loss is perceived to enhance performance. It is all about winning by any means and Lasix is one of the means. This is  what Thoroughbred racing has come to. How sad.

       

    • Sue M. Chapman

      Your use of big words intended to WOW us with  your expertise is rather limited.  This is not magic, or secret ways of medicating.  You’re looking in the wrong places.

  • Roisin

    As we know, Lasix is a drug intended to treat sick humans and sick animals. It is a diuretic which will rid the body of excess fluid that accumulates mostly because of conjestive heart failure. The drug is given intraveniously(IV) only in emergency situations such as pulmonary edema. Otherwise Lasix is given in pill form. IV administration produces dramatic results which is what is needed in an emergency situation.
     
    When Lasix is administered to a healthy person or animal, especially IV, it the depletes the normal fluid level, it dehydrates them. Also, we know it depletes potassium etc. Why is this good for the horse especially one that does not have EIPH ?

     Further, some horses race with just a few days of  recovery. Does anyone know if it is enough time for the horse to regain homeostasis ?. There are no rules concerning this. 

    The weight loss is perceived to enhance performance. It is all about winning by any means and Lasix is one of the means. This is  what Thoroughbred racing has come to. How sad.

       

  • Roisin

    Yes indeed, it is a daunting task to compete under the present circumstances.

  • Dcurtis78

    Most of your remarks do not indicate anymore than you standing at the stable gate looking in. Most likely at the mutual window.

  • Tinky

    When you resort to ad hominem attacks, it simply reveals that you are unable to seriously argue the substance of the matter.

  • Dcurtis78

    Funny Tinky, kinda thought you had the problem with the substance of the matter.

  • Thelibrarian

    National solution…..that’s a good one! Forget it!

  • Thelibrarian

    National solution…..that’s a good one! Forget it!

  • Voiceofreason

    Make it mandatory that every horse must run on Lasix. Playing field is level, and the breed benefits from this wonderful, healthful drug.

  • Voiceofreason

    Make it mandatory that every horse must run on Lasix. Playing field is level, and the breed benefits from this wonderful, healthful drug.

  • Sue M. Chapman

    Do some more research on the other effects of Lasix on the ORGANS.  Jugs, electrolytes are standard post race rehydrating treatment.  Conquistador Cielo won the Met Mile followed by The Belmont on 6 days rest.
    All living things react differently to external events.  Stress, disease, whatever you can think up. 

  • Sue M. Chapman

    Do some more research on the other effects of Lasix on the ORGANS.  Jugs, electrolytes are standard post race rehydrating treatment.  Conquistador Cielo won the Met Mile followed by The Belmont on 6 days rest.
    All living things react differently to external events.  Stress, disease, whatever you can think up. 

  • Sue M. Chapman

    Your use of big words intended to WOW us with  your expertise is rather limited.  This is not magic, or secret ways of medicating.  You’re looking in the wrong places.

  • Sue M. Chapman

    It has to do with animal welfare.  Attach a bank account to every horse registered by the JC.  Dream up some rules about money being deposited in their account for each start.  Send them to retirement with a pension.

  • Sue M. Chapman

    Most horses DO NOT Bleed.  Please, give this crap a rest.  Lasix is a performance enhancing drug.  Focus your research on how Lasix works on horses who are not bleeding.

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