Rock and a Hard Place: Behind the Breeders’ Cup Lasix Decision

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Was it merely a change of heart that led the Breeders’ Cup board of directors to back away from their 2011 decision to ban race-day medication in all of its championship races beginning in 2013?

Or could it have been the financial projections given to the board for this year’s event if some owners and trainers opted not to race their horses because they were unable to be treated with the anti-bleeding drug furosemide, better known as Lasix. Maybe it was the threat of a federal lawsuit by a leading owner, citing fiduciary responsibilities of non-profit organization board members under New York law, where the Breeders’ Cup is incorporated. Perhaps for some board members, the decision was made out of frustration, knowing that local horsemen’s organizations have the ultimate approval rights for simulcasting the Breeders’ Cup under the Interstate Horseracing Act of 1978, and the event could have been held as a hostage over medication rules.

Most likely it was a combination of all of the above.

Whatever the reason, the 14 members of the Breeders’ Cup board of directors voted overwhelmingly on March 1 to revise the event’s medication policy. Instead of going forward with the previously approved policy that phased out race-day medication for 2-year-old Breeders’ Cup races in 2012 and all BC races in 2013, the board voted to keep the ban only for the 2-year-old races again this year.

The board came within an eyelash of rolling back the Lasix ban for all races.

The issue was discussed at a Feb. 22 board meeting at Gulfstream Park, and while sources said there seemed to be strong sentiment to stay the course for the 2013 ban, no official vote was taken. Near the end of that meeting, Breeders’ Cup CEO Craig Fravel presented a budget for the upcoming year that included several potential scenarios, including one featuring a de facto boycott of the championship races over medication policy. A potential boycott would mean fewer runners, lower pari-mutuel handle, and reduced revenue to the Breeders’ Cup.

When the meeting was reconvened a week later by teleconference, a motion was made and seconded to revert Breeders’ Cup medication policy to whatever is in place at the host track. Bleeder medication on race day is permitted throughout North America, so this was a vote to kill the anti-Lasix movement. That vote was deadlocked at 6-6, with two abstentions. According to sources, voting in favor were Helen Alexander, Jerry Crawford, Bret Jones, board chairman Tom Ludt, Robert Manfuso, and Satish Sanan.  Voting against were Antony Beck, William Farish, CEO Fravel, Roy Jackson, Clem Murphy, and Oliver Tait. Richard Santulli and Barry Weisbord abstained.

With bylaws stating the CEO must recuse himself in the event of a tie, a second vote was conducted. This time around, Alexander is said to have voted “no,” and the motion was defeated by a 6-5 tally, with the same two abstentions.

A second motion was then made, to extend the policy prohibiting race-day medication in Breeders’ Cup 2-year-old races only. Lasix would be permitted in all the other championship races, a reversal of previous policy. That vote carried by a 9-4 margin, with Alexander, Crawford, Farish, Fravel, Jackson, Jones, Ludt, Manfuso, and Santulli voting in favor of what many viewed as a compromise. Voting no were, Beck, Murphy, Sanan, and Tait. Weisbord abstained. Sanan’s no vote apparently was made, not in support of a race-day medication prohibition for 2-year-olds, but because he felt strongly that any ban on medication was wrong because of the potential economic consequence. According to sources, Weisbord, publisher of the Thoroughbred Daily News, which does business with breeders on both sides of the Lasix issue, did not explain his abstention.

Two days after the vote, Tait, chief operating officer of Sheikh Mohammed’s Darley operation, resigned from the board, citing his disagreement with the policy change. “A true world championship, to be enjoyed and admired by all, needs to be medication free,” Tait said in a statement. “Progress is being made in all sports around the world in relation to drugs. This is not progress.”

It isn’t known whether the displeasure by Sheikh Mohammed’s team over the Lasix reversal will lead to a boycott of their own of the championships or stallion and foal nominations. Just as adamant as Tait in staying the course on the Lasix ban, according to sources, was Clem Murphy, a representative of Coolmore. Both Darley and Coolmore have been enormous supporters of the Breeders’ Cup over the years.

Progress is difficult under American racing’s Byzantine state-by-state regulatory structure. When the Breeders’ Cup board voted in July 2011 to align its medication rules with the rest of the world, other groups were supporting their efforts. The chairman of the Association of Racing Commissioners International had called for a five-year race-day medication phase-out for all races, and the Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association was discussing a policy, subsequently approved by its American Graded Stakes Committee in August 2011, to require all 2-year-old graded stakes to be medication free in 2012.

TOBA’s policy was withdrawn six months later before the first 2-year-old stakes race had been run, citing the difficulty of the regulatory process. The RCI, which has no authority, never advanced any phase-out plan. That left the Breeders’ Cup board to fight national medication policy on its own.

Opposition was organized and angry. Eclipse Award-winning trainers Bob Baffert, a member of the board of directors of Thoroughbred Owners of California, and Dale Romans, vice president of the Kentucky Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association, have been outspoken critics of any movement to prohibit medication used to treat exercise-induced pulmonary hemorrhage. Interestingly, one of Romans’ owners, Jerry Crawford, voted to end the Lasix phase-out on the same day his Dullahan arrived in the United Arab Emirates to race medication free in the Dubai World Cup.

One of Baffert’s leading owners, Gary West, threatened to sue the Breeders’ Cup unless the Lasix ban was reversed. West hired Sutherland Asbill and Brennan, an Atlanta law firm, which sent a six-page letter to Fravel, copying every Breeders’ Cup board member. Saying the board members have a “fiduciary duty to advance the interests of the U.S. racing industry,” the letter said the decision to ban Lasix  “puts the life of the horse and jockey at risk” and would have a “devastating impact on every aspect of the American Thoroughbred racing industry.” The attorney’s letter concluded that West and his wife Mary have “authorized us to litigate fully and completely” if the Breeders’ Cup did not reverse the 2011 policy.

The letter referenced a willingness by the Wests to contribute $1 million toward research into the cause and treatment of exercise-induced pulmonary hemorrhage. That seems to be one area both sides may agree on, and the Breeders’ Cup has indicated it will also help fund research, provided it is done independently and objectively.

A simulcast agreement with Thoroughbred Owners of California is already in place for 2013, so the Breeders’ Cup could have gone forward with its original policy to ban Lasix in all races. But it has yet to announce a host site in 2014, and it’s unlikely, should the event return again to Santa Anita, that the TOC would vote the same approval next year in light of the rancor between Californians West and Baffert and the Breeders’ Cup.

It’s equally unlikely the Kentucky HBPA would approve a simulcast contract for a drug-free Breeders’ Cup, either, given their strong opposition when the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission moved to ban Lasix in stakes races for 2-year-olds.

Sources told the Paulick Report the New York Racing Association’s new board of directors indicated the organization isn’t interested in hosting a medication-free Breeders’ Cup. New York is the one state exempted from a horseman’s consent clause on simulcasting contracts under federal law.

So even if the Breeders’ Cup had gone forward with its policy to not permit race-day medication in 2013, it is unlikely to have found a friendly, medication-free home for future runnings. In short, the Breeders’ Cup is unable to control its own destiny on some matters its board believes are important.

It is in this climate that board members felt they were stuck between the proverbial rock and a hard place.

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

    only one breeders cup juvenile winner has come back to win the kentucky derby or breeders cup classic.  we have not had a breeders cup juvenile filly winner come back to win the kentucky oaks or breeders cup distaff since 1999.  but over in europe, recently they had frankel, zarkava and sea the stars have very good 2 year old seasons followed by unbeatable 3 year old seasons.  how come the european horses can improve and american horses cant ?    how come horses down in chile can start in over 300 races during their life ?   one horse i saw in today’s races, ran 57 times last year.  oh, thats right.  there isnt any lasix to dehydrate them down there in santiago, chile. 

  • Wizard of Oz

    The Breeders’ Cup is 14 races. Where is The Jockey Club? 

    • Stanley inman

      Where is the jockey club?
      In the basement counting their coins from their
      Equibase machine.
      Speaking of lawsuits
      Isn’t The jockey club officers culpable for
      Negligence in administering our breed registry-
      We need a “clean” registry.
      for offspring of horses who run clean.
      Implied warranty doctrine leaves us all breeders
      Damaged;
      Sabotages the integrity of
      OUR
      breed registry;

  • nu-fan

    Big changes are almost always impossible to implement.  Little ones (10% at a time) are accepted more readily.  It also gives more time for everyone to make changes to their business model.  Come on: Is anyone surprised by their decision?  And, I am still waiting to hear from someone about how horses, who have always run on Lasix, react if, all of a sudden, they are required to race without it?  Obviously, I don’t know the answer to that.  Does anyone know?

    • John F. Greenhaw

      “Does anyone know?”

      Not yet, but stay tuned for March 30 Dubai World Cup. 

      Last time Dale Roman teamed up with Johnny V in Dubai we got Roses In May.  Could lightning strike twice?  Dullahan  will go lasix free, but the bigger question is whether he can beat the best?  It is truly a 5 million dollar question. 

      Oh, is this the last of the lasix articles?  I sure hope so, Rebel Stakes is Saturday and I sure would like to see the PR staff get back to covering RACING!

      • Stanley inman

        John,
        It ain’t over-
        You can’t kill
        A great idea
        Run clean or you’re just
        Playin with yourself

      • nu-fan

        John:  Thanks for the reply.  I see comments that are so split but I have not seen any information on what, if any, possible consequences can occur for horses that are taken off of Lasix for one day of racing.  Of course, being just a fan, I don’t get the kind of information that those in the horseracing industry receive but the comments also do not reveal that this kind of information has been researched.  Or, maybe it has, and there isn’t anything of concern with doing so.

  • Tinky

    Fascinating stuff, and excellent reporting.

    The basis of the lawsuit that West threatened is a joke. It would have a “devastating impact on every aspect of the American Thoroughbred industry” to eliminate a drug that is banned by every major sporting body in the world, and is not used on race day by two-thirds of the racehorses around the world? Really? On what fanciful basis would such a claim be argued in court?

    If that absurdly hyperbolic threat played a role in the BC decision, then their board is populated by cowards.

    Oh, and thanks for the chuckle from this, Ray:

    “According to sources, Weisbord, publisher of the Thoroughbred Daily News, which does business with breeders on both sides of the Lasix issue, did not explain his abstention.”

  • MaríaTeresa Pradère

    No more drugs on horse racing, lasix is a drug. In Europe there’s no lasix.

  • Stanley inman

    Thanks ray,
    For reporting how members voted,
    So someone yells, “lawsuit”
    And they all run for cover.
    This should be the final nail in breeders cup coffin.

  • Mboyle852

    Only our sport could take a good thing, and turn it to s..t.  From 7 good races, to two days of female events, male events,  juvenile events on turf, lasix/no lasix, it is the world championships, it ain’t the world championships.  Rotation was great for the sport, now it’s Cemented in Santa Anita for the beautiful people to come out into the sunshine.  
    If only it evolved for the better, but it’s not.

    • salthebarber

      I still love the BC and look forward to it every year. Santa Anita is a great venue. I also wish there were more events, not less. I would right away at a juvy turf sprint.

  • Figless

    Only way this gets done is gradually, nationwide, a phase in. Any jurisdiction that unilaterally disarms from Salix is committing suicide, including the Breeders Cup.

    • Barry Irwin

      What exactly is Fig and why do you not have any?

  • Barry Irwin

    Selection of Santa Anita for a second year sealed the fate of the Lasix vote, because when pressure groups and individuals threatened the BC with a boycott and lawsuit, the BC board of directors felt they were vulnerable. Given the exact same scenario with the BC site being either at Churchill Downs of Belmont Park, the outcome of the vote would have been different. They did not deal from a position of strength. In fact, the BC has a hell of a lot of power. Few are the owners of top horses or operators of potential BC hosts that would actually resist a chance to participate in the BC. But the BC board of directors in great enough numbers do not realize this. Gary West is a bully. Guys like him get their way when they are dealing with people that lack conviction. The good news is there are enough powerful people on the BC that want to do the right thing. If they can bolster their ranks, this issue can be resolved in their favor.

    • Angelika Hala

      I was very upset reading Ray Paulick’s article.  I feel a bit better after reading your commentary, Barry – thank you for sharing your thoughts – “Guys like him get their way when they are dealing with people that lack conviction. ”  This is as true as it gets – you have to believe in what you want to accomplish.  What a shame that the one who barked the loudest gets the bone without having even had to show whether he truly had teeth.

    • Dennis

      Mr. Irwin you are incredibly mistaken about Mr. West.  I know him well.  He is a great friend and a wonderful statesmat who cares passionatly about the industry and his horses.  He and his wife have a wonderful, pet friendly hotel in Carlsbad California, and his pro lasix position is driven by the fact he truly believes letting horses bleed when there is a perfectly effective medication that can reduce the severity and incidence of the condition is the equivilent of animal curelty.  You may believe in your position if you wish, but your critisisim of Mr. West is ignorant and factually in accurate.

       

      • Knowitall

        All that doesn’t change the fact that he chose a legal bullying tactic to get his way, when he could just sit it out if he doesn’t want to play by the rules. Who is he to determine the outcome or the right path for everyone else? I failed to read the rule that he is “entitled” to participate in the BC and only by his rules? It is the BC’s event, let them make the rules as they (and every other sporting event like it) have done all along. The worst fear of anyone who deigns to sit on a board is being liable in a suit, or even having to defend a frivolous one. And Mr. West knew that. I know I’m not rooting to see him in a winner’s circle anytime soon, regardless of where I stand on the medication issue.

    • onlythebest

      Barry, you are so right!  This casts a whole new light on the West’s and how they role.  Says a ton about their horses and their natural ability.  Something to consider while choosing a stud. Marketing 101 “perception is the new reality”.  I wouldn’t worry about a lawsuit in NY with the current climate concerning any kind of drugs in sport.  The next move will be a Euro/Asian exit for the drug free tracks of Dubai with all weather surfaces and large $$ prizes.  Who wouldn’t like a vacation in the land of OZ and a chance to race your horses, all tax exempt!  Also, wasn’t there talk about a Euro answer to the BC?
      As for taking an older horse off Lasix, as long as the horse trains for a period of time drug free I would think it is a matter of acclimating.  People and other animals go on and off Lasix all of the time. Just any woman who has dieted!  The side effects can be dire by the way.  Muscle spasm and disorientation are not a picnic.  At any rate, if a horse bleeds that bad it does not belong on the track or in the breeding shed.  This condition is no different from any other physical fault and should be avoided in a responsible breeding program.

    • G. Powell

      I agree with Barry 100%. Further, I alledge that there is much more in that needle than Lasix. We have to know a substance in order to test for it. I alledge they got it down pat. Look at who is opposing – the top winning owners & trainers. California racing lacks leadership & backbone, which is precisely why West bullied his position.

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

      Breeders’ Cup had no choice as it turned out with the selection of Santa Anita for the second year in row unless they wanted to go to a place like Sam Houston that I think would work as a BC host because of Houston being a large television market with mild weather in early November OR Atlantic City Race Course, which BC Ltd, probably could lease from Greenwood Racing and be able to configure as they saw fit for the BC (including installing lights) plus have more than enough hotel space in Atlantic City in all likelihood.

      Louisville has a young farmers convention the weekend most desired by BC Ltd. (the weekend between the end of the World Series and start of college basketball) in early November and that weekend is (usually) the New York City Marathon, which also knocked Monmouth Park out of consideration, as in each case hotel space is already reserved for those events. BC Ltd. would need to move the BC to the week of the second Saturday in November (in 2014 that would be Nov. 7-8) PLUS if they want to have it at Belmont Park get it so NYRA is allowed to install lights at Belmont Park for at least a limited number of night programs each year.

      Two other factors I feel will eventually force the BC to a nighttime event whether anyone wants it or not: The fact there are those under 45 who have had it drilled into their skulls for the last 25 years that the championship events in sports are only those contested at night (which has been the case in all of the “big four” pro sports for at least that long) and long-term, the Asia-Pacific region.

      If the latter opens up to where Japan allowed full-card simulcasting of the Breeders’ Cup and other major US races, then it becomes a no-brainer to have the BC (and Triple Crown events) at night (when it would be the next morning in that region), especially looking at hundreds of millions in new handle coming from that region.

      In the former’s case, there are many under 45 who basically dismiss any major sporting event that isn’t contested under the lights because they associate championship events as those being at night. BC went a long way to change some of those attitudes when the BC Classic was in prime time last year and that needs to join the rest of the sports world in being contested at night to show more casual fans it truly ius a casual event.

    • Pierre

      Why is every time I look up a Team Valor horses are racing on Lasix ???

  • http://www.facebook.com/van.cushny Van Cushny

    Why wouldn’t NYRA want to hold the BC? Not sure that your source there is credible.

  • Hadrianmarcus

    How foolish for the rest of the world to be out-of-step with American Horse Racing! Obviously the route to success is fragile three-year-olds retired after four race careers, racing in front of small crowds with no network coverage to speak of. Clearly, the crowds and popularity of horse racing in Europe, Dubai, Japan and Hong Kong are an apparition. The sky is the limit for the American Thoroughbred: fragile, medicated, and maxed out at about 7 furlongs. 

  • Thomas Thomas

    Running the Breeders’ Cup under same rules as last year is a right move while the INDUSTRY figures out the what to do. No reason to destroy the event. I think that we’ll (USA) will wean ourselves off Lasix but it won’t happen overnight. Starting with two-year olds for a couple of years is a good start. 

    • nu-fan

      Thomas:  You and I are on the same page.  I would always rather not see any horses running on drugs.  If they need them, they probably shouldn’t be racing.  But, to just go cold turkey and eliminate it at one time is irresponsible.  I have never seen any data about what happens to horses, which have always raced on Lasix, then, taken off of it for one day of racing.  The last thing that racing needs to to see a horse in such an international event have a serious problem occur because of this.  I would rather that the Breeders’ Cup continue, every year or two, to up the age of the horses required to race Lasix-free.  Over a period of a few years, most of the current horses will have retired and the owners and trainers will have had a chance to select horses that do not bleed to run in these races.

    • salthebarber

      This is a very sensible point of view.

  • Noelle

    Shortsighted and stupid and frustrating.  The BC Board allowed itself to be blackmailed by people who apparently are committed to breeding and racing bleeders.  That’s just great for the future of the Thoroughbred and horseracing in America.

    Mr. Tait was absolutely correct when he said a world championship had to be drug free.  Where was the greatest racing last year?  Not here in the US and definitely not at Santa Anita, that’s for sure.

  • Scott Ramsay

    Could someone please research the 2013 racing records of the two-year-olds who ran Lasix-free in 2012?  

    Not too hot, I don’t think.

    • Charlie Davis

      What’s your point?  That’s because they’re racing against horses on Lasix.  

  • Antique racetracker

    How are those horses who raced in 2012 2yo BC races without lasix faring in 2013?

  • Richard C

    The only way this industry has a chance of being a sport is through a national czar with Judge Landis power. The cliques which have turned U.S. racing into a pharmacy – and as dependent as a sick junkie on “alternative gaming” to save them from their arrogant incompetence – continue to make the “Sport of Kings” a tragicomedy which repulses more and more good people (who aren’t wearing blinkers and understand this isn’t 1973) on a daily basis.

    • salthebarber

      Richard, there is hardly any chance for a league office with a national czar to ever happen with how the game is structured today. There are three main entities running the game with leaders of diverse interests. There are also the different state jurisdictions with different horseracing boards and horsepeople groups. It has been tried and has failed in the past.

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

    Just an commercial bizz, with bad backs

  • Lexington 3

    Hey Ray, 

      Why such a hard on for Dale Romans? 

      

    • John F. Greenhaw

      I’ve been wondering the same thing.  Comments from the past several weeks from Mr. Irwin would also suggest an axe to grind with Jerry Crawford, Dale Romans, or both.  What’s up with this, Guys?

      Can’t we just all get along?

      • Barry Irwin

        I get along with Jerry Crawford and Dale Romans just fine. I like them both and have respect for them both. But when people point out the perceived inconsistencies of those of us that choose not to run their 2yo on Lasix but use the product on their older horses, it seems fair to point out that those in favor of using Lasix on all-aged horses have what some may consider to be a greater inconsistency by being pro Lasix in America, yet sending horses to Dubai to race drug free. I do not blame Jerry or Dale, but the situation does require some clarification.

        • Lexington 3

          First things first: Sincere respect for you guys stepping up and sponsoring the Rushaway at Turfway.  Much respect.

          Now, as to your comment.  You know damn well that many of us use furosemide as a prophylactic, and make no apologies whatsoever about that.  There is obviously support in the veterinary community for that.

          If it is available, then use it.  If it is not available (as in Dubai) then it is simply not available.  It is what it is.

          How is that so hard to understand?   My guess is that is the EXACT reason why your own trainer, Graham Motion, has advised you to use it  with your own horses.  Would he say otherwise?

    • Mark

      He has to be for/against whatever Barry Irwin is for/against, that is why.

  • FIVE2_THREE

    First Godophin and now Coolmore. only in america would you piss off the two biggest powers in all of racing. 

  • LadyJ

    Of course they were going to get threatened by the big monied trainers and owners who are so dependent on drugging their horses. We all saw that coming. The safety of the horses and jockeys line is a crock. Horses break down more often now then they did forty years ago (I know that recent numbers are down from previous years, but no one can deny how fragile they are – just compare total career starts over the last several decades). The breeders are perpetuating their own problem. They breed unsound horses to unsound horses and what do you get…an unsound horse!

    The racing world is breeding a product that looks flashy and will garner
    big bucks in the sales ring. After that, its someone else’s problem. We
    are cutting the legs out from under us at the same time we are claiming
    that nothing is wrong. The answer to this problem is soundness. If we
    go back to sound horses, there will be no need for these drugs. Period.

    Bute is a painkiller. You can claim “its like ibuprofen in people”, but the point is, it masks pain and then the horses go out and run. How on Earth can anyone stand by and say that such a practice is in the best interests of the horses or jockeys?! You can’t, but the industry gets away with it.

    The furosemide pitch is a crock as well. Yes, the horse runs faster and yes it reduces EIPH, but here is the one fact that I don’t see people talking about: back in the day a ‘bleeder’ was referred to as a horse who suffered from epistaxis, or bleeding from the nose. In these days of endoscopic exams, it has been deduced that ‘every horse bleeds’. So now we are putting epistaxis and internal bleeding of the lungs together under the same term. There needs to be a distinction. If a horse bleeds enough to inhibit its racing performance, obviously it is not sound enough to race. So why are we racing horses that are not sound?!

    The answer once again leads back to the breeders and owners who produce these horses and when they come up with issues that they are bred for, the owners and trainers say “Lets give them some drugs. That will fix the problem.” All it does is mask the problem.

    The racing industry is a world of big money, wealthy socialites, and sheiks. Yes, there are average people holding shares of one or two horses in racing partnerships, but it’s the guys with the big money in their pockets that dictate the course of the industry because, well…money talks. They have the big guns and they know it. We have seen the result of obvious bullying tactics that include financial pressure, legal threats, and venue participation threats as well as the taking advantage of the lack of a consolidated governing board overseeing standard rules and regulations in American Thoroughbred Racing.

    The industry, not just someone, but the industry as a whole needs to stand up for what is right. If the industry moves forward and takes the necessary steps, then everyone else will have to fall in line. It won’t be an easy road, after all, it has been thirty years in the making, but there is light on the other side. The controversy of drugs in racing will diminish by leaps and bounds once the slate is clean. There will be always be the fight against illegal drugs, but at least the industry can tell prospective fans that these horses are clean…and for once it won’t be a lie. There is another black mark against American racing that will be reduced once we change our ways: the rest of the world races drug free. It is curious that only the U.S. claims that we ‘need’ drugs, when racing in the rest of the world runs just fine without.

    Kudos to Darley for taking a stand and sticking by it. We need more people who truly put the horses first and have the best interest of the breed, not even just the individual horses, but the very future of the breed as a whole, before the greed of humans.

    We are reaping the fruits of our labors and it is a bitter taste indeed.

    • Mark

      Please provide scientific evidence that Lasix “weakens the breed”. The pro-lasix people have presented theirs that it does not.

      • Ann Maree Matthews

        “If it walks like a duck, talks like a duck, it’s a duck.”  How much more evidence to you need:  Go to the Jockey Club site, look at the statistics to see when the numbers of annual starts fell from nearly 12 to now around 6.  That same timeline follows the exact timeline of the introduction of lasix and its becoming commonplace for now up to 95% of the horses running.  Give me a break if you can’t see the evidence for yourself.  Not to mention the lifetime starts have fallen to where the annual starts used to be.  I wonder if it’s possible the big trainers that maintain 100 plus horses don’t want their horses to run more often!  Eh?  They might have to change up some of their training methods, they may need to find places so their horses can be turned out even while in training so they don’t stand in their stalls 23 hours a day!  It is all about maintaining the status quo for the trainers, IMHO.  They are on an island all by themselves, because for the most part, it appears that the breeders and the owners want to rid raceday of the drugs.  My hope is that we may have lost a skirmish, but I don’t want to lose the fervor and the momentum that has been put together over the last 18 months to “doing the right thing”.

        • Sean Kerr

          Oops: Ann – I posted nearly identical comment before reading yours. Well said.

          • http://www.facebook.com/annmatt Ann Maree

            Thank you, Sean.

      • LadyJ

         The data that is currently out seems to be geared for finding out whether Lasix works. It does work. We know that already. We need more testing that provides data that links heritability and profuse bleeders to the degree that actually inhibits performance.

        How can you claim that a horse that cannot run on its own merit alone, is a sound horse? Especially when a genetic predisposition is involved? Here are some quotes from a 2004 South African study on the genetic correlations with EIPH: “The estimation of heritability of liability showed that 1st-degree
        relatives had a figure of 55.4%. Second-degree relatives had a
        heritability of 41.3% and 3rd-degree relatives came in at 30.4%. The
        heritability of liability shown in this study could be regarded as being
        at the lower end of the range but could be appreciably higher…It is clear that epistaxis in the racing Thoroughbred has a strong
        genetic basis. It is suggested that horses showing frankbleeding from
        the nostrils after racing or exercise be suspended, and not used for
        breeding purposes.”

        The study continues to note that (because this is a South African based study, not a U.S. study) “Most sires at stud in South Africa and a small portion of fillies and mares are imported. Only a few Only a few of the countries from which they were imported have measures in place to record and suspend bleeders, and they are consequently of unknown bleeder status. A number of America states allow horses to race after treatment with furosemide, a presumed suppressor of epistaxis as associated with EIPH…The increasing prevalence of epistaxis in Southern African Thoroughbreds, as shown by Weideman et al. (2003), might be an indication that breeders have, through selective breeding, developed horses whose lungs can no longer sustain the stress of strenuous exercise.”

        The study also lists that out of 1471 sires, 354 sired bleeders. Three of the top five who produced bleeders were American bred sires.

        We can assume, that to at least some degree, U.S. bloodstock has aided in the upward trend of South African racehorses who bleed.

        Here is the link to the study if you want it (please let me know if the link does not work): http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15830598.

        If bleeding in the lungs, most notably the incidence of epistaxis, results in diminished performance in racehorses and we breed Thoroughbreds primarily for racing; how can you argue that such a condition, that is genetically linked and is continuously bred for, considering that we do not limit the breeding of such horses (and how can we if we medicate all of them to the point that it is undecipherable which ones bleed significantly and which do not?), does not affect the breed?

        • LadyJ

           Also, if you do the math, 354 out of 1471 comes out to 24%. Just shy of a quarter of the these horses are producing bleeders.

          • Mark

            The pro Lasix people provided their own scientific proof that it does not weaken the breed. Back to square one again. Apparently those in charge agreed with the latter.

          • LadyJ

            Im curious whether it was through an independent study. What proof can you give as I have? I’d like to see just exactly what data you are looking at.

      • JohnfromIreland

        Science is science. Racing performance – at the top level – has an answer.When you look at the world rankings in recent years non-american horses are better than those from USA. Does it prove anything? No not if you do not want to see the consequences of race day medication.

      • Sean Kerr

        Mark: that is the wrong direction. The real question is why do horses enter so few starts and race fewer starts each year since Salix was legalized? You know why? Because it takes longer for them to recover that’s why. So we can’t fill up cards because the horses are too dehydrated to come back. It weakens the pool of available horses because we breed horses now that have no stamina due to the doping. And Salix is doping. Evidence? Look at the racing data: the Jockey Club has it on their web site.

  • Ann Maree Matthews

    It’s back in the lap of the Jockey Club.  As you reported here April 10, 2012: http://www.paulickreport.com/news/ray-s-paddock/the-jockey-club-s-inherent-power-to-regulate/   If Amanda Simmons is correct, then let the Jockey Club take the lead position in this battle.  I, for one, would be willing to show up for a picket line and elevate the issue to the general public, to picket trainers who insist “my way or the highway”.  This is getting ridiculous that our beloved sport is dying before our eyes, and trainers because they don’t want to change their ways, are participating in the death of the sport in the U.S.

    Or, we know there are at least 70 owners who have stated they support ridding the sport of the raceday meds.  Why can’t they buck their trainers and tell them that unless they cooperate to help rid the sport of this stain, then they will move their horses to a trainer who will cooperate. 

    From a practical standpoint, aside from the moral and health issues, as we speak, fans and bettors are “voting with their feet” and seeking a more level playing field.  With today’s technology, I watch horseracing all over the world and can place wagers in places that have policies more in line with what I believe to be in the best interests of the horse and of the sport.  Eventually, the trainers will run out of rope, and they will wind up hanging themselves, as well as taking the sport in the U.S. down with them.  I hope we find a solution soon.  I weep for our horses and our beloved sport.

    • Mark

      There are many factors leading to the demise of the sport, and Lasix is at the bottom of the list.

      • Khambat

        And yet, by your own words…it is on the list.

        • Mark

          It is on the list because of the constant bickering regarding the subject. Those opposed refer to is as horse doping and the uneducated fan may believe them.

    • Angelika Hala

      “Or, we know there are at least 70 owners who have stated they support ridding the sport of the raceday meds.  Why can’t they buck their trainers and tell them that unless they cooperate to help rid the sport of this stain, then they will move their horses to a trainer who will cooperate.”Yes and yes and yes, Ann Maree -

      • Mark

        I know 71 that don’t support it. You lose again.

  • Knowitall

    Sheesh. Baffert (and his new BFF West) won’t have to wonder why he is so unpopular this year. Although, well played.

  • Burlap Baggins

    Whether you believe Gary West’s lawsuit threat was real or bunk, the Breeders’ Cup is screwed on this issue unless and until the time a few of the major racing jurisdictions in the US catch up. Ray fairly points out that when they adopted this policy in 2011, lots of other industry organizations had their back. Now the Breeders’ Cup was out on an island. Except for NY, they do need horsemen’s permission to simulcast, so where were they going to go for a 2014 host site? The truth is that while their position was admirable, they got too far out front in July of 2011. There’s no sense in moving ahead with the policy if it is not sustainable. 

    Unfortunately, this debate is no longer about substance. If it were, the BC would be able to run its races for two days a year without race-day medication and the TOC, the majority of whom will never enter a horse in the event, would go on with their lives and be thankful that the Breeders’ Cup loves to be at Santa Anita, giving the sport more relevance in Southern California. The horsemen, in this case the TOC (but be sure that NYTHA and the Kentucky HBPA are with them in spirit) held a gun to BC’s head. 

  • Nucky Thompson

    I’m sure the Wests bombarded the Breeders Cup board with telemarketing calls to make them reverse their decision. Another shot in the foot for racing. We can’t even agree what to call the bleeding drug . Some say Lasix, some say Salix - let’s call the whole thing off.

  • Bryan Langlois (ShelterDoc)

    …the letter said the decision to ban Lasix “puts the life of the horse and jockey at risk”…

    Umm…think is more wonderful lawyer dramatization than actual fact.  It certainly is an interesting conflict where the Breeders Cup appears to have a more important responsibility to the financial health of the organization than to the health of the competitors.  Something that will never be fully resolved.  Maybe it is time for another organization to come in and run the championships…

  • Kingturf

    How many American horses ran in Dubai over the past 19 years?  If
    memories serves me correct before they went to the all weather track,
    the U.S. dominated all the dirt races and not one of these horses ran on
    Lasix.  If all sports are cleaning themselves up from medication, then
    why not horse racing? 
    Years ago I remember the biggest question for a horse shipping to NY
    was; if they can run without lasix?  Personally I am not a veterinarian
    and have not truly understand the reason of using a diuretic to slow
    pulmonary bleeding in a thoroughbred.  Even though tracks in N. America
    allows race day medication, what makes this part of the world experts
    while the rest is not in agreement?  The rule is saying no dope on race
    day.  I need to remember some owners and trainers are very greedy, if
    they can squeeze the needle into a horse just to run them back in 3
    weeks vice 6 weeks there’s more purse money to win.  Oh yea horse safety
    would be a major concern…I thought this was the reason behind the use
    of race day medication?

  • Jeff Probst

    Where is the TJC, TOBA and Graded Stakes Committee plus the rest of the alphabet orgs with their current policies, etc? Can we ask them a few questions and get some updates? Let’s be fair for a milli-second, the BC has long taken a leadership role in security and safety of horses competing….from pre-race exams, rigorous post-race testing, TCO2 testing, elimination of steroids, and penalties for violators.  In ’11, there was a push in the US to move in a Salix free direction but……no longer. Ever watch reality TV and see what happens when one goes against the group with no net to catch them. In this case you have horsemen and bettors ready to blow our your torch. Bad spot.

  • Mark

    If Mr. Irwin and others are so certain that Lasix is harmful to horses, why doesn’t he and his “anti-Lasix” friends and clients put up $1,000,000 like the Wests to help fund a study so that intelligent, well thought out, and scientific decisions can be made with respect to the causes and best ways to treat EIPH? A rational person could suspect that it is because Mr. Irwin doesn’t really want to know the truth as it may be contrary to his beliefs and rhetoric.

    • KayDee

      Ha! If Barry Irwin could syndicate the million bucks for a handsome profit he’d be running so hard to get there he would need a shot of lasix.

      Hey Barry, if Gary West is a bully, what does that make you? Besides an narcissist who’s detached from his own reality?

      • Barry Irwin

        When all you can come up with is trying to undermine my credibility by making snide remarks instead of dealing with the issues, my credibility only strengthens.

        • KayDee

          You have no credibility.

          • Barry Irwin

            I am still trying to figure out what this means: Besides an narcissist who’s detached from his own reality?

      • Carol Kaye

        This sort of talk doesn’t help us. Whether one believes in Barry Irwin’s point of view or not, making statements we don’t understand doesn’t make sense. Also whatever one thinks of Barry Irwin he certainly has put enough money into the racing and breeding business to earn a voice. To my own point of view, horses that are running at the top tier and connected with breeding should absolutely be running drug free. But back to the Wests, it seems to me , if they are in a position to offer a million dollars for research, couldn’t they have offered it a while ago,? as the pro and cons of Lasix are not exactly a new subject. Why now? and in combination with them sueing the BC board. I believe its wrong that the Wests threaten to sue a committee in order to get their own way but having said that, I forget, we are in America, land of lawyers.

  • Paddy F.

    The Breeders’ Cup should get credit for trying to be progressive in this area.  Unfortunately, the rest of the industry isn’t ready to join them in doing the right thing.  Without the support of other key entities in the industry, they were pretty much forced to go back on their initial decision.

  • NO DRUGS

    I will not be playing the BC races this year and I usually wager a decent amount of cash in the two days.  I hope others join me in boycotting an organization with no vision for the future and instead opting to take a shortsighted approac.

  • Ejb3810

    They wonder why more people don’t have a genuine interest in horse racing?  Could it be that the general public does not trust what happens at the track?  Is it possible that trainers and owners are regarded as unprincipled characters in pursuit of fame and fortune?
    The Breeders Cup Board not allowing Lasix for two year old races only would seem like some degree of hypocrisy.
    The Veterinary community by and large is in favor of race day medication primarily due to the fact that it pads their pockets.
    These people are not that much better than the Rick Dutrows and other banned trainers and owners when you really get down to it.  Unscrupulous individuals looking for an easy way to excel, while they are attempting to project an honorable image.

    • Lexington 3

      You are clueless.

      Vets would make MORE money if there were no $20 lasix shots, not LESS.  Business would go UP.

      Not to mention the states where state-appointed vets administer the lasix in the first place.

      How in the world does ignorance like that in your post persist?

      • Ed Brockman

        Must be a veterinarian responding here. If a horse consistently bled it would be raced no longer. Hence no need for Lasix or other things as a result of it not being used.

      • stymie

        Calling others clueless, does not make your statements accurate

  • Charles

    Eventually the customers (gamblers) will determine the future of this sport (business). Whether you believe or not that Lasix is this or that is irrelevant or whether the breed has regressed or not. IMO it is now a niche sport and without casino money who knows how many more racetracks would be closed.

  • Milezinni

    One thing has become very clear to me…..that the Furosemide issue in Horse Racing has reached the same plateau as the DH in Baseball, and the Republican vs Democrat vision of America.
    Neither side will ever convince the other, no matter what research or evidence you come up with! One side will always balk and argue at the other’s position.

    Until Equine Science comes up with something else to stop EIPH, there is only one solution, and it’s kind of obvious and so simple it’s being overlooked, imo….and it’s the only fair way to decide……run one condition book where Furosemide is allowed, and a second condition book (with the exact same races) where Furosemide will be banned.

    Whichever race fills with the most horses, THATS the race that runs!  Graded Stakes and Breeders Cup Races included. And never the twain shall meet….

    In America, Majority rules, and this way, everyone has their say, it’s fair, and no-one is being forced to race their horses with or without medication, they do or do not believe in!

    The only catch is to control horses going on or coming off medication…..which would have wrecked the 2013 Breeders Cup anyway….

    • LadyJ

       Unfortunately this problem with this scenario, as is with the current status quo, is that these horses need to be running on even terms. Bettors want to be assured that the game is fair, yet ask any handicapper and they will tell you that they will probably pick the horse on Lasix over the one that isn’t. Fans want what is best for the horses and jockeys. Some trainers and owners have the same arguments as the bettors and the  fans.

      Perhaps a compromise can be made where a horse can race with the drug (even though this still does not solve the even playing field concern), but in order to do so they must have independent and corroborated data that proves that this horse has sever EIPH. Then and only then can it race on the drug. Once finished with racing, it can be retired, but progeny by this horse will be ineligible to be registered with the Jockey Club. Similar to the stance taken by the AQHA to reduce the virulent and common genetic disease in Quarter Horses.

      I for one, am still on the completely drug free fence, however, if a compromise similar to the one I have just stated could be implemented and enforced, I would be willing to make such a compromise. My first concern is the soundness and the future of the Thoroughbred breed and American racing.

      • http://twitter.com/milezinni Myles Graebner

        Sorry Lady J if I wasn’t clear, I mean the enitre RACE would have Furosemide or not…..For Example, lets say in the Condition Book there is an upcoming Grade II, and the Furosemide allowed race has 6 entries, and the Furosemide Free race has 8, (that is 8 completely different horses, whose Owners want to run without Salix). By virtue of the Furosemide Free race having 8 (vs Furosemide with 6) the track would then run the Furosemide Free race. And consequently, the 6 that wanted to run, in that example, with Furosemide, are going to have to enter a different race altogether (majority rules, they lose)….and of course the opposite would be true if a race (any race) had more horses enter that want to run on Furosemide vs Salix Free. The Furosemide Free would have to find another race.

        Yes, you create two completely different leagues of horses, (just like baseball) but, I don’t see any other way to solve it…..because there is no right answer……just opinions….very strong and influential opinions.

  • Rachel

    “byzantine?”…devious and surreptitious? Darn that 10th amendment….

  • TCF

    Let’s start here – Horse racing will always continue
    whether they continue or ban Lasix. If it could survive a ban on gambling in
    the 1900’s what makes anyone think that this would be the straw that breaks the
    camel’s back – Please give me a break! Next I surmise most of the comments are
    from people that don’t own horses so if you threating to take your gambling
    dollar elsewhere – go – good bye – a year of table games or slots and you’ll be
    back! Boycott the Breeders Cup – again go because if they decided to ban it I’m
    never going to pay another Breeders Cup nomination fee again and we haven’t
    ever participated in a Breeders Cup race and spent thousands. The Sheik saying
    there’s no progress being made on medication so I’m talking my ball and going
    home – ask him about human rights in
    his own country starting with the rights of women – and Barry Irwin – please give
    me another break, after his comment when Animal Kingdom won the Derby about
    trainers not being trustworthy was an embarrassment to every horse person! In
    closing – this is small next to some of the major problems like illegal drugs which are where
    they should be spending their time and money!

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

    Mr Barry Irwin, is just right on spot, The american BC races are about short term economics, and not in long time favor of the breed.

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

    The only way out will be an split competion in the US. Splitting in without raceday medications and with raceday medications.

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

    Why is Dale Romans sending horses out to lasix free races in Dubai, while beiing an outspoken fan to use lasix in the US. Must be money rules

  • NAFTA

    “Sanan’s no vote apparently was made, not in support of a race-day medication prohibition for 2-year-olds, but because he felt strongly that any ban on medication was wrong because of the potential economic consequence.”

    All you need to know about this guy. Maybe if he had made good on his promise to sell $200 million worth of Breeders’ Cup T-shirts back when they expanded the menu, they’d be in a stronger position. An abomination.

  • jorge

    Weisbroad Abstained. Says enough about him

  • Powell Leo

    “The decision to ban Lasix “puts the life of the horse and jockey at risk” “.

    Even if I think this is very extreme, is that saying that countries that don’t race on Lasix are putting their participants in danger?

    And, if I understand well, the welfare of the horse and jockeys is their first motivation. So then why running your horses on Bute, which is an anti inflammatory that will mask pain and therefore increase the risk of getting itself and others hurt?

  • CCarnes

    On the playground when I grew up, the boys and girls who
    stepped in to defend those being picked on were called the “heroes”
    and not the “bullies”. The fact that Gary and Mary West stood up for the safety, health and well being of the horses and riders and are willing to spend $1,000,000 of their own money to
    scientifically and objectively study the cause of and best ways to deal with
    EIPH seems far more rational and thoughtful than all the unfounded criticism
    and lack of meaningful suggestions for solutions on this entire message board.
    And, I did not see a single person offer up any money to help which probably
    means they do not want to know the truth because that would not be helpful to
    their own agendas.

    I also find it incredulous that the BC, by its own admission, relied upon no scientific or other relevant data, studies or information to make the decision to ban Lasix from all 2013 BC races after running ALL previous BC races on Lasix. That is truly inexplicable and does not
    pass the most lenient of common sense tests.

    Real leaders take the initiative to find solutions for complex problems, they don’t wine and complain and make totally unfounded statements or comments without offering up viable and credible alternative solutions. I would bet the vast majority of owners, trainers, horseman’s groups, testing consortiums, veterinarian organizations and the Jockey’s Guild would be proud to stand the West’s up as the people who did racing the biggest favor in 2013 by bringing the EIPH issue to a head, because now it most assuredly will be studied like never before.

    So, if you have some brilliant ideas other than ‘screw the horses, just let them
    bleed’ then bring them forth for consideration so we can unite the
    industry and return racing to the great sport it can be.

    PS—-Most of you do not know the West’s personally, nor do
    I, but because I work in the non-profit world, I know they are cutting edge
    philanthropists who do some of the best philanthropic work in the world. If you
    want to know what they do with the majority of their time and money to help
    society and the least fortunate among us, you might want to check out WHI and
    Gary and Mary West Foundation.

    http://gmwf.org/

    http://www.westhealth.org/institute

    • Barry Irwin

      Amazing how you were able to find this obscure Thoroughbred racing website and have such a wonderful smattering of knowledge about bleeding in racehorses. But not as amazing as making out the people that want to improve and upgrade racing as the bad guys and holding up the “West’s” as the saviors of the poor neglected horse.

      In reality, the entire civilized racing world looks at Americans that use Lasix on their horses as anti-sportsmen and women. Those that want to drug horses are looked down upon.

      Only in America can people that want to continue to defy international standards of racing be considered heroes.

      When Europeans show up for the Breeders’ Cup, many use Lasix on their horses, not because they want to but because they think they need to.

      The Breeders’ Cup wanted to do the right thing, but the starch was taken out of their stance by the “West’s.”

      Your spin doesn’t play very well.

      I suggest that you come back with another anonymous name and try it again, in the true tradition of these message boards.

      • Mark

        Mark•a day ago −

        I repeat my post from yesterday:

        If Mr. Irwin and others are so certain that Lasix is harmful to horses, why doesn’t he and his “anti-Lasix” friends and clients put up $1,000,000 like the Wests to help fund a study so that intelligent, well thought out, and scientific decisions can be made with respect to the causes and best ways to treat EIPH? A rational person could suspect that it is because Mr. Irwin doesn’t really want to know the truth as it may be contrary to his beliefs and rhetoric.

        • Barry Irwin

          “Mark,” you fail to understand that just because somebody tries to shift the argument away from its original premise–which is that no horses should run on ANY race day medication–it does not mean that one has to play their game. The $1 million offer is a ploy made to distract from the original idea that to be a truly international event of real significance, the races need to be run drug free.

          Highjacking the argument has nothing to do with the price of tea in China. Whoopee for The Wests for their gesture. But if they really understood the essence of fair play and sport, they would not take the position they have taken.

          The issue is not whether Lasix works, or Bute works or any other drug works. Hell, they ALL work. The issue is whether we want to conduct racing without drugs.

          The only reason Lasix is being fought is that it is, for all practical purposes, the last drug standing.

        • Sean Kerr

          Mark – Absolutely no tests or research should be attempted with Salix use without a mandatory requirement that any and all of a specific horse’s veterinary records and procedures are publicly disclosed – these records are to be considered part of the research equation. Do you suppose Mr. West supports this kind of transparency? The TOC? Do you support this kind of transparency? I can guarantee you that the whining and hand wringing over letting go of Lasix will disappear over night. What are your thoughts?

          By the way: I note that you don’t tell us who you are other than ‘Mark’. Why don’t you stand by your words?

          • Mark

            Yes, I do believe he supports that kind of transparency. Read the article in the DRF tomorrow about the Wests and you will understand his argument better. Ray and his mentor Irwin tend to spin toward Barry a little in case everyone on here hasn’t noticed.

      • Mark

        Just curious – did you offer to put up a million dollars to help fund a study?

    • Stanley inman

      How about this for common sense;
      Why is it that in a sporting event
      every equine contestant gets a needle in the jugular?
      Common?
      unfortunately only in U.S.
      Sensical? Not unless your addicted to your
      Own depraved logic;
      Let Lance be your poster boy

  • http://www.facebook.com/annmatt Ann Maree

    CHELTENHAM FESTIVAL concluded for the day. Some amazing horses stepped up and did not disappoint: Simonsig wins the Arkle Challenge Trophy; Hurricane Fly regains his title in the Champion Challenge Hurdle; and the amazing Quevega wins a 5th consecutive Mares’ Hurdle to equal the great Golden Miller’s feat of winning 5 Gold Cups! Quevega has been declared Queen of the Festival

    As I sit here and watch the Cheltenham Festival, I would love for every trainer in the U.S. who is for keeping lasix to be forced to watch every one of these amazing races. These horses perform at levels American trainers could only dream about. Not so much that the races are marathons, it’s the ability of these animals to be in such great condition, they can not only go the distance, but they jump over fences doing it! I didn’t see one drop of blood from the noses of any of these horses!!! It makes be cry for our sport in the U.S. that it is at the mercy of such short-sighted, greedy and in my view, immoral, bunch of hypocrits!

    A picture is worth a thousand words: 9 year old Quevega’s amazing win #5 of the Mare’s Hurdle. She looks for all the world like she’s beaten, yet she found more to get the job done: http://youtu.be/u5bZkh0908c

    • Matt Clarke

      Ann Maree you make such a wonderful point, and I thoroughly agree with you. However just wait for the posts claiming that Europeans trainers use drugs also. They will not tell you what drugs or present any factual evidence too support their claims, but drug addicts will always deny, lie and obfuscate in order to continue with their addiction. It is not the horses which are addicts, but the trainers and owners who feel they have to use drugs to give them an edge.

      • http://www.facebook.com/annmatt Ann Maree

        I’ve certainly run into that, Matt. But, there have been plenty of published sources that contradict the argument that drugs are rampant overseas, just not on raceday, That argument is losing its lustre, As Barry says, it is a smokescreen to divert attention away from the main issue. What I found most remarkable about the hunt horses is, the incidence of injury to them is lower than to the horses in flat racing, While it’s true that you occasionally see falls, it’s quite rare that they are injured, at least not anything major. It’s almost like they adapt to being able to relax when they fall, and they usually just hop up and shake it off. I have definitely become a fan watching the Cheltenham Festival, and Sprinter Sacre today was magnificent!

  • Mark

    Please check out the article in the DRF website regarding the Wests. Much more responsible journalism.

    • Barry Irwin

      Spin to make a major legal threat come off as being pro-welfare for horses. People know the difference. Perfume never covers the odor of soiled material.

      • Mark

        Barry, I find it interesting that Paulick didn’t “Tweet” the DRF article TWICE like he did the letter to the Breeder’s Cup. The DRF article contain’s Gary West’s reasoning for doing what he did and someone without an agenda would surely want to show both sides of an issue. I guess I will never understand Paulick’s fierce loyalty to you, other than than the obvious – you are a client who advertises on his website.

        • RayPaulick

          Mark,

          Give me a call if you’d like to have a better understanding of my position on Lasix. Advertisers do not dictate my editorial position. We have more than 20 advertisers on the site and I have no idea how the vast majority of them feel about Lasix or numerous other issues.

  • say neigh to drugs

    Having spent a lifetime in advertising, i can tell you that being “anti” anything, even drugs in horses, is an uphill sell. Why not recast non-lasix racing as Organic Racing or something easily understood as being of superior quality? And if the sheiks and euros REALLY want to change things, offer a substantial bonus to any lasix-free horse finishing 1-2-3 in select races. Heck, double their winnings if you can swing it. If Mr. West wants to run for $1,000,000 while lasix-free owners effectively race for $2,000,000, he’ll look like a guy who can only win by cheating. If Darley were to put up the money, they would don the white hat of honesty and good sportsmanship, while the black hats would go to the Americans. The other option is to move outside the US. Run the BC in Canada, the UK, Brazil or Dubai. Baffert and West aren’t the only ones who can go elsewhere.

  • MightveBen

    BC money lust caused them to conspire with SA and the CHRB to select thoroughbred racing’s equivalent of “Alice in Wonderland meets NASCAR” in the first place. The BC made its bed and picked its bedfellows. No excuses.

    Let all go to the races, boyz!

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