Romans: In defense of Lasix

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(The following is a counterpoint to the commentary by Lincoln Collins of Kern Thoroughbreds, calling for a ban on race-day medication.)


Thoroughbred racing is challenging; horses are urged to run as fast as they can, for distances up to a mile and a half, with a 125pound jockeys on their back. There is, however, one long-known problem that affects racing horses. Racing causes EXERCISE INDUCED pulmonary hemorrhage (EIPH, respiratory bleeding) in 100% of horses.

Lasix/Salix (furosemide), a human blood pressure medication, has proven, over 40 years, to be the most effective preventative of EIPH. Claims that horse trainers use Lasix to shed water weight and gain a competitive edge, thereby putting horses at risk of catastrophic injuries, are simply unfounded.

Thoroughbred trainers and owners are committed to do all they can to prevent racing injuries. Lasix has no harmful effects, it is fair across the board because all trainers can use it; and it is a proven preventative of exercise induced pulmonary damage to Thoroughbreds.

Lasix research points overwhelmingly to its benefits for horses. On May 14, the American Association of Equine Practitioners (AAEP) set forth that Lasix PREVENTS the pathological lung changes that lead to bleeding.  Proof comes from the definitive 2009 South African study, which showed that furosemide administration decreased the incidence and severity of EIPH in Thoroughbreds. Furthermore, no competitive advantage comes from its use: all trainers have access to the medication, and the actual weight loss is but a fraction of the Thoroughbred’s hulking frame.

The use of Lasix in racing is very tightly regulated. Assertions are often made that the ideal path for American racing is a sport without race-day medications. I question this claim: Is banning a medication that unquestionably protects the health and welfare of the racing horse putting the welfare of the horse first?

The AAEP letter, previously referred to, suggests that without Lasix trainers will withhold water from horses leading up to a race to produce dehydration – a clearly non-humanitarian practice. Before Lasix, herbal remedies, nutraceuticals, and ineffective medications of no scientific value for preventing EIPH were used, with side effects that jeopardized a horse’s health.  As the AAEP explicitly set forth, “None of the aforementioned products have any scientific merit for treating EIPH, and would only add to the industry’s concern about overmedication in racing.”

Lasix is the only proven EIPH preventative.  Trainers, in other parts of the world, are allowed Lasix in training but on race day may be forced to employ alternative medications that fall below the scope of regulation – perhaps including some of the treatments outlined above.

These facts are being ignored to the detriment of our magnificent Thoroughbreds. I have spent most of my life in the racing industry and I believe that horse racing must come down to what is in the horse’s best interest. The welfare of the horse has gone by the wayside of late, for reasons too numerous to mention. It is my firm belief that one of the worst abuses that can be done to the racing horse is to ban Lasix.

I am not suggesting that racing does not require changes, particularly when it comes to stopping trainers illicitly gaining an edge, but banning Lasix will do no such thing. This prescription for racing would place countless Thoroughbreds at risk of catastrophic injury, where a humane method of relieving the duress of competition is cast aside in favor of mystery concoctions.

Our horses and our industry, looking to ensure the safety of Thoroughbreds through a unique preventative medication, Lasix, deserve better.

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  • Hopefieldstables

    “up to a mile and half with a 125lb jockey”……..he really needs to get out more.

    • http://www.facebook.com/deb.olivas Deb Curtis Olivas

      I take it, all of those that have posted, are race horse trainers or Vets or have superior knowledge on the subject of lasix and the well being of the race horse?

      • racehorse lover

         You are ABSOLUTELY correct Deb. Most people (including some that have written blogs for this publication) have no actual experience of even holding a horse while it’s being scoped.  Let alone knowing what to look for when looking into the scope.  But of course these guys are all smarter than the American Association Of Equine Practitioners…  They just do this for a living on a daily basis..  Why listen to them?????

    • racehorse lover

       I think he was referring to the 126 pound weight assignment of the Belmont Stakes when he said that????  Maybe you need to get out more…

      • Hopefieldstables

         you need to read more, might improve your comprehension

  • Hopefieldstables

    “up to a mile and half with a 125lb jockey”……..he really needs to get out more.

  • Charlie Davis

    Romans said, ”
    Proof comes from the definitive 2009 South African study, which showed that furosemide administration decreased the incidence and severity of EIPH in Thoroughbreds.”

    Well sure it does.  The point is not that Lasix doesn’t work, it does, the point is that our horses shouldn’t need drugs to run.  I mean Cocaine is great for your mood, but you don’t see everyone using it before work.  

    • Pluckedduck1

      Mr. Davis–if u invest $50,000 in a horse and it bleeds, what do u do with it?

      • Charlie Davis

        Long term, we shouldn’t be investing in horses that bleed.  Continuing to breed to bleeders is part of the problem I see here.  If Lasix were outlawed, I believe the industry would adapt and we would start breeding horses that can race without bleeding like they have in the rest of the world.  

        For the short term though, it’s a tough question.  People are going to lose money when they’re forced to retire horses they paid a lot of money for.  I wish that weren’t the case, but it is.  When you buy a horse, you’re responsible for it, so as for what they should do with it.  I think you need to retire it, find it a good home, and make sure to spend your next 50K on a healthy horse that doesn’t bleed.  

        • FourCats

          “make sure to spend your next 50K on a healthy horse that doesn’t bleed.”

          A fine goal.  But I am aware of no way to determine beforehand if a horse will have a tendency to bleed or not.  If you know of such a test, you would do very well as a bloodstock advisor.

          • Charlie Davis

            I have actually spoken to a representative at a large breeding operation who said that they know.  Don’t ask me how, because I’m far from a bloodstock expert, but obviously they have ways because you don’t see horses having to be retired unraced over in the UK.  They are getting horses that don’t bleed somehow, and if they can do it, so can we.  

          • oky

            I think that they are now putting (*Potential Bleeder) in the sales catalogues now so that buyers can avoid buying bleeders?

            Honestly is that any dumber than your assertions?

          • Charlie Davis

            How do you explain the fact that UK owners aren’t retiring half their horses every year because they’re bleeders?  

            Yeah, it’s a lot dumber than my assertions.  

          • Hopefieldstables

            And over there, a mile and a half is middle distance.

          • Sevencentsstable

            Please, please, please would everybody quit swearing that horses Elsewhere “don’t bleed”????? They sure the heck DO bleed, they just run on other meds that don’t test Elsewere and do test in the US. They also use anti-bleeding meds that don’t test anywhere. When I had a very bad bleeder (he was a gelding for you breeding purists, btw) who could really run the only thing that stopped his bleeding was an injectable from EUROPE that one vet had found.
             
            Also, everybody wanting to follow the European models, and constantly harp on retiring horses for what could be minor issues with allowable nedications , should we also EAT the ones who can’t run, like they do over there? Just curious, as I have found the anti-medication and anti-slaughter groups often share membership rosters.

          • Hopefieldstables

            Can you please tell us what this secret medication that works better than lasix known to thousands of people in the UK, Ireland, France, Italy, Germany etc and is the greatest secret the world has ever known (but the US can test for it !)

          • Sevencentsstable

            Ask your trainer what he uses on bleeders.I have been told that many Euro jusrisdictions don’t test for aminocapuric acid, we get popped for it here and I would rather use that than Lasix any day of the week. Do you guys test for conjugated estrogen? Many of our jurisdictions do. The one Euro anti-bleeder we used is now more common over here, but I am not even a little bit interested in naming it on a public forum. Do your own research.

          • Hopefieldstables

            Of course these are tested. Another amino acid antifibrinolytic is tranexamic acid (both derived from lysine). In complete contrast to Europe, both of these are legal on raceday in several US states. A few years ago a vet had his licence revoked for giving a horse tranexamic acid which was found though random testing. 

          • Hopefieldstables
          • Tbhorseman

            Hemorex

          • Hopefieldstables

            bioflavanoids and vit K. I wish they would use this instead of lasix. It is not a drug, legal everywhere.

          • Tbhorseman

            read the label and you will see two natural diuretics..

          • Hopefieldstables

             we must be talking about a different product.

      • Jayne

        its tough luck.  You bought the wrong horse

  • Charlie Davis

    Romans said, “
    Proof comes from the definitive 2009 South African study, which showed that furosemide administration decreased the incidence and severity of EIPH in Thoroughbreds.”

    Well sure it does.  The point is not that Lasix doesn’t work, it does, the point is that our horses shouldn’t need drugs to run.  I mean Cocaine is great for your mood, but you don’t see everyone using it before work.  

  • No Penalties in Horse Racing

    Regarding the shedding of weight.  If a jockey uses lasix to shed 5 lbs that would be 4% of their body weight and that has been proven to have severe consequences on the kidneys and liver in humans if used over a period of time.  If a horse loses 50 lbs of body weight that is about 5% of the average TB.  How could that not be harmful to an equine athlete over time just like it is to humans?  The % is still about the same.

    • ParkedWithoutCover

      Overwhelmingly trainers in the USA only treat a horse with lasix on race day or before a hard workout to ensure a horse does not bleed. BUT, in Europe the folks can’t race on lasix, BUT they train on it, daily!!!!!!!!!!!

      • Jayne

         Do you have proof European trainers train on lasix daily?  This seems very unlikely.

        • .Abbers

           The Europeans DO NOT train on Lasix

          This is completely, 100 percent false,” said Christiane “Criquette”
          Head, president of the European Trainers Association and a top name in
          French racing for years. “I don’t use Lasix in training and no one I
          know uses Lasix in training.”

      • Matt

         Unless you can produce some real factual, not anecdotal evidence please consider getting a life!

      • Hopefieldstables

        “This is completely, 100 percent false,” said Christiane “Criquette”
        Head, president of the European Trainers Association and a top name in
        French racing for years. “I don’t use Lasix in training and no one I
        know uses Lasix in training.”

        Andre Fabre does not even use it when he races in the US on BC day !

    • Sevencentsstable

      Jockeys who use Lasix to pull weight often use it 4-6 days a week. Racehorses are administered Lasix before hard works and before races, so less than once a week (in TBs, I know STBs often race on Lasix weekly).

  • No Penalties in Horse Racing

    Regarding the shedding of weight.  If a jockey uses lasix to shed 5 lbs that would be 4% of their body weight and that has been proven to have severe consequences on the kidneys and liver in humans if used over a period of time.  If a horse loses 50 lbs of body weight that is about 5% of the average TB.  How could that not be harmful to an equine athlete over time just like it is to humans?  The % is still about the same.

  • No Penalties in Horse Racing

    Ray, can you tell us maybe how many horses Romans has started without Lasix so we can get an accurate picture of his experience in running horses without the medication?

    • MAM

      Perhaps at the same time you are gathering that information, you can also ascertain the number of horses running on lasix by those supporting the ban.

      • Tbower

        Including Tracy Farmer who runs all his horses, including two year olds, on Lasix.

  • No Penalties in Horse Racing

    Ray, can you tell us maybe how many horses Romans has started without Lasix so we can get an accurate picture of his experience in running horses without the medication?

  • Tinky

    No time to cover all of Romans’ questionable claims, but here are a couple that don’t pass the laugh test:

    “the actual weight loss is but a fraction of the Thoroughbred’s hulking frame”

    If Shackleford (or some such horse) were to be assigned 130lbs. (high weight) in a big handicap, Romans’ would sputter and spout and refuse to run him because he only deserved 127. If Romans were considering two riders of similar ability for a race, and one was three pounds overweight, he wouldn’t have to think more than three seconds in order to make his decision. Those examples use three pounds – a afraction of the “fraction” in Romans quote.

    “Thoroughbred racing is challenging; horses are urged to run as fast as they can, for distances up to a mile and a half, with a 125pound jockeys on their back”

    Setting aside the fact that 12f. races make up about .01% of the American racing calendar, in the UK (and elsewhere) TW0-YEAR-OLDS carry well over 130lbs. in handicaps without Lasix.

    “Claims that horse trainers use Lasix to shed water weight and gain a competitive edge, thereby putting horses at risk of catastrophic injuries, are simply unfounded.”

    To my knowledge, not a single serious commentator has made the above claim. But the idea that trainers do not use Lasix because it is (correctly) perceived as being performance enhancing is laughable on its face. Of course they do.

    • Hossracergp

      Following your logic the horse who weighs the least should be the winner in every race. If not having blood in your lungs is performance enhancing I suppose you could say lasix does improve performance. But the theory that it makes horses faster or better than they are naturally is laughable. I guess the darwinists would just have every horse here run cold or die trying.  Or we could let them canter around  the track like Pokey the plow horse and sprint the last eight like they do everywhere else in the world where they race without lasix because that is so visually interesting and exciting.

      • Tinky

        Based on your reply, I’d suggest that you take a course in logic before attempting to follow that of others.

        Why do you suppose that weight is such a critical variable in race cars? Because given the same source of power, the lighter car will be faster. Simple physics.

        Lasix allows horses to shed water weight quickly and efficiently, thereby conferring an advantage.

        I am assuming that you are unaware of the fact that Lasix is considered to be performance enhancing by every major sporting body in the world (and prohibited for that reason), the Mayo Clinic, etc.

        Finally, it’s funny how those pokey “plow horses” ship to the U.S. and bury our best “speed horses” on a regular basis.

        • FourCats

          “Lasix allows horses to shed water weight quickly and efficiently, thereby conferring an advantage.”
           
          Where is your evidence for this statement?  It seems much more likely that the dehydration caused by the water loss would be significantly more detrimental to a horse’s performance than any small weight loss helped that performance.
           

          • Hopefieldstables

            There are several papers that attest to weight loss induced by lasix (including the very one referenced by Romans). Zawadzkas, Sides and Bayly (2006) illustrated the performance effect of the weight loss.

          • Sean Kerr

            FourCats: Here is the evidence for diuretic induced (Salix) water loss. Go to page 80 (the 5th page of the print out), 4th paragraph of the 1st column of Dr. Hinchcliffe’s research paper: “Efficacy of furosemide for prevention of exercise-induced pulmonary hemorrhage in Thoroughbred racehorses”. He reports that of the 170+ horses in the study given furosemide, they quickly lost an average of 27.9 pounds in urine/water weight.

        • Thelibrarian

          When you think making a comparison between a machine & a living being is credible….you’re NOT A HORSEMAN!

          • Tinky

            You may want to consult one of the science textbooks in your library, as you will apparently be surprised to learn that physics affects both machines and living creatures.

          • Thelibrarian

            Thank you captain obvious! Physics…that’s the answer! Brilliant! NOT A HORSEMAN…AGAIN!

          • Hopefieldstables

            Applying the laws of physics leads to safer surfaces for the horse.

          • Hopefieldstables

            Understanding the laws of physics leads to safer surfaces and less injured/dead horses. A horseman would understand the value of that.

          • Thelibrarian

            Good common sense…..that’s all you need. The rest is BS!

          • Hopefieldstables

            He says typing on the computer that science made possible.

        • Hossracergp

          Thanks Tink,

          I did take Logic, passed with flying colors :)   If your theory held true, then back in the days when the only horses who ran on lasix had to be scoped, then those horses should have been automatic winners over their non lasix competitors and it should have rocketed them up in class, which it did not.  Allowing all horses to use lasix without proof of scoping provides a level playing field because the advantage is there to use it if you choose. 
          The comparison between humans and horses is bogus. How many runners are castrated? Do most runners jog in the mornings and them come home and stand in their closet for the rest of the day? 
          I don’t watch Euro racing because it’s a snooze fest. If you don’t go very fast you don’t bleed. Trail horses don’t bleed. Barrel racers do in fact bleed because it is a speed event. 

          • Tinky

            a) no one has suggested that Lasix is an exceptionally potent performance enhancer; it isn’t

            b) the reason that we have gone from treating only true bleeders with Lasix to treating virtually every horse is PRECISELY because, through experience, trainers discerned a performance advantage.

            Actually, though I don’t make the point very often, and see it made by others even less, there is yet another, important advantage to using Lasix: it lowers blood pressure and helps to relax horses prior to racing. This is a very real advantage, especially given the stupid and promiscuous breeding practiced in the U.S. in recent decades, coupled with the relative lack of horsemanship to be found here.

          • tfly

            Tinky, i can only speak for my horses.  I do not give them lasix because they are bleeders, nor because i’m looking for a performance advantage.  i give it to them, (low CC) knowing that almost all horses will bleed, and when they do it will minimize the impact.

      • Sean Kerr

        So following your logic Hossracergp, why do we bother to mention “L” on the past performance? Why do handicappers bother to pay attention to “FTL”? How come so many research veterinarians, like Dr. Lawrence Soma who is one of the pioneers of EIPH study, claims that it does enhance performance? Your logic doesn’t hold.

    • http://www.facebook.com/jjandsamm Samm Graci

      there is a huge difference between live weight and dead weight… please get educated… I do a show everyday and welcome all to participate and bring on the debate!!  

  • Tinky

    No time to cover all of Romans’ questionable claims, but here are a couple that don’t pass the laugh test:

    “the actual weight loss is but a fraction of the Thoroughbred’s hulking frame”

    If Shackleford (or some such horse) were to be assigned 130lbs. (high weight) in a big handicap, Romans’ would sputter and spout and refuse to run him because he only deserved 127. If Romans were considering two riders of similar ability for a race, and one was three pounds overweight, he wouldn’t have to think more than three seconds in order to make his decision. Those examples use three pounds – a afraction of the “fraction” in Romans quote.

    “Thoroughbred racing is challenging; horses are urged to run as fast as they can, for distances up to a mile and a half, with a 125pound jockeys on their back”

    Setting aside the fact that 12f. races make up about .01% of the American racing calendar, in the UK (and elsewhere) TW0-YEAR-OLDS carry well over 130lbs. in handicaps without Lasix.

    “Claims that horse trainers use Lasix to shed water weight and gain a competitive edge, thereby putting horses at risk of catastrophic injuries, are simply unfounded.”

    To my knowledge, not a single serious commentator has made the above claim. But the idea that trainers do not use Lasix because it is (correctly) perceived as being performance enhancing is laughable on its face. Of course they do.

  • http://www.facebook.com/deb.olivas Deb Curtis Olivas

    I take it, all of those that have posted, are race horse trainers or Vets or have superior knowledge on the subject of lasix and the well being of the race horse?

  • ParkedWithoutCover

    Well said, Dale.

  • ParkedWithoutCover

    Well said, Dale.

  • ParkedWithoutCover

    Overwhelmingly trainers in the USA only treat a horse with lasix on race day or before a hard workout to ensure a horse does not bleed. BUT, in Europe the folks can’t race on lasix, BUT they train on it, daily!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Hossracergp

    Following your logic the horse who weighs the least should be the winner in every race. If not having blood in your lungs is performance enhancing I suppose you could say lasix does improve performance. But the theory that it makes horses faster or better than they are naturally is laughable. I guess the darwinists would just have every horse here run cold or die trying.  Or we could let them canter around  the track like Pokey the plow horse and sprint the last eight like they do everywhere else in the world where they race without lasix because that is so visually interesting and exciting.

  • Thelibrarian

    Last time I checked….Most horses don’t bleed through Lasix. The one’s that do…..maybe should not be running? For the rest of the mass majority……it’s cheap & effective.

    • Thank You Dale Romans

      When was the last time you were back at the barn after a horse ran? Seriously, do you know how often, every day, at every track, a horse is scoped after a race to see IF he bled, and HOW MUCH he bled, so that approriate measures can be taken?
      Horses are scoped after WORKOUTS. And you think that horses don’t bleed through Lasix? Really? Sorry, I don’t mean to expose ignorance here, but the comments on this website are seriously lame.
      And as for Tinky, – oh yeah – people are going to listen to a professional comment maker before they listen to a soon to-be-Hall of Fame trainer…yup…OK… 

      • Thelibrarian

        OK…Let me see if I understand this correctly? Most horses do bleed through Lasix? If that was true we would have begun using something else long ago. And…according to you….if they do bleed through Lasix approriate…(let’s try appropriate) measures should be taken? OK…I got it now.

      • Hopefieldstables

        wow, some admission there, lasix doing f** all

      • Hopefieldstables

         Wonder who is buying those “herbal remedies, nutraceuticals, and ineffective medications”. They sell in the US right?

  • Thelibrarian

    Last time I checked….Most horses don’t bleed through Lasix. The one’s that do…..maybe should not be running? For the rest of the mass majority……it’s cheap & effective.

  • hastings

    I would like to see nameas from euro trainers, which are using the stuff in training.

  • hastings

    I would like to see nameas from euro trainers, which are using the stuff in training.

  • Pluckedduck1

    Mr. Davis–if u invest $50,000 in a horse and it bleeds, what do u do with it?

  • Tinky

    Based on your reply, I’d suggest that you take a course in logic before attempting to follow that of others.

    Why do you suppose that weight is such a critical variable in race cars? Because given the same source of power, the lighter car will be faster. Simple physics.

    Lasix allows horses to shed water weight quickly and efficiently, thereby conferring an advantage.

    I am assuming that you are unaware of the fact that Lasix is considered to be performance enhancing by every major sporting body in the world (and prohibited for that reason), the Mayo Clinic, etc.

    Finally, it’s funny how those pokey “plow horses” ship to the U.S. and bury our best “speed horses” on a regular basis.

  • Charlie Davis

    Long term, we shouldn’t be investing in horses that bleed.  Continuing to breed to bleeders is part of the problem I see here.  If Lasix were outlawed, I believe the industry would adapt and we would start breeding horses that can race without bleeding like they have in the rest of the world.  

    For the short term though, it’s a tough question.  People are going to lose money when they’re forced to retire horses they paid a lot of money for.  I wish that weren’t the case, but it is.  When you buy a horse, you’re responsible for it, so as for what they should do with it.  I think you need to retire it, find it a good home, and make sure to spend your next 50K on a healthy horse that doesn’t bleed.  

  • Polowonder

    Instead on insisting that race horses need a ped to compete, perhaps their trainers should focus on the reasons why their athletes need these drugs in the first place.  But beforehand, let me say i can think of no human professional athlete anywhere who would subject themself to a stringent diuretic immeadiately before a strenuous competition.  It is illogical at best and irresponsible at the least.  How can you expect the best from an athlete when they are housed in a small confined space, amidst their own excrement and urea, for up to 23 hours at a stretch.  Only in north america are race horses housed in such warehouse conditions.  When they exercise they might get five to ten minutes before returning for a bath and a walk for ‘cool down’.  How can you expect to achieve real fitness using antiquated methods such as these.  No wonder their systems are stressed beyond limit producing not only EIPH but tendon and joint injuries as well.  Before being accused of heresy, I present the example of Seattle Slew, expertly trained by Billy Turner.  Lots of extra ‘road work’ did not cause him injury or to become flat or tired and not once to my knowledge did he ‘bleed’.  Clearly, the current state of the equine athlete is not a product of breeding as much as the lack of professional trainning they are subjected to.  How many race horse ‘trainers’ have had any education in bio-mechanics of the species with they work?  Any trainning at all other than the tired old ideas passed down to them?  Can they tell you the difference between sucrose, glucose or glycogen and what their function is?

    • Pluckedduck1

      valid points except, what has to do with EIPH?

    • No Penalties in Horse Racing

       Paragraphs are a beautiful thing when they are used.

    • Kris

      Well said, Polowonder.  Horses need horsemen training them, not a pharmaceutical company.

  • Polowonder

    Instead on insisting that race horses need a ped to compete, perhaps their trainers should focus on the reasons why their athletes need these drugs in the first place.  But beforehand, let me say i can think of no human professional athlete anywhere who would subject themself to a stringent diuretic immeadiately before a strenuous competition.  It is illogical at best and irresponsible at the least.  How can you expect the best from an athlete when they are housed in a small confined space, amidst their own excrement and urea, for up to 23 hours at a stretch.  Only in north america are race horses housed in such warehouse conditions.  When they exercise they might get five to ten minutes before returning for a bath and a walk for ‘cool down’.  How can you expect to achieve real fitness using antiquated methods such as these.  No wonder their systems are stressed beyond limit producing not only EIPH but tendon and joint injuries as well.  Before being accused of heresy, I present the example of Seattle Slew, expertly trained by Billy Turner.  Lots of extra ‘road work’ did not cause him injury or to become flat or tired and not once to my knowledge did he ‘bleed’.  Clearly, the current state of the equine athlete is not a product of breeding as much as the lack of professional trainning they are subjected to.  How many race horse ‘trainers’ have had any education in bio-mechanics of the species with they work?  Any trainning at all other than the tired old ideas passed down to them?  Can they tell you the difference between sucrose, glucose or glycogen and what their function is?

  • MAM

    Perhaps at the same time you are gathering that information, you can also ascertain the number of horses running on lasix by those supporting the ban.

  • Pluckedduck1

    valid points except, what has to do with EIPH?

  • racehorse lover

     You are ABSOLUTELY correct Deb. Most people (including some that have written blogs for this publication) have no actual experience of even holding a horse while it’s being scoped.  Let alone knowing what to look for when looking into the scope.  But of course these guys are all smarter than the American Association Of Equine Practitioners…  They just do this for a living on a daily basis..  Why listen to them?????

  • racehorse lover

     I think he was referring to the 126 pound weight assignment of the Belmont Stakes when he said that????  Maybe you need to get out more…

  • Thank You Dale Romans

    When was the last time you were back at the barn after a horse ran? Seriously, do you know how often, every day, at every track, a horse is scoped after a race to see IF he bled, and HOW MUCH he bled, so that approriate measures can be taken?
    Horses are scoped after WORKOUTS. And you think that horses don’t bleed through Lasix? Really? Sorry, I don’t mean to expose ignorance here, but the comments on this website are seriously lame.
    And as for Tinky, – oh yeah – people are going to listen to a professional comment maker before they listen to a soon to-be-Hall of Fame trainer…yup…OK… 

  • Tbower

    Including Tracy Farmer who runs all his horses, including two year olds, on Lasix.

  • Thelibrarian

    OK…Let me see if I understand this correctly? Most horses do bleed through Lasix? If that was true we would have begun using something else long ago. And…according to you….if they do bleed through Lasix approriate…(let’s try appropriate) measures should be taken? OK…I got it now.

  • Takethat

    “Thoroughbred trainers and owners are committed to do all they can to prevent racing injuries”

    Are they – really??

    I would suggest that Mr Romans lead the campaign to ban Bute and strictly limit cortisone use. It will never happen.

    “The game might have passed him by but Jack Van Berg had it right when he went before Congress… There’s just no need to inject hocks, stifles, knees and ankles with [high doses] of Prednisone. Doctors treating humans for arthritis know to keep [cortisone] doses low.
    “A big problem is that horsemen don’t want to lose the use of cortisone. [With proper diagnosis of leg issues] there’s no good reason for cortisone to be injected within 25 days. [Use the] European rules. That horsemen want to inject cortisone within seven days of a race is extremely common. Cortisone is the silent killer”

    • Hopefieldstables

       they do all they can including blaming the horse when it breaks down

      • nu-fan

        I’ve spoken with more than one person who has said that they stopped going to the races because of having seen a horse break down on the track and, later, euthanized.  People talk and the reputation of horseracing has taken many hits but the idea of spending money and time to go to a horserace–for an afternoon of enjoyment and wagering–isn’t worth it if the day is greatly marred by seeing a beautiful horse having its life ended.  Could this be one reason that attendance, generally, has been down at most tracks?  Our society does not view animals as it did in the past.  I, sometimes, wonder if there are some people in the horseracing industry who do not understand this change in the way society values its animals–which includes racehorses.

        • Hopefieldstables

           Use (misuse) of the whip is also a big turn off to new fans. Those within the sport sadly cannot see the forest for the trees.

    • Jjmsmootie

      You Got it right ! My opinion/ Biggest cause of on track breakdowns. Joints injected  with Cortisone. At least if you use bute 24 hrs before race its wore off next day.

      • nu-fan

        I kind of wonder the same thing.  Could the cortisones be the primary contributing reason for these breakdowns?  If so, why haven’t we heard a loud objection by those entities governing horseracing as well as the equine veterinary schools regarding the use of these drugs?  I don’t have the answer to that but I do wonder about it.  The silence has been deafening.

        • Stanley inman

          The reason for the silence is because they( horsemen, owners& vets) all are making money off the status quo of drug abuse within the sport.
          Each hides behind
          their tiresome rhetoric…
          “the horse comes first”
          The horse is victim to the myths they perpetuate.

          • nu-fan

            Great to hear from you, again, Stanley.  You’ve always had great answers to my “wonderings”.  But, I’ve also wondered if the schools receive monetary grants from those involved in horseracing?  That would seem like an ethical breach of their responsibility to horses.  If that is the case, then, this would be an interesting area for someone to pursue. 

          • Stanley inman

            “an ethical breach of their responsibilities to horses”

            If we all asked ourselves this simple question
            We wouldn’t be here debating; (but mostly lying and distorting the story)
            Too embarrased to reveal our motivation.
            Racing drools all over a young hip market,
            They don’t realize this group finds raceday meds a turn off;
            Their parents hounded them about living
            Drug free.( “normal” doesn’t do drugs)
            That leaves us appearing
            Scummy-
            Horses don’t need drugs to do their job.
            But we know some owners, vets, trainers who need to drug horses,
            For personal gain.
            It does look a bit ….

    • voiceofreason

      “Thoroughbred trainers and owners are committed to do all they can to prevent racing injuries”

      Are they – really??

      Sure. It’s why they climbed all over themselves to right the wrongs of steroid abuse in horses. Um. Ya.

  • Takethat

    “Thoroughbred trainers and owners are committed to do all they can to prevent racing injuries”

    Are they – really??

    I would suggest that Mr Romans lead the campaign to ban Bute and strictly limit cortisone use. It will never happen.

    “The game might have passed him by but Jack Van Berg had it right when he went before Congress… There’s just no need to inject hocks, stifles, knees and ankles with [high doses] of Prednisone. Doctors treating humans for arthritis know to keep [cortisone] doses low.
    “A big problem is that horsemen don’t want to lose the use of cortisone. [With proper diagnosis of leg issues] there’s no good reason for cortisone to be injected within 25 days. [Use the] European rules. That horsemen want to inject cortisone within seven days of a race is extremely common. Cortisone is the silent killer”

  • dave_parker

     Bravo, Mr. Romans and thank you !

    • oky

      Loved your work with the Pirates and Reds!

  • dave_parker

     Bravo, Mr. Romans and thank you !

  • Takethat22

    “Lasix/Salix (furosemide), a human blood pressure medication, has proven, over 40 years, to be the most effective preventative of EIPH”

    The key word here is ‘effective’. I think he really means ‘cheap’. It’s clearly a very cost effective replacement for horsemanship – which is time consuming and therefore expensive.

    • oky

      Horsemanship keeps horses from bleeding? In what respect? Do people really believe this rubbish? So the euros that bleed over there and are sent here are just victims of poor horemanship?

      • Takethat

        “so the Euros that bleed over there and are sent over here are just victims of poor horsemanship”

        No – they are chronic bleeders who comprise a tiny percentage of all race horses.

        Here is more detail on what happened in NY. 

        “The highest number of visual bleeders in one year was 70, or 0.3 percent of starters, and the low was 24, less than 0.1 percent”

        This is the problem Lasix was, allegedly, supposed to solve.

        “New York held out until September 1995. Fearful of losing horses, it made a business decision to legalize it. Ted Hill, formerly the chief veterinarian for the New York Racing Association and now a steward at NYRA, had collected data on the number of bleeders from 1976 until its introduction. The highest number of visual bleeders in one year was 70, or 0.3 percent of starters, and the low was 24, less than 0.1 percent. Since Lasix was introduced on raceday in New York, the range has gone from 5 to 18.
        Lasix made a significant difference by reducing the number of horses observed bleeding on the track. But there weren’t many to begin with, Hill said.
        “Personally, I was never convinced it was really something we needed,” he said. “Of course, the fiber-optic endoscope changed how we diagnosed EIPH, and the rest is history.”

        • Sevencentsstable

          “Personally, I was never convinced it was really something we needed,” he said. “Of course, the fiber-optic endoscope changed how we diagnosed EIPH, and the rest is history.”

          Right, the endscope DID change how we perceived bleeding – just because a horse is not gushing out the nostrils does not mean he did not bleed down in his lungs. The average TB’s trachea is fairly long, not all blood reaches the nostrils. We should be GLAD that moden technology enables us to diagnose- and TREAT- bleeding more often than before. A lot of horses have had their quality of life and careers improve because of that technology!

  • Takethat22

    “Lasix/Salix (furosemide), a human blood pressure medication, has proven, over 40 years, to be the most effective preventative of EIPH”

    The key word here is ‘effective’. I think he really means ‘cheap’. It’s clearly a very cost effective replacement for horsemanship – which is time consuming and therefore expensive.

  • No Penalties in Horse Racing

     Paragraphs are a beautiful thing when they are used.

  • FourCats

    “Lasix allows horses to shed water weight quickly and efficiently, thereby conferring an advantage.”
     
    Where is your evidence for this statement?  It seems much more likely that the dehydration caused by the water loss would be significantly more detrimental to a horse’s performance than any small weight loss helped that performance.
     

  • Grarick

     Sigh. One more time:
    http://therail.blogs.nytimes.c

  • Jayne

    its tough luck.  You bought the wrong horse

  • Jayne

     Do you have proof European trainers train on lasix daily?  This seems very unlikely.

  • http://www.facebook.com/jjandsamm Samm Graci

    there is a huge difference between live weight and dead weight… please get educated… I do a show everyday and welcome all to participate and bring on the debate!!  

  • FourCats

    “make sure to spend your next 50K on a healthy horse that doesn’t bleed.”

    A fine goal.  But I am aware of no way to determine beforehand if a horse will have a tendency to bleed or not.  If you know of such a test, you would do very well as a bloodstock advisor.

  • Takethat

    “The AAEP letter, previously referred to, suggests that without Lasix trainers will withhold water from horses leading up to a race to produce dehydration – a clearly non-humanitarian practice. Before Lasix, herbal remedies, nutraceuticals, and ineffective medications of no scientific value for preventing EIPH were used, with side effects that jeopardized a horse’s health. As the AAEP explicitly set forth, “None of the aforementioned products have any scientific merit for treating EIPH, and would only add to the industry’s concern about overmedication in racing.”
    What a ‘straw man’ argument this is.

    “Jerkens pointed to a fitter, sturdier animal as another reason why bleeding was considered atypical in the 1950’s and 1960’s. He said none of his good horses were bleeders.
    “Horses worked a lot harder in those days,” he said. “The strain on them in the race wasn’t as much as the strain is on them now. They trained almost as hard in the morning as they did when they ran.”
    The best horses would often work the full distance of an upcoming race five or six days before, breeze a half-mile two days out, and maybe even an eighth of a mile the morning of the race. As but one example, three days before Assault finished off the Triple Crown, Max Hirsch sent the colt out for a 12-furlong breeze in 2:32 at Belmont.
    In his early years as a trainer, Mel Stute would regularly blow out his horses two or three furlongs the morning of the race. He learned this from his late brother Warren, who also trained in California for six decades.
    “It might take the congestion out of their lungs,” he said. Did it prevent bleeding? “You hoped so, but you went by feel.””

    • Sevencentsstable

      “In his early years as a trainer, Mel Stute would regularly blow out his horses two or three furlongs the morning of the race.”

      Ok, so why did he stop that practice? Maybe because modern physiology studies have shown that, more oftn than not, horses need a longer recovery period from strenuous exercise to recover? Because fresher horses winore ofen than overworked horses? If horses breezing every 3 days and the morning of the race were still winning a lot the practice would still be commonplace.

      • http://www.facebook.com/bill.pressey.5 Bill Pressey

        Breezing 2-3x per week is commonplace in every country outside of the US, and their breakdown rates on turf are generally 0.6 per 1,000 starts – while our rate on Lasix is 1.7. 

        • Sevencentsstable

          They run mostly on turf, we run mostly on dirt. We run a lot more races, per day, than the oversees bunch does, too.

          • Hopefieldstables

             *smh

    • Pluckedduck1

      what they did with bleeders in the old days Takethat, was take them out in the woods and shoot them.  Your point on softer training today (which is changing and Mr. Romans is one of those leading the way), is valid, and indeed better trained horses bleed less.  You can, however, train a horse as Preston Burch did in his book, follow the exact formula, and they will still bleed.

  • Takethat

    “The AAEP letter, previously referred to, suggests that without Lasix trainers will withhold water from horses leading up to a race to produce dehydration – a clearly non-humanitarian practice. Before Lasix, herbal remedies, nutraceuticals, and ineffective medications of no scientific value for preventing EIPH were used, with side effects that jeopardized a horse’s health. As the AAEP explicitly set forth, “None of the aforementioned products have any scientific merit for treating EIPH, and would only add to the industry’s concern about overmedication in racing.”
    What a ‘straw man’ argument this is.

    “Jerkens pointed to a fitter, sturdier animal as another reason why bleeding was considered atypical in the 1950’s and 1960’s. He said none of his good horses were bleeders.
    “Horses worked a lot harder in those days,” he said. “The strain on them in the race wasn’t as much as the strain is on them now. They trained almost as hard in the morning as they did when they ran.”
    The best horses would often work the full distance of an upcoming race five or six days before, breeze a half-mile two days out, and maybe even an eighth of a mile the morning of the race. As but one example, three days before Assault finished off the Triple Crown, Max Hirsch sent the colt out for a 12-furlong breeze in 2:32 at Belmont.
    In his early years as a trainer, Mel Stute would regularly blow out his horses two or three furlongs the morning of the race. He learned this from his late brother Warren, who also trained in California for six decades.
    “It might take the congestion out of their lungs,” he said. Did it prevent bleeding? “You hoped so, but you went by feel.””

  • Charlie Davis

    I have actually spoken to a representative at a large breeding operation who said that they know.  Don’t ask me how, because I’m far from a bloodstock expert, but obviously they have ways because you don’t see horses having to be retired unraced over in the UK.  They are getting horses that don’t bleed somehow, and if they can do it, so can we.  

  • Matt

     Unless you can produce some real factual, not anecdotal evidence please consider getting a life!

  • oky

    Loved your work with the Pirates and Reds!

  • oky

    I think that they are now putting (*Potential Bleeder) in the sales catalogues now so that buyers can avoid buying bleeders?

    Honestly is that any dumber than your assertions?

  • Big Red

    Excellent counterpoint to the anti-lasix pinheads !

    It would be interestind to see how the 2 y/o’s that raced without lasix did so far this year !

  • Big Red

    Excellent counterpoint to the anti-lasix pinheads !

    It would be interestind to see how the 2 y/o’s that raced without lasix did so far this year !

  • oky

    Horsemanship keeps horses from bleeding? In what respect? Do people really believe this rubbish? So the euros that bleed over there and are sent here are just victims of poor horemanship?

  • Charlie Davis

    How do you explain the fact that UK owners aren’t retiring half their horses every year because they’re bleeders?  

    Yeah, it’s a lot dumber than my assertions.  

  • Takethat

    “so the Euros that bleed over there and are sent over here are just victims of poor horsemanship”

    No – they are chronic bleeders who comprise a tiny percentage of all race horses.

    Here is more detail on what happened in NY. 

    “The highest number of visual bleeders in one year was 70, or 0.3 percent of starters, and the low was 24, less than 0.1 percent”

    This is the problem Lasix was, allegedly, supposed to solve.

    “New York held out until September 1995. Fearful of losing horses, it made a business decision to legalize it. Ted Hill, formerly the chief veterinarian for the New York Racing Association and now a steward at NYRA, had collected data on the number of bleeders from 1976 until its introduction. The highest number of visual bleeders in one year was 70, or 0.3 percent of starters, and the low was 24, less than 0.1 percent. Since Lasix was introduced on raceday in New York, the range has gone from 5 to 18.
    Lasix made a significant difference by reducing the number of horses observed bleeding on the track. But there weren’t many to begin with, Hill said.
    “Personally, I was never convinced it was really something we needed,” he said. “Of course, the fiber-optic endoscope changed how we diagnosed EIPH, and the rest is history.”

  • Hopefieldstables

     you need to read more, might improve your comprehension

  • Hopefieldstables

    And over there, a mile and a half is middle distance.

  • Hopefieldstables

    “This is completely, 100 percent false,” said Christiane “Criquette”
    Head, president of the European Trainers Association and a top name in
    French racing for years. “I don’t use Lasix in training and no one I
    know uses Lasix in training.”

    Andre Fabre does not even use it when he races in the US on BC day !

  • Hopefieldstables

    wow, some admission there, lasix doing f** all

  • Thelibrarian

    It’s the same list where all the guys who used frog juice, snail juice,  EPO, Procrit & now synthetic roids & didn’t get caught are listed!  You can find this list at http://www.cluelessgreenasgrass.com

  • Thelibrarian

    When you think making a comparison between a machine & a living being is credible….you’re NOT A HORSEMAN!

  • Hopefieldstables

     Wonder who is buying those “herbal remedies, nutraceuticals, and ineffective medications”. They sell in the US right?

  • Hareteamracing

    Couldn’t have said it any better!!

  • Hareteamracing

    Couldn’t have said it any better!!

  • Hopefieldstables

    There are several papers that attest to weight loss induced by lasix (including the very one referenced by Romans). Zawadzkas, Sides and Bayly (2006) illustrated the performance effect of the weight loss.

  • Dana Wimpfheimer

    Cudos to you Dale Romans for standing up for your horses in this very controversial subject, as not many other trainers in the racing industry have done so!! For all of us very much involved with these beautiful animals, I thank you!

  • Dana Wimpfheimer

    Cudos to you Dale Romans for standing up for your horses in this very controversial subject, as not many other trainers in the racing industry have done so!! For all of us very much involved with these beautiful animals, I thank you!

  • Hopefieldstables

     they do all they can including blaming the horse when it breaks down

  • Jjmsmootie

    You Got it right ! My opinion/ Biggest cause of on track breakdowns. Joints injected  with Cortisone. At least if you use bute 24 hrs before race its wore off next day.

  • Sevencentsstable

    Please, please, please would everybody quit swearing that horses Elsewhere “don’t bleed”????? They sure the heck DO bleed, they just run on other meds that don’t test Elsewere and do test in the US. They also use anti-bleeding meds that don’t test anywhere. When I had a very bad bleeder (he was a gelding for you breeding purists, btw) who could really run the only thing that stopped his bleeding was an injectable from EUROPE that one vet had found.
     
    Also, everybody wanting to follow the European models, and constantly harp on retiring horses for what could be minor issues with allowable nedications , should we also EAT the ones who can’t run, like they do over there? Just curious, as I have found the anti-medication and anti-slaughter groups often share membership rosters.

  • Sevencentsstable

    Jockeys who use Lasix to pull weight often use it 4-6 days a week. Racehorses are administered Lasix before hard works and before races, so less than once a week (in TBs, I know STBs often race on Lasix weekly).

  • voiceofreason

    Excellent, well stated defense of the use of Lasix.

    Unfortunately we cannot erase the facts: little things like the state of the breed, the advantage over users vs. non users, the prolonged damage, short-term fix and long term damage effects, the drug culture that the use spawned in the sport, the short-cut mentality, the fragility of US horses, the loss of interest by foreign buyers, etc. If we could, Mr. Romans would have an excellent point.

    • MAM

      Voice of Reason, regarding your “loss of interest by foreign buyers.” comment. I wonder if you have been following the Keeneland sale? There seems to be no loss of interest by foreign buyers in American bred horses.

  • voiceofreason

    Excellent, well stated defense of the use of Lasix.

    Unfortunately we cannot erase the facts: little things like the state of the breed, the advantage over users vs. non users, the prolonged damage, short-term fix and long term damage effects, the drug culture that the use spawned in the sport, the short-cut mentality, the fragility of US horses, the loss of interest by foreign buyers, etc. If we could, Mr. Romans would have an excellent point.

  • Sevencentsstable

    “Personally, I was never convinced it was really something we needed,” he said. “Of course, the fiber-optic endoscope changed how we diagnosed EIPH, and the rest is history.”

    Right, the endscope DID change how we perceived bleeding – just because a horse is not gushing out the nostrils does not mean he did not bleed down in his lungs. The average TB’s trachea is fairly long, not all blood reaches the nostrils. We should be GLAD that moden technology enables us to diagnose- and TREAT- bleeding more often than before. A lot of horses have had their quality of life and careers improve because of that technology!

  • Hopefieldstables

    Can you please tell us what this secret medication that works better than lasix known to thousands of people in the UK, Ireland, France, Italy, Germany etc and is the greatest secret the world has ever known (but the US can test for it !)

  • Sevencentsstable

    “In his early years as a trainer, Mel Stute would regularly blow out his horses two or three furlongs the morning of the race.”

    Ok, so why did he stop that practice? Maybe because modern physiology studies have shown that, more oftn than not, horses need a longer recovery period from strenuous exercise to recover? Because fresher horses winore ofen than overworked horses? If horses breezing every 3 days and the morning of the race were still winning a lot the practice would still be commonplace.

  • Rachel

    I’m sorry… it is never OK to medicate a horse that doesn’t need it, especially with a medication that is contraindicated with other commonly given meds.

  • Rachel

    I’m sorry… it is never OK to medicate a horse that doesn’t need it, especially with a medication that is contraindicated with other commonly given meds.

  • Kris

    Well said, Polowonder.  Horses need horsemen training them, not a pharmaceutical company.

  • Sevencentsstable

    Ask your trainer what he uses on bleeders.I have been told that many Euro jusrisdictions don’t test for aminocapuric acid, we get popped for it here and I would rather use that than Lasix any day of the week. Do you guys test for conjugated estrogen? Many of our jurisdictions do. The one Euro anti-bleeder we used is now more common over here, but I am not even a little bit interested in naming it on a public forum. Do your own research.

  • Hopefieldstables

    Of course these are tested. Another amino acid antifibrinolytic is tranexamic acid (both derived from lysine). In complete contrast to Europe, both of these are legal on raceday in several US states. A few years ago a vet had his licence revoked for giving a horse tranexamic acid which was found though random testing. 

  • Hopefieldstables

     You can research this

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pu

  • Dana Wimpfheimer

    Cudos to you Dale for speaking out where many other trainers have not. You are a trainer who cares for the welfare of his horses and has seen the benefits of using this medication and the consequences of not. Having trained racehorses with my husband, I have seen Lasix used preventively and therapeutically  and never seen negative results. 

  • Dana Wimpfheimer

    Cudos to you Dale for speaking out where many other trainers have not. You are a trainer who cares for the welfare of his horses and has seen the benefits of using this medication and the consequences of not. Having trained racehorses with my husband, I have seen Lasix used preventively and therapeutically  and never seen negative results. 

  • Christopher Langan

    Shocker, Tinky (Barry Irwin) is ripping Roman’s view as they differ from his own. I will go with the future hall of fame trainer, who has more knowledge about races horses in his pinky than you seem to have in toto. 

    • Barry Irwin

      I am not Tinky. I have never posted anonymously. Romans is a friend of mine. Ask him if he thinks I know nothing. Just a difference of opinion. I respect his opinion, he respects mine. Simple as that. Stop writing about dogs that appeared in The Wizard of Oz and an old time comedian that work a pork pie hat and write about something you might know about. On the flip side of the coin, I applaud you for at least using a real name to post and I will give you the benefit of the dout that it is your real name. And if I ever did post anonymously, I would hope to be able to come up with a better name than Tinky for goodness sakes.

      • Tinky

        So, you “applaud” someone who launches an ad hominem attack because he uses his real name, and belittle someone who consistently posts substantively because of a screen name?

        Very impressive indeed.

        • Barry Irwin

          Tinkster…I gave credit where credit is due. It was so obvious that the rest of the message was garbage, I didn’t really think it needed any further explanation or comment. Tinky you are a good guy. You just have a screen name and that screen name is more fitting for a lap dog than a human being that wants to be taken seriously. If you are going to use a screen name, how something more substantive like Rin Tin Tin or Biff or Tex?

    • Tinky

      All that you can muster is an ad hominem attack? Says it all.

  • Christopher Langan

    Shocker, Tinky (Barry Irwin) is ripping Roman’s view as they differ from his own. I will go with the future hall of fame trainer, who has more knowledge about races horses in his pinky than you seem to have in toto. 

  • voiceofreason

    “Thoroughbred trainers and owners are committed to do all they can to prevent racing injuries”

    Are they – really??

    Sure. It’s why they climbed all over themselves to right the wrongs of steroid abuse in horses. Um. Ya.

  • FEDavidson

    As it is said, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”  But, if it’s broke, it must be fixed.  More importantly, if it’s totally dysfunctional, it’s time to start all over again.  The latter describes the state of the racing business.  The pro & con arguments as to lasix will continue ad nauseam, but without a systemic restructuring, it really doesn’t matter.

    It’s time to recruit Rudy Giuliani as National Racing Commissioner; Joe Arpaio as Director of Enforcement; then, either join the revolution or get out of the way. 

    And, whatever you do, stop relying upon 8-day, 4,000 ft elevation, isolated South African studies to support any argument……that is, unless you’re racing at a 4,000 ft elevation in South Africa during one certain week in November each year.

    • Sevencentsstable

      We race in the US. Our summer meet runs @ 7,500ft elevation and the rest of the year we run between 4,000ft and 5,000ft.

  • FEDavidson

    As it is said, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”  But, if it’s broke, it must be fixed.  More importantly, if it’s totally dysfunctional, it’s time to start all over again.  The latter describes the state of the racing business.  The pro & con arguments as to lasix will continue ad nauseam, but without a systemic restructuring, it really doesn’t matter.

    It’s time to recruit Rudy Giuliani as National Racing Commissioner; Joe Arpaio as Director of Enforcement; then, either join the revolution or get out of the way. 

    And, whatever you do, stop relying upon 8-day, 4,000 ft elevation, isolated South African studies to support any argument……that is, unless you’re racing at a 4,000 ft elevation in South Africa during one certain week in November each year.

  • nu-fan

    I’ve spoken with more than one person who has said that they stopped going to the races because of having seen a horse break down on the track and, later, euthanized.  People talk and the reputation of horseracing has taken many hits but the idea of spending money and time to go to a horserace–for an afternoon of enjoyment and wagering–isn’t worth it if the day is greatly marred by seeing a beautiful horse having its life ended.  Could this be one reason that attendance, generally, has been down at most tracks?  Our society does not view animals as it did in the past.  I, sometimes, wonder if there are some people in the horseracing industry who do not understand this change in the way society values its animals–which includes racehorses.

  • nu-fan

    I kind of wonder the same thing.  Could the cortisones be the primary contributing reason for these breakdowns?  If so, why haven’t we heard a loud objection by those entities governing horseracing as well as the equine veterinary schools regarding the use of these drugs?  I don’t have the answer to that but I do wonder about it.  The silence has been deafening.

  • Hopefieldstables

     Use (misuse) of the whip is also a big turn off to new fans. Those within the sport sadly cannot see the forest for the trees.

  • Concerned observer

    Based upon this concept, lets ask Pete Rose and Mohamid Ali to decide the future of their respective sports. We could ask Dennis Rodman to speak for the NBA and Ochosinco (or his name of the month ) to decide the future of the NFL.

    Lets let an impartial judge decide the rules…then ask the players (Romans) to play by them. Dale wants to both make the rules and then  play the game. Great deal if you can sell it.

  • Concerned observer

    Based upon this concept, lets ask Pete Rose and Mohamid Ali to decide the future of their respective sports. We could ask Dennis Rodman to speak for the NBA and Ochosinco (or his name of the month ) to decide the future of the NFL.

    Lets let an impartial judge decide the rules…then ask the players (Romans) to play by them. Dale wants to both make the rules and then  play the game. Great deal if you can sell it.

    • voiceofreason

      According to Dale: “Thoroughbred trainers and owners are committed to do all they can to prevent racing injuries”

      Three decades of unregulated steroid abuses speaks volumes about their fight for the welfare of the throughbred.

  • Pluckedduck1

    what they did with bleeders in the old days Takethat, was take them out in the woods and shoot them.  Your point on softer training today (which is changing and Mr. Romans is one of those leading the way), is valid, and indeed better trained horses bleed less.  You can, however, train a horse as Preston Burch did in his book, follow the exact formula, and they will still bleed.

  • Barry Irwin

    I am not Tinky. I have never posted anonymously. Romans is a friend of mine. Ask him if he thinks I know nothing. Just a difference of opinion. I respect his opinion, he respects mine. Simple as that. Stop writing about dogs that appeared in The Wizard of Oz and an old time comedian that work a pork pie hat and write about something you might know about. On the flip side of the coin, I applaud you for at least using a real name to post and I will give you the benefit of the dout that it is your real name. And if I ever did post anonymously, I would hope to be able to come up with a better name than Tinky for goodness sakes.

  • Pluckedduck1

    Txs to Mr. Romans for the rebuttal, and more should speak up! 

    Anybody know the answer to these Qs?:

    Is EIPH heritable or physical?
    What % of horses bleed severely enough to need lasix to run?
    Is there any cruelty involved in forcing light EIPH horses to run without lasix?
    What % of horses would horse racing lose without lasix.
    Should Pleasantly Perfect(a bleeder) have been retired before he won the BC Classic?

  • Pluckedduck1

    Txs to Mr. Romans for the rebuttal, and more should speak up!  Seems to me many think getting rid of lasix has a lot of importance mostly for reasons that make zero sense to me.  And a lot of others, particularly the vets, trainers and owners that daily handle horses–and my guess, u’d also get nearly 100% of the riders in this group as the individuals who know best of all what horses go through with their breathing problems on dirt tracks–claim lasix is needed as a matter of horse health and to avoid the cruel drawing methods and concoctions of the past.

    Q:  since there are such sharp differences of opinion-instead of deciding this by fiat–would it be wiser for everybody to have a legit study on some Qs that have been brought up:

    is EIPH heritable or physical?
    does lasix prevent EIPH in non-EIPH horses?
    What % of horses bleed severely enough to need lasix to run?
    What % of horses would we lost without lasix.

    Does anybody know the answer to these Qs?

  • Tinky

    You may want to consult one of the science textbooks in your library, as you will apparently be surprised to learn that physics affects both machines and living creatures.

  • Tinky

    All that you can muster is an ad hominem attack? Says it all.

  • Tinky

    So, you “applaud” someone who launches an ad hominem attack because he uses his real name, and belittle someone who consistently posts substantively because of a screen name?

    Very impressive indeed.

  • voiceofreason

    According to Dale: “Thoroughbred trainers and owners are committed to do all they can to prevent racing injuries”

    Three decades of unregulated steroid abuses speaks volumes about their fight for the welfare of the throughbred.

    <insert sickening=”" silence=”">
    </insert>

  • SteveG

    I have to respect Dale Romans’ point of view as a daily practitioner of his craft.

    However, Mr. Romans refloats the idea that lasix is humane & that position, by logical default, implies that jurisdictions which prohibit the drug on race days are inhumane. 

    As in, if lasix use is humane, prohibiting lasix is inhumane. 

    Further, that barbaric, nearly global, prohibition has led international horse handlers to behave like a bunch of mad alchemists to resort to employing all manner of primitive concoctions to prevent or allay bleeding.

    Another good one!

  • SteveG

    I have to respect Dale Romans’ point of view as a daily practitioner of his craft.

    However, Mr. Romans refloats the idea that lasix is humane & that position, by logical default, implies that jurisdictions which prohibit the drug on race days are inhumane. 

    As in, if lasix use is humane, prohibiting lasix is inhumane. 

    Further, that barbaric, nearly global, prohibition has led international horse handlers to behave like a bunch of mad alchemists to resort to employing all manner of primitive concoctions to prevent or allay bleeding.

    Another good one!

  • Tbhorseman

    Hemorex

  • http://www.facebook.com/bill.pressey.5 Bill Pressey

    Breezing 2-3x per week is commonplace in every country outside of the US, and their breakdown rates on turf are generally 0.6 per 1,000 starts – while our rate on Lasix is 1.7. 

  • Beachy

    To say that “Lasix has no harmful effects” is a broad and imprudent statement to make about any drug. 

    Is Mr. Romans subtly accusing the rest of the worldwide horse racing community of using unknown, illegal, or “junk drugs” to prevent bleeding in their horses on race day? 

    It would be interesting to look at statistics on breakdowns, e.g., before and after the introduction of Lasix(according to what Mr. Hancock says below, ~ 1992 and before)–such could possibly “comment” on bone development, possible bone loss or impeded bone growth, and/or the demineralization of bone.  But it would be surprising to me if stats like that were ever kept.  And such a look would be an observational study, not really anything with tightly controlled variables.  Still, not bad data, IMHO. 

    It is troublesome also what Mr. Hancock says about, for lack of a better phrase, horse stamina before and after Lasix introduction.  And yes, if you have, by now, “bred it in”, you would have to “breed it out”, which would not, at first, be pretty. 

    I am merely a horse fan, not “in” this business like a lot of y’all, but it is fishy that a lot of horses raced fine prior to 1992, and a lot of them race fine today in countries not the US, without Lasix. 

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=66_K-j-ybKM

  • Beachy

    To say that “Lasix has no harmful effects” is a broad and imprudent statement to make about any drug. 

    Is Mr. Romans subtly accusing the rest of the worldwide horse racing community of using unknown, illegal, or “junk drugs” to prevent bleeding in their horses on race day? 

    It would be interesting to look at statistics on breakdowns, e.g., before and after the introduction of Lasix(according to what Mr. Hancock says below, ~ 1992 and before)–such could possibly “comment” on bone development, possible bone loss or impeded bone growth, and/or the demineralization of bone.  But it would be surprising to me if stats like that were ever kept.  And such a look would be an observational study, not really anything with tightly controlled variables.  Still, not bad data, IMHO. 

    It is troublesome also what Mr. Hancock says about, for lack of a better phrase, horse stamina before and after Lasix introduction.  And yes, if you have, by now, “bred it in”, you would have to “breed it out”, which would not, at first, be pretty. 

    I am merely a horse fan, not “in” this business like a lot of y’all, but it is fishy that a lot of horses raced fine prior to 1992, and a lot of them race fine today in countries not the US, without Lasix. 

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?…

  • Sean Kerr

    So following your logic Hossracergp, why do we bother to mention “L” on the past performance? Why do handicappers bother to pay attention to “FTL”? How come so many research veterinarians, like Dr. Lawrence Soma who is one of the pioneers of EIPH study, claims that it does enhance performance? Your logic doesn’t hold.

  • Sean Kerr

    FourCats: Here is the evidence for diuretic induced (Salix) water loss. Go to page 80 (the 5th page of the print out), 4th paragraph of the 1st column of Dr. Hinchcliffe’s research paper: “Efficacy of furosemide for prevention of exercise-induced pulmonary hemorrhage in Thoroughbred racehorses”. He reports that of the 170+ horses in the study given furosemide, they quickly lost an average of 27.9 pounds in urine/water weight.

  • Sean Kerr

    Everyone ought to read “Run,Baby,Run” by Bill Heller. Aside from Dr. Soma, Dr. Hinchcliff et al, no one has investigated this issue more than Bill. He cites a lot of research and interviewed a lot of racing stakeholders. Also, it is amazing how many people read Dr. Hinchcliff’s research paper ”Efficacy of furosemide for prevention of exercise-induced pulmonary hemorrhage in Thoroughbred racehorses” and totally misinterpreted it. The HBPA veterinarians are flat out wrong in their claims that are not supported by this study. One last thought: this study was never replicated in another jurisdiction. No credible scientist would accept one study as a final conclusion – good science calls for verification and retesting. Dales Romans misses the point on every level.

    • Hopefieldstables

      The HPBA are “cafeteria scientists”. They choose only the bits they like. The scientific literature does not provide unequivocal evidence that lasix is a remotely efficacious drug for treatment or management of EIPH. More precisely the literature is clear that 1) there is no evidence it will prevent the onset of EIPH (pretty obvious in the real world) e.g sweeney et al 1990 and 2) there is no evidence it treats the underlying cause in any way.(EIPH is not a primary disease). The morons at the HPBA demonstrate their scientific illiteracy when they use the words “proof” or “proven”. There is no such thing as “proof” in science, only evidence leading to theory. Proof is solely the realm of mathematics. Unfortunately the layman, outside the scientific world, does not understand these semantics within that world leading to very same misleading interpretations you describe.

  • Sean Kerr

    Everyone ought to read “Run,Baby,Run” by Bill Heller. Aside from Dr. Soma, Dr. Hinchcliff et al, no one has investigated this issue more than Bill. He cites a lot of research and interviewed a lot of racing stakeholders. Also, it is amazing how many people read Dr. Hinchcliff’s research paper ”Efficacy of furosemide for prevention of exercise-induced pulmonary hemorrhage in Thoroughbred racehorses” and totally misinterpreted it. The HBPA veterinarians are flat out wrong in their claims that are not supported by this study. One last thought: this study was never replicated in another jurisdiction. No credible scientist would accept one study as a final conclusion – good science calls for verification and retesting. Dales Romans misses the point on every level.

  • Maureen Tierney

    Once again the real issue – drug-free racing – is being ignored under the smoke-screen of Lasix.  Lasix is NOT the problem in racing.  All the other myriad drugs are the problem, as well as the lack of true horsemanship and knowledge regarding horses and their needs.  Mr. Collins statement was not Lasix specific, but Mr. Romans ignores that completely.

  • Maureen Tierney

    Once again the real issue – drug-free racing – is being ignored under the smoke-screen of Lasix.  Lasix is NOT the problem in racing.  All the other myriad drugs are the problem, as well as the lack of true horsemanship and knowledge regarding horses and their needs.  Mr. Collins statement was not Lasix specific, but Mr. Romans ignores that completely.

  • VGFarrell

    Are you sure Romans wrote this? Or an employee of a pharmaceutical company? Imagine the millions pharma will lose on the banning of Salix use on raceday alone. $30 million or so? This has absolutely nothing, nothing at all, to do with the welfare of the horse — quite the opposite.  Sorry Dale; no sale.

    • Takethat

      “Are you sure Romans wrote this? Or an employee of a pharmaceutical company?”
       
      This is an interesting point.
       
      When Romans says this
       
      ‘Lasix/Salix (furosemide), a human blood pressure medication, has proven, over 40 years, to be the most effective preventative of EIPH”
       
      I detect he received help to put together his piece from a professional propagandist. He is not lying about the efficacy of Lasix but he insinuates it has been in use for forty years. We know this is far from the truth but the casual/uninformed reader may not.
       
      It’s the sort of piece I would expect to see in the mainstream media but not coming from an amateur writer.

      • RayPaulick

        Though we disagree on the issue, I have found Dale Romans to be an articulate and informed individual on this and many other subjects. Don’t sell his intellect short.

  • VGFarrell

    Are you sure Romans wrote this? Or an employee of a pharmaceutical company? Imagine the millions pharma will lose on the banning of Salix use on raceday alone. $30 million or so? This has absolutely nothing, nothing at all, to do with the welfare of the horse — quite the opposite.  Sorry Dale; no sale.

  • .Abbers

    “Lasix has no harmful effects”???

    Dehydration, electrolyte imbalance, heat stroke, cardiac arrest, leaching of calcium from the bones and the list goes on.

    Give me a break.

    • Hopefieldstables

       Pharmacology 101: contraindicated with corticosteroids (ie all that “pre race” Dex)

    • Pluckedduck1

      suggest taking a couple of tabs twice a month and give us a report. u r trying to exaggerate here, correct?   i have raced and trained the same horse on lasix on race day, lasix on some breeze days, and Xantax (mild over the counter anti-bleeder herbal remedy) for 6 of his 9 years.  Unable to see any bad effects, whatever that is worth.  He’s a bleeder without the meds. With them, he’s fine for the most part.  It’s a careful management issue.

  • .Abbers

    “Lasix has no harmful effects”???

    Dehydration, electrolyte imbalance, heat stroke, cardiac arrest, leaching of calcium from the bones and the list goes on.

    Give me a break.

  • http://twitter.com/Cangamble Cangamble

    No harmful effects?   http://www.stablemade.com/hproducts/drugs/lasix.htm  Because all trainers can use it, it is fair? Well then legalize everything using that logic.

    • Pluckedduck1

       So, what do you do then when your horse bleeds?

      • Abbers

         

        “Studies suggest
        that less than 5 percent of racehorses bleed in the lungs significantly enough
        to impair performance; more than 95 percent of all horses race on it in the
        United States and Canada.” http://therail.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/05/05/long-history-of-drug-use-in-the-derby/

        NO ONE else around the globe uses it and their horses are not dropping dead and have no ill effects. In contrast we have the highest breakdown rates in  the world.

        • Pluckedduck1

           again, u miss point possibly.  The Q is other than what a field of horses does in 1 race in terms of EIPH.  Come back after 20 races and breezes–u will see a lot more than the 5% figure quoted.  20-40% is likely, though unknown. This is something we need to find out before jumping off a cliff.

          • Roisin

            “Jumping off the cliff” was when Lasix became routine race day medication for all , whether needed or not. 

          • Pluckedduck1

            put it this way Roisin–those buyers of the million dollar horses at the Keeneland sales–do u think those owners are going to take a chance on their horses developing EIPH.  What sort of insanity is that?  “Need” depends on how much u have invested in an animal and what ur threshhold is for forcing a horse to run while bleeding at the lungs.  Only rarely done these days, for the reasons given by Mr. Romans.

          • http://twitter.com/Cangamble Cangamble

            Buyers take chances that horses won’t develop knees or other ailments.  Why should EIPH be much more of a factor? I don’t think it would stop someone from buying into the dream of buying a champion.

      • Abbers

         Also, if a horse bleeds that badly he/she should not be racing. PERIOD.

        • Pluckedduck1

           u miss point possibly?  lasix permits many to race without bleeding.

          • http://twitter.com/Cangamble Cangamble

             I know that horses used to race twice as much in the 60′s and 70′s than they do today.  Sure, some bleeders were being treated by methods that didn’t show up in tests, but with the purses as relatively low as they were, I doubt there was much drug abuse going on because of the cost involved to drug horses on a consistent basis.  Does lasix make it harder to race more today than yesterday, has lasix weakened the breed?  I would have to say that I think there is a correlation.

          • Tinky

            They actually raced closer to three times as much (over 30 starts lifetime versus under 11 now).

          • http://twitter.com/Cangamble Cangamble

             From a buyers standpoint, if there is a 5% chance the horse can’t run due to bleeding, but a 95% chance the horse will race two the three times more, they might actually decide to pay more on average for a horse in a sale.

      • http://twitter.com/Cangamble Cangamble

         What if your horse has a bad knee?  Does that mean it is OK to give it frog juice?

        • Pluckedduck1

           That is a dishonest analogy, and typical.  how about just stating what u do with the EIPH horse.

  • http://twitter.com/Cangamble Cangamble

    No harmful effects?   http://www.stablemade.com/hpro…  Because all trainers can use it, it is fair? Well then legalize everything using that logic.

  • Cyd

    So from what you say 100 percent of US thoroughbreds are bleeders? That is why all run on Lasix. Yet the horses overseas do not run it are not bleeders? Long term use of bood pressure medication does cause bone problems and can deplete the potassium in the person using it. Yes it helps the person but they require close attention and other supplements. Either way the horse is dehydrated.

  • Cyd

    So from what you say 100 percent of US thoroughbreds are bleeders? That is why all run on Lasix. Yet the horses overseas do not run it are not bleeders? Long term use of bood pressure medication does cause bone problems and can deplete the potassium in the person using it. Yes it helps the person but they require close attention and other supplements. Either way the horse is dehydrated.

  • .Abbers

     The Europeans DO NOT train on Lasix

    This is completely, 100 percent false,” said Christiane “Criquette”
    Head, president of the European Trainers Association and a top name in
    French racing for years. “I don’t use Lasix in training and no one I
    know uses Lasix in training.”

  • FIVE2_THREE

    OH CRY ME A F ING  RIVER. OUT SIDE OF THE BELMONT AMERICAN HORSES DONT RUN
    1M 1/2.

  • FIVE2_THREE

    OH CRY ME A F ING  RIVER. OUT SIDE OF THE BELMONT AMERICAN HORSES DONT RUN
    1M 1/2.

  • Barry Irwin

    Tinkster…I gave credit where credit is due. It was so obvious that the rest of the message was garbage, I didn’t really think it needed any further explanation or comment. Tinky you are a good guy. You just have a screen name and that screen name is more fitting for a lap dog than a human being that wants to be taken seriously. If you are going to use a screen name, how something more substantive like Rin Tin Tin or Biff or Tex?

  • Hopefieldstables

    The HPBA are “cafeteria scientists”. They choose only the bits they like. The scientific literature does not provide unequivocal evidence that lasix is a remotely efficacious drug for treatment or management of EIPH. More precisely the literature is clear that 1) there is no evidence it will prevent the onset of EIPH (pretty obvious in the real world) e.g sweeney et al 1990 and 2) there is no evidence it treats the underlying cause in any way.(EIPH is not a primary disease). The morons at the HPBA demonstrate their scientific illiteracy when they use the words “proof” or “proven”. There is no such thing as “proof” in science, only evidence leading to theory. Proof is solely the realm of mathematics. Unfortunately the layman, outside the scientific world, does not understand these semantics within that world leading to very same misleading interpretations you describe.

  • Stanley inman

    The reason for the silence is because they( horsemen, owners& vets) all are making money off the status quo of drug abuse within the sport.
    Each hides behind
    their tiresome rhetoric…
    “the horse comes first”
    The horse is victim to the myths they perpetuate.

  • Thelibrarian

    Thank you captain obvious! Physics…that’s the answer! Brilliant! NOT A HORSEMAN…AGAIN!

  • MAM

    Voice of Reason, regarding your “loss of interest by foreign buyers.” comment. I wonder if you have been following the Keeneland sale? There seems to be no loss of interest by foreign buyers in American bred horses.

  • Hopefieldstables

    Applying the laws of physics leads to safer surfaces for the horse.

  • Hopefieldstables

    bioflavanoids and vit K. I wish they would use this instead of lasix. It is not a drug, legal everywhere.

  • Hopefieldstables

     Pharmacology 101: contraindicated with corticosteroids (ie all that “pre race” Dex)

  • Hopefieldstables

    Understanding the laws of physics leads to safer surfaces and less injured/dead horses. A horseman would understand the value of that.

  • William Koester

    Mr Romans and some other future Hall of Famers, believe that salix is necessary for this sport, at least in North America. That is their business model and they do not want to change, and I respect their opinion. The rest of the world of horse racing says it is not in the best interest of the sport to drug a horse on race day. Anyone that says or believes it does not enhance performance is a fool.
    There are statements made here about owners that race on salix, this is not germane to the discussion. No one should be castigated for trying to compete on a level playing field in this tough sport. As we all know that the biggest race Mr Romans ever won, he raced salix free, however everyone else in the race, ran salix free as well.
    Every country where studies are cited on EIPH, would not dream of using the drug on race day, why is this so?
    Some people now saying not using salix is hurting or inhumane the horse, they must be joking. Does anyone really think Frankel and Camelot are not being given the best care or being abused?
    The question is, is it best for racing and breeding for North America to drug on race day, when the rest of the world does not, I think not.

    • Pluckedduck1

      Mr. Koester–do u see any difference between racing on grass and racing on dirt in terms of concussive effect on the breathing apparatus?  If u do, respectfully, what does the rest of the world have to do with the Q?

      • Hopefieldstables

         If racing on dirt is inhumane, then stop racing on dirt.

      • William Koester

        Mr Pluckedduck1– While I am no equine physiology specialist, I would assume there is a concussive effect difference from turf to dirt. The question about the breathing apparatus, would be only opinion, no different than anyone else. Dirt horses have been successful in North America without salix including the last 11 Triple Crown winners. The rest of the world has everything to do with the topic, our credibility as a world class racing country.

        • Pluckedduck1

          You seem open minded enough possibly to recognize this problem.

          1. the concussive differences between dirt and grass are other than matters of opinion.  they are real and dramatic.  invite getting on a horse at speed on the two surfaces.  There’s zero comparison.  Measuring the differences, unknown if that has been done.  From personal experience I’d say the hardest grass surfaces have 2/3 the concussion of any dirt track I’ve ever ridden on and softer grass 1/3, maybe. riding on dirt at speed horse and rider get jarred with every stride. that fails to happen on grass.

          2.  I have won races without salix and against entire fields on salix.  This is an irrelevant issue.  the same horse that won became a bleeder the minute of his first breeze in the humidity of Louisiana Downs.  The fact that a horse can win one race without salix begs the Q.  What is the condition of the lungs of that same horse after ten races, is the Q.

          • William Koester

            Mr Pluckedduuck1– Thanks for the kind words about being open minded. The Louisiiana humidity has been a part of this discussion for a while and all I can go by is the opinion of a long time Louisiana State Vet that assured me that it was not the case.

          • Hopefieldstables

             correct on #1, dirt is a very hard surface for a horse.

          • Tinky

            “From personal experience I’d say the hardest grass surfaces have 2/3 the concussion of any dirt track I’ve ever ridden on…”

            If that has been your experience, then you’ve never ridden on the typically hard turf that races in NY are contested on over the summer. There is no possibility that dirt surfaces are as hard as turf that allows $20k horses to run in 1:08 and change.

          • Pluckedduck1

            if the turf is hard, the dirt is harder.  talk to a jock.

          • Hopefieldstables

            Turf can get hard it is true but dirt is invariably harder. More to the point, the turf in Europe is much softer day in day out for training and racing. Firm turf is avoided in Europe. Rain does not cancel races like in the US unless it is waterlogged

    • Thelibrarian

       Look…here’s the deal. In other parts of the world…..they don’t permit Lasix. OK…Fine! In the US we only permit Lasix. The rest of the drugs are tested to the most minute (nanogram/picogram) degree. So they aren’t permitted either. There are…of course… people all around the world trying to figure out which drugs are undetectable & performance enhancing. Since the US is the largest single market for racing…in terms of quantity….and we’re consistently running 12 months a year….at several major tracks in our country simultaneously….we need to keep as many horses running…..all the time…as we can. Nobody is more aware of this than the large operators with a couple of hundred head of horses running at separate tracks at the same time….ALL the time. And guess what? the racetracks & the owners ALL want to do lots of business with these guys. So is it a lot easier & cheaper to just give the horse a $20 injection & not have to worry (in most cases) about this problem? Sure it is! That’s why most operators want to keep the Lasix as long as they can! This question…. is it best for racing and breeding for North America to drug on race day, when the rest of the world does not? Is for the authorities who run racing to decide. I would not expect operators to line up in favor of this ban….bacause…as I said…it makes their jobs harder. The other question I have is why…..after 30 years are we so passionate about this issue? Wouldn’t you think if this was SO damaging to our racing & breeding our racing authorities would have already dealt with this?

  • William Koester

    Mr Romans and some other future Hall of Famers, believe that salix is necessary for this sport, at least in North America. That is their business model and they do not want to change, and I respect their opinion. The rest of the world of horse racing says it is not in the best interest of the sport to drug a horse on race day. Anyone that says or believes it does not enhance performance is a fool.
    There are statements made here about owners that race on salix, this is not germane to the discussion. No one should be castigated for trying to compete on a level playing field in this tough sport. As we all know that the biggest race Mr Romans ever won, he raced salix free, however everyone else in the race, ran salix free as well.
    Every country where studies are cited on EIPH, would not dream of using the drug on race day, why is this so?
    Some people now saying not using salix is hurting or inhumane the horse, they must be joking. Does anyone really think Frankel and Camelot are not being given the best care or being abused?
    The question is, is it best for racing and breeding for North America to drug on race day, when the rest of the world does not, I think not.

  • nu-fan

    Great to hear from you, again, Stanley.  You’ve always had great answers to my “wonderings”.  But, I’ve also wondered if the schools receive monetary grants from those involved in horseracing?  That would seem like an ethical breach of their responsibility to horses.  If that is the case, then, this would be an interesting area for someone to pursue. 

  • Pluckedduck1

    Mr. Koester–do u see any difference between racing on grass and racing on dirt in terms of concussive effect on the breathing apparatus?  If u do, respectfully, what does the rest of the world have to do with the Q?

  • Pluckedduck1

     So, what do you do then when your horse bleeds?

  • Abbers

     

    “Studies suggest
    that less than 5 percent of racehorses bleed in the lungs significantly enough
    to impair performance; more than 95 percent of all horses race on it in the
    United States and Canada.” http://therail.blogs.nytimes.c

    NO ONE else around the globe uses it and their horses are not dropping dead and have no ill effects. In contrast we have the highest breakdown rates in  the world.

  • Abbers

     Also, if a horse bleeds that badly he/she should not be racing. PERIOD.

  • Hopefieldstables

     If racing on dirt is inhumane, then stop racing on dirt.

  • Thelibrarian

     Look…here’s the deal. In other parts of the world…..they don’t permit Lasix. OK…Fine! In the US we only permit Lasix. The rest of the drugs are tested to the most minute (nanogram/picogram) degree. So they aren’t permitted either. There are…of course… people all around the world trying to figure out which drugs are undetectable & performance enhancing. Since the US is the largest single market for racing…in terms of quantity….and we’re consistently running 12 months a year….at several major tracks in our country simultaneously….we need to keep as many horses running…..all the time…as we can. Nobody is more aware of this than the large operators with a couple of hundred head of horses running at separate tracks at the same time….ALL the time. And guess what? the racetracks & the owners ALL want to do lots of business with these guys. So is it a lot easier & cheaper to just give the horse a $20 injection & not have to worry (in most cases) about this problem? Sure it is! That’s why most operators want to keep the Lasix as long as they can! This question…. is it best for racing and breeding for North America to drug on race day, when the rest of the world does not? Is for the authorities who run racing to decide. I would not expect operators to line up in favor of this ban….bacause…as I said…it makes their jobs harder. The other question I have is why…..after 30 years are we so passionate about this issue? Wouldn’t you think if this was SO damaging to our racing & breeding our racing authorities would have already dealt with this?

  • William Koester

    Mr Pluckedduck1– While I am no equine physiology specialist, I would assume there is a concussive effect difference from turf to dirt. The question about the breathing apparatus, would be only opinion, no different than anyone else. Dirt horses have been successful in North America without salix including the last 11 Triple Crown winners. The rest of the world has everything to do with the topic, our credibility as a world class racing country.

  • Hossracergp

    Thanks Tink,

    I did take Logic, passed with flying colors :)   If your theory held true, then back in the days when the only horses who ran on lasix had to be scoped, then those horses should have been automatic winners over their non lasix competitors and it should have rocketed them up in class, which it did not.  Allowing all horses to use lasix without proof of scoping provides a level playing field because the advantage is there to use it if you choose. 
    The comparison between humans and horses is bogus. How many runners are castrated? Do most runners jog in the mornings and them come home and stand in their closet for the rest of the day? 
    I don’t watch Euro racing because it’s a snooze fest. If you don’t go very fast you don’t bleed. Trail horses don’t bleed. Barrel racers do in fact bleed because it is a speed event. 

  • Pluckedduck1

    You seem open minded enough possibly to recognize this problem.

    1. the concussive differences between dirt and grass are other than matters of opinion.  they are real and dramatic.  I’d invite getting on a horse at speed on the two surfaces.  There’s zero comparison.  Measuring the differences, unknown if that has been done.  From personal experience I’d say the hardest grass surfaces have 2/3 the concussion of any dirt track I’ve ever ridden on and softer grass 1/3, maybe. riding on dirt at speed horse and rider get jarred with every stride. that fails to happen on grass.

    2.  I have won races without salix and against entire fields on salix.  This is an irrelevant issue.  the same horse that won became a bleeder the minute of his first breeze at Louisiana Down.  The fact that a horse can win one race without salix begs the Q.  What is the condition of the lungs of that same horse after ten races, is the Q.

  • Pluckedduck1

     u miss point possibly?  lasix permits many to race without bleeding.

  • Pluckedduck1

     again, u miss point possibly.  The Q is other than what a field of horses does in 1 race in terms of EIPH.  Come back after 20 races and breezes–u will see a lot more than the 5% figure quoted.  20-40% is likely, though unknown. This is something we need to find out before jumping off a cliff.

  • Pluckedduck1

    suggest taking a couple of tabs twice a month and give us a report. u r trying to exaggerate here, correct?   i have raced and trained the same horse on lasix on race day, lasix on some breeze days, and Xantax (mild over the counter anti-bleeder herbal remedy) for 6 of his 9 years.  Unable to see any bad effects, whatever that is worth.  He’s a bleeder without the meds. With them, he’s fine for the most part.  It’s a careful management issue.

  • William Koester

    Mr Pluckedduuck1– Thanks for the kind words about being open minded. The Louisiiana humidity has been a part of this discussion for a while and all I can go by is the opinion of a long time Louisiana State Vet that assured me that it was not the case.

  • Comicalcat

    The examples against Romans’ argument are pretty plain and simple….Germany, Great Britian, Ireland, yada yada yada. 

    • Hopefieldstables

      France, Italy, Norway, Sweden, Hong Kong, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Japan, India, Dubai, Qatar, South Africa, yada yada yada

  • Comicalcat

    The examples against Romans’ argument are pretty plain and simple….Germany, Great Britian, Ireland, yada yada yada. 

  • Hopefieldstables

    France, Italy, Norway, Sweden, Hong Kong, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Japan, India, Dubai, Qatar, South Africa, yada yada yada

  • Hopefieldstables

     correct on #1, dirt is a very hard surface for a horse.

  • Thelibrarian

    Good common sense…..that’s all you need. The rest is BS!

  • Roisin

    “Jumping off the cliff” was when Lasix became routine race day medication for all , whether needed or not. 

  • Tinky

    “From personal experience I’d say the hardest grass surfaces have 2/3 the concussion of any dirt track I’ve ever ridden on…”

    If that has been your experience, then you’ve never ridden on the typically hard turf that races in NY are contested on over the summer. There is no possibility that dirt surfaces are as hard as turf that allows $20k horses to run in 1:08 and change.

  • Tinky

    a) no one has suggested that Lasix is an exceptionally potent performance enhancer; it isn’t

    b) the reason that we have gone from treating only true bleeders with Lasix to treating virtually every horse is PRECISELY because, through experience, trainers discerned a performance advantage.

    Actually, though I don’t make the point very often, and see it made by others even less, there is yet another, important advantage to using Lasix: it lowers blood pressure and helps to relax horses prior to racing. This is a very real advantage, especially given the stupid and promiscuous breeding practiced in the U.S. in recent decades, coupled with the relative lack of horsemanship to be found here.

  • Pluckedduck1

    if the turf is hard, the dirt is harder.  talk to a jock.

  • Pluckedduck1

    put it this way Roisin–those buyers of the million dollar horses at the Keeneland sales–do u think those owners are going to take a chance on their horses developing EIPH.  What sort of insanity is that?  “Need” depends on how much u have invested in an animal and what ur threshhold is for forcing a horse to run while bleeding at the lungs.  Only rarely done these days, for the reasons given by Mr. Romans.

  • http://twitter.com/Cangamble Cangamble

     I know that horses used to race twice as much in the 60′s and 70′s than they do today.  Sure, some bleeders were being treated by methods that didn’t show up in tests, but with the purses as relatively low as they were, I doubt there was much drug abuse going on because of the cost involved to drug horses on a consistent basis.  Does lasix make it harder to race more today than yesterday, has lasix weakened the breed?  I would have to say that I think there is a correlation.

  • http://twitter.com/Cangamble Cangamble

     What if your horse has a bad knee?  Does that mean it is OK to give it frog juice?

  • Takethat

    “Are you sure Romans wrote this? Or an employee of a pharmaceutical company?”
     
    This is an interesting point.
     
    When Romans says this
     
    ‘Lasix/Salix (furosemide), a human blood pressure medication, has proven, over 40 years, to be the most effective preventative of EIPH”
     
    I detect he received help to put together his piece from a professional propagandist. He is not lying about the efficacy of Lasix but he insinuates it has been in use for forty years. We know this is far from the truth but the casual/uninformed reader may not.
     
    It’s the sort of piece I would expect to see in the mainstream media but not coming from an amateur writer.

  • Hazizaffirohome

    GOOD FOR YOU DALE.  I AM IN HUMAN MEDICINE AND I AGREE WITH YOU ON LASIX USES. THERAPUETIC DOSE ( EG: FOR CONGESTIVE HEART FAILURE ARE NOT THE DOSES USED).  THANK YOU FOR RESPONDING.  AN ARDENT RACE FAN HERE.

  • Hazizaffirohome

    GOOD FOR YOU DALE.  I AM IN HUMAN MEDICINE AND I AGREE WITH YOU ON LASIX USES. THERAPUETIC DOSE ( EG: FOR CONGESTIVE HEART FAILURE ARE NOT THE DOSES USED).  THANK YOU FOR RESPONDING.  AN ARDENT RACE FAN HERE.

  • Tbhorseman

    read the label and you will see two natural diuretics..

  • RayPaulick

    Though we disagree on the issue, I have found Dale Romans to be an articulate and informed individual on this and many other subjects. Don’t sell his intellect short.

  • Stanley inman

    “an ethical breach of their responsibilities to horses”

    If we all asked ourselves this simple question
    We wouldn’t be here debating; (but mostly lying and distorting the story)
    Too embarrased to reveal our motivation.
    Racing drools all over a young hip market,
    They don’t realize this group finds raceday meds a turn off;
    Their parents hounded them about living
    Drug free.( “normal” doesn’t do drugs)
    That leaves us appearing
    Scummy-
    Horses don’t need drugs to do their job.
    But we know some owners, vets, trainers who need to drug horses,
    For personal gain.
    It does look a bit ….

  • Hopefieldstables

    Turf can get hard it is true but dirt is invariably harder. More to the point, the turf in Europe is much softer day in day out for training and racing. Firm turf is avoided in Europe. Rain does not cancel races like in the US unless it is waterlogged

  • http://twitter.com/Cangamble Cangamble

    Buyers take chances that horses won’t develop knees or other ailments.  Why should EIPH be much more of a factor? I don’t think it would stop someone from buying into the dream of buying a champion.

  • Hopefieldstables

    He says typing on the computer that science made possible.

  • Hopefieldstables

     we must be talking about a different product.

  • Sevencentsstable

    They run mostly on turf, we run mostly on dirt. We run a lot more races, per day, than the oversees bunch does, too.

  • Sevencentsstable

    We race in the US. Our summer meet runs @ 7,500ft elevation and the rest of the year we run between 4,000ft and 5,000ft.

  • Beachy

    Worth watching…thank you, Mr. C for your articulate opinion… 

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RfiTFg7SJaY

  • Beachy

    Worth watching…thank you, Mr. C for your articulate opinion… 

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?…

  • Hopefieldstables

     *smh

  • Frank Mc Govern

    Congratulations on provding a forum to Romans & Collins to air their respective views regarding the pros and cons of Lasix use. I do however question the input from so many people who are hiding behind by-lines – as at least both Collins and Romans stood up and were counted. I am a Veterinary Surgeon with 28 years experience in the TB Horse industry and have worked extensively in Europe, Australia and the Middle east. I have been been involved with TB racing in Saudi Arabia for almost 15 years. We race on dirt, there is no betting as it is all about the sport but in 1997 when drug testing was first introduced here we relcutantly agreed to permit the use of Lasix and Bute. The justification for Lasix is that this is a very hot dusty environment which predisposes all horses to lower airway inflammation which contributes to bleeding & that has been backed up with extensive scientific data incl lung washes, lung scans etc, etc etc. The logic for using a therpaeutic dose of Bute is that 80% of the particpating TB horses racing here are born in Saudi and as a result of being raised in a zero grazing environment their skeletal structures are weaker and they are quite prone to sore shins so we felt that by giving them Bute it would reduce the ’soreness’ that they would naturally experience after racing.
    At the same time we worked to develop a safe racing surface that is acknowledged by all vsiting jockeys as one of the best in the world. Most importanly there was zero tolerance policy taken with respct of all other medications and testing is very rigorous. Testing for prohibited substances is not cheap and if Authorities are to take the challenge to the integrity fo their sport seriously then they will have to seriously invest in better testing with lower thresholds.

    Approx 1200 horses race here annually and there were four racing fatalities last season. My people have 160 horses in training & we race approx 75% of them on Bute & Lasix. We weight all horses before and after racing and the average weight loss is 5kg which is quickly restored ( within 48 hrs) & some horses actaully come back heavier!. We scope all horses after racing and I would estimate that approx 10 – 15% show evidence of low grade EIPH. Despite using Bute we have never had a horse fracture as we trot our horses before and after racing to determine if their action is ok – it is not always pretty but it all about knowing what the ‘normal is’ as few athlethes are 100% sound but warm up well with exercise.
    More recently aggressive Influenze vaccination policy has significnatly reduced the incidence of EIPH as viral and other infections incl a dusty environment are major contributors to bleeding. I am a frequent visitor to US tracks and am often amazed at how dusty and run down some of them are and I am certain that the environment in many cases is contributing to the lung pathology / bleeding, hence the need for Lasix.
    I admire American Racing and am one of the many people watching and listening to the ongoing debate about drugs which have seriously damaged the image of your sport.
    I am reporting my findings as I feel that our racing here compares with your ‘bread & butter racing” which works by allowing Bute & Lasix under strict controls but that there should be a zero tolerance for all the other drugs that’s are destroying your sport.
    All these people that are found to have used Frog Juice or whatever should be be given minumim of six month bans and their Vets should have their licence revoked for similar periods. Once your Authorities get tough on all the other drugs in use, introduce tougher testing and improve the environment for horses – then and only then should they look at removing Bute and Lasix which in essence is the glue that is holding much of that ‘bread and butter racing together’ at present.

    I fully agree that Bute and Lasix should not be permitted for stakes and graded stakes races as those are the horses that define the breed but that a more logical & gradual approach should taken by everyone for the day to day races that keep both horses and people in business.

    • Pluckedduck1

       Excellent.  More people knowing what they are talking about need to speak up.  10-15% scoped show low grade EIPH. Presume that is after a single race.  Is there any feel what % will show EIPH over 10 to 20 races?  What concern is there over low grade EIPH?  If a horse shows low grade EIPH should it be racing without lasix?

    • Susan

      Thank you for the interesting, articulate, professional post on the Lasix issue. Environment, I do believe, has a huge impact on our racehorses.  Here in the US, with a few exceptions, we are not Europe, with many training centers set in the bucolic countryside. And I do think most trainers have also found that a more regimented vaccine program, seems to keep the breathing apparatus healthier.
      Thank you for taking the time to write your thoughts. I hope the people on this site take the time to read them.

  • Frank Mc Govern

    Congratulations on provding a forum to Romans & Collins to air their respective views regarding the pros and cons of Lasix use. I do however question the input from so many people who are hiding behind by-lines – as at least both Collins and Romans stood up and were counted. I am a Veterinary Surgeon with 28 years experience in the TB Horse industry and have worked extensively in Europe, Australia and the Middle east. I have been been involved with TB racing in Saudi Arabia for almost 15 years. We race on dirt, there is no betting as it is all about the sport but in 1997 when drug testing was first introduced here we relcutantly agreed to permit the use of Lasix and Bute. The justification for Lasix is that this is a very hot dusty environment which predisposes all horses to lower airway inflammation which contributes to bleeding & that has been backed up with extensive scientific data incl lung washes, lung scans etc, etc etc. The logic for using a therpaeutic dose of Bute is that 80% of the particpating TB horses racing here are born in Saudi and as a result of being raised in a zero grazing environment their skeletal structures are weaker and they are quite prone to sore shins so we felt that by giving them Bute it would reduce the ’soreness’ that they would naturally experience after racing.
    At the same time we worked to develop a safe racing surface that is acknowledged by all vsiting jockeys as one of the best in the world. Most importanly there was zero tolerance policy taken with respct of all other medications and testing is very rigorous. Testing for prohibited substances is not cheap and if Authorities are to take the challenge to the integrity fo their sport seriously then they will have to seriously invest in better testing with lower thresholds.

    Approx 1200 horses race here annually and there were four racing fatalities last season. My people have 160 horses in training & we race approx 75% of them on Bute & Lasix. We weight all horses before and after racing and the average weight loss is 5kg which is quickly restored ( within 48 hrs) & some horses actaully come back heavier!. We scope all horses after racing and I would estimate that approx 10 – 15% show evidence of low grade EIPH. Despite using Bute we have never had a horse fracture as we trot our horses before and after racing to determine if their action is ok – it is not always pretty but it all about knowing what the ‘normal is’ as few athlethes are 100% sound but warm up well with exercise.
    More recently aggressive Influenze vaccination policy has significnatly reduced the incidence of EIPH as viral and other infections incl a dusty environment are major contributors to bleeding. I am a frequent visitor to US tracks and am often amazed at how dusty and run down some of them are and I am certain that the environment in many cases is contributing to the lung pathology / bleeding, hence the need for Lasix.
    I admire American Racing and am one of the many people watching and listening to the ongoing debate about drugs which have seriously damaged the image of your sport.
    I am reporting my findings as I feel that our racing here compares with your ‘bread & butter racing” which works by allowing Bute & Lasix under strict controls but that there should be a zero tolerance for all the other drugs that’s are destroying your sport.
    All these people that are found to have used Frog Juice or whatever should be be given minumim of six month bans and their Vets should have their licence revoked for similar periods. Once your Authorities get tough on all the other drugs in use, introduce tougher testing and improve the environment for horses – then and only then should they look at removing Bute and Lasix which in essence is the glue that is holding much of that ‘bread and butter racing together’ at present.

    I fully agree that Bute and Lasix should not be permitted for stakes and graded stakes races as those are the horses that define the breed but that a more logical & gradual approach should taken by everyone for the day to day races that keep both horses and people in business.

  • Tinky

    They actually raced closer to three times as much (over 30 starts lifetime versus under 11 now).

  • tfly

    Tinky, i can only speak for my horses.  I do not give them lasix because they are bleeders, nor because i’m looking for a performance advantage.  i give it to them, (low CC) knowing that almost all horses will bleed, and when they do it will minimize the impact.

  • http://twitter.com/Cangamble Cangamble

     From a buyers standpoint, if there is a 5% chance the horse can’t run due to bleeding, but a 95% chance the horse will race two the three times more, they might actually decide to pay more on average for a horse in a sale.

  • Pluckedduck1

     Excellent.  More people knowing what they are talking about need to speak up.  10-15% scoped show low grade EIPH. Presume that is after a single race.  Is there any feel what % will show EIPH over 10 to 20 races?  What concern is there over low grade EIPH?  If a horse shows low grade EIPH should it be racing without lasix?

  • Pluckedduck1

     That is a dishonest analogy, and typical.  how about just stating what u do with the EIPH horse.

  • Susan

    Thank you for the interesting, articulate, professional post on the Lasix issue. Environment, I do believe, has a huge impact on our racehorses.  Here in the US, with a few exceptions, we are not Europe, with many training centers set in the bucolic countryside. And I do think most trainers have also found that a more regimented vaccine program, seems to keep the breathing apparatus healthier.
    Thank you for taking the time to write your thoughts. I hope the people on this site take the time to read them.

  • onlythebestwilldo

    Has anyone out there actually taken Lasix?  I have and it is no walk in the park.  It can have some serious side effects.  The major one being a depletion of potassium.  It can cause blurred vision, confusion, irregular heartbeat, severe muscle cramping and spassms, chest pain and oh yes, bleeding!  So, when a horse goes down at the end of a race, or takes a “drunken” mistep should it be such a surprise?  Bleeding is only going to get worse as horses that are bleeders and mask it with Lasix are bred to “like” horses.  It’s a matter of simple math.  Genetics don’t fib. What if there were big stakes races only for horses that were not on ANY medications.  What if every sales catalogue had to list any and all medications the sire and dam were given and these horses could not be listed in the “premium” sales?  I know it’s just a pipe dream…. Isn’t it all about the money?

  • onlythebestwilldo

    Has anyone out there actually taken Lasix?  I have and it is no walk in the park.  It can have some serious side effects.  The major one being a depletion of potassium.  It can cause blurred vision, confusion, irregular heartbeat, severe muscle cramping and spassms, chest pain and oh yes, bleeding!  So, when a horse goes down at the end of a race, or takes a “drunken” mistep should it be such a surprise?  Bleeding is only going to get worse as horses that are bleeders and mask it with Lasix are bred to “like” horses.  It’s a matter of simple math.  Genetics don’t fib. What if there were big stakes races only for horses that were not on ANY medications.  What if every sales catalogue had to list any and all medications the sire and dam were given and these horses could not be listed in the “premium” sales?  I know it’s just a pipe dream…. Isn’t it all about the money?

  • Lifesmajic

    Lots of “armchair” trainers who comment on this blog. Find a new topic and stop all the nonsensical talk about banning Lasix. We here in the US have our unique problems in racing. We are not like any other part of the world in so many ways. We have the best vets, the best research, and some of the best trainers in the world. When was the last time any of you experts trained a Grade 1 winner? 
    If you are that unhappy with the way the sport is run, then you should find a sport you can agree with. You are wasting your time and  ours. This subject has been talked about for years. The majority of horses in this country, ultimately need Lasix to breathe to the best of their ability. To deprive them of that is inhumane.
    If this does not meet with your , again “armchair”, ideas and opinions, and you are not satisfied with that, then you all need to find a new hobby. If it’s not what you want to “hear” then may I suggest that you actually get involved in the horse business to learn something. And I don’t mean taking care of a few ponies in your backyard.
    With all due respect, most of you have no clue,and it is evident by your writings. It’s a dead giveaway. And the few horsemen that comment here, and are anti-lasix, have their own agenda, and it involves their pockets and not the welfare of their horses. They can say what they want but it will all come back to the dollar and not the horse.
    Stop the nonsense, please. Our great game does not deserve it.     

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