No change in Breeders’ Cup Lasix policy … yet

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The Breeders’ Cup board of directors met at Gulfstream Park Friday morning and discussed its previously approved policy to ban race-day medication, namely the anti-bleeding diuretic Lasix, for all races at the 2013 championships at Santa Anita Park Nov. 1-2.

But an anticipated up-or-down vote on the policy or modifications to it apparently did not take place.

The Lasix policy was approved by the board in July 2011, phasing out race-day medication over two years. Five Juvenile races were run without the drug in 2012 and all Breeders’ Cup races were to be run under those conditions this year. The policy was criticized by some trainers and owners after several 2-year-olds reportedly bled following endoscopic examination after their Breeders’ Cup races last year.

Following the meeting, a spokesman for Breeders’ Cup issued this rather bland comment: “The Breeders’ Cup Board of Directors met today and discussed a number of policy and organizational issues. The meeting will be re-convened at a later date.”

In addition to the Lasix policy, which several board members have said they want to modify or abandon, the board reportedly is considering eliminating two of the 15 races. Steven Crist, writing in Daily Racing Form, said the Dirt Mile and Juvenile Sprint  added since the event expanded to two days in 2007 – may be dropped.

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  • Kris

    I hope the BC committee sticks to their guns on the lasix issue.  History is looking them in the eye…..are they going to blink?

    • nu-fan

      As a fan, I will be very disappointed in horseracing if these individuals do not do what is best for the horse.  If they wonder why fans drift away from this sport….? The only concern I have is how horses, who have run on Lasix routinely, will react to running without Lasix? In human medicine, it is sometimes suggested to wean off a drug, gradually, because of possible adverse reactions if stopped abruptly. Wondered whether, perhaps, it might be best to wean horses off of Lasix so that as the older horses retire, this drug will gradually disappear. Just a novice expressing some thoughts….

      • Laddyf

        Great idea to wean older horses off meds like lasix and bute.  That way they will be fit for European consumption when they can’t go in  another cheap claiming race. Jeeesus, where do you people come from? 

        • Grarick

          We’re not talking about cheap claimers, Laddyf. We’re talking about your signature event, the best of the best, the races you use to determine who deserves to go to the breeding shed. If those horses can’t perform without lasix, bute, clenbuterol and the rest, they DO NOT deserve to be looked at as the future of the thoroughbred breed.

          Now don’t even get me started about drugs and cheap claimers.

        • Ben K McFadden

          Could be a bit sticky, Laddy.  However, if they decide to do it, they have to begin somewhere.  Always better to let them start with the other guys horses.

          I think we should let the Euros eat whatever they want.  They let us enjoy Big Macs, even if Bloomberg won’t let us wash them down with super  -sized sodas.

        • nu-fan

          Laddyf:  I could’ve sworn that this article was about Lasix not other drugs.   Jeeeesus, don’t you read thoroughly?

      • Kris

        Nu-Fan,
        Bute is another drug that needs to go.  I have to think that bute contributes to the severity of racetrack injuries; why would a horse pull themselves up in a race if they’re feeling little pain?  
        Also, if this sport doesn’t do something about the race-day medication issue then our elected leaders in Congress most certainly will.  You make a lot of sense, Nu-fan.

        • concerned horse owner

           I believe all race tracks do not let you run on Bute, Butazolidan whice is an anti inflamatory and  pain killer and may mask an injured race horse.

        • nu-fan

          Kris:  Yes, agreed, but this article was about Lasix and the BC.  And, thank you for your kind comments.  I appreciate it very much.  From what I can tell, the horseracing industry is in a very fragile state.  Fans are declining as are the revenues that run this sport.  I believe in the “10% change” rule that is taught in business schools and practiced in the business community.  It, basically, says that trying to change things in small 10% increments is more successful than trying to make a major change at one time.  People tend to like the status quo and the familiar.  Installing changes in small dosages makes it easier to get people to go along with them.  But, I have to admit that I am losing confidence in the federal government to do anything at all.  Horseracing (except in some geographical areas) is not that important to its constituents–and, that is what drives our elected leaders all to often: next election’s votes.

      • Ben K McFadden

        Your disappointment will be greatly felt and ignored by the BC committee.  They will do exactly what they want to do and do not care one bit about “public” opinion.  The BC is an insiders game.  If you would like to sponsor a few races, offer VIP entertainment, send or influence some top horses to participate in the event (one horse does not count), then your thoughts would matter.   $$$$$

        It is still a great racing event.

        • nu-fan

          It’s unfortunate to think that the BC committee wouldn’t be interested in my opinions, not because it is “me” but because I am one of many fans.  I want to stay a fan in horseracing since I do enjoy it a lot but, at times, it is hard to do so.  One thing that I don’t understand, still, is why the BC, which did not allow 2-year-olds to race on Lasix this past year, is not extending that to 3-year-olds this year?  It would seem that this method would gradually get everyone in your industry on the path to a Lasix-free program.  Another concern that I have–because I have not seen any information on it–is what effect, if any, might there be on the huge number of horses who routinely run on Lasix and, then, has that drug withheld for a BC race?  With so many in the pro-Lasix camp often commenting about the adverse reaction that the fans would endure seeing horses bleeding all over the place, I would hope that these same individuals would not, later, come back with an “I told you so” if that did, indeed, occur. I am, of course, assuming that if a horse is a bleeder, it would show up early.  Or, is it fairly common for this to show up on a horse at later age?

          • Beenie

            There is a good possibility that the lasix ban will hold.  Many of the BIG sponsors, and other insiders that the BC does listen to are anti-lasix. A group of California trainers and owners lead the group opposing the ban.  They will try to pressure SA, CHRB, and BC by threatening to withhold horses.  If enough money and horses show up, the ban will hold.

            Euros, Asians, and Australians have good racing attendance because they enjoy blood and gore.  They lack the sensitivity of SoCal trainers.

          • Whodat

            If the BC cared about the fans
            they would lower grandstand and other ticket prices significantly, and
            lower  unsold grandstand seats even more
            two weeks prior to the event.  Most of
            the BC funds come from sponsors, the host track, nomination fees, etc.  They do not have to gouge the “average fan”
            but do so to create an elitist aura around the event, and because they are
            greedy and short-sighted.

            Most horses can run without Lasix and
            experience little or no bleeding, if properly conditioned.   If subjected to new or unusual stresses,
            they can also bleed whether on Lasix or not; running a turf horse on a muddy
            dirt track, for example.  Even in the
            absence of unusual conditions, almost every high performance athlete, human and
            equine, experiences EIPH during one or more competitive events.  Humans are not scoped and minor symptoms are
            dismissed as normal fatigue and recovery usually occurs without intervention.  Horses are routinely scoped, often to justify
            running on Lasix, and it is unlikely that a sufficiently motivated vet cannot
            find some evidence of hemorrhaging, however minor.   Chronic, reoccurring EIPH at any level has
            the potential to cause permanent pulmonary damage.

            Conditioning, environmental agents,
            and parentage are all factors affecting EIPH. 
            Chronic high level bleeders do tend to show up early, and Lasix fails to
            permit them to perform at a top competitive level.  Occasional Level 1 or 2 bleeding is not
            usually a serious concern unless it occurs regularly in training and during
            races.  Nonetheless, in the U.S. all
            levels of bleeding are usually treated with Lasix and other medications.  It is our belief (empirical evidence only) that
            short term performance gains are diminished over time by the effects of stress
            related to repeated cycles of dehydration and extended recovery.  As a result, we try not to use Lasix on any
            of our runners unless there is a real need to control bleeding.   There are benefits and negatives to Lasix use
            as with any medication.  What seems to be
            lacking in U.S. is balance and control. 
            This applies to the use of Lasix and the nature of the debate.

             

    • http://twitter.com/HoopsandHorses Hoops and Horses

      Absolutely!!  I wrote two years ago my five-year plan that would phase out Lasix from the sport that can be seen at: http://www.toosmarttofail.com/forums/showthread.php/324

      The Breeders’ Cup, Triple Crown, all races for two year olds and selected Grade 1 races outside of that would be the first races to bar Lasix.

      • concerned horse owner

         Problem…they are really some horses that bleed in their lungs when they run or breeze , its called Exercise induced pulmonary hemorrhage…..Unfortunately 90 percent of the trainers feel the Lasix improves running without scientific fact?  …what do we do with the horse that really do need the therapeutic “water pill” that reduces pressure in lungs and reduces bleeding???

        • http://twitter.com/HoopsandHorses Hoops and Horses

          This spot got along fine without Lasix until the late 1970s and in New York until 1995.  What it will do is push out a generation of trainers who either don’t know how or don’t want to train horses without Lasix. 

          My plan would start with the current two year olds along with this year’s Triple Crown and Breeders’ Cup races and SELECT Grade 1 races only.  Otherwise, horses who are currently racing on Lasix can continue to do so.  It would then in year two expand to ALL Grade 1 & 2 races and ALL races for three year olds (only) through the running of the Belmont Stakes.  Then it would expand further from there so basically, the bulk of the current crop would still be able to use Lasix for a few more years while newer generations DO NOT race on it.

          • nu-fan

            Hoops and Horses:  It’s great to see someone else who has the same thoughts as I have had about a gradual expanding! I don’t know why the BC disallowed it for 2-year-olds last year and didn’t continue expanding it to 3-year-old this year?  Doesn’t this just seem like a reasonable approach? 

  • Kris

    I hope the BC committee sticks to their guns on the lasix issue.  History is looking them in the eye…..are they going to blink?

  • nu-fan

    As a fan, I will be very disappointed in horseracing if these individuals do not do what is best for the horse.  If they wonder why fans drift away from this sport….?

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

    Just three bled, out of the fifty starters. 6% involved. When the horses involved would have raced earlier on, without lasix, the problem was diagnosted. So these horses would have been scratched, or even not entered.

    • Zraces

      HUH?

    • Stewart

      Since they didn’t have the common sense (or because they were afraid of the results) to require mandatory scoping following the race, no one knows how many horses bled.  You are pulling a stat from nowhere basically, also known as the press.  More specifically, a few articles that quoted a handful of trainers.

      Regardless of what side of the debate you are on, there was no program in place to have a uniform follow-up w/ all 2YOs that ran in the BC.  This was not only inexcusably stupid (or CYA in my opinion), it eliminated any chance of collecting real statistics on how the horses fared w/o lasix.

      • Yoututor

        The results are in on one thing for sure: Lasix is a de facto performance enhancer. It also severely messes with a horse’s homeostatic mechanisms after the race.

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

    Just three bled, out of the fifty starters. 6% involved. When the horses involved would have raced earlier on, without lasix, the problem was diagnosted. So these horses would have been scratched, or even not entered.

  • Zraces

    HUH?

  • Jerry

    THE SIMPLE ANSWER IS TO—————————-

                          NOT NOMINATE YOUR FOALS TO THE BREEDERS CUP.

    IT’S JUST THAT EASY!!!

  • Jerry

    THE SIMPLE ANSWER IS TO—————————-

                          NOT NOMINATE YOUR FOALS TO THE BREEDERS CUP.

    IT’S JUST THAT EASY!!!

  • FastBernieB

    Until the sport / business goes national in the application of race day medication policies, there will never be a satisfactory resolution to the lasix debate. Since each jurisdiction is its own fiefdom looking to protect its own piece of the pie, local medication policies evolve in a way they believe will make their product sustainable. For the Breeders Cup to try to lead the industry to their “Mecca” of lasix free racing is noble but unrealistic. As long as cheap claimers remain as the backbone of the industry, going lasix free is a pipe dream.

    • nu-fan

      Unfortunately, I think you are right.  But, I would hope that if the BC makes these changes, successfully, it will filter down the chain to the rest of horseracing.  But, the creation of a national governance of this sport seems to be an important key.  The way it is set up right now is a dismal–at best.  What a dysfunctional way for this sport to be run!

  • FastBernieB

    Until the sport / business goes national in the application of race day medication policies, there will never be a satisfactory resolution to the lasix debate. Since each jurisdiction is its own fiefdom looking to protect its own piece of the pie, local medication policies evolve in a way they believe will make their product sustainable. For the Breeders Cup to try to lead the industry to their “Mecca” of lasix free racing is noble but unrealistic. As long as cheap claimers remain as the backbone of the industry, going lasix free is a pipe dream.

  • Laddyf

    Great idea to wean older horses off meds like lasix and bute.  That way they will be fit for European consumption when they can’t go in  another cheap claiming race. Jeeesus, where do you people come from? 

  • JOMAMA

    Bvdb, just a thought on the fact that just 3 bled out of 50, you might quote your source and then maybe your post would be more believable.

  • JOMAMA

    Bvdb, just a thought on the fact that just 3 bled out of 50, you might quote your source and then maybe your post would be more believable.

  • Barry Irwin

    Yes, it’s time for a scrotum check. Hope the game doesn’t get the shaft and the BC directors stand tall and show their balls. If not, time to check names and call out the weak members. 

  • Stewart

    Since they didn’t have the common sense (or because they were afraid of the results) to require mandatory scoping following the race, no one knows how many horses bled.  You are pulling a stat from nowhere basically, also known as the press.  More specifically, a few articles that quoted a handful of trainers.

    Regardless of what side of the debate you are on, there was no program in place to have a uniform follow-up w/ all 2YOs that ran in the BC.  This was not only inexcusably stupid (or CYA in my opinion), it eliminated any chance of collecting real statistics on how the horses fared w/o lasix.

  • Meownruff

    (L)Salix should be banned altogether. This would eliminate any worries regarding “weaning” for the B.C. One should know that most BC Board members own and race horses in the BC. I ALLEGE that there is more than Lasix going into that needle. Look at the trainers who are vocal about using Lasix: Baffert, Pletcher who usually burb in races where Lasix is eliminated or where they are closely watched. Some of their owners are board members of racetrack associations or BC. This game would be so awesome if the corruption factor was eliminated. Then we would have real talent going to the breeding shed.

    • Youtut

      Pletcher, with his massive, diuretic, mineral-leaching doses of Lasix just lost yet another promising young one – Violence. At least he didn’t bleed , right? Straight to the breeding shed to breed more bleeders.

    • Youtut

      Of course, they’ll get rid of the one thing that American-trained/bred horses are good at: running a mile, but no farther, on dirt!

  • Meownruff

    (L)Salix should be banned altogether. This would eliminate any worries regarding “weaning” for the B.C. One should know that most BC Board members own and race horses in the BC. I ALLEGE that there is more than Lasix going into that needle. Look at the trainers who are vocal about using Lasix: Baffert, Pletcher who usually burb in races where Lasix is eliminated or where they are closely watched. Some of their owners are board members of racetrack associations or BC. This game would be so awesome if the corruption factor was eliminated. Then we would have real talent going to the breeding shed.

  • Sue M. Chapman

    Very disappointing.  In typical, smoke and mirrors behavior, BC wants a “new committee.”  

    If the Racing Industry does not very rapidly enforce some national raceday medication  policy, Udall and company will reopen the National Horse Racing Act, and the Federal Government will be making decisions on a subject they are unqualified to regulate. It is not too late to make the two year olds of 2013 the first racing crop to race medication free. Work it out, committe members before the feds take over.

    • GOSLEY

      You would have to worry the feds would be susceptible to drug company lobbying! Pity the poor racehorse and his/her kidneys. Pity the honest trainer 
      whom the well flushed urine sample doesn’t help. 

      • concerned horse owner

         Lasix , furosemide is very inexpensive drug…..  can’t blame drug company lobbying for this one

        • Ben K McFadden

          If only track vets would voice their support for lasix use.  An objective voice is needed.

    • concerned horse owner

      There are less drugs in horse racing then there is in baseball , cycling and evidently running…  Even the Bladerunner is accused of steroids…. Armstrong,AROD,Clemens, Petite, Maguire, Giambi…….How many tours de frances were overturned?………. I really hope the public gets serious about this, but I honestly believe that horse racing has much less drugs than all of your other sports.

  • Sue M. Chapman

    Very disappointing.  In typical, smoke and mirrors behavior, BC wants a “new committee.”  

    If the Racing Industry does not very rapidly enforce some national raceday medication  policy, Udall and

  • GOSLEY

    You would have to worry the feds would be susceptible to drug company lobbying! Pity the poor racehorse and his/her kidneys. Pity the honest trainer 
    whom the well flushed urine sample doesn’t help. 

  • Bryan Langlois (ShelterDoc)

    Ok..the Juvenille Sprint I can see coming off the schedule…but I would like to see the dirt mile stay personally.  Maybe take one of the juvenille turf races off the schedule.

    I also agree that because the Breeders Cup or the CHRB (not sure which was the responsible party) was too stupid/ignorant to actually scope all the 2YO’s who ran to determine percentage of bleeders and what grade of bleeding…there will be no way to define the stats as to what effect no lasix had.  Personally I would like to see the ban stay in place…but that is just me

    • Ben K McFadden

      The BC nor the CHRB have the authority to scope my horse.  Any responsible owner or trainer would automatically scope a horse of that caliber as a post-race checkup.  If a horse had no history and showed no adverse signs in a maiden or allowance, depending on other factors maybe not.  At that level, almost always.  The data is there. If BC or CHRB asked I would be surprised if it were withheld.

  • Bryan Langlois (ShelterDoc)

    Ok..the Juvenille Sprint I can see coming off the schedule…but I would like to see the dirt mile stay personally.  Maybe take one of the juvenille turf races off the schedule.

    I also agree that because the Breeders Cup or the CHRB (not sure which was the responsible party) was too stupid/ignorant to actually scope all the 2YO’s who ran to determine percentage of bleeders and what grade of bleeding…there will be no way to define the stats as to what effect no lasix had.  Personally I would like to see the ban stay in place…but that is just me

  • Kris

    Nu-Fan,
    Bute is another drug that needs to go.  I have to think that bute contributes to the severity of racetrack injuries; why would a horse pull themselves up in a race if they’re feeling little pain?  
    Also, if this sport doesn’t do something about the race-day medication issue then our elected leaders in Congress most certainly will.  You make a lot of sense, Nu-fan.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Pom-De-Terre/1503146978 Pom De Terre

    lasix is NOT a performance enhancing drug; it is a preventitive measure substance.  there is absolutely no reason that horses in need of this medication should be denied it, being the derby, the breeder’s cup or a $ 4000 claimer.

    • concerned horse owner

       Do you  know of any baseball , football , basketball players or marathon runners using this substance you call “Lasix” for advantage???  …………………………………………..thats should be proof enough!!!…..Help us fight EIPH!

      • Tinky

        That is a strikingly ignorant comment. 

        The reason that those athletes don’t use Lasix “for advantage” is because it is CONSIDERED TO BE PERFORMANCE ENHANCING BY EVERY MAJOR SPORTING BODY IN THE WORLD, and is therefore banned.

    • Yoututor

      I own a bridge in Brooklyn. Interested in buying it? For you, $5000.

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Pom-De-Terre/1503146978 Pom De Terre

        if you own that bridge, you need a better argument than lasix to convince people of your lack of stupidity.

    • Patrick DePaulier

      Do you have any credentials which would lead a reasonable person to conclude that you know what you’re talking about?

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Pom-De-Terre/1503146978 Pom De Terre

        do you, mr, depaulier have the common sense to know the difference between a furlong, a forelock and a fetlock? you jump on a bandwagon that happens to be a “flavor of the month” while lacking the ability to discuss the ramifications of lasix useage, pro or con. To answer your question point blank, yes I do; you, however, clearly do not. An internal injury from bleeding can be as devastating as a leg fracture.

        Studies show that 80 per cent of horses will bleed at some stage of their careers, and we have an easy fix for it. It’s humane to stop a horse from hurting and having internal damage.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Pom-De-Terre/1503146978 Pom De Terre

    lasix is NOT a performance enhancing drug; it is a preventitive measure substance.  there is absolutely no reason that horses in need of this medication should be denied it, being the derby, the breeder’s cup or a $ 4000 claimer.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Pom-De-Terre/1503146978 Pom De Terre

    next thing you know, they will ban blinkers.

    • concerned horse owner

       The horse has the right to know where he is!!!!    

    • Youtu

      Yes, and shoes too, right. Slippery slope logic was your major?

      • Symbol

         I believe they already tried that one to an extent with polytrack.

    • Ben K McFadden

      And potatoes

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Pom-De-Terre/1503146978 Pom De Terre

    next thing you know, they will ban blinkers.

  • Grarick

    We’re not talking about cheap claimers, Laddyf. We’re talking about your signature event, the best of the best, the races you use to determine who deserves to go to the breeding shed. If those horses can’t perform without lasix, bute, clenbuterol and the rest, they DO NOT deserve to be looked at as the future of the thoroughbred breed.

    Now don’t even get me started about drugs and cheap claimers.

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

    I would love to see, the fed,s taking over and the IHA using as an breakhammer.

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

    I would love to see, the fed,s taking over and the IHA using as an breakhammer.

  • http://twitter.com/HoopsandHorses Hoops and Horses

    Absolutely!!  I wrote two years ago my five-year plan that would phase out Lasix from the sport that can be seen at: http://www.toosmarttofail.com/

    The Breeders’ Cup, Triple Crown, all races for two year olds and selected Grade 1 races outside of that would be the first races to bar Lasix.

  • concerned horse owner

    Please help us protect our horses from EIPH (Exercise induced pulmonary hemorrhage)!

  • concerned horse owner

    Please help us protect our horses from EIPH (Exercise induced pulmonary hemorrhage)!

  • concerned horse owner

     I believe all race tracks do not let you run on Bute, Butazolidan whice is an anti inflamatory and  pain killer and may mask an injured race horse.

  • concerned horse owner

     Problem…they are really some horses that bleed in their lungs when they run or breeze , its called Exercise induced pulmonary hemorrhage…..Unfortunately 90 percent of the trainers feel the Lasix improves running without scientific fact?  …what do we do with the horse that really do need the therapeutic “water pill” that reduces pressure in lungs and reduces bleeding???

  • concerned horse owner

    There are less drugs in horse racing then there is in baseball , cycling and evidently running…  Even the Bladerunner is accused of steroids…. Armstrong,AROD,Clemens, Petite, Maguire, Giambi…….How many tours de frances were overturned?………. I really hope the public gets serious about this, but I honestly believe that horse racing has much less drugs than all of your other sports.

  • concerned horse owner

     Lasix , furosemide is very inexpensive drug…..  can’t blame drug company lobbying for this one

  • concerned horse owner

     The horse has the right to know where he is!!!!    

  • concerned horse owner

     Do you  know of any baseball , football , basketball players or marathon runners using this substance you call “Lasix” for advantage???  …………………………………………..thats should be proof enough!!!…..Help us fight EIPH!

  • Yoututor

    I own a bridge in Brooklyn. Interested in buying it? For you, $5000.

  • Youtu

    Yes, and shoes too, right. Slippery slope logic was your major?

  • Youtut

    Pletcher, with his massive, diuretic, mineral-leaching doses of Lasix just lost yet another promising young one – Violence. At least he didn’t bleed , right? Straight to the breeding shed to breed more bleeders.

  • Youtut

    Of course, they’ll get rid of the one thing that American-trained/bred horses are good at: running a mile, but no farther, on dirt!

  • Yoututor

    The results are in on one thing for sure: Lasix is a de facto performance enhancer. It also severely messes with a horse’s homeostatic mechanisms after the race.

  • Ben K McFadden

    Udall and the senate lack the votes to pass and the ability to craft a workable bill.  Sue is issuing an empty threat based on wishful thinking.

    I’d give the BC 50/50 for change.  Whether you agree or disagree they are the only establishment body with the balls to do ANYTHING ABOUT ANYTHING – albeit because of pressure from certain sponsors and participants with lasix-free interests.  (Nothing to do with a world without bleeders or the perception of racing by the public, including internet bloggers)

    The bloggers who are concerned about the welfare of BC runners who have to perform without lasix, should be more concerned that the BC committee is awarding the races to one of the more dangerous racing surfaces in the U.S.  CA has one of the highest breakdown rates in the nation, and SA is the leader among the majors. If I had a BC horse, I would pass, even if it were a “win and you’re in”.

    The status of the lasix ban and the choice of future venues will be based on where the BC believes the money will show up; not on what anyone else thinks, except me, of course.

    • nu-fan

      Ben:  Interesting that you brought up the breakdown rates on various tracks.  That is, actually, what got me involved in finding out more about the horseracing industry.  It started off with John Johny Jak who collapsed during the gallop out after winning the Kerlan Handicap at Del Mar.  The TV crew didn’t explain what happened so I started researching on the Internet and even wrote to the CHRB (who didn’t answer me).  Found out, in the course of this (from UT-San Diego) that there were five horses that died on the Del Mar track during those previous two weeks.  Two of the horses died of heart failure but don’t know about the other three.  I had always assumed that, on a rare occasion, a horse might suffer a fatality but five in two weeks?!  You mentioned SA and its track but how about tracks with Polytrack or Tapeta?  Are those tracks really that much more safe than dirt?  And, if what you state is true about CA having one of the highest breakdown rates, is that by number or by percentage?  Either way, is there another contributing cause to this beside the type of surface?  I hope you have time to anwer that.  I would appreciate that information.

      • Nickers

         

        Ben has been banned by the Paulick Report.

        Del Mar uses the quality of the three levels of Polytrack
        (marketed by Keeneland group).  It is
        designed for training and lower traffic use. 
        Keeneland main track is Poly I and training is III.  Woodbine and Arlington are also I.  Lower level lacks key components that provide
        consistency across a range of temperature and humidity.   Del Mar was forced to use by CA Coastal
        Authority because these stabilizing components may leach copper compounds into
        the Pacific.  The EPA, not exactly easy
        on enviro issues, says it is okay.

        As a result, Del Mar surface varies greatly with
        weather.  Cool mornings and warm
        afternoons provide different racing surface. 
        SA Pro-Ride was safe track but Magna (Stronach) allowed it to deteriorated
        during bankruptcy and intentionally sabotaged the “repairs” to justify
        dirt.  CA trainers and BC want dirt.  New SA dirt had ribbons of different surface
        factors across entire track, resulting in dramatic rise in fatalities and
        breakdowns compared to prior 2009 Pro-Ride meet. 
        Constant work, including insistence by BC on adding sand and other
        materials supposedly improved the surface. 
        I read recently that breakdown rate was again up significantly (like
        50%), but cannot find article to cite here.

        Synthetic  vs. dirt
        has many arguments for and against each. 
        Suffice it to say that dirt lends itself to the “push them as hard as
        you can as fast as you can” school of training. 
        Many trainers adhere to this approach, but it is very strong in SoCal.  It is a Darwinist approach where survivors
        race early and fast, and the rest breakdown or are quickly culled.

        Now I will be banned as well.

        • nu-fan

          Wow.  Thank you for providing this detail.  So, why is the BC holding its event at SA again this year if, even adding sand, the breakdown rates are up?  Why not at other tracks that are safer?  I had understood that GGF with its Tapeta surface also had issues with the moisture in the air. Don’t know if that is true since it seems as if this kind of information is not readily available but, instead, come from opinions from various individuals. Isn’t the CHRB part of the State Of California?  If so, do they have any authority to make certain that the tracks in the state are safe for horses?  If they do, have they made any attempt to address these issues?  And, if they do have that authority, and have not exercised it, has there been any attempt to get the governor to find out why the CHRB has not done its job?  I, obviously, do not have the answers to any of this.  As a CA taxpayer, though, I’m just asking and trying to understand.

          • Nickers

            http://www.chrb.ca.gov.  Stewards minutes give fatalities by week, not cumulative and no cause.

            CHRB is complicitous in this.  “Unsafe” Pro-Ride gave them excuse to suspend synthetic track requirement. CHRB also violates CA Open Meetings Act by keeping stewards meetings closed to public.  Stewards meet all criteria as “enforcement” body, etc but CHRB wrongly claims that are acting only as advisors and not subject to law. Got the bucks to sue them or contact your AG.  I don’t live there and won’t race there if you paid me, so the whole state racing industry can continue to do whatever it wants.

            CA does have greater transparency than many states but remains inept and corrupt.  Track vets “influence” selection of acceptable stewards.  The list is endless.

          • nu-fan

            Again, thank you for the information.  I don’t know if the governor (or any elected official) is really that interested in what happens to horseracing or, for that matter, to horses.  They react to the public and the votes that the public can contribute to their next re-election.  Since the public (at least in California) does not follow the horseracing industry–to any large degree–I don’t think that public officials really care.  At least, that is my opinion.  But, it couldn’t hurt for me to write a letter…. Takes just a few minutes and, maybe, it will land in the hands of someone in the governor’s office who will take a few minutes to really consider the role that the CHRB has in the safety of the racetracks in its state.

      • MightHaveBen

         Jockey Club maintains a Thoroughbred Injury Database.  It has .prior years so it is not current.  Still shows track histories

        • nu-fan

          Thank you.  I’ll take a look at that.  I was going to the website for each track in CA and trying to get information but had a hard time sifting through all of their info and getting an understanding of how each track compared to another in the state.

  • Ben K McFadden

    Udall and the senate lack the votes to pass and the ability to craft a workable bill.  Sue is issuing an empty threat based on wishful thinking.

    I’d give the BC 50/50 for change.  Whether you agree or disagree they are the only establishment body with the balls to do ANYTHING ABOUT ANYTHING – albeit because of pressure from certain sponsors and participants with lasix-free interests.  (Nothing to do with a world without bleeders or the perception of racing by the public, including internet bloggers)

    The bloggers who are concerned about the welfare of BC runners who have to perform without lasix, should be more concerned that the BC committee is awarding the races to one of the more dangerous racing surfaces in the U.S.  CA has one of the highest breakdown rates in the nation, and SA is the leader among the majors. If I had a BC horse, I would pass, even if it were a “win and you’re in”.

    The status of the lasix ban and the choice of future venues will be based on where the BC believes the money will show up; not on what anyone else thinks, except me, of course.

  • Ben K McFadden

    Your disappointment will be greatly felt and ignored by the BC committee.  They will do exactly what they want to do and do not care one bit about “public” opinion.  The BC is an insiders game.  If you would like to sponsor a few races, offer VIP entertainment, send or influence some top horses to participate in the event (one horse does not count), then your thoughts would matter.   $$$$$

    It is still a great racing event.

  • Ben K McFadden

    Could be a bit sticky, Laddy.  However, if they decide to do it, they have to begin somewhere.  Always better to let them start with the other guys horses.

    I think we should let the Euros eat whatever they want.  They let us enjoy Big Macs, even if Bloomberg won’t let us wash them down with super  -sized sodas.

  • Ben K McFadden

    If only track vets would voice their support for lasix use.  An objective voice is needed.

  • Ben K McFadden

    And potatoes

  • Ben K McFadden

    The BC nor the CHRB have the authority to scope my horse.  Any responsible owner or trainer would automatically scope a horse of that caliber as a post-race checkup.  If a horse had no history and showed no adverse signs in a maiden or allowance, depending on other factors maybe not.  At that level, almost always.  The data is there. If BC or CHRB asked I would be surprised if it were withheld.

  • Patrick DePaulier

    Do you have any credentials which would lead a reasonable person to conclude that you know what you’re talking about?

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