Time to give up Lasix fight… for now

  • click above & share!
    X
  • click above & share!
    X


  • click above & share!
    X
  • click above & share!
    X

Whatever momentum may have been gained over the past 18 months to eliminate race-day medication in North America has stalled, at least as far as I can see.

Outside of Kentucky, I have heard of no plans by any regulatory agencies to change current rules and institute a phase-out of race-day drugs, specifically the anti-bleeding medication furosemide, better known as Lasix.  The Kentucky Horse Racing Commission, on a close vote and after bitter debate, moved earlier this year to phase out Lasix, beginning with 2-year-old stakes races in 2014.

The American Graded Stakes Committee, which voted in August 2011 to ban Lasix in 2012 Graded stakes for 2-year-olds, postponed that decision earlier this year and has made nary a peep on the subject since.


The Association of Racing Commissioners International, which in March of 2011 issued a call for a five-year plan to phase out race-day medication, has also been silent on the subject.

The Jockey Club is an advocate for drug-free racing, but it lacks the clout needed to get things done in this area.

Then, of course, there is the Breeders’ Cup, which instituted a new policy in 2012 abolishing all race-day medication in its five championship races for 2-year-olds. That policy change is to extend to all Breeders’ Cup races in 2013.

Depending on who you ask, that Lasix-free maiden voyage in 2-year-old races at Santa Anita Park this year was either a success or a troubling harbinger of things to come.

The races were formful, with favorites finishing first or second in four of the five events. No horses were pulled up because of bleeding incidents, and no jockeys came back with blood-splattered silks or breeches.

But trainers or owners of at least three of the juvenile runners at the Breeders’ Cup complained that their horses bled after being examined by endoscope. And the point they made – that Lasix can help prevent exercise-induced pulmonary hemorrhage and is a “humane” treatment (versus withdrawing a drug the horses had been using being inhumane) – was effective.

Then there were the no-shows. Owner Mike Repole kept his 2-year-olds in New York rather than send them to Southern California for the Breeders’ Cup and race without Lasix. Other owners, though not as outspoken, may have done the same. The Juvenile attracted just nine runners and the Juvenile Fillies eight.

By comparison, only twice before in the 28 Breeders’ Cup Juveniles have their been fewer than 10 starters: eight each in 1997 and 2009. The Juvenile Fillies had eight runners in 1993 and ’95, and nine in 1999 and ’01.

The absence of Lasix kept some 2-year-olds away. There is also the possibility that the new Kentucky Derby points system did the same. In years past, by virtue of the purse money won, victory in the Juvenile guaranteed a spot in the starting field for the Derby; this year, the win was worth 10 points, no more than any other 2-year-old stakes in the list of qualifying events.

No matter the reason, fewer horses means lower pari-mutuel handle, and betting was down from 2011 on the Juvenile and Juvenile Fillies. Betting handle is one thing Breeders’ Cup can ill afford to see slip away.

Total wagering on this year’s 15 Breeders’ Cup championship races was $127.7 million, down from $140.1 million. That’s the lowest it’s been since the Breeders’ Cup was expanded to two days in 2007. In fact, it’s lower than the $134 million wagered on the last one-day Breeders’ Cup at Churchill Downs in 2006 when there were only eight races.

Without question, Hurricane Sandy played a role in the 2012 wagering declines. It’s possible the late post times for East Coast horseplayers also led to decreased handle. But anyone who studies handle knows that shorter fields lead to lower handle.

In that case, the Breeders’ Cup board is at a gut-check moment as it looks toward the 2013 return to Santa Anita Park. If no horses are allowed to compete on Lasix, as the policy currently states, what impact will that have on the field size of all 15 races? What would a potential loss of two or three horses per race mean on wagering?  Can the Breeders’ Cup sustain its current purse levels if wagering suffers further declines next year?

If there is no further movement by other state racing commissioners to ban race-day medication, Kentucky will be facing similar questions if it pushes forward on its own to ban Lasix.

The Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association realized how difficult it would be to convince regulators or legislators in the various racing states to change their rules to suit the American Graded Stakes Committee’s admirable pursuit of drug-free racing. If the committee persisted, there was the possibility it would become irrelevant.

The Breeders’ Cup cannot afford to follow that path.

This is a divisive issue, in some cases pitting owners against their trainers and veterinarians. It is not healthy for a sport already in trouble to have protracted debates about whether a drug should or shouldn’t be given to horses before they race, or to have permissive use of the drug for some horses but not others. We know from experience that getting medication uniformity through dozens of state racing commissions is an impossible dream.

There is only one way to eliminate race-day medication in horses racing in the United States and bring our rules and regulations in line with the rest of the world. That is through federal legislation.

Until proponents of drug-free racing are ready to approach this issue on a national basis and push for a federal law, it may be time for Breeders’ Cup and others to give up the fight.

New to the Paulick Report? Click here to sign up for our daily email newsletter to keep up on this and other stories happening in the Thoroughbred industry
  • Cholly

    If racing is to shake the stigma of drugs, it has to start
    somewhere and some entity will have to be the first to demonstrate a bit of
    courage…maybe even suffer some short term loss in calculation of longer term
    gain if the industry were to eventually grow larger.  Ray is saying, “Kick the can down the road and let somebody
    else deal with it later”. 

    • Lou Baranello

      Cholly, I think you misinterpret Ray’s statements.  I see nothing in that piece that suggests he is adopting that (Let someone else do it) attitude.  Since that was your choice of words, please tell me what it means.  Someone else instead of whom?  The people who have the power to make changes like this are saying and doing nothing.  They are the people “Kicking the can down the road”.  That is why Ray is correct in his evaluation stating that nothing short of federal legisltion will solve this problem. 

      • nu-fan

        Lou:  Agree with your assessment, above, completely.  And, that is one reason that I truly believe that the only way that changes will be made in the horseracing industry is if there is either federal legislation or some other entity such as a national commissioner of horseracing that has the power to make changes similar to what Mr. Stern has in the NBA.  I am troubled by the overwhelming number of horses that run on lasix.  At Golden Gate Fields, this past Saturday, there was only ONE horse that did not run on lasix!  Find it very hard to believe that all of these horses are bleeders and wonder what the future will tell us about possible side-effects that lasix might have that may be detrimental to the health and welfare of the horses.

      • Cholly

        Lou & Nu,

        I agree federal legislation would be optimally effective, but I think it’s a pipe dream that will happen. New legislation would require a bureaucracy to enforce/support, and it’s just not happening in this political/budgetary environment.

        Imperfect as it is, the move by the Breeders Cup has established a beach-head. If they abandon this gain, who will dare to repeat their direction.   

        • nu-fan

          Cholly:  I agree with you in the sense that the Breeders Cup may be just the first step in getting the rest of the industry to follow suit.  However, I have seen that the threat of federal legislation is the one thing that most industries fear.  And, if that is what it takes, I say bring on the feds!  For the many, many years that Lasix has been discussed, there has been such little action.  Why?  Because of special interests who keep progress from happening.  And, as long as the Breeders Cup is raced in California, there may be a better chance of it sticking to its principles regarding Lasix.

        • Marc Paulhus

          Actually, the federal legislation now pending in Congress would not create a new federal bureaucracy or demand a huge budget.  It merely lays down a mandate that is too enticing for the individual racing states to ignore – in order to participate in interstate wagering as regulated by the federal government, the state must comply with the uniform no raceday medication rules and enforce penalties handed down by any racing jurisdiction.

          Sweet, simple, highly effective.  Everyone would race under the same rules.  Violators could not run to another jurisdiction to escape punishment.

          • nu-fan

            Marc:  I did not know about this pending legislation.  Do you have specifics about it such as the bill number?  I would like to look at it.  Of course, there are so many pending bills and I tend to be a bit impatient at times.  But, a step in the right direction….

          • Sean Kerr

            The bill is H.R.1733 or S.886 – Marc is right that it does not in any way shape or form create a bureaucracy. The mechanic for the actual punishment and the funding for it is actually tight and economically efficient as a model.

          • nu-fan

            Sean:  Thank you for providing the specific numbers on these bills. I’ll take a closer look at them and, I would hope, that other readers will do the same. 

          • nu-fan

            Marc:  I just looked up that act and, yes, I do remember it now.  But, this act refers to “performance-enhancing drugs” and, if I am not mistaken, some are arguing that Lasix does not do that but is “therapeutic”.  So, how do you understand the aim of this bill?  Is Lasix going to be part of this bill?  Perhaps, Ray, could provide his input on this as well.

          • Marc Paulhus

            As currently written, the bill prohibits the race-day use of performance enhancing drugs.  That would include any drugs that enable horses to run that might otherwise be unable without the aid of drugs.  My interpretation: steroid injections, bute, Lasix, clenbuteral, etc., can affect performance and therefore would be banned in quantities sufficient to enhance performance on race day.

      • Barry Irwin

        The people that can make a difference have made substantial inroads during the 2012 racing season. Kentucky is showing leadership. The Breeders’ Cup is showing leadership. Members of TOBA that agreed to race 2yo without Lasix are showing leadership. California is even trying to show some leadership. 

        So what’s the problem…they didn’t reverse 35 years of drug abuse fast enough?

        • Barry Irwin

          Look what racing has done in one season to rid itself of drugs and then look at what the Federal government has done about anything and tell me who has made more progress? If this stuff was easy, it would have been done long ago. But it isn’t. Just ask Mrs. Romney! 
           

          • Sean Kerr

            Barry: I applaud and stand by your efforts on the ills plaguing our great sport, but I fear that you give in to a flaw in thinking here about the federal government. To my mind the prevailing fear and disgust of the federal government is a distortion – and it simply isn’t true that our government is as bad as everyone claims. It is a mass over-reaction and a distortion of reality. When you flew to Germany to buy those horses or to Oz for the ‘Cup, did your plane have to dodge other jets? Did any fall out of the sky? Have you suffered botulism lately from the meat or chicken you eat? Have any of your electronic gadgets exploded recently and maimed any of your family members? Have any or your horses been maimed on the federal highways getting to the track? The federal government is no where near as bad as the media has brainwashed this country into thinking. Surely you’ve been to third world countries. Come on – let’s get over this anti-federal government mind frame. Besides you and me are the federal government. We are Americans – we are better than this. I am proud of my country warts, flaws and all.

          • Barry Irwin

            Sean, State governments are what give me a pain. I think the Feds can help where the States have failed, especially if the Feds can prevail upon the FBI to spend a little time on the backstretch. Do you think these trainers that tilt the playing field would be able to get away with the crap they do if the G men were on the job? How many months would it take them to clean up this game?

          • Sue M. Chapman

            Barry, each racing State has it’s individual clueless politicians making decisions on subjects they know little or nothing about.  Allowing the Federal Government to do the same would be devastating.  Drop the FBI into the mix based on their racing expertise, and it will be game over.

            As Ray clearly noted, members within the racing community agree on few issues.

            The Jockey Club, which I believe should be at the forefront of national accountability in Racing, seems unwilling to act.  Maybe they can work on bank accounts for every registered foal.

            That leaves Breeders’ Cup as the Industry Leader.  2012 was a step up in self regulation.  Perhaps shortsighted or misguided in some ways, but a big step nonetheless. By adding ”When Racing WITHOUT Lasix” to “Win and You’re In,”  BC would make a substantial dent in eliminating race day medication for horses of all ages by supporting their own policies. 

            Require every horse to have a Lasix free last start prior to BC Day.  Show the bettors some respect. 

            The time is now for racing to Self Govern through the only organization with a proven track record for making decisions that work for every country.  Breeders’ Cup can, and should represent more than the best of breed on one day.  The resources are in place.  Let’s use them wisely.

          • Marc Paulhus

            The individual states have failed to enact uniform standards and they generally haven’t honored suspensions incurred as punishment from one state to another state. Industry self-regulation has failed.

            There are many, many things the federal government does exceptionally well. Meat and food inspection, clean air and water, national defense, Medicare, interstate highway system, etc.  

          • Marc Paulhus

            Susan, as you know the Breeders Cup is not a regulatory agency and their influence does not extend to all tracks in all states.  The private organization sets the standards for Breeders’ Cup sanctioned races only, and its authority is therefore limited to just a handful of mostly Grade 1 Thoroughbred races.  The BC is not empowered to enforce laws and they have nothing to do with harness and quarter horse racing which are certainly a big part of the problem (not discussed on this message board).

            The states have absolutely not shown themselves capable of interstate cooperation and effective enforcement.  Private organizations like the Jockeys Club, TOBA and BC lack law enforcement authority over the wide world of racing.

            That pretty much limits the field of who is left to effectively police a diverse industry involving tens of thousands of people and equine athletes in 38 states.

            Who really has the resources and the necessary clout?  If not the feds, then who?

          • Marc Paulhus

            Congress does not move any legislation forward without a compelling need or a demanding constituency.  The institution is reactive by nature, not proactive.  If we want a federal solution, we’re gonna have to come together and make some noise and generally agree upon a common solution.  And if everybody throws out different ideas, incompatible ideas, then politicians tend to avoid controversy by doing nothing at all.

          • nu-fan

            Marc:  But, how does one organize a collective voice?  Are there organizations already working on this?

          • Marc Paulhus

            There are literally hundreds of individual horsemen, owners, and racing fans that support the federal solution.  A number of prominent individuals have spoken in favor of the bills.  And judging from the Congressional testimony (which you can listen to online) the comments of the Jockey Club and ARCI, are generally in agreement about the problem and the need for a uniform solution.  

            But, so far as I know, the only major organizations that have endorsed the legislation have been animal protection groups like ASPCA and HSUS.  That is no small matter since they represent millions of members, but it would be best to have major industry groups joining in as well.

  • Cholly

    If racing is to shake the stigma of drugs, it has to start
    somewhere and some entity will have to be the first to demonstrate a bit of
    courage…maybe even suffer some short term loss in calculation of longer term
    gain if the industry were to eventually grow larger.  Ray is saying, “Kick the can down the road and let somebody
    else deal with it later”. 

  • PTP

    Bacon is probably right. And it provides a fascinating snapshot to why the status quo rules racing.

    PTP

  • PTP

    Bacon is probably right. And it provides a fascinating snapshot to why the status quo rules racing.

    PTP

  • Thelibrarian

    When the AGSC backpedaled on their position it was a clear signal to all who really don’t understand what this issue is really up against. It’s not about what’s good or bad for the horses or the breed or the industry. It should be…but it’s not.

    • Barry Irwin

      I totally agree with you. But this fight is far from over at the AGSC. We need some leadership on this issue to reflect the policy supported by a majority of owners that want drugs out of Graded races and we didn’t get it.

      • Thelibrarian

         Unless & until someone creates & figures out how to sell a low-cost, high-profit program to a State Gov’t that GETS THEM OUT of the business of running racing we will NEVER be able to get ANYTHING done! Gov’t authorities should issue licenses & collect fees & taxes…..PERIOD! Until OPERATORS & STAKEHOLDERS wake up & figure out….that they are NOT IN A POSITION to effect these or ANY OTHER changes & start working in that direction FIRST…..THEY ARE WASTING THEIR TIME & ENERGY!

        • Barry Irwin

          Once again the freaking Librarian has hit the nail right on the head! State governments are the biggest enemies of progress in racing.

  • Thelibrarian

    When the AGSC backpedaled on their position it was a clear signal to all who really don’t understand what this issue is really up against. It’s not about what’s good or bad for the horses or the breed or the industry. It should be…but it’s not.

  • FIVE2_THREE

    Keep fighting the good fight, America should be on par with the rest of he world. 

  • Holtzmana

    The Rick Dutrow era of racing lives on!

    • leesville guy

      Comments like this are the problem. To lump all trainers that use lasix with Dutrow is what turns off most of us who try to play clean .

  • FIVE2_THREE

    Keep fighting the good fight, America should be on par with the rest of he world. 

  • Holtzmana

    The Rick Dutrow era of racing lives on!

  • Lou Baranello

    Cholly, I think you misinterpret Ray’s statements.  I see nothing in that piece that suggests he is adopting that (Let someone else do it) attitude.  Since that was your choice of words, please tell me what it means.  Someone else instead of whom?  The people who have the power to make changes like this are saying and doing nothing.  They are the people “Kicking the can down the road”.  That is why Ray is correct in his evaluation stating that nothing short of federal legisltion will solve this problem. 

  • Howard Stevens

    The title of the article should be changed to

    Common Sense, Sanity, and Reason Prevails 

    • Ian

      Howard ,you appear to be the biggest whiner of all, Everyone else on this thread has offered some sort of intelligent argument, one way or the other. All you have done is hurl six paragraphs of abuse at those that don’t agree with you.
      If you have an intelligent response, answer me this basic question;
      If Lasix is essential why is it not needed in the rest of the world. I have owned dozens of racehorses overseas and it never affected either the racing in general or my position as an owner. Its all about the greed of the owners and trainers here who are not prepared to make any concessions when it comes to their pocket. The argument that the welfare of the horse is primary is laughable.
      Its all about the money here and thats why the U.S is alone on this issue.

      • oky

        Greed? That is laughable considering that the vast majority of Owners are losing money. I’m sure that all overseas owners and trainers soley do it for the sport of it.

        • Barry Irwin

          Owners are not the problem Oky, trainers are the problem. Not all trainers, but many that never raced in the days when Lasix was banned.

          • Cory Patton

            When owners send their horses to the guys with a long history of positive tests only because they win more races they are the problem.   When the vet bill comes in and it is larger than the training bill and they say nothing as long as they win, how are they as guilty as the trainer?

          • Barry Irwin

            You are 100 pct correct, sir.

          • Sean Kerr

            Well said Cory.

      • MR ED

        ANSWER  THIS …HOWS COME SO MANY 1ST TIME LASIX HORSES WIN !!!!

  • Howard Stevens

    The title of the article should be changed to

    Common Sense, Sanity, and Reason Prevails 

  • Barry Irwin

    Ray, I totally disagree with your conclusion.

    I see the anti-drug, anti-Lasix crowd as having made huge inroads.

    The Jockey Club is doing a lot to help and they have plenty of clout.

    I think one of the problems is that the press has either been silent or taken up the side of horse trainers.

    I understand that this is a generalization, but based on my experience, Turf Writers in North America have an agenda when it comes to dealing with trainers. Turf Writers want trainers to like them, as it means something to them professional and personally. I think the lack of stories about the “other side” of the Lasix issue is lacking because Turf Writers are on the side of the trainers.

    Two weeks ago, I received a communication from the breeders’ association in the Natal region of South Africa. They stated guidelines for a stallion prospect they would jointly look to buy.

    One of the things they wanted was “no American-medicated” horses.

    Both in terms of Sport (with a capital S) and economic considerations. the reliance upon drugs is killing American owners and breeders both in credibility and the pocket book.

    • Howard Stevens

      Will you stop your whining already, Common Sense, Sanity, and Reason are finally winning out over a hysterical vocal minority with their bizzare agenda. 

      You make me laugh, “The press has been silent or taken up the side of the horse trainers”  You are truly living in your own fantasy world to make such a statement.

      If you hate the racing business so much, and it seems like you do, because all you do is bash and criticize it, why don’t you just quit and do something else ?

      Thoroughbred Racing has provided you a very good living, once again exhibiting that in America, anything is truly possible.  Talk about biting the hand that feeds you !!!

      You and your compatriots are the ones that are trying your best to cause harm to the industry by your ceaseless mouthing off to the press at every opportunity, and now, because they are clearly tiring of your baseless rhetoric and have stopped publishing your lies, you blame them for you not getting what you want.

      You lost any credibility you had in this absurd crusade by continuing to race your own horses on Lasix and other medication.  The “do as I say, not as I do” policy is not going to garner you support for anything.

       

      • Sean Kerr

        Hello Howard: I think many of us would appreciate it if you could point out these so-called ‘lies’ and substantiate your claim. Ditto the ‘baseless’ rhetoric – what are the specific examples and what is your argument to prove them wrong? Thanks.

      • Kyle

        Me thinks Howard doth protest too much. Whatever you may think of Irwin as a personality, Howard, his opinion that lasix is bad for the game and his arguments in furtherance of that opinion hardly deserve such a personal, non-substantive rebuttal. As a completely disinterested observer who wants only for racing to thrive it’s people like you and your screeds and inability to argue facts who drive me more and more into the anti-lasix camp.

      • Tinky

        For Howard to assert that someone else has lost all credibility stretches the limits of irony.

        This, from someone who characterizes those who oppose race day medication as “a hysterical vocal minority with their bizzare agenda”.

        Never mind that TWO-THIRDS of those associated with racehorses around the world share the very same position!

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000351961052 Darlene Allison Anders Sanner

        Mr Irwin raced his 2 yr olds without lasix 

      • Matt Zebriski

        Bravo, Mr. Stevens!  As an middle income owner of thoroughbred racehorses, I am flabbergasted at the “out of touch with reality” mindset that the elimination of Lasix will benefit racing.  The immediate impact will be to essentially send thousands of claimers to the sidelines and their owners to the poor house.  Of course, people like Mr. Irwin would never understand this type of impact as he flaunts his diatribes about the impending doom of racing and the decline of the American breed because he uses OPM (that would be “Other Peoples Money”) to acquire a voice in the sport.  Its almost shameful that industry professionals allow syndicate owners to have such an impact on the game.    These people are professional managers who often have very little “stake in the game,” and irrespective of their syndicate horse’s health, success, or failure, these managers make money…sometimes mounds of it before the horse ever leaves the starting gate.  What a pulpit to to preach from, one laced with riches and built on the backs of others.  I would issue the following challenge to the industry — commission a private, non partisan investigator to look into sales practices (both public and private) as deeply as we are looking into the impact of Lasix on the health of the game.  Start by ceasing the unnatural inflation of prices for thoroughbreds.  Thoroughbreds will stand a better chance of paying their way, owners will have more money to turn over into the market, and the sport will have a fighting chance.  Sometimes I wonder whether stirring up these unrealistic, baseless criticisms of Lasix (as opposed to the myriad of other drugs that actually do provide for imbalance in the sport, and should be punished by jail time for fixing a wagering event) are just smokescreens created to simply deflect conversation and investigation away from the underbelly of the thoroughbred racing world and the nonsense that continues to go unchecked.

        • Barry Irwin

          The main reason Lasix is the subject of the current debate is simply that it is the last drug permitted on race day and proponents of no race-day meds have focused on it.

          • Matt Zebriski

            Mr. Irwin, coming from a seemingly educated man, that is a ridiculous statement to make considering the fact that it is the worst kept secret in our sport that banned substances are utilized each and every day in order to enhance a horse’s performance, relieve pain, and win races.  While your statement undoubtedly has technical merit, creating a whirlwind discussion about its banishment for the betterment of the game is deflecting serious dialogue away from issues that really plague our industry, such as:

            1. Supertrainers and their monopolization of bloodstock
            2. Sales fraud (via outright theft) and the use of medical procedures in young horses to improve their conformation
            3. The use of illegal PE drugs, and the lack of appropriate punishment for violators
            4. Poor racetrack management and rules 

            The beauty of America is that our Constitution guarantees the right to free speech, so I respect your opinion on the subject of Lasix and I won’t argue against some of its merits.  What concerns me more is that you have acquired a voice in the industry and choose to use that voice to pursue an agenda that is both trivial and self-promoting.  So we ban Lasix, yeah…does the use of dermorphin and other PEDs suddenly go away.  Where is the smoking gun that says Lasix is an agent that serves to mask these drugs from our rigid testing methods?  There is a much bigger PED issue that needs a voice, and starting with Lasix is not the appropriate means to get us there.

            The World Anti Doping Agency has a policy which allows Olympic athletes to compete with certain PE substances in their bodies during competition, so even in the most strictly regulated world of athletics, there is a place for some form of substance use.  Show me a study that definitively says a horse, under control circumstances where Lasix is clearly not relieving pulmonary bleeding (the intended purpose), improves by a serious amount of lengths in order to change the outcome of a wagering event, and I will take up the charge against Lasix.

            I suggest you augment your argument and take a stance against trainers who you called out as “liars” on national television.  Call for investigations into their 35%+ win rates, figures that continue to stun HOFs like Mr. Jerkins.  While I think it is too bold a generalization to suggest all of those trainers suddenly are utilizing illicit substances to win races, the circumstantial evidence and common sense observations lead any sane individual to conclude these rates are not the product of suddenly genius training innovations.  Having owned horses for over 20 years, I have failed to see a significant training technique innovation created on the racetrack in that time…and unlike human athletes, who continue to push their speeds higher and the times of their races lower, thoroughbreds have essentially run their maximum rates for generations.  Some horses just simply outperform their competition, and often, in my humble opinion, this has more to do with pain relief than anything else.  Horses will run to their maximum capability, and the only thing that will stand in the way of that is an innate reaction to avoid pain…they don’t exercise free will like us.  Give a conditioner the ability to artificially relieve that natural pain (from stress on joints, injury, etc) and purses suddenly flow like milk and honey.

    • Stanley inman

      Barry I agree,
      the movement to end raceday meds
      has made significant strides
      against formidable head winds.
      Paulick report has been dead since breeders cup,
      ray needs to liven it up.
      Just baiting us,
      Stretches to make his argument
      By citing repole’s decision not to go to breeders cup,
      So funny, ( I know you’re smilin ray.)

      • Stanley inman

        Ray,
        I will grant that strategically
        assuming this battle is lost
        will give another example of the unwillingness of the industry
        to police itself;
        Which will speed up the movement to bring fed intervention.
        It has been only 20 months (march 28,2011)
        since willy Koester gave his “doesn’t pass the smell test ” speech
        Kicking off this struggle.
        There wasn’t a word spoken about ending raceday meds before that.
        The assumption is that we are running out of time,
        The game is in the first quarter!

      • Barry Irwin

        I totally agree with you Stan.

        Ray and his partner made a business decision that is nothing if not regretable, when they chose to go for “hits” as opposed to responsibility, by allowing anonymous posting.

        I wish Ray would have decided to charge advertisers more money to improve his bottom line instead of letting anonymous postings, which do nothing to further any argument.

        Ray is just like AOL….he will write stuff just to get hits because the more hits he gets the better it looks for advertisers.

        Bad concept.

        I have told Ray this so none of this is news to him.

        What Ray has been able to accomplish is nothing short of miraculous and I have total respect for his talents and creativity. But I have not respect for him allowing people to post anonymous, because it destroys any credibility he has. And I am far from alone in this opinion.

        I have not given up trying to convince him that by giving up anonymity he will gain respect and not lose money. Maybe one day he will listen to me.

    • Jembry9588

      Barry, I have the utmost of respect for you, in many ways. However, lasix is not a drug problem, or a bloodline issue. Just take a look at the recent sales and the buyers from other country’s that buy America’s best and been doing that for many years.

      Rock Hard Ten just sold to Korea, and do you really believe if there was a detriment with Lasix that the buyers would have purchased him???

      Look, I am for totally drug free racing, not only in the US but world wide. That said, I don’t consider Lasix a drug or a drug problem. I have read, and studied every word written about Lasix that I can find. With that my cousin is a master Vet  with over 40 years of experience and he feels there is nothing negative with Lasix.

      As a horse owner for 60 years I have a problem with anyone who doesn’t put the welfare of the horse first, and there is no doubt in my mind that lasix is a positive for the equine and anyone that doesn’t realize that is uneducated, self centered or just plain ignorant!

      • Barry Irwin

        If you are correct, then most of the world is ignorant and I have an awful lot of company.

        As an aside, which situation in your opinion based on your experience best describes the the value placed upon American stock by foreign investors: Koreans buying a rejected and failed stallion like Rock Hard Ten, or the droves of international breeders that shun American stock at the sales? I deal with foreign investors on a regular basis and they steer clear of our stock because of drugs.

        • Sue M. Chapman

          Barry, I posted about Rock Hard Ten being a commercial failure.  He didn’t fail because he raced on Lasix.  He failed because he will never sire precocious two year olds.  Who, but thee can afford the gift of time for a horse? 

          If you mean that Rock Hard Ten was a serious bleeder, I doubt the Koreans would have considered him.  It remains my belief that horses genetically predisposed to EIPH are indiscriminately bred to mares with a similar propensity.  That is irresponsible and the cause of the decline of the American thoroughbred. 

          • Barry Irwin

            Sue, my point about Rock Hard Ten was to comment on him as a failed sire (he simply failed to live up to the hopes for him) since a previous poster mentioned him. It has nothing to do with him as a bleeder. Sorry for any confusion. The Koreans have bought several bad stallions. They have different goals than most American breeders. They have been buying rejects for years.

    • http://www.winnerscirclepartners.com/ Stewart Nickel

      “press has either been silent or taken up the side of horse trainers”

      That is absurd Barry.  Regardless of what anyone’s position is on this issue, it is ludicrous to use this as part of the argument.  The press has been uninformed as usual but the mostly careless and certainly sensationalized “press” has been very much anti-lasix.  Not that the large majority of “press” took the time to even learn about the issue and instead stole sound bites from others w/o proper investigation, but nonetheless there was and continues to be a clear bias on the side of banning lasix.

      We are and will always likely be on opposite sides of this debate.  But that has nothing to do with pointing out what I feel is a gross misrepresentation in your original post.

      • Barry Irwin

        Stewart, if you read the trades in our industry and read the stories written by what remains of the “beat” writers, they are solidly in the camp of those favoring the use of Lasix and the reason is they have to deal with trainers every day of the week. Most of them don’t have the balls to face a trainer after writing something that would be anti Lasix. This is common sense. Look for it in the future when you read stories in Daily Racing Form. I am not making this stuff up.

        In fact, just two weeks ago, a member of the Graded Stakes Committee contacted me to ask what they had to do to get a writer to write something that was not supporting the horsemen’s view.

        • http://www.winnerscirclepartners.com/ Stewart Nickel

          Barry,

          I am sure you don’t intend to do so but it comes off as very condescending when you say “if you read the trades in our industry” to someone who is in “our industry”.  Not only do I read the trades and still disagree with your statement but even if the “beat” writers were biased it wouldn’t change the fact the press outside of the industry has been overwhlemingly biased against lasix.

          The politicians and non-industry activists are getting their information from sources outside the industry (mainly because they are lazy) so the industry trades have nowhere near the weight as biased sources such as the NY Times.  In the end the press isn’t doing their job either way since they don’t take the time to get educated on any issue and instead focus on sensationalizing topics to gain readers.

          And your reference to someone from the Graded Stakes Committee contacting you doesn’t change the facts.

          • Barry Irwin

            Stewart, I should have used “one” instead of “you.”

            My point is this: it is the info one finds in the trades that influence those within the industry, not the stuff written in the secular press.

            And to a disturbing degree, the “beat” writers are taking up the side of the trainers for reasons pointed out in my post.

        • Tbower

          Give us names Barry.  You are the one that criticizes anonymity.  Who is the member of the graded stakes committee that made that statement?  And why did you run first time Lasix older horses this year?   

    • Janet delcastillo

      Keep  your stand, Barry! Using the medications so available today for the sales horses and race horses is effecting their soundness. Why are so many two year olds finished at three? those who trained before the seventies, when steroids became so popular, know that horses were sounder and ran many more races. When meds are used to suppress the inflammation, the trainer has no idea how sound his horse really is.
       ”Therapeutic” medication can really be misused!So many on this forum have not done their homework about the cause and effect of the designer drugs and their long term effects. Clenbuterol, a very misused medication, is great for horses that have real airway constriction (heaves…infection..) but its side effects so please the trainers that they use it for its steroid like effects…(fast twitch muscle building and sometimes aggression). But are they aware that long term use causes decreased lung capacity ? See the study done by Rutgers University… Lasix can impair development of bone density …imagine using this on two year olds..even while in training! Steroids can inhibit absorption of calcium to the bone..is this helpful for horses with their need for strong legs? 
      I encourage owners to have more dialogue with their trainers..maybe that way they would allow competent trainers to give time for healing for the young horses when necessary …rather than pushing for results too soon.
      An educated owner is a real asset for the trainer!
      Many horses never win a single race…but lets not break them down in the process of finding that out….and if they can run, they will last!

    • Ben Perkins

       I’d say that the breeders in the Natal region of SA should probably be a little more  open minded, as top SA stallion and sire of SA’s HOY is Var, an american bred son of Forest Wildcat who made more than half of his starts in the US on lasix.

      • Barry Irwin

        Ben, Var is the sire of Variety Club, who was voted Horse of the Year. In his last start, he bled through both nostrils. When this happens in South Africa, as in some other countries, he was not allowed to race for a few months. Fortunately for him the season was over.

        There are leading vets and breeders that shy away from breeding to horses that bled badly, so many of them are trying to avoid breeding to known bleeders.

        This is why the Natal breeders have adopted this policy.

    • Susan

      Mr. Irwin,
      This is a serious question. If Lasix is banned, what will people do with all their horses that start to bleed, and thus cannot race?
      What if they bleed after going through a correct and proper training routine, proper health care and management and times of rest, when needed?
      There are just so many backyard farms and riding academies that can accomodate this problem.
      What will you do with all YOUR HORSES that can no longer race if Lasix is banned? 
         

      • Barry Irwin

        Susan, I will do the same thing that we have always done. We will keep the fillies and mares we like and breed them. Howe Great, a Graded stakes winner this year for us, is out of a mare that was a bleeder, for example. If horses are no longer viable for racing, we will find homes for them, as we always do.

        We don’t get many chronic bleeders.

        This year we had two horses bleed and both of them were as a result of the horses incubating a virus that went undetected and they bled as a result of being put under too much pressure when they were sick.

        We have given both of these plenty of time to recover.

        We raced all of our juveniles this year without Lasix and we never saw a speck of blood and each of them was scoped after they raced.

        Bleeding incidence that results in horses developing scar tissue that makes them chronic bleeders is rare in Thoroughbreds, in spite of what you may have been told or read.

      • Sean Kerr

        Susan – Here is a serious question: why do you think that there will be that many current runners will no longer race without Salix? Do you really believe that the majority of horses racing now really bleed to such an extent that they must have a diuretic? I don’t think your fears are justified. If trainers are claiming that their horses are bleeding so much are either delusional or they are lying. And if they are not lying they are doing something terribly wrong and probably should not be training at all. Relatively few horses bleed enough to worry about. Horses are not going to be dropping dead.

        And you know why? Because we will get to see the truth.But here is the real question: when are we going to require that all medications during training or going to be publicly posted for all to see? I bet when we show the vet bills, all these claims of bleeding will disappear overnight: because whatever bleeding there is to worry about likely came about from the abuse and overuse of legally prescribed medications. To think that we aren’t abusing regular medications is to be in denial.

        One other thought: if we quit pushing our thoroughbreds to run insane 22 fractions like quarter-horses you would probably never hear anyone mention bleeding. 

        So if we stop all of that you won’t have to worry about finding homes for these horses anywhere except the racetrack.

  • Barry Irwin

    Ray, I totally disagree with your conclusion.

    I see the anti-drug, anti-Lasix crowd as having made huge inroads.

    The Jockey Club is doing a lot to help and they have plenty of clout.

    I think one of the problems is that the press has either been silent or taken up the side of horse trainers.

    I understand that this is a generalization, but based on my experience, Turf Writers in North America have an agenda when it comes to dealing with trainers. Turf Writers want trainers to like them, as it means something to them professional and personally. I think the lack of stories about the “other side” of the Lasix issue is lacking because Turf Writers are on the side of the trainers.

    Two weeks ago, I received a communication from the breeders’ association in the Natal region of South Africa. They stated guidelines for a stallion prospect they would jointly look to buy.

    One of the things they wanted was “no American-medicated” horses.

    Both in terms of Sport (with a capital S) and economic considerations. the reliance upon drugs is killing American owners and breeders both in credibility and the pocket book.

  • Howard Stevens

    Will you stop your whining already, Common Sense, Sanity, and Reason are finally winning out over a hysterical vocal minority with their bizzare agenda. 

    You make me laugh, “The press has been silent or taken up the side of the horse trainers”  You are truly living in your own fantasy world to make such a statement.

    If you hate the racing business so much, and it seems like you do, because all you do is bash and criticize it, why don’t you just quit and do something else ?

    Thoroughbred Racing has provided you a very good living, once again exhibiting that in America, anything is truly possible.  Talk about biting the hand that feeds you !!!

    You and your compatriots are the ones that are trying your best to cause harm to the industry by your ceaseless mouthing off to the press at every opportunity, and now, because they are clearly tiring of your baseless rhetoric and have stopped publishing your lies, you blame them for you not getting what you want.

    You lost any credibility you had in this absurd crusade by continuing to race your own horses on Lasix and other medication.  The “do as I say, not as I do” policy is not going to garner you support for anything.

     

  • nu-fan

    Lou:  Agree with your assessment, above, completely.  And, that is one reason that I truly believe that the only way that changes will be made in the horseracing industry is if there is either federal legislation or some other entity such as a national commissioner of horseracing that has the power to make changes similar to what Mr. Stern has in the NBA.  I am troubled by the overwhelming number of horses that run on lasix.  At Golden Gate Fields, this past Saturday, there was only ONE horse that did not run on lasix!  Find it very hard to believe that all of these horses are bleeders and wonder what the future will tell us about possible side-effects that lasix might have that may be detrimental to the health and welfare of the horses.

  • Sean Kerr

    Hello Howard: I think many of us would appreciate it if you could point out these so-called ‘lies’ and substantiate your claim. Ditto the ‘baseless’ rhetoric – what are the specific examples and what is your argument to prove them wrong? Thanks.

  • Layton Register

    A stand has to be taken. Many owners and breeders are trying to do so (see TOBA’s Owners Who Will Race Their Two-Year-Olds of 2012 the Entire Season Without Race-Day Medication). And now the Breeders’s Cup has done so. The Breeders’ Cup has failed to increase the interest in racing based on television ratings and on-track attendance, but it could give the sport a tremendous boost if it were able to keep leading the way towards no race-day medication. Thoroughbred Racing must act on its own rather than through government intervention. -

    Layton L. Register

    • Barry Irwin

      Layton, perhaps the threat of Federal legislation will prove so scary to some of our conservative horsemen that they will abandon the Lasix ship in order to give the sport a chance to survive. Come to think of it, maybe they should do it now anyway, even without being scared into action. The trainers are the stumbling block. Interestingly, the horsemen are relying on their “union,” the HBPA, to further their agenda. As a Liberal Democrat I find this nothing short of hysterical and more than a bit ironic that a group of Right Wingers is using a union to fight their battle.

      • Matt Clarke

        Amen Barry!

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

          i still dont understand why racing cant have both lasix and non lasix using horses during a race ?   just add 7 pounds if you want your horse to use lasix.   the 7 pounds will adjust for the 2.5 length average advantage that lasix using horses receive.  this will create many more horses to not use lasix, who do not have bleeeding problems.  non lasix using horses are more likely to be claimed these days.  so trainers are forced to use lasix.  does that sound like a good reason to run a horse that doesnt need the drug.  keep the playing field level for the non lasix users by assigning different weights. 

          • Stanley inman

            Jttf,
            I think you are missing the point with your recommendation.
            Ending raceday meds is not about shoring up the “business” of racing.
            Yes,
            it is relevant to breeding and our status in the international world of sport.
            But,
            It’s foremost a horse welfare issue.
            (No athlete uses a Powerful diuretic on the day they compete.
            Thus, the practice does become a “perception” problem-
            The rest of the world looks at us like…
            We’re stupid? crass? Greedy? Ruthless?
            Desperate?
            A World-class sport?
            No.

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

             we have a 2 party system here.   the lasix party and non lasix party.   both parties have good agruments.  so bleeders need lasix for their safety.  non bleeder’s health is effected in a bad way with the addition of lasix.  so no lasix for non bleeders.  i dont understand why vets give lasix to horses who dont need it.  vets are suppose to help the horse, not worry about their financial gain.  my 7 pound assignment will help all horses, not just a percentage. 

    • Marc Paulhus

      Racing is already government regulated in every jurisdiction.  Too often, the regulators are state political appointees who lack knowledge, courage and/or integrity.

      The feds would bring consistency, a greater degree of political independence, and important resources.

      How effective is state-by-state regulation?  How many years have states tried and failed to reach interstate cooperation and consistency?  Decades.

  • Layton Register

    A stand has to be taken. Many owners and breeders are trying to do so (see TOBA’s Owners Who Will Race Their Two-Year-Olds of 2012 the Entire Season Without Race-Day Medication). And now the Breeders’s Cup has done so. The Breeders’ Cup has failed to increase the interest in racing based on television ratings and on-track attendance, but it could give the sport a tremendous boost if it were able to keep leading the way towards no race-day medication. Thoroughbred Racing must act on its own rather than through government intervention. -

    Layton L. Register

  • Voiceofreason

    The horse industry isn’t going to change.
    How shocking.
    Not.

  • Voiceofreason

    The horse industry isn’t going to change.
    How shocking.
    Not.

  • Sean Kerr

    We have one simple solution to this whole fiasco: repeal and replace the Interstate Horseracing Act of 1978 entirely. Pass a new act mandating and empowering a national racing commission that will strip the states of any authority over horse racing and allow racing and wagering to exist as a free-enterprise system. It works for the banks (maybe the regionals), the airlines, the railroads, etc. The national commission would settle this issue once and for all and then we could get on with the radical idea of cutting the baloney and bringing this sport into the 21st century. All it takes is guts: and those seem to be in short supply in our sport – from every quarter.

    • Marc Paulhus

      No Sean, we really ought to amend and improve the Interstate Horse Racing Act – NOT REPEAL IT. It is far easier to amend an existing law than it is to pass broad, new legislation. The current federal law is our best vehicle for resolving the urgent need for uniform medication rules and enforcement.

      The pending legislation introduced by Senator Udall (D-NM) and Representative Whitfield (R-KY) is intended to to amend the Interstate Horse Racing Improvement Act to achieve the very goal that the racing industry has been unable to resolve for 4 decades. Strong bipartisan support in the upcoming session of Congress can quickly move the bill out of committee.  Those who want to end the scourge of race day medication – including owners, breeders, jockeys, track owners, state regulators and handicappers – have but one realistic option.  Contact your own Congressman and Senators and ask them to co-sponsor and support the Interstate Horse Racing IMPROVEMENT Act.
        

      • Marc Paulhus

        I might add that persuading Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky to get behind the Interstate Horse Racing Improvement Act would be the single greatest impetus to its passage.  Not only is Republican Senator McConnell from the most influential racing state, but he is the Senate Minority Leader with the ability to pull together a bipartisan solution to rescue the racing industry.

        A few respectful, knowledgeable and personal calls to Senator McConnell could do the trick.

        • valanne

          Mitch McConnell….Bipartisian…..LOL

          • Marc Paulhus

            Senator McConnell is a good man. And there is a new understanding on Capital Hill following the recent elections that obstructive partisan politics is destructive to the national interest. I think that NOW is the time to ask for Senator McConnell and others to co-sponsor and actively support the Interstate Horse Racing Improvement Act.

            Always contact your own Congressman and Senators first, then those who have a broader responsibility like Majority and Minority leaders in both the House and Senate.

          • Anne

            Don’t bother in upstate NY. Gillibrand and Schumer (turn coat) have no intentions of helping race horses. Or horses in general. Both signed the slaughter bill that was put back on the table. I was in contact with both plus Hillary Clinton before she left for Sec. of State. Clinton was all for the end of horse slaughter. Schumer pretended to be until it was presented back on the table. Gillibrand never was. Could care less. It was a sad day to see her back in office. In our case I would have to contact Senator McConnell.

          • Marc Paulhus

            I’ve had years of lobbying experience for animal protection groups and was always a bit surprised when a lawmaker was a fierce opponent on one issue and then a strong supporter on other, similar bills.  I think Chuck Schumer (D-NY) might surprise you and be a vocal advocate for racehorses.  

            On the other side of the aisle, Republicans have often been very good on animal welfare issues.  Bob Dole, for example, sponsored important animal and environmental laws like the Marine Mammal Protection Act, and he really fought to get the laws enacted.That said, Senator McConnell falls into that category. He may be a staunch fiscal conservative but he has a big heart for animals  and he can be effective on this issue.  He just needs to hear from enough people. And, in speaking to any federal legislator during this budget crisis, you have to underscore that the pending federal bill costs NOTHING, creates no new bureaucracy and pulls together the states in a way that levels the playing field in all jurisdictions.Remember that the pending federal bill – The Interstate Horse Protection Act – simply says that IF a state wishes to participate in interstate wagering, they must abide by the same medication rules and penalties – a level playing field.   I think if the Jockey Club and TOBA backed the federal bill, it could be redrafted (amended) to phase out race-day drugs in much the same way they have envisioned.

        • Barry Irwin

          Well get on the horn Marc! You are a citizen.

          • Marc Paulhus

            Indeed, I am tooting that horn Barry.  I have been making my calls to Congressional offices. 

            And it sure would help if the Hay, Oats and Water alliance, The Jockey Club, The Jockeys Guild, ARCI and the TOBA joined in.  From my perspective, the legislation seems to be the only practical and universal approach to a problem splintered into innumerable disparate voices and suggestions, however thoughtful they may (sometimes) be.

            The Interstate Horse Racing Improvement Act addresses the the need for uniformity in rules, better enforcement and more meaningful penalties.  It demands a higher standard for drug testing labs.  It resolves the issue of violators avoiding consequences by relocating to another state when faced with a suspension.

            Barry, your testimony before the Senate Commerce Committee was powerful and persuasive.  You are among a relatively small but influential group of industry insiders to command the attention and respect of people on all sides of this issue. 

            I agree with you about the important strides being made under the leadership of The Jockey Club and other groups, but herein lies the dilemma:  Any agreement forged by consent between major stakeholders and racing jurisdictions is subject to unending pressure to weaken or repeal it.  In my experience, it is nearly impossible to hold together such a coalition over time as one state then another falls off the wagon.

            Ray is right. A federal solution is less subject to the whims of individual racing commissions.  It is the only realistic solution.

      • Sean Kerr

        Marc – I appreciate where you stand. As you also know, I support the spirit of the efforts of Senator Udall and Representative Whitfield. But the 78 act must one day be repealed: it has just about destroyed horse racing by cementing and perpetuating a very flawed business model. The tracks are now dependent on simulcast and can barely hold on economically. Every year this gets worst. So it further perpetuates the need for year-round racing. Racing year round brings on the mass abuse of legal medications; this abuse far and beyond does more harm than the comparatively minuscule issue of race-day medications.  Under no circumstance am I stating that race-day meds are not a problem: they clearly are. But I wonder if you are choosing to ignore this more serious issue: the 78 act facilitates the conditions that perpetuate a poor wagering and entertainment product and this is killing the sport. Given that, and coupled with the state’s inability (unwillingness) to fund an infrastructure that can effectively supervise racing in a meaningful way, the sport itself cannot cobble the funds together to create an effective oversight structure and regime. The 78 act and the proposed amendment does not bring on the only effective way to deal with undetectable drugs: boots on the ground that can be pro-active in cutting the snakes head off before it bites by detective work. The 78 act ultimately makes it near impossible to accomplish what you and me and others want: clean racing.

        Not all acts take as long to pass as you allege, but to be sure some acts do indeed take a long time to reach a vote increasing its probability of passage.

        I hope that the amendment succeeds: but the logic does not follow that we should abandon all efforts to save this sport and help it reach a level of profitability such that it can one day become a clean sport. The proposed amendment moves racing in the right direction, but it is only a tiny step forward. Black and white all or nothing thinking makes no sense in this situation. 

        To pose that we should abandon efforts to change the sport is to give in to fear and perpetuate the forces that are ruining the economics, the potential for profit, the evaporation of 100,000s of thousands of jobs and ultimately the loss of horse racing.

        Under no circumstances will I cease efforts to bring a national commission structure to horse racing.

        • Marc Paulhus

          There doen not appear to be any political;; support for establishing a national horse racing commission at this time.  There are too many independent ruling bodies, too many vested interests and too many incompatible opinions to pull it all together.  I fear we will end up where we started, Sean – which is to say that we’ll be embroiled in endless debate for the next 30 years.  

          Of course I realize that the proposed legislation isn’t nearly as comprehensive as you or I would like. But it is a valid proposal and it has gotten popular and political support, hearings in House and the Senate, and it can still be strengthened, revised or improved by committee amendment.You make a good point about the cumulative damage to horses from year-round racing. However, I think that is a separate economic issue and I don’t see a realistic possibility of expanding the scope of federal intervention, at this point in time, to encompass all that you, I and other reformers aspire to achieve.

          While we may still agree in principle, we disagree in terms of political  strategy.  I’m hoping to build consensus around any plan that better protects horses and has a good chance of being enacted in my lifetime.

          • Sean Kerr

            Marc – would you bet your life on the premise that there is no political support in congress for a national racing and wagering commission? 

          • Marc Paulhus

            I would never bet that there isn’t ANY support for a national racing commission.  But I’d take the bet that there isn’t enough support for passage in the next few years. IMHO it’ll be a long slow process to build consensus.

  • Sean Kerr

    We have one simple solution to this whole fiasco: repeal and replace the Interstate Horseracing Act of 1978 entirely. Pass a new act mandating and empowering a national racing commission that will strip the states of any authority over horse racing and allow racing and wagering to exist as a free-enterprise system. It works for the banks (maybe the regionals), the airlines, the railroads, etc. The national commission would settle this issue once and for all and then we could get on with the radical idea of cutting the baloney and bringing this sport into the 21st century. All it takes is guts: and those seem to be in short supply in our sport – from every quarter.

  • Ian

    Howard ,you appear to be the biggest whiner of all, Everyone else on this thread has offered some sort of intelligent argument, one way or the other. All you have done is hurl six paragraphs of abuse at those that don’t agree with you.
    If you have an intelligent response, answer me this basic question;
    If Lasix is essential why is it not needed in the rest of the world. I have owned dozens of racehorses overseas and it never affected either the racing in general or my position as an owner. Its all about the greed of the owners and trainers here who are not prepared to make any concessions when it comes to their pocket. The argument that the welfare of the horse is primary is laughable.
    Its all about the money here and thats why the U.S is alone on this issue.

  • Layton Register

    A stand has to be taken. Many owners and breeders are trying to do so (see TOBA’s Owners Who Will Race Their Two-Year-Olds of 2012 the Entire Season Without Race-Day Medication). And now the Breeders’s Cup has done so. The Breeders’ Cup has failed to increase the interest in racing based on television ratings and on-track attendance, but it could give the sport a tremendous boost if it were able to keep leading the way towards no race-day medication. Thoroughbred Racing must act on its own rather than through government intervention. 

    • oky

      So if the Breeder Cup becomes even more irrelevant because of its stand how exactly does that give the sport a tremendous boost? This idea that the sport without lasix is somehow going to become this great attraction is ludicious. Lasix is hardly a factor in the sports demise nor will the elimination of it cause any appreciable upswing in business.

      • Barry Irwin

          Oky, in case you have been hiding under a rock, let me fill you in on what has been happening out there in the real world. Southern California at one time in the not too distant past had the biggest handle and arguably the best racing in the United States.

        Enter so-called permissive medication, followed by it’s illegal cousins EPO, other forms of blood doping and milk shaking.

        Gamblers that drove the handle to such dizzying heights abandoned the game in SoCal when they realized that they could not longer rely on handicapping the races to try to beat the races. The playing field was tilted in favor of the cheaters.

        The administrative head of the racing board slapped the cheating trainers writs with feather boas and told them they were naughty. But this failed to impress the gamblers, who stayed away for good.

        Horseplayers and fans don’t trust a game that uses drugs. And regardless of what you may have read or heard about Lasix no longer being able to mask other drugs, this is all news to the World Anti-Doping Association.

        Lasix offers nothing to this sport that it needs.

        In order to recapture our gamblers, horseplayers and fans, we need to start from scratch, get back to basics and flush out the cheaters. Then we will have a game worth playing and watching.

        I love our game. I have spent most of my life trying to improve my little patch of turf and speak out when I see things that can make the game better.

        I don’t want to see our game marginalized any further.

        People that cannot see the forest for the trees and think we can keep drugging our horses an keep our gamblers and fan base are on the wrong side of the equation.

         

        • Tammy37

          blaming lasix and drugs for the demise of socal racing may be the most ridiculous post i have seen on here. if socal has 1000 problems, lasix is number 999, just in front of the raw hot dog i got at hp saturday.being a large gambler myself, and knowing many others, the advent of lasix made for much more formfull racing. the   baby races on bc day were the only races i did not bet. next year, myself and many others will take off 2 full days. i cannot bet money on horses, not knowing if they are gonna bleed or not. if your argument is to breeders and stallion owners, i will listen. but, when you include gamblers and fans, you are way off base.
             i do not think there has been a class 1 or 2 violation in socal in 2 years. those are drug positives. i can see the forest and the trees very well, i think your sunglasses have affected your vision.

          • Sean Kerr

            Tammy – your logic does not make sense here: players world wide bet freely without the worry of the risk that a horse bleeds. So why is it different here? Don’t believe the hype or the misrepresentations of the flawed and limited research on the use of furosemide. 90% of the horses in America do NOT bleed to such extent that they need to race with a diuretic. But to go further and suggest that Salix (Lasix) is better for the horse’s form is incredible. No such condition exists and I cannot imagine how you came to this conclusion. It is a false one.

          • Tammy37

            you, like barry, are comparing apples and oranges. racing overseas is a completely different animal. they race much less, the racing is much less stressful, as they gallop early and run for 2 furlongs, and sprint dirt racing is not common. most of the bleeders over their come over here were they can be helped. i have many trainer friends who care greatly about their horses. they all say it is inhumane to race without a proven medicine, knowing 90% of horses bleed.(rick arthur has testified to this)
              people are not as dumb as many of the anti lasix people believe. they really can tell the difference between medications and illegal drugs. i bring new people to the track all the time, and when i explain what lasix is, the issue is over.
              i come to the conclusion of horses form, thru years of handicapping. you have a short memory or were not around prelasix. when a horse you handicapped and  bet on ran bad and you later found it it bled, it was very frustrating. it is now very are that that happens. 
             horsemen should care about one thing, the horse health. anti lasix people do not. 

          • Barry Irwin

            Tammy, first of all “most” of the bleeders in the UK/Euro do not come over here. In fact, lately, bloodstock agents confirm that the traffic from UK/Euro has slowed to a (you should please excuse the word!) trickle.

            Secondly, horses in Europe/UK race more often than our horses, especially the 2yo runners.

            I don’t believe Rick Arthur ever said that 90 percent of horses bleed. First of all, let’s just say, for the sake of your argument, that 90 percent of horses do bleed.

            Do you think they bleed 90 percent of the time?

            This is the key.

            Horses rarely bleed enough to adversely impact their performance.

            You have been sold a bill of goods.

            This is all about using fear tactics.

            Why do you think I am willing to race all of my 2yo runners without Lasix? I am not stupid and I am not careless.

            Why on earth do you think that a bunch of owners that care about racing and their horses agreed to race them without Lasix?

            What is our motivation if not the betterment of the sport?

          • Tammy37

            now we are getting somewhere. that is a  good point that not all horses bleed  90% of the time. dr arthur comment was actually, 95% of horses bleed at some point in their racing careers.i am sure you agree, that once they bleed, it is very hard to stop. you can give them 6 months off and they still will bleed when they come back.
             i totally agree with your 2 year old take, however, the more they race, the more stress they are under, and eventually they are gonna bleed. if i have an expensive horse, why would i want to risk the CHANCE that he will bleed, when their is a medication that can help it. 
              my biggest problem with the the anti lasix folks, is that you are causing the problem, not helping. as you make statements about no drugs, which 99% are for, you add medicine to this. the public and the naive press, assume you are saying lasix and bute are very bad illegal drugs. then you get joe drape writing that these drugs are major pain killers. the public does not know better and assume we have this terrible drug problem. the one point we need to get across is the difference between medicine and illegal drugs. lasix was a huge step forward when it came out. why go backward? because we have a pr problem? lets fix that, not the advances we have made in medicine for treating our animals. 
              when you race all your older horses,sans lasix, you can pump out your chest. however, that is not gonna happen. 
              Sean, you are off on so many points i cannot respond. my fingers hurt from conversing with barry.

          • Sean Kerr

            No Tammy: that is not true. It is NOT hard to get a horse to stop bleeding if it shows any sign. Where did you get that information from? Please: tell us. What led you to that conclusion? You you cannot respond to my points because you cannot argue your points: that is why you aren’t responding. Until you can prove me wrong you don’t have a valid point to make. I’ve seen horses that ‘allegedly’ bled with one trainer, go to another barn and there has never been an incidence of bleeding again. How do you account for that Tammy? Also: it is interesting how you and so many pro-lasix parties use the term ‘bleeding’ as if it is a general, blanket one size fits all condition. It is interesting that you don’t qualify what you mean as bleeding, you don’t differentiate between relevant bleeding, or relevant bleeding. Prove me wrong Tammy.

          • Sean Kerr

            Tammy – how come guys like Leroy Jolly or Billy Turner, old school trainers, tell me that in 50 years plus of training they have only seen 2 or 3 bleeders of any real concern? They aren’t the only ones that have told me this – others who prefer to keep their names out of the public debate tell me the same thing. One private trainer of one of the oldest racing families in America told me that prior to the use of Salix he rarely ever saw any bleeding worth worrying about. Those trainers that tell you about how humane furosemide is don’t want to talk to you about the depletion of electrolytes after pissing 30 pounds away before it gets to the gate: so don’t tell me about being humane. What athlete in his right mind would dehydrate himself before a high performance athletic event. Trainers like Richard Mandella quit withdrawing water from his horses before the races after watching marathon runners drinking fluids while they run. And we give a drug to take those fluids away from the horse? It is insanity and you are completely wrong and completely mis-informed. And: the science does not support the unbridled use of Salix. I would love to see your list of trainers that claimed bleeding was the issue: compare that with their other drug violations and I’m quite confident that you will see some interesting patterns.

          • Prolasix

            Thank god it is someone with little credibility like Irwin beating his chest. Those that put up their OWN MONEY and not investors should get more air time.

          • Sean Kerr

            Hi Prolasix: speaking of credibility – apparently you don’t have the spine or the guts to show your face and attack Barry Irwin. Aside from your sheer cowardice – can you confirm for us that you are privy to Barry’s tax records? Have you verified that Barry has no skin in the game? Until you show your face you probably ought quit posting such pathetic gutless garbage.

      • Layton Register

        No race-day medication is an opportunity for the the Breeders’ Cup. It does not make it more irrelevant. It becomes the stage on which racing can start re-building some sense of integrity. Dan Singer of McKinsey and Company reported to the Jockey Club last year: 

        “Up to now, we have been emphasizing initiatives to grow
        fans and handle, but we presume racing will also take action on the
        Thoroughbred safety reforms discussed earlier by Mr. [Stuart] Janney and the
        Thoroughbred Safety Committee. Those reforms will help to create a foundation
        for growth and eliminate major risks to the brand and health of the sport.”

        Without integrity and horses competing on a level playing field, i.e. free of race-day medication, then the sport of horse racing is what will become irrelevant.
        WWi

        • Barry Irwin

          Sign me up for the Layton Register!

    • Cancilla45

      Lasix not a problem for racing,only fools like Irwin don’t know that

  • Layton Register

    A stand has to be taken. Many owners and breeders are trying to do so (see TOBA’s Owners Who Will Race Their Two-Year-Olds of 2012 the Entire Season Without Race-Day Medication). And now the Breeders’s Cup has done so. The Breeders’ Cup has failed to increase the interest in racing based on television ratings and on-track attendance, but it could give the sport a tremendous boost if it were able to keep leading the way towards no race-day medication. Thoroughbred Racing must act on its own rather than through government intervention. 

  • leesville guy

    Comments like this are the problem. To lump all trainers that use lasix with Dutrow is what turns off most of us who try to play clean .

  • Racehorse Bob

    On Saturday Churchill had a day of races for two year olds only.  One hundred and twenty-three two year olds started and only eleven were treated with lasix.  Most hands- on horsemen will tell you that lasix is the most humane treatment to prevent horses from experiencing exercised-induced pulmonary hemorrhaging.  There is no scientific evidence to support the banning of race day lasix and I will continue to use it where permitted for thewelfare of my horses.

    I have found that the public objects more to the use of the whip and to the use of lasix. 

    • Sean Kerr

      Hi Racehorse Bob – there is no scientific support that Salix should be overused to the extent that it is as currently practiced. Salix does not prevent EIPH: it seemed to decrease it to one degree in one study only. And Hinchcliffe’s study was flawed: further to that he missed a great opportunity to analyze the urine. And that analysis has not been done on a scientifically relevant real-time racing population. The real issue here is that the South African study was never replicated. So to say anything about the science is to be off the mark. The truth is that there is no meaningful science to support the use of Salix on an athlete the way we do it here. There is a lot we don’t know about Salix on horses. By the way: triple crown race winning trainers, breeders cup winning trainers, some of the oldest and most successful racehorse trainers here at Belmont that they have only seen a couple of bleeders of any real concern in over 40 years. One kentucky derby winner told me he as only seen 2 in 55 years of training. Vets here tell me that they only see 1 or 2 horses out of every 20 scoped that show any bleeding worthy of concern. So something doesn’t add up. I bet if we made all veterinary treatments and medication administrations publicly available, we would probably see the truth: that most horses don’t bleed enough to worry about and that the use of Salix is unjustified. I bet that we wouldn’t hear too many people claiming that horses absolutely must race on Salix.

      • Circusticket

        I agree that the research is flawed.  The South African study ran each horse twice, once on Lasix and once on a placebo.  We could be harming the horses with long term use.  Or maybe Lasix becomes less effective with long term use.  I bet nobody posting here would want to take a drug personally that has been proven to work when used once.  I bet everybody would only take a drug if there was research done on long term use, to determine side effects.  Why then, do we use it on the horses?

        And the argument that humans take Lasix safely every day is ridiculous.  The humans who are taking Lasix are not healthy and they are not athletes.  They have high blood pressure.  We should be comparing race horses to human athletes, not to sick ones, if we want to have a healthy sport.

        • Cory Patton

          the research i trust the most is my own.  I have had horses bleed up    to a 3 on the 5 scale and then work back in a week on lasix and not bleed.  In my humble opinion and the fact that the only meds they had for the following works were lasix I would have to say the lasix worked..

          • Sean Kerr

            Cory you and I have been down this road of argument several times. How come you are seeing so many bleeders and the top level trainers who have been at this game 40-50+ years never see bleeders, and never really have. How come after legalizing the drug we have more bleeders than ever. I ask you again – how do you account for this? Please don’t give us the scope argument – that we see more bleeders because we scope more. Vets at Belmont tell me that they rarely see bleeders. Maybe 1 or 2 per 20 scopes. How is it possible that the accounts differ so widely? So that leads me to ask you: why are your horses bleeding so much? I’m not trying to put you down: but this has to be discussed. Cot Campbell has said numerous times that the difference between his younger trainers and his older trainers is one thing: the size of the vet bills. So you want to continue unbridled use of Salix: are you willing to step up and make your veterinary bills and procedures public? A whole lot of other things are causing the bleeding and definitely is not EIPH. Further to that, are you willing to post-digital photos of the scopes? Until we are willing to do this then comments about personal experience are irrelevant. Consider one of the trainers who complained about the bleeding in with a BC juvenile: the credibility is zero. Look up the suspensions and barn raids. So how do we take these complaints seriously? One last thought: the Breeders Cup missed a great opportunity by not digitally photographing the scopes. So again – we have to take everyone at their word, and there are too many questions arising and those questions are not being answered: they avoided or distorted.

          • Cory Patton

            I have not had a lot of bleeders as a trainer myself.   I have been an assistant for  a few different trainers and I would have to say that the 1 or 2 per 20 sounds about right.  Why can’t I say it is because you see more because you scope more?  The vast majority of horses that bleed do not come out of the nose. 

            I generally do not work my horses on lasix unless I have seen blood before.  The reason I run on lasix is this and people can say what they want.  When you are competing against people using EPO, designer steroids, and drugs I have not even heard of and the LEGAL things that help you be competitive Lasix bute etc why wouldn’t I.   The owners want to win and will move them down the line to the guys who improve nearly every horse they get their hands on even if those trainers
             never see them in person. 

          • Cory Patton

            Currently my stable is at zero as I am stuck here at Hawthorne with the EHV-1 most of the horses I get are lower level louisiana breds.  When i get a stable together I am more than happy to post my vet records at the owner’s permission of course.   Generally I keep everything on Omeprazole for ulcers,  the feed supplement body builder and 2 weeks out from the withdrawal time I will use ventipulmin on horses with airway issues.    I don’t use EPO ,don’t treat everything with prednisone like the 27 positives at AP, and use no designer drugs.  I also don’t have a lot of owners beating down my door even though i do an excellent job…

          • Tbhorseman

            If I am told that I can’t do any of the above I am fine with that.  Pressure needs to be put on the obvious cheaters and it isn’t hard to spot who they are.

          • Barry Irwin

            You are in the trenches and you know exactly what pressure a trainer is in. You are in a rat race in which you feel you must do things that you may not want to do just to “keep up with the Joneses.” Believe me, once ALL meds are done away with, your job will be much easier. Then we can return to a time when trainers were selected for their horsemanship and not their medicine chest. Owners, vets and trainers ALL share the responsibility of cleaning up this game before it becomes even more marginalised by a public and a group of horseplayers that are fed up with the corruption. I feel for you. I don’t know how you do it. I couldn’t do it. I’d find something else to do.

          • Tbhorseman

            I am all for taking away everything.  I just would like for people to stop looking the other way at the big trainers and vets who get away with murder time after time..  A level playing field is all I want.

          • Stanley inman

            Cory,
            thanks for being straightforward,
            Your comments support my thesis
            and what most trainers are reluctant to admit publically-
            Lasix is an economic issue for trainers and owners
            Who put their interest before the horse.

          • Tbhorseman

            When you have to feed your family the choices are lot harder to make than if you are sitting behind a computer screen.   You make a profit by winning races. The day rate generally covers the expenses and not much else.   If your horse isn’t on lasix he is carrying more weight than the horse that is on lasix.  In my opinion, that is the real reason most horses are on lasix.
            If giving a shot of lasix can help prevent a horse from bleeding it saves money.  Owner’s need to at least try to break even in this business and it is our job to try to make this happen for them.   
            I am not condoning illegal drugs.  My goal is to get the people who want to ban lasix now to try to get together and show some outrage about the guys out there that are using the designer drugs who are putting people and horses lives in danger.

          • Barry Irwin

            We need to do both.

          • Tbhorseman

            I am all for training and racing drug free as long as everyone has to as well.

    • LongTimeEconomist

      Probably because whip usage is totally visible, but lasix usage is not.

      • nu-fan

        LongTimeEconomist:  You’re right.  I wonder how many fans sitting in the stands or watching it on TV know anything about Lasix.  The whip is visible but how many look at the footnotes in their racing program to notice what “L” stands for much less what it means? 

        • Stanley inman

          Nu-fan,
          If we are to change the trajectory of the sport’s future
          we must begin to appreciate the negative response
          Our routine practices have before those who love the horse.
          the general public may know little about medication issues;
          But when informed that 99per cent of starters have been
          Given a drug 4hrs before they compete;
          Their response, from my experience, is 100per cent
          REPULSION.
          everywhere in life there is animosity for
          Goin to work on drugs.
          Why should the horse be excluded from this reasonable proposition?

          • nu-fan

            Stanley:  Just wanted to make certain that I made myself clear to you.  I was not suggesting that fans be kept in the dark about the usage of Lasix.  I have found that when I mention Lasix to another person, they are usually bewildered and do know anything about it.  Others, however, just shrug their shoulders and make some negative comment about that is what horseracing is pretty much all about: cheating.  This latter group seems to reflect (in my small sampling) the predominant thinking that horseracing is cruel, inhumane, and saturated with “evil people”.  They do not go to the races.  Is that one big reason for the decline in attendance in horseracing?  Is that why we have fewer people wanting to be involved in such a sport that has such negative connotations?  I, sometimes, wonder if the federal government shouldn’t tale a stand on drugs (therapeutic and/or performance enhancing) for all sports in the U.S.   There isn’t a day that does by that I do not read something in the sports section about drugs and athletes (professional, college, high school, and Olympic).  Perhaps, the federal government should have a broad stand that includes all athletes, human and other animals, regarding the usage of drugs.

          • Stanley inman

            Nu-fan
            Your observation:
            “…there isn’t a day that goes by that I do not read something in the sport’s section
            About drugs and athletes ( professional, college, high school and Olympic)…”

            Thank you for reminding all of us about a reality
            in our sport (and life)
            that many conveniently choose not to think about.

    • RayPaulick

      I believe you must have meant to say only 11 2-year-olds on Saturday’s Churchill Downs programs were NOT treated with Lasix. 

      • Sue M. Chapman

        I documented every horse who raced without Lasix or Added Lasix, or was First Time Lasix for both Saratoga and Belmont Fall Meets.  Lasix is a performance enhancing drug. 

        Racehorse Bob needs help with his reading comprehension.  Pray with me he posts his rhetoric on his web page.  It is guaranteed to put him out of business. 

  • Racehorse Bob

    On Saturday Churchill had a day of races for two year olds only.  One hundred and twenty-three two year olds started and only eleven were treated with lasix.  Most hands- on horsemen will tell you that lasix is the most humane treatment to prevent horses from experiencing exercised-induced pulmonary hemorrhaging.  There is no scientific evidence to support the banning of race day lasix and I will continue to use it where permitted for thewelfare of my horses.

    I have found that the public objects more to the use of the whip and to the use of lasix. 

  • ExactaGirl

    Wow. I’m surprised and disappointed in you, Ray. Sounds like you want to brush the issue under the rug.

  • ExactaGirl

    Wow. I’m surprised and disappointed in you, Ray. Sounds like you want to brush the issue under the rug.

  • Hadrianmarcus

    The American Thoroughbred is apparently Medication Dependant. The American trainers must not be talented enough to train their horses drug-free. American owners (like Repole) won’t ‘play’ unless the game is played by their preferred rules. And American breeders will continue try to peddle a fragile product (like this year’s three-year-old crop)  Fair enough. While horse racing insiders engage in rhetoric, the sport continues it’s slow fade into irrelevancy. I mean, Horse Racing has been so well served by the Status Quo, the last decade…..(cough)..

    • RhettFincher

      American trainers must not be talented enough to train their horses drug-free is EXACTLY the reason that most of them don’t want the drugs taken away

      • Tbhorseman

        That hurts Rhett…. I know exactly what you mean.  If you look at some of the big outfits the horses do the exact same thing everyday wear the same equipment.  Somewhere along the line the horsemanship was replaced by the assembly line..

  • Hadrianmarcus

    The American Thoroughbred is apparently Medication Dependant. The American trainers must not be talented enough to train their horses drug-free. American owners (like Repole) won’t ‘play’ unless the game is played by their preferred rules. And American breeders will continue try to peddle a fragile product (like this year’s three-year-old crop)  Fair enough. While horse racing insiders engage in rhetoric, the sport continues it’s slow fade into irrelevancy. I mean, Horse Racing has been so well served by the Status Quo, the last decade…..(cough)..

  • Noelle

    Short-sighted, stupid, self-serving, not in the best interest of the horses or the breed.  I could go on.  If European horses can run without it, so should American horses be able to run without it.  The Breeders Cup should NOT give up the fight. 

    • Sue M. Chapman

      Remember, Breeding a horse with poor bone quality to another with a similar genetic imperfection is GUARANTEED to produce a bad boned baby with a short career.

  • Noelle

    Short-sighted, stupid, self-serving, not in the best interest of the horses or the breed.  I could go on.  If European horses can run without it, so should American horses be able to run without it.  The Breeders Cup should NOT give up the fight. 

  • oky

    So if the Breeder Cup becomes even more irrelevant because of its stand how exactly does that give the sport a tremendous boost? This idea that the sport without lasix is somehow going to become this great attraction is ludicious. Lasix is hardly a factor in the sports demise nor will the elimination of it cause any appreciable upswing in business.

  • oky

    Greed? That is laughable considering that the vast majority of Owners are losing money. I’m sure that all overseas owners and trainers soley do it for the sport of it.

  • Sean Kerr

    Hi Racehorse Bob – there is no scientific support that Salix should be overused to the extent that it is as currently practiced. Salix does not prevent EIPH: it seemed to decrease it to one degree in one study only. And Hinchcliffe’s study was flawed: further to that he missed a great opportunity to analyze the urine. And that analysis has not been done on a scientifically relevant real-time racing population. The real issue here is that the South African study was never replicated. So to say anything about the science is to be off the mark. The truth is that there is no meaningful science to support the use of Salix on an athlete the way we do it here. There is a lot we don’t know about Salix on horses. By the way: triple crown race winning trainers, breeders cup winning trainers, some of the oldest and most successful racehorse trainers here at Belmont that they have only seen a couple of bleeders of any real concern in over 40 years. One kentucky derby winner told me he as only seen 2 in 55 years of training. Vets here tell me that they only see 1 or 2 horses out of every 20 scoped that show any bleeding worthy of concern. So something doesn’t add up. I bet if we made all veterinary treatments and medication administrations publicly available, we would probably see the truth: that most horses don’t bleed enough to worry about and that the use of Salix is unjustified. I bet that we wouldn’t hear too many people claiming that horses absolutely must race on Salix.

  • John McEvoy

    Lasix-Free Breeders’ Cup 2018.
     
    Setting, abandoned Beulah Park.

     Fields do not include any horses, only human runners provided by the drug-free families of hay, oats and water advocates.  

    • Sean Kerr

      Wrong John: there will be plenty of foreign horses shipping in and taking the money because most of the trainers today are too afraid of letting go of the medicine cabinet. Of the American trainers willing to go back to real horsemanship, there will be plenty of horses to race because 90% of them don’t need Salix anyway.

    • Barry Irwin

      John, for a guy that knows a lot about the history of racing, you are on the wrong side of this argument. I wouldn’t want to be in your shoes later on.

  • John McEvoy

    Lasix-Free Breeders’ Cup 2018.
     
    Setting, abandoned Beulah Park.

     Fields do not include any horses, only human runners provided by the drug-free families of hay, oats and water advocates.  

  • Circusticket

    I agree that the research is flawed.  The South African study ran each horse twice, once on Lasix and once on a placebo.  We could be harming the horses with long term use.  Or maybe Lasix becomes less effective with long term use.  I bet nobody posting here would want to take a drug personally that has been proven to work when used once.  I bet everybody would only take a drug if there was research done on long term use, to determine side effects.  Why then, do we use it on the horses?

    And the argument that humans take Lasix safely every day is ridiculous.  The humans who are taking Lasix are not healthy and they are not athletes.  They have high blood pressure.  We should be comparing race horses to human athletes, not to sick ones, if we want to have a healthy sport.

  • Cholly

    Lou & Nu,

    I agree federal legislation would be optimally effective, but I think it’s a pipe dream that will happen. New legislation would require a bureaucracy to enforce/support, and it’s just not happening in this political/budgetary environment.

    Imperfect as it is, the move by the Breeders Cup has established a beach-head. If they abandon this gain, who will dare to repeat their direction.   

  • LongTimeEconomist

    Probably because whip usage is totally visible, but lasix usage is not.

  • Kyle

    Me thinks Howard doth protest too much. Whatever you may think of Irwin as a personality, Howard, his opinion that lasix is bad for the game and his arguments in furtherance of that opinion hardly deserve such a personal, non-substantive rebuttal. As a completely disinterested observer who wants only for racing to thrive it’s people like you and your screeds and inability to argue facts who drive me more and more into the anti-lasix camp.

  • Equalizer

    No matter which outcome you prefer regarding Lasix, the Very Last Thing racing needs is for the federal government that’s $16 trillion in debt, running Medicare and Social Security programs that are going broke, to venture into yet another arena in which it knows nothing and where policy will be dictated by histrionics!

  • Equalizer

    No matter which outcome you prefer regarding Lasix, the Very Last Thing racing needs is for the federal government that’s $16 trillion in debt, running Medicare and Social Security programs that are going broke, to venture into yet another arena in which it knows nothing and where policy will be dictated by histrionics!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000351961052 Darlene Allison Anders Sanner

    It is going to take more than 1 year or one set of BC races to bring about change to a policy that has reigned for 30 some years It is going to take strong resolve (tough love?) to put up with owner/trainer tantrums who would rather have the status quo then change training methods 
    Almost all the 2 year old contenders were raced prior to BC on Lasix even with the well in advance knowledge that the BC races would be Lasix free Wouldn’t it have been smarter to run them prior without to see if they had a horse that might be predisposed to bleeding ahead of time? 

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000351961052 Darlene Allison Anders Sanner

    It is going to take more than 1 year or one set of BC races to bring about change to a policy that has reigned for 30 some years It is going to take strong resolve (tough love?) to put up with owner/trainer tantrums who would rather have the status quo then change training methods 
    Almost all the 2 year old contenders were raced prior to BC on Lasix even with the well in advance knowledge that the BC races would be Lasix free Wouldn’t it have been smarter to run them prior without to see if they had a horse that might be predisposed to bleeding ahead of time? 

  • Tinky

    For Howard to assert that someone else has lost all credibility stretches the limits of irony.

    This, from someone who characterizes those who oppose race day medication as “a hysterical vocal minority with their bizzare agenda”.

    Never mind that TWO-THIRDS of those associated with racehorses around the world share the very same position!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000351961052 Darlene Allison Anders Sanner

    Mr Irwin raced his 2 yr olds without lasix 

  • Angelika Hala

    The anti-drug, anti-Lasix crowd has kept the discussion moving but I do not see any of their efforts having made huge inroads. They can’t as long as they only talk the talk – action speaks louder than words.  Economics are a big factor of course – I understand the lack of action in fear of putting one’s horses at a disadvantage.  I absolutely disagree that the Jockey Club has any effect or authority.  The only true trailblazer is the Breeders Cup, followed by the anti-drug efforts of a small group of owners. 
    The Jockey Club is tagging along – their Clean Racing campaign is mere window dressing.  The JC will now be able to say that they “acted” – while they leave the door open to go any direction.  Putting hopes for change on the existing industry representations will not go anywhere - 

    • Barry Irwin

      The mere fact that you have identified this contingency as a “crowd” proves how man do-gooders have lined up on the correct side of this issue.

  • Angelika Hala

    The anti-drug, anti-Lasix crowd has kept the discussion moving but I do not see any of their efforts having made huge inroads. They can’t as long as they only talk the talk – action speaks louder than words.  Economics are a big factor of course – I understand the lack of action in fear of putting one’s horses at a disadvantage.  I absolutely disagree that the Jockey Club has any effect or authority.  The only true trailblazer is the Breeders Cup, followed by the anti-drug efforts of a small group of owners. 
    The Jockey Club is tagging along – their Clean Racing campaign is mere window dressing.  The JC will now be able to say that they “acted” – while they leave the door open to go any direction.  Putting hopes for change on the existing industry representations will not go anywhere - 

  • Barry Irwin

      Oky, in case you have been hiding under a rock, let me fill you in on what has been happening out there in the real world. Southern California at one time in the not too distant past had the biggest handle and arguably the best racing in the United States.

    Enter so-called permissive medication, followed by it’s illegal cousins EPO, other forms of blood doping and milk shaking.

    Gamblers that drove the handle to such dizzying heights abandoned the game in SoCal when they realized that they could not longer rely on handicapping the races to try to beat the races. The playing field was tilted in favor of the cheaters.

    The administrative head of the racing board slapped the cheating trainers writs with feather boas and told them they were naughty. But this failed to impress the gamblers, who stayed away for good.

    Horseplayers and fans don’t trust a game that uses drugs. And regardless of what you may have read or heard about Lasix no longer being able to mask other drugs, this is all news to the World Anti-Doping Association.

    Lasix offers nothing to this sport that it needs.

    In order to recapture our gamblers, horseplayers and fans, we need to start from scratch, get back to basics and flush out the cheaters. Then we will have a game worth playing and watching.

    I love our game. I have spent most of my life trying to improve my little patch of turf and speak out when I see things that can make the game better.

    I don’t want to see our game marginalized any further.

    People that cannot see the forest for the trees and think we can keep drugging our horses an keep our gamblers and fan base are on the wrong side of the equation.

     

  • Cory Patton

    the research i trust the most is my own.  I have had horses bleed up    to a 3 on the 5 scale and then work back in a week on lasix and not bleed.  In my humble opinion and the fact that the only meds they had for the following works were lasix I would have to say the lasix worked..

  • Marc

    I couldn’t agree more.  Uniform medication rules, uniform penalties and uniform enforcement will only be possible with a federal mandate and federal oversight. 

  • Marc

    I couldn’t agree more.  Uniform medication rules, uniform penalties and uniform enforcement will only be possible with a federal mandate and federal oversight. 

  • Barry Irwin

    I totally agree with you. But this fight is far from over at the AGSC. We need some leadership on this issue to reflect the policy supported by a majority of owners that want drugs out of Graded races and we didn’t get it.

  • Barry Irwin

    Owners are not the problem Oky, trainers are the problem. Not all trainers, but many that never raced in the days when Lasix was banned.

  • Barry Irwin

    The people that can make a difference have made substantial inroads during the 2012 racing season. Kentucky is showing leadership. The Breeders’ Cup is showing leadership. Members of TOBA that agreed to race 2yo without Lasix are showing leadership. California is even trying to show some leadership. 

    So what’s the problem…they didn’t reverse 35 years of drug abuse fast enough?

  • Barry Irwin

    Look what racing has done in one season to rid itself of drugs and then look at what the Federal government has done about anything and tell me who has made more progress? If this stuff was easy, it would have been done long ago. But it isn’t. Just ask Mrs. Romney! 
     

  • Sean Kerr

    Cory you and I have been down this road of argument several times. How come you are seeing so many bleeders and the top level trainers who have been at this game 40-50+ years never see bleeders, and never really have. How come after legalizing the drug we have more bleeders than ever. I ask you again – how do you account for this? Please don’t give us the scope argument – that we see more bleeders because we scope more. Vets at Belmont tell me that they rarely see bleeders. Maybe 1 or 2 per 20 scopes. How is it possible that the accounts differ so widely? So that leads me to ask you: why are your horses bleeding so much? I’m not trying to put you down: but this has to be discussed. Cot Campbell has said numerous times that the difference between his younger trainers and his older trainers is one thing: the size of the vet bills. So you want to continue unbridled use of Salix: are you willing to step up and make your veterinary bills and procedures public? A whole lot of other things are causing the bleeding and definitely is not EIPH. Further to that, are you willing to post-digital photos of the scopes? Until we are willing to do this then comments about personal experience are irrelevant. Consider one of the trainers who complained about the bleeding in with a BC juvenile: the credibility is zero. Look up the suspensions and barn raids. So how do we take these complaints seriously? One last thought: the Breeders Cup missed a great opportunity by not digitally photographing the scopes. So again – we have to take everyone at their word, and there are too many questions arising and those questions are not being answered: they avoided or distorted.

  • Sean Kerr

    Wrong John: there will be plenty of foreign horses shipping in and taking the money because most of the trainers today are too afraid of letting go of the medicine cabinet. Of the American trainers willing to go back to real horsemanship, there will be plenty of horses to race because 90% of them don’t need Salix anyway.

  • Barry Irwin

    John, for a guy that knows a lot about the history of racing, you are on the wrong side of this argument. I wouldn’t want to be in your shoes later on.

  • Barry Irwin

    Layton, perhaps the threat of Federal legislation will prove so scary to some of our conservative horsemen that they will abandon the Lasix ship in order to give the sport a chance to survive. Come to think of it, maybe they should do it now anyway, even without being scared into action. The trainers are the stumbling block. Interestingly, the horsemen are relying on their “union,” the HBPA, to further their agenda. As a Liberal Democrat I find this nothing short of hysterical and more than a bit ironic that a group of Right Wingers is using a union to fight their battle.

  • McGov

    “Will you stop your whining already, Common Sense, Sanity, and Reason are finally winning out over a hysterical vocal minority with their bizzare agenda. ”
    Wow…guess the rest of the world is insane, unreasonable, and has no common sense…lol…if you’re going to attack Mr. Irwin for participating on this website than YOU are clearly the one that lacks common sense.

  • McGov

    “Will you stop your whining already, Common Sense, Sanity, and Reason are finally winning out over a hysterical vocal minority with their bizzare agenda. “
    Wow…guess the rest of the world is insane, unreasonable, and has no common sense…lol…if you’re going to attack Mr. Irwin for participating on this website than YOU are clearly the one that lacks common sense.

  • RayPaulick

    I believe you must have meant to say only 11 2-year-olds on Saturday’s Churchill Downs programs were NOT treated with Lasix. 

  • Cory Patton

    I think we need a national organization.  I hope the horsemen find a way to do it themselves without government intervention.  Not sure the Jockey Club needs to be in charge because the good ole boy network was too strong and self serving when they had the power..

  • Cory Patton

    I think we need a national organization.  I hope the horsemen find a way to do it themselves without government intervention.  Not sure the Jockey Club needs to be in charge because the good ole boy network was too strong and self serving when they had the power..

  • Cory Patton

    When owners send their horses to the guys with a long history of positive tests only because they win more races they are the problem.   When the vet bill comes in and it is larger than the training bill and they say nothing as long as they win, how are they as guilty as the trainer?

  • Barry Irwin

    You are 100 pct correct, sir.

  • Cory Patton

    I have not had a lot of bleeders as a trainer myself.   I have been an assistant for  a few different trainers and I would have to say that the 1 or 2 per 20 sounds about right.  Why can’t I say it is because you see more because you scope more?  The vast majority of horses that bleed do not come out of the nose. 

    I generally do not work my horses on lasix unless I have seen blood before.  The reason I run on lasix is this and people can say what they want.  When you are competing against people using EPO, designer steroids, and drugs I have not even heard of and the LEGAL things that help you be competitive Lasix bute etc why wouldn’t I.   The owners want to win and will move them down the line to the guys who improve nearly every horse they get their hands on even if those trainers
     never see them in person. 

  • Cory Patton

    Currently my stable is at zero as I am stuck here at Hawthorne with the EHV-1 most of the horses I get are lower level louisiana breds.  When i get a stable together I am more than happy to post my vet records at the owner’s permission of course.   Generally I keep everything on Omeprazole for ulcers,  the feed supplement body builder and 2 weeks out from the withdrawal time I will use ventipulmin on horses with airway issues.    I don’t use EPO ,don’t treat everything with prednisone like the 27 positives at AP, and use no designer drugs.  I also don’t have a lot of owners beating down my door even though i do an excellent job…

  • Tbhorseman

    If you want to clean the game up go after the people who sell the medicine……

  • Tbhorseman

    If you want to clean the game up go after the people who sell the medicine……

  • Caroline

    The sooner they give it up the better, as it seems this strategy of pacifying those seeking more sweeping federal reform works well.     

  • Caroline

    The sooner they give it up the better, as it seems this strategy of pacifying those seeking more sweeping federal reform works well.     

  • Tbhorseman

    If I am told that I can’t do any of the above I am fine with that.  Pressure needs to be put on the obvious cheaters and it isn’t hard to spot who they are.

  • nu-fan

    Cholly:  I agree with you in the sense that the Breeders Cup may be just the first step in getting the rest of the industry to follow suit.  However, I have seen that the threat of federal legislation is the one thing that most industries fear.  And, if that is what it takes, I say bring on the feds!  For the many, many years that Lasix has been discussed, there has been such little action.  Why?  Because of special interests who keep progress from happening.  And, as long as the Breeders Cup is raced in California, there may be a better chance of it sticking to its principles regarding Lasix.

  • Marc Paulhus

    No Sean, we really ought to amend and improve the Interstate Horse Racing Act – NOT REPEAL IT. It is far easier to amend an existing law than it is to pass broad, new legislation. The current federal law is our best vehicle for resolving the urgent need for uniform medication rules and enforcement.

    The pending legislation introduced by Senator Udall (D-NM) and Representative Whitfield (R-KY) is intended to to amend the Interstate Horse Racing Improvement Act to achieve the very goal that the racing industry has been unable to resolve for 4 decades. Strong bipartisan support in the upcoming session of Congress can quickly move the bill out of committee.  Those who want to end the scourge of race day medication – including owners, breeders, jockeys, track owners, state regulators and handicappers – have but one realistic option.  Contact your own Congressman and Senators and ask them to co-sponsor and support the Interstate Horse Racing IMPROVEMENT Act.
      

  • ASL

    I respectfully, but fundamentally disagree. Now is not the time to give up the fight to ban Lasix. 

  • ASL

    I respectfully, but fundamentally disagree. Now is not the time to give up the fight to ban Lasix. 

  • Marc Paulhus

    I might add that persuading Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky to get behind the Interstate Horse Racing Improvement Act would be the single greatest impetus to its passage.  Not only is Republican Senator McConnell from the most influential racing state, but he is the Senate Minority Leader with the ability to pull together a bipartisan solution to rescue the racing industry.

    A few respectful, knowledgeable and personal calls to Senator McConnell could do the trick.

  • Matt Clarke

    Amen Barry!

  • Marc Paulhus

    Actually, the federal legislation now pending in Congress would not create a new federal bureaucracy or demand a huge budget.  It merely lays down a mandate that is too enticing for the individual racing states to ignore – in order to participate in interstate wagering as regulated by the federal government, the state must comply with the uniform no raceday medication rules and enforce penalties handed down by any racing jurisdiction.

    Sweet, simple, highly effective.  Everyone would race under the same rules.  Violators could not run to another jurisdiction to escape punishment.

  • Stanley inman

    Barry I agree,
    the movement to end raceday meds
    has made significant strides
    against formidable head winds.
    Paulick report has been dead since breeders cup,
    ray needs to liven it up.
    Just baiting us,
    Stretches to make his argument
    By citing repole’s decision not to go to breeders cup,
    So funny, ( I know you’re smilin ray.)

  • Stanley inman

    Ray,
    I will grant that strategically
    assuming this battle is lost
    will give another example of the unwillingness of the industry
    to police itself;
    Which will speed up the movement to bring fed intervention.
    It has been only 20 months (march 28,2011)
    since willy Koester gave his “doesn’t pass the smell test ” speech
    Kicking off this struggle.
    There wasn’t a word spoken about ending raceday meds before that.
    The assumption is that we are running out of time,
    The game is in the first quarter!

  • Kmn

    To those who want to ban Lasix, shouldn’t we also ban horseshoes?

    • Tinky

      Congratulations on having produced the dumbest of 65 posts (thus far)!

      No small feat.

      • Howard Stevens

        “Both writers are either ignorant of the facts, or they have a pro-lasix agenda and are willing to stoop to any level to further their cause”

        “Tinky” 11/19/12

        It would seem to me that if you changed pro-lasix to anti-lasix, this exact sentence you wrote would apply equally to you and Irwin.

    • Howard Stevens

      Of course, Shoes are a performance enhancer, as studies have shown that horses racing with shoes clearly run several lengths faster than those without shoes.

      How about blinkers ?  Those are most definitely a performance enhancer !!! Many horses have suddenly and drastically improved their form overnight with the addition of blinkers.  The first time “b” in the program is the scourge of most gamblers, and many will pass the race for fear of the performance enhancing effect blinkers “on” will have on a horse. 

      There should be an immediate movement to ban the use of horseshoes and blinkers.  It is obvious today that trainers cannot find a way to train their horses without the use of horseshoes and blinkers, and the only reason Pro-horseshoe apologists insist on their use is to keep the blacksmiths making all the money. 

      • Barry Irwin

        I always wondered what the Zen koan meant that goes like this “What is the sound of hand clapping?”

        Thanks to you, I now know.

        • Howard Stevens

          It’s kind of funny really, yet sad at the same time, that in an effort of be insulting, you failed miserably.

          Zen Koan philosophy states very clearly that…..”Koans do not represent the private opinion of a single man but rather the highest principle recieved alike by us and the hundreds and thousands of others”

          If you have any understanding of Koan Philosophy, which obviously you do not, you would realize that what he is saying is that your bizzare views are not gospel simply because they are yours.

          Nice try.

          • kyle

            “The plunk of a blind man’s thrown stone still creates a ripple.”

        • kyle

          “One hand clapping.”

          • Barry Irwin

            One man conversing with himself. One man asking and answering his own question. Mental masturbation.

  • Kmn

    To those who want to ban Lasix, shouldn’t we also ban horseshoes?

  • Tinky

    Congratulations on having produced the dumbest of 65 posts (thus far)!

    No small feat.

  • Stanley inman

    Cory,
    thanks for being straightforward,
    Your comments support my thesis
    and what most trainers are reluctant to admit publically-
    Lasix is an economic issue for trainers and owners
    Who put their interest before the horse.

  • nu-fan

    Marc:  I did not know about this pending legislation.  Do you have specifics about it such as the bill number?  I would like to look at it.  Of course, there are so many pending bills and I tend to be a bit impatient at times.  But, a step in the right direction….

  • nu-fan

    LongTimeEconomist:  You’re right.  I wonder how many fans sitting in the stands or watching it on TV know anything about Lasix.  The whip is visible but how many look at the footnotes in their racing program to notice what “L” stands for much less what it means? 

  • nu-fan

    Marc:  I just looked up that act and, yes, I do remember it now.  But, this act refers to “performance-enhancing drugs” and, if I am not mistaken, some are arguing that Lasix does not do that but is “therapeutic”.  So, how do you understand the aim of this bill?  Is Lasix going to be part of this bill?  Perhaps, Ray, could provide his input on this as well.

  • Tammy37

    blaming lasix and drugs for the demise of socal racing may be the most ridiculous post i have seen on here. if socal has 1000 problems, lasix is number 999, just in front of the raw hot dog i got at hp saturday.being a large gambler myself, and knowing many others, the advent of lasix made for much more formfull racing. the   baby races on bc day were the only races i did not bet. next year, myself and many others will take off 2 full days. i cannot bet money on horses, not knowing if they are gonna bleed or not. if your argument is to breeders and stallion owners, i will listen. but, when you include gamblers and fans, you are way off base.
       i do not think there has been a class 1 or 2 violation in socal in 2 years. those are drug positives. i can see the forest and the trees very well, i think your sunglasses have affected your vision.

  • Jembry9588

    Barry, I have the utmost of respect for you, in many ways. However, lasix is not a drug problem, or a bloodline issue. Just take a look at the recent sales and the buyers from other country’s that buy America’s best and been doing that for many years.

    Rock Hard Ten just sold to Korea, and do you really believe if there was a detriment with Lasix that the buyers would have purchased him???

    Look, I am for totally drug free racing, not only in the US but world wide. That said, I don’t consider Lasix a drug or a drug problem. I have read, and studied every word written about Lasix that I can find. With that my cousin is a master Vet  with over 40 years of experience and he feels there is nothing negative with Lasix.

    As a horse owner for 60 years I have a problem with anyone who doesn’t put the welfare of the horse first, and there is no doubt in my mind that lasix is a positive for the equine and anyone that doesn’t realize that is uneducated, self centered or just plain ignorant!

  • http://www.winnerscirclepartners.com/ Stewart Nickel

    “press has either been silent or taken up the side of horse trainers”

    That is absurd Barry.  Regardless of what anyone’s position is on this issue, it is ludicrous to use this as part of the argument.  The press has been uninformed as usual but the mostly careless and certainly sensationalized “press” has been very much anti-lasix.  Not that the large majority of “press” took the time to even learn about the issue and instead stole sound bites from others w/o proper investigation, but nonetheless there was and continues to be a clear bias on the side of banning lasix.

    We are and will always likely be on opposite sides of this debate.  But that has nothing to do with pointing out what I feel is a gross misrepresentation in your original post.

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

    i still dont understand why racing cant have both lasix and non lasix using horses during a race ?   just add 7 pounds if you want your horse to use lasix.   the 7 pounds will adjust for the 2.5 length average advantage that lasix using horses receive.  this will create many more horses to not use lasix, who do not have bleeeding problems.  non lasix using horses are more likely to be claimed these days.  so trainers are forced to use lasix.  does that sound like a good reason to run a horse that doesnt need the drug.  keep the playing field level for the non lasix users by assigning different weights. 

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

    there isnt any reason to ban lasix, totally.   there isnt any reason to give lasix users an advantage, either.   lasix users have had an advantage since the early 1990s.  non lasix users are more likely to be claimed.  because when you add lasix, you get an average of 2.4 length advantage.   so why not just add 7 pounds to horses who need lasix.   this gives the trainer the option.   it also creates and even playing field.  it also creates motivation to breeders to breed non bleeders, again.

    • Barry Irwin

      Horses that a chronic bleeders do not deserve a break.

      Racing is a test to prove which horse is best.

      Drugs merely cloud the issue.

      It is a sport first…if it can remain a sport, people in the trenches can make a living from it.

      But first and foremost racing is not meant as a vehicle to provide anybody with a living.

      This is a by product of racing.

      Put the freaking horse first and the rest will follow. Drugging horses so that people can make a living is not a viable concept, which is why our game is in trouble.

      • Howard Stevens

        “Put the freaking horse first”

        BAN THE USE OF PERFORMANCE EHANCING EQUIPMENT.  SAY NO TO BLINKERS, TONGUE TIES AND ESPECIALLY HORSESHOES.  All of these have been proven to improve performance in a horse and should not be tolerated.

        Using performance enhancing equipment on a horse so that people can make a living is not a viable concept. Blinkers, tongue ties, and horseshoes are why our game is in trouble.

        • Stanley inman

          Howard my friend,
          Give us a poem,
          Make us laugh at ourselves

          • Barry Irwin

            Stanley, whereas there IS a Stanley Inman and a Barry Irwin, there is in fact no Howard Stevens. It is yet another alias. Yet another gutless wonder that lacks the courage of his own convictions to stand up like a man and have his opinions counted. And as long as he continues to hide behind one alias after another, his opinions will not carry as much as he would like.

          • Poorinvestors

            Neither do the opinions of those that do not put up their OWN MONEY.

          • Howard Stevens

            Happy to oblige Stanley my friend
            As for you Irwin don’t you have more truths to bend
            An alias he calls my name,
            Trying to deflect from the issue is really lame
            Alas, poor Irwin, he has no shame.
            For which I do not blame
            He is on the losing side of an argument
            One whose time came and went
            Using his big mouth to scream and shout
            Who knows what about
            Empty threats he does make
            His intimidation I do not take
            He is out of touch with reality
            babbling incessantly only banality
            Howard Stevens is indeed my name
            For which I don’t desire fame
            Irwin again you lose
            Go drink some more booze
            go out and get lit
            everyone knows you are full of shi……..
             

          • Barry Irwin

            Like I said chicken s – - – -.

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

         barry, american vets and horsemen (which includes you) had no idea what problems they were creating more than 20 years ago with the addition of lasix.  now we know what health problems that lasix has created.  we have been breeding bleeders for the last 20 years.   if you eliminate lasix, then many of these bleeders will be led to slaughter houses.  many people cant afford to have no income horses.  bleeders can still have a purpose in racing and continue a healthy life.  there is nothing wrong with caring for bleeders.   the 7 additional pounds rule will create a world where both bleeders and non bleeders can both have happy lives. 

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

    there isnt any reason to ban lasix, totally.   there isnt any reason to give lasix users an advantage, either.   lasix users have had an advantage since the early 1990s.  non lasix users are more likely to be claimed.  because when you add lasix, you get an average of 2.4 length advantage.   so why not just add 7 pounds to horses who need lasix.   this gives the trainer the option.   it also creates and even playing field.  it also creates motivation to breeders to breed non bleeders, again.

  • Howard Stevens

    “Both writers are either ignorant of the facts, or they have a pro-lasix agenda and are willing to stoop to any level to further their cause”

    “Tinky” 11/19/12

    It would seem to me that if you changed pro-lasix to anti-lasix, this exact sentence you wrote would apply equally to you and Irwin.

  • Howard Stevens

    Of course, Shoes are a performance enhancer, as studies have shown that horses racing with shoes clearly run several lengths faster than those without shoes.

    How about blinkers ?  Those are most definitely a performance enhancer !!! Many horses have suddenly and drastically improved their form overnight with the addition of blinkers.  The first time “b” in the program is the scourge of most gamblers, and many will pass the race for fear of the performance enhancing effect blinkers “on” will have on a horse. 

    There should be an immediate movement to ban the use of horseshoes and blinkers.  It is obvious today that trainers cannot find a way to train their horses without the use of horseshoes and blinkers, and the only reason Pro-horseshoe apologists insist on their use is to keep the blacksmiths making all the money. 

  • Tbhorseman

    When you have to feed your family the choices are lot harder to make than if you are sitting behind a computer screen.   You make a profit by winning races. The day rate generally covers the expenses and not much else.   If your horse isn’t on lasix he is carrying more weight than the horse that is on lasix.  In my opinion, that is the real reason most horses are on lasix.
    If giving a shot of lasix can help prevent a horse from bleeding it saves money.  Owner’s need to at least try to break even in this business and it is our job to try to make this happen for them.   
    I am not condoning illegal drugs.  My goal is to get the people who want to ban lasix now to try to get together and show some outrage about the guys out there that are using the designer drugs who are putting people and horses lives in danger.

  • Tony

    Lasix was not the correct choice as the first drug to be removed from American racing.  A better selection is phenylbutazone-if the horse needs “bute” to be racing sound it should not be competing.  I believe that California’s permissible levels are the same as Mountaineer Park in West Virginia.  Could it be that we don’t have any Triple Crown winners because as the horse moves east the medication rules become less lenient?

  • Tony

    Lasix was not the correct choice as the first drug to be removed from American racing.  A better selection is phenylbutazone-if the horse needs “bute” to be racing sound it should not be competing.  I believe that California’s permissible levels are the same as Mountaineer Park in West Virginia.  Could it be that we don’t have any Triple Crown winners because as the horse moves east the medication rules become less lenient?

  • MR ED

    ANSWER  THIS …HOWS COME SO MANY 1ST TIME LASIX HORSES WIN !!!!

  • Layton Register

    No race-day medication is an opportunity for the the Breeders’ Cup. It does not make it more irrelevant. It becomes the stage on which racing can start re-building some sense of integrity. Dan Singer of McKinsey and Company reported to the Jockey Club last year: 

    “Up to now, we have been emphasizing initiatives to grow
    fans and handle, but we presume racing will also take action on the
    Thoroughbred safety reforms discussed earlier by Mr. [Stuart] Janney and the
    Thoroughbred Safety Committee. Those reforms will help to create a foundation
    for growth and eliminate major risks to the brand and health of the sport.”

    Without integrity and horses competing on a level playing field, i.e. free of race-day medication, then the sport of horse racing is what will become irrelevant.
    WWi

  • Stanley inman

    Jttf,
    I think you are missing the point with your recommendation.
    Ending raceday meds is not about shoring up the “business” of racing.
    Yes,
    it is relevant to breeding and our status in the international world of sport.
    But,
    It’s foremost a horse welfare issue.
    (No athlete uses a Powerful diuretic on the day they compete.
    Thus, the practice does become a “perception” problem-
    The rest of the world looks at us like…
    We’re stupid? crass? Greedy? Ruthless?
    Desperate?
    A World-class sport?
    No.

  • valanne

    Mitch McConnell….Bipartisian…..LOL

  • Figless

    Late to party but wanted to state that while Federal Legislation may be the only way to achieve completely Salix free racing in the USA, right now, it would be a major mistake. Once the Feds are in they will not stop at medication, they might in fact ban gambling altogethar. Keep them as far from this sport as possible.

    The very logical immediate, achievable, compromise is to ban Salix from Graded Stakes only, but like most issues in this country right now the zealots prevent compromise.

    Its obvious, and has been from teh beginning of this debate, that any jurisdiction banning Salix unilaterlly is committing suicide, Breeders Cup included. There must be jointly aggreed upon phase in on a national level, and a Graded Stakes ban is the place to begin.

    Can work on the larger issue of a complete ban later.

    • Barry Irwin

      States rights is the killer.

      We are living in a nation in which every state will do anything to beat its neighbor out of a tax dollar.

      They cannot agree on anything.

      Federal is the only answer.

      • Howard Stevens

        Come on out and support the ban on performance enhancing equipment and horseshoes.  Studies have shown that use of blinkers and tongue ties improves performance.  The insidious use of horseshoes has also been proven to make horses run several lengths faster. 

        Pro-blinkers, tongue tie, and horseshoe apologists point to protecting the blacksmiths and equipment suppliers as more important than the long term good of the breed. 

        Who wants to stand a stallion that raced with blinkers or wore a tongue tie, clearly improving it’s performance, making it more valuable as a stallion.  Everyone knows that mares who raced with blinkers and tongue ties will produce offspring requiring the same equipment, continuing to weaken the breed.  Horses 40 years ago didn’t need blinkers, tongue ties, and horseshoes. 

        The gamblers refuse to bet on races where horses are using performance enhancing equipment.  The public doesn’t understand why trainers, who know no other way, cruelly limit the field of vision of a horse, or lash its tongue in place so as not to interfere with its breathing.  Gambles are skeptical to the point of paranoia over those mad scientist blacksmiths sometimes even gluing on shoes, instead of the treaditional methods.

        ELIMINATE THE USE OF ALL PERFORMANCE ENHANCING EQUIPMENT ESPECIALLY BLINKERS, TONGUE TIES AND HORSESHOES……THE PUBLIC WILL SIMPLY NOT STAND FOR THESE ABUSES ANY LONGER.

        • SteveG

          Have mercy, old son.  Your schtick is getting old fast. 
           
           
           
           

          • Howard Stevens

            It’s not “schtick” but a very serious point to be made about calling things “performance enhancers” and the rush to judgement by some.

          • SteveG

            My 11 year old, one-eyed ex-hunting dog got the broad satire in your 1st try. 

            Unless you’re simply attempting to amuse yourself, my 13 year old, cross-eyed Maine Coon cat saw no reason for you to reprise the message two more times.

            That’s all my 15 year old pet billy goat was tryin’ to say…

          • Tinky

            To be fair, Steve, you do have an unusually perceptive array of pets.

      • Figless

        Step 1 – We can start by banning Salix in Graded and Listed Races, those races having the biggest impact on the breeding pool. The Graded Stakes committee can do this in a heartbeat.

        Step 2 – Need a coalition of NY, KY, CAL and FLA to agree to a total ban on Lasix for 2yo’s. Hopefully some other jurisdictions join in.

        Step 3- Big 4 ban Lasix in all non-claiming events.

        Continue onward from there, the rest can be negotiated while being gradually implemented to mitigate the impact on the tracks. Nudge the smaller tracks to follow suit, simply by embarrassment, publicity, calling out the various Governors and legislatures. It can be done without Federal intervention.

        Personally I dont have a problem with claimers running on Salix, realize I am in the minority, at least on this forum, but believe the above is a fair compromise.

    • Stanley inman

      Figless,
      How can you make this claim:

      “any jurisdiction banning Salix unilaterally is committing suicide, including the breeders cup”

      Given our 1st and only experiment this year,
      The breeders cup 2yr.old experience disproves this perfectly.
      None of the predicted catastrophic events occurred.
      The incidence of bleeding was insignificant and was consistent with
      What we have been told.
      The apologists for raceday meds have been quiet as
      A church mouse about the breeders cup.
      What’s that tell you.
      Most media insiders has been ignoring the story.
      (They know where their bread
      Is buttered.)

      • Figless

        Because field size was DOWN in the juvenile races, and handle as well. If the Breeders Cup unilaterally bans Salix in all races, field size will decrease in all races, as will handle, as will interest, which will result in smaller purses, even less participation, etc. Suicide.

        And if will be worse for Kentucky if they follow suit.

        Wish it weren’t the case, but it is.

        • Stanley inman

          Figless,
          The total handle for both days was down, agreed
          Show me the numbers for the
          2yr.old races-handle and number of starters
          compared to 2011,2010,2009,2008
          Then your claim might deserve further analysis-
          (Even some validity, assuming all other variables are constant)
          Also please address (factually) the failed prediction about
          “all horses bleed”

    • Marc Paulhus

      The feds are already involved in racing by regulating interstate wagering. The new pending legislation would modestly nut importantly expand federal oversight to create uniform medication rules and uniform penalties.

  • Stanley inman

    Nu-fan,
    If we are to change the trajectory of the sport’s future
    we must begin to appreciate the negative response
    Our routine practices have before those who love the horse.
    the general public may know little about medication issues;
    But when informed that 99per cent of starters have been
    Given a drug 4hrs before they compete;
    Their response, from my experience, is 100per cent
    REPULSION.
    everywhere in life there is animosity for
    Goin to work on drugs.
    Why should the horse be excluded from this reasonable proposition?

  • Figless

    Late to party but wanted to state that while Federal Legislation may be the only way to achieve completely Salix free racing in the USA, right now, it would be a major mistake. Once the Feds are in they will not stop at medication, they might in fact ban gambling altogethar. Keep them as far from this sport as possible.

    The very logical immediate, achievable, compromise is to ban Salix from Graded Stakes only, but like most issues in this country right now the zealots prevent compromise.

    Its obvious, and has been from teh beginning of this debate, that any jurisdiction banning Salix unilaterlly is committing suicide, Breeders Cup included. There must be jointly aggreed upon phase in on a national level, and a Graded Stakes ban is the place to begin.

    Can work on the larger issue of a complete ban later.

  • Barry Irwin

    If you are correct, then most of the world is ignorant and I have an awful lot of company.

    As an aside, which situation in your opinion based on your experience best describes the the value placed upon American stock by foreign investors: Koreans buying a rejected and failed stallion like Rock Hard Ten, or the droves of international breeders that shun American stock at the sales? I deal with foreign investors on a regular basis and they steer clear of our stock because of drugs.

  • Barry Irwin

    Stewart, if you read the trades in our industry and read the stories written by what remains of the “beat” writers, they are solidly in the camp of those favoring the use of Lasix and the reason is they have to deal with trainers every day of the week. Most of them don’t have the balls to face a trainer after writing something that would be anti Lasix. This is common sense. Look for it in the future when you read stories in Daily Racing Form. I am not making this stuff up.

    In fact, just two weeks ago, a member of the Graded Stakes Committee contacted me to ask what they had to do to get a writer to write something that was not supporting the horsemen’s view.

  • Cancilla45

    Lasix not a problem for racing,only fools like Irwin don’t know that

  • Barry Irwin

    I totally agree with you Stan.

    Ray and his partner made a business decision that is nothing if not regretable, when they chose to go for “hits” as opposed to responsibility, by allowing anonymous posting.

    I wish Ray would have decided to charge advertisers more money to improve his bottom line instead of letting anonymous postings, which do nothing to further any argument.

    Ray is just like AOL….he will write stuff just to get hits because the more hits he gets the better it looks for advertisers.

    Bad concept.

    I have told Ray this so none of this is news to him.

    What Ray has been able to accomplish is nothing short of miraculous and I have total respect for his talents and creativity. But I have not respect for him allowing people to post anonymous, because it destroys any credibility he has. And I am far from alone in this opinion.

    I have not given up trying to convince him that by giving up anonymity he will gain respect and not lose money. Maybe one day he will listen to me.

  • Barry Irwin

    Well get on the horn Marc! You are a citizen.

  • Barry Irwin

    Sign me up for the Layton Register!

  • Barry Irwin

    We need to do both.

  • Barry Irwin

    You are in the trenches and you know exactly what pressure a trainer is in. You are in a rat race in which you feel you must do things that you may not want to do just to “keep up with the Joneses.” Believe me, once ALL meds are done away with, your job will be much easier. Then we can return to a time when trainers were selected for their horsemanship and not their medicine chest. Owners, vets and trainers ALL share the responsibility of cleaning up this game before it becomes even more marginalised by a public and a group of horseplayers that are fed up with the corruption. I feel for you. I don’t know how you do it. I couldn’t do it. I’d find something else to do.

  • Barry Irwin

    States rights is the killer.

    We are living in a nation in which every state will do anything to beat its neighbor out of a tax dollar.

    They cannot agree on anything.

    Federal is the only answer.

  • Barry Irwin

    Horses that a chronic bleeders do not deserve a break.

    Racing is a test to prove which horse is best.

    Drugs merely cloud the issue.

    It is a sport first…if it can remain a sport, people in the trenches can make a living from it.

    But first and foremost racing is not meant as a vehicle to provide anybody with a living.

    This is a by product of racing.

    Put the freaking horse first and the rest will follow. Drugging horses so that people can make a living is not a viable concept, which is why our game is in trouble.

  • Stanley inman

    Figless,
    How can you make this claim:

    “any jurisdiction banning Salix unilaterally is committing suicide, including the breeders cup”

    Given our 1st and only experiment this year,
    The breeders cup 2yr.old experience disproves this perfectly.
    None of the predicted catastrophic events occurred.
    The incidence of bleeding was insignificant and was consistent with
    What we have been told.
    The apologists for raceday meds have been quiet as
    A church mouse about the breeders cup.
    What’s that tell you.
    Most media insiders has been ignoring the story.
    (They know where their bread
    Is buttered.)

  • Howard Stevens

    Come on out and support the ban on performance enhancing equipment and horseshoes.  Studies have shown that use of blinkers and tongue ties improves performance.  The insidious use of horseshoes has also been proven to make horses run several lengths faster. 

    Pro-blinkers, tongue tie, and horseshoe apologists point to protecting the blacksmiths and equipment suppliers as more important than the long term good of the breed. 

    Who wants to stand a stallion that raced with blinkers or wore a tongue tie, clearly improving it’s performance, making it more valuable as a stallion.  Everyone knows that mares who raced with blinkers and tongue ties will produce offspring requiring the same equipment, continuing to weaken the breed.  Horses 40 years ago didn’t need blinkers, tongue ties, and horseshoes. 

    The gamblers refuse to bet on races where horses are using performance enhancing equipment.  The public doesn’t understand why trainers, who know no other way, cruelly limit the field of vision of a horse, or lash its tongue in place so as not to interfere with its breathing.  Gambles are skeptical to the point of paranoia over those mad scientist blacksmiths sometimes even gluing on shoes, instead of the treaditional methods.

    ELIMINATE THE USE OF ALL PERFORMANCE ENHANCING EQUIPMENT ESPECIALLY BLINKERS, TONGUE TIES AND HORSESHOES……THE PUBLIC WILL SIMPLY NOT STAND FOR THESE ABUSES ANY LONGER.

  • Michael J. Arndt

    I still think having a 2lb. Weight break for running without Lasix and a 2 lb. break for running Bute free is the way to go. At least then there would be an incentive not to medicate just because everyone else is.

  • Michael J. Arndt

    I still think having a 2lb. Weight break for running without Lasix and a 2 lb. break for running Bute free is the way to go. At least then there would be an incentive not to medicate just because everyone else is.

  • Barry Irwin

    I always wondered what the Zen koan meant that goes like this “What is the sound of hand clapping?”

    Thanks to you, I now know.

  • Steve M

    Thanks for an excellent and objective synopsis Ray.

    Salix appears here to stay based on horse physiology and the economic demands of the racing business. 

    A wish is that racing stakeholders will attack the issue of excessive Horse Whipping with the same verve. On one hand we don’t want horses to have a safe/legal medication to help minimize pulmonary “bleeding” BUT we permit horses to be excessively whipped (in some cases arguably beaten).

    I cannot erase the whippings that Rachel Alexandra endured. With my family at Keeneland we got to see a promising 2yo – Here’s Comes Frazier – leading by daylight only to be flank whipped and put over the rail – suffering a fractured hock. The excitment at Keeneland was drained and it felt like crowd diminished after that. These whipping examples are PR nighmares for the sport – not to mention the horses.

    Excessive whipping (especially flank whipping within deep stretch) negatively impacts the health and welfare of the horse – and public opinion. 

    • Marc Paulhus

      Good point.  Excessive whipping is very disturbing and counterproductive.  Cruel, too.

      • Sue M. Chapman

        Excessive use of the whip is closely regulated outside the United States.

    • Roisin

      Yes, and the following is one illustration :  In the 6th race at Belmont on May 23rd the #12 horse, Jolienne, was DQ from show due to the outrageous behavior of the jockey, Jose Ortiz. The horse veered into path “shying under HARD LEFT HANDED STICK WORK, lost momentum as a result and was unable to get going again”….

      There should be real penalties for this kind of abuse, not just a DQ.

  • Steve M

    Thanks for an excellent and objective synopsis Ray.

    Salix appears here to stay based on horse physiology and the economic demands of the racing business. 

    A wish is that racing stakeholders will attack the issue of excessive Horse Whipping with the same verve. On one hand we don’t want horses to have a safe/legal medication to help minimize pulmonary “bleeding” BUT we permit horses to be excessively whipped (in some cases arguably beaten).

    I cannot erase the whippings that Rachel Alexandra endured. With my family at Keeneland we got to see a promising 2yo – Here’s Comes Frazier – leading by daylight only to be flank whipped and put over the rail – suffering a fractured hock. The excitment at Keeneland was drained and it felt like crowd diminished after that. These whipping examples are PR nighmares for the sport – not to mention the horses.

    Excessive whipping (especially flank whipping within deep stretch) negatively impacts the health and welfare of the horse – and public opinion. 

  • Howard Stevens

    “Put the freaking horse first”

    BAN THE USE OF PERFORMANCE EHANCING EQUIPMENT.  SAY NO TO BLINKERS, TONGUE TIES AND ESPECIALLY HORSESHOES.  All of these have been proven to improve performance in a horse and should not be tolerated.

    Using performance enhancing equipment on a horse so that people can make a living is not a viable concept. Blinkers, tongue ties, and horseshoes are why our game is in trouble.

  • Janet delcastillo

    Keep  your stand, Barry! Using the medications so available today for the sales horses and race horses is effecting their soundness. Why are so many two year olds finished at three? those who trained before the seventies, when steroids became so popular, know that horses were sounder and ran many more races. When meds are used to suppress the inflammation, the trainer has no idea how sound his horse really is.
     ”Therapeutic” medication can really be misused!So many on this forum have not done their homework about the cause and effect of the designer drugs and their long term effects. Clenbuterol, a very misused medication, is great for horses that have real airway constriction (heaves…infection..) but its side effects so please the trainers that they use it for its steroid like effects…(fast twitch muscle building and sometimes aggression). But are they aware that long term use causes decreased lung capacity ? See the study done by Rutgers University… Lasix can impair development of bone density …imagine using this on two year olds..even while in training! Steroids can inhibit absorption of calcium to the bone..is this helpful for horses with their need for strong legs? 
    I encourage owners to have more dialogue with their trainers..maybe that way they would allow competent trainers to give time for healing for the young horses when necessary …rather than pushing for results too soon.
    An educated owner is a real asset for the trainer!
    Many horses never win a single race…but lets not break them down in the process of finding that out….and if they can run, they will last!

  • Howard Stevens

    It’s kind of funny really, yet sad at the same time, that in an effort of be insulting, you failed miserably.

    Zen Koan philosophy states very clearly that…..”Koans do not represent the private opinion of a single man but rather the highest principle recieved alike by us and the hundreds and thousands of others”

    If you have any understanding of Koan Philosophy, which obviously you do not, you would realize that what he is saying is that your bizzare views are not gospel simply because they are yours.

    Nice try.

  • kyle

    “One hand clapping.”

  • David

    The good news is that, despite what some believe, the perception
    that racing is a crack house isn’t the main cause for decline.  The issue (to ban or not to ban) comes down
    to an industry debate between advocates having little stake in the outcome of
    races and opponents whose livelihoods directly depend upon race outcomes.  In short, it fails to promote or discourage (attendance
    and betting) participation because the 90% of those outside the business don’t understand
    or care one way or another.  The significant
    thing is it’s yet another example the the “industry” has no structure or
    leadership capable of executing on a consensus even if one could be achieved.

    • Barry Irwin

      David, I travel a lot. And I talk to a lot of people outside of the game. I think you would be surprised to learn how in tune they are with what is happening with drugs in our sport. I seriously doubt if you would find ANYBODY that supported the use of drugs in horse racing that is outside the game, excluding perhaps Lance Armstrong or Ben Johnson or Victor Conte or Marion Jones or Barry Bonds or Sammy Sosa.

  • David

    The good news is that, despite what some believe, the perception
    that racing is a crack house isn’t the main cause for decline.  The issue (to ban or not to ban) comes down
    to an industry debate between advocates having little stake in the outcome of
    races and opponents whose livelihoods directly depend upon race outcomes.  In short, it fails to promote or discourage (attendance
    and betting) participation because the 90% of those outside the business don’t understand
    or care one way or another.  The significant
    thing is it’s yet another example the the “industry” has no structure or
    leadership capable of executing on a consensus even if one could be achieved.

  • SteveG

    Have mercy, old son.  Your schtick is getting old fast. 
     
     
     
     

  • Marc Paulhus

    Indeed, I am tooting that horn Barry.  I have been making my calls to Congressional offices. 

    And it sure would help if the Hay, Oats and Water alliance, The Jockey Club, The Jockeys Guild, ARCI and the TOBA joined in.  From my perspective, the legislation seems to be the only practical and universal approach to a problem splintered into innumerable disparate voices and suggestions, however thoughtful they may (sometimes) be.

    The Interstate Horse Racing Improvement Act addresses the the need for uniformity in rules, better enforcement and more meaningful penalties.  It demands a higher standard for drug testing labs.  It resolves the issue of violators avoiding consequences by relocating to another state when faced with a suspension.

    Barry, your testimony before the Senate Commerce Committee was powerful and persuasive.  You are among a relatively small but influential group of industry insiders to command the attention and respect of people on all sides of this issue. 

    I agree with you about the important strides being made under the leadership of The Jockey Club and other groups, but herein lies the dilemma:  Any agreement forged by consent between major stakeholders and racing jurisdictions is subject to unending pressure to weaken or repeal it.  In my experience, it is nearly impossible to hold together such a coalition over time as one state then another falls off the wagon.

    Ray is right. A federal solution is less subject to the whims of individual racing commissions.  It is the only realistic solution.

  • Howard Stevens

    It’s not “schtick” but a very serious point to be made about calling things “performance enhancers” and the rush to judgement by some.

  • Marc Paulhus

    Senator McConnell is a good man. And there is a new understanding on Capital Hill following the recent elections that obstructive partisan politics is destructive to the national interest. I think that NOW is the time to ask for Senator McConnell and others to co-sponsor and actively support the Interstate Horse Racing Improvement Act.

    Always contact your own Congressman and Senators first, then those who have a broader responsibility like Majority and Minority leaders in both the House and Senate.

  • SteveG

    My 11 year old, one-eyed ex-hunting dog got the broad satire in your 1st try. 

    Unless you’re simply attempting to amuse yourself, my 13 year old, cross-eyed Maine Coon cat saw no reason for you to reprise the message two more times.

    That’s all my 15 year old pet billy goat was tryin’ to say…

  • WMBLOXSOM1965

    i am absolutely appalled that any responsible person in the industry would suggest abandonning the fight for banning lasix. 
     who cares about mr repole. he is a flash in the pan. let’s see where he is in ten years.?
    who cares about trainers. they work for owners and can be replaced. they have abandoned conditioning horses for the vet and his meds.
    my walls are covered with win pictures my grand father  won seventy plus yrs ago, none running on lasix  . he was a vet.
     i  continue to be disgusted with the people in this industry. they are the tale wagging the dog! 

  • WMBLOXSOM1965

    i am absolutely appalled that any responsible person in the industry would suggest abandonning the fight for banning lasix. 
     who cares about mr repole. he is a flash in the pan. let’s see where he is in ten years.?
    who cares about trainers. they work for owners and can be replaced. they have abandoned conditioning horses for the vet and his meds.
    my walls are covered with win pictures my grand father  won seventy plus yrs ago, none running on lasix  . he was a vet.
     i  continue to be disgusted with the people in this industry. they are the tale wagging the dog! 

  • kyle

    “The plunk of a blind man’s thrown stone still creates a ripple.”

  • Tbhorseman

    I am all for taking away everything.  I just would like for people to stop looking the other way at the big trainers and vets who get away with murder time after time..  A level playing field is all I want.

  • Tinky

    To be fair, Steve, you do have an unusually perceptive array of pets.

  • Stanley inman

    Howard my friend,
    Give us a poem,
    Make us laugh at ourselves

  • Ben Perkins

     I’d say that the breeders in the Natal region of SA should probably be a little more  open minded, as top SA stallion and sire of SA’s HOY is Var, an american bred son of Forest Wildcat who made more than half of his starts in the US on lasix.

  • Thelibrarian

     Unless & until someone creates & figures out how to sell a low-cost, high-profit program to a State Gov’t that GETS THEM OUT of the business of running racing we will NEVER be able to get ANYTHING done! Gov’t authorities should issue licenses & collect fees & taxes…..PERIOD! Until OPERATORS & STAKEHOLDERS wake up & figure out….that they are NOT IN A POSITION to effect these or ANY OTHER changes & start working in that direction FIRST…..THEY ARE WASTING THEIR TIME & ENERGY!

  • Barry Irwin

    Ben, Var is the sire of Variety Club, who was voted Horse of the Year. In his last start, he bled through both nostrils. When this happens in South Africa, as in some other countries, he was not allowed to race for a few months. Fortunately for him the season was over.

    There are leading vets and breeders that shy away from breeding to horses that bled badly, so many of them are trying to avoid breeding to known bleeders.

    This is why the Natal breeders have adopted this policy.

  • Barry Irwin

    Once again the freaking Librarian has hit the nail right on the head! State governments are the biggest enemies of progress in racing.

  • Stan Gillman

    Ray
    As to the horses that alledgedly bled in the 2 year old races; we also know that no jockeys came back with blood on their clothing.  So the questions remain; how much did the horses bleed? did the bleeding harm their performance?  Were there others including the winners who may have bled a tiny amount but may not have been examined?  From the scanty evidence that we have so far, I don’t see how any conclusions can be drawn as to field size or handle given the added unknown effect of hurricance Sandy.  It seems that the very fact that there was no visible evidence of bleeding in the nostrils makes a positive statement that the ‘experiment’ should continue.

    As to the issue of reduced handle, the gamblers complain that race day medication is a negative for the bettor who would like all runners to be on no medication.  So I don’t see how we can play both sides of the street on whether or not handle is affected one way or the other by race day medication of the lack thereof.

    Stan Gillman 

    • Sean Kerr

      I am grateful for the Breeders Cup position and implementation plan to phase out furosemide. Unfortunately, all of us who support it – and correct me if I am wrong folks – none of us thought about digitally photographing the scopes after the races. I hadn’t thought about it until hearing a few trainers complain after the race. It is incredible to be in a position to simply take the word of some trainers and the veterinarians who enable them as to what really happened. We need some truth. For the BC to be effective on this issue those scopes must be photo-graphed. To be really convincing: the horse’s medication history for its entire career should be part of the equation, as it can be argued that of the bleeding we do see, it very likely could be the result of the abuse and over-use of all the other legal medications before the race.

      • Sue M. Chapman

          Great conspiracy theory!!!  Both the trainers AND the vets are lying.   Now you have me confused.  Damn.  I thought, apparently incorrectly, that a SCOPE was a CAMERA not just a  magnifying glass on a tube stuck down a horse’s nose.  Don’t cameras take pictures?   

        • Cory Patton

          Not all endoscopes have cameras.  The most common ones used by the vets practicing on the backside are just a tube with a lighted magnifying glass.

          • Sue M. Chapman

            Agreed. But the high tech ones, which I believe S. Kerr wrote about, would surely be available to most BC vets.

          • Cory Patton

            If the Breeders cup would ante up and pay for them.  The thing that bothers me is that they went through all the trouble to ban the lasix but didn’t at least have an anonymous scope of all the runners for the sake of finding out how many actually had blood.

      • Sean Kerr

        The point is: BC did NOT photo-scope. So we have no irrefutable evidence to put to rest any claims yes or no. It is ridiculous to suggest anyone is claiming ‘conspiracy’ here. It was a missed opportunity. I hope that the BC will do it going forward. This sport deserves transparency and the public needs reliable information, not hearsay. Again: when one of the trainers who claimed bleeding has had his barn raided by stewards, has broken numerous serious medication violations, it is reasonable that all efforts to verify should be made.

  • Sunny Farm

    The Breeders Cup and all others in the industry should not ever give up the fight against drugs in the race horse.It is the right thing to do for the horse in raceing as well as the horses life after be it in a career or in the breeding shed. In past history it is common knowledge that horses did not run on lasix and other drugs and had no bleeding problems etc and no excuses. Other countries do not need drugs. Everyone needs to get off their asses and stop drugs in the horses not only because of the welfare of the horses but for a better public perception. My opinion always has been that more people would enter the races if they had new hope that the playing field was made level.BTW. a horse may burst small capilaries in the lungs from extreme exertion the same as a marathon human breaks down the muscles this is not the same as bleeding out the nose.Horses who bleed out should seek other careers or not be pushed so hard and perhaps not so young. Have a good day today.

    • Roisin

      Well said and good points.

  • Stan Gillman

    Ray
    As to the horses that alledgedly bled in the 2 year old races; we also know that no jockeys came back with blood on their clothing.  So the questions remain; how much did the horses bleed? did the bleeding harm their performance?  Were there others including the winners who may have bled a tiny amount but may not have been examined?  From the scanty evidence that we have so far, I don’t see how any conclusions can be drawn as to field size or handle given the added unknown effect of hurricance Sandy.  It seems that the very fact that there was no visible evidence of bleeding in the nostrils makes a positive statement that the ‘experiment’ should continue.

    As to the issue of reduced handle, the gamblers complain that race day medication is a negative for the bettor who would like all runners to be on no medication.  So I don’t see how we can play both sides of the street on whether or not handle is affected one way or the other by race day medication of the lack thereof.

    Stan Gillman 

  • Sunny Farm

    The Breeders Cup and all others in the industry should not ever give up the fight against drugs in the race horse.It is the right thing to do for the horse in raceing as well as the horses life after be it in a career or in the breeding shed. In past history it is common knowledge that horses did not run on lasix and other drugs and had no bleeding problems etc and no excuses. Other countries do not need drugs. Everyone needs to get off their asses and stop drugs in the horses not only because of the welfare of the horses but for a better public perception. My opinion always has been that more people would enter the races if they had new hope that the playing field was made level.BTW. a horse may burst small capilaries in the lungs from extreme exertion the same as a marathon human breaks down the muscles this is not the same as bleeding out the nose.Horses who bleed out should seek other careers or not be pushed so hard and perhaps not so young. Have a good day today.

  • Barry Irwin

    David, I travel a lot. And I talk to a lot of people outside of the game. I think you would be surprised to learn how in tune they are with what is happening with drugs in our sport. I seriously doubt if you would find ANYBODY that supported the use of drugs in horse racing that is outside the game, excluding perhaps Lance Armstrong or Ben Johnson or Victor Conte or Marion Jones or Barry Bonds or Sammy Sosa.

  • Barry Irwin

    Stanley, whereas there IS a Stanley Inman and a Barry Irwin, there is in fact no Howard Stevens. It is yet another alias. Yet another gutless wonder that lacks the courage of his own convictions to stand up like a man and have his opinions counted. And as long as he continues to hide behind one alias after another, his opinions will not carry as much as he would like.

  • Barry Irwin

    One man conversing with himself. One man asking and answering his own question. Mental masturbation.

  • Howard Stevens

    Happy to oblige Stanley my friend
    As for you Irwin don’t you have more truths to bend
    An alias he calls my name,
    Trying to deflect from the issue is really lame
    Alas, poor Irwin, he has no shame.
    For which I do not blame
    He is on the losing side of an argument
    One whose time came and went
    Using his big mouth to scream and shout
    Who knows what about
    Empty threats he does make
    His intimidation I do not take
    He is out of touch with reality
    babbling incessantly only banality
    Howard Stevens is indeed my name
    For which I don’t desire fame
    Irwin again you lose
    Go drink some more booze
    go out and get lit
    everyone knows you are full of shi……..
     

  • Barry Irwin

    Like I said chicken s – - – -.

  • Sean Kerr

    Marc – I appreciate where you stand. As you also know, I support the spirit of the efforts of Senator Udall and Representative Whitfield. But the 78 act must one day be repealed: it has just about destroyed horse racing by cementing and perpetuating a very flawed business model. The tracks are now dependent on simulcast and can barely hold on economically. Every year this gets worst. So it further perpetuates the need for year-round racing. Racing year round brings on the mass abuse of legal medications; this abuse far and beyond does more harm than the comparatively minuscule issue of race-day medications.  Under no circumstance am I stating that race-day meds are not a problem: they clearly are. But I wonder if you are choosing to ignore this more serious issue: the 78 act facilitates the conditions that perpetuate a poor wagering and entertainment product and this is killing the sport. Given that, and coupled with the state’s inability (unwillingness) to fund an infrastructure that can effectively supervise racing in a meaningful way, the sport itself cannot cobble the funds together to create an effective oversight structure and regime. The 78 act and the proposed amendment does not bring on the only effective way to deal with undetectable drugs: boots on the ground that can be pro-active in cutting the snakes head off before it bites by detective work. The 78 act ultimately makes it near impossible to accomplish what you and me and others want: clean racing.

    Not all acts take as long to pass as you allege, but to be sure some acts do indeed take a long time to reach a vote increasing its probability of passage.

    I hope that the amendment succeeds: but the logic does not follow that we should abandon all efforts to save this sport and help it reach a level of profitability such that it can one day become a clean sport. The proposed amendment moves racing in the right direction, but it is only a tiny step forward. Black and white all or nothing thinking makes no sense in this situation. 

    To pose that we should abandon efforts to change the sport is to give in to fear and perpetuate the forces that are ruining the economics, the potential for profit, the evaporation of 100,000s of thousands of jobs and ultimately the loss of horse racing.

    Under no circumstances will I cease efforts to bring a national commission structure to horse racing.

  • Sean Kerr

    Tammy – your logic does not make sense here: players world wide bet freely without the worry of the risk that a horse bleeds. So why is it different here? Don’t believe the hype or the misrepresentations of the flawed and limited research on the use of furosemide. 90% of the horses in America do NOT bleed to such extent that they need to race with a diuretic. But to go further and suggest that Salix (Lasix) is better for the horse’s form is incredible. No such condition exists and I cannot imagine how you came to this conclusion. It is a false one.

  • Sean Kerr

    Barry: I applaud and stand by your efforts on the ills plaguing our great sport, but I fear that you give in to a flaw in thinking here about the federal government. To my mind the prevailing fear and disgust of the federal government is a distortion – and it simply isn’t true that our government is as bad as everyone claims. It is a mass over-reaction and a distortion of reality. When you flew to Germany to buy those horses or to Oz for the ‘Cup, did your plane have to dodge other jets? Did any fall out of the sky? Have you suffered botulism lately from the meat or chicken you eat? Have any of your electronic gadgets exploded recently and maimed any of your family members? Have any or your horses been maimed on the federal highways getting to the track? The federal government is no where near as bad as the media has brainwashed this country into thinking. Surely you’ve been to third world countries. Come on – let’s get over this anti-federal government mind frame. Besides you and me are the federal government. We are Americans – we are better than this. I am proud of my country warts, flaws and all.

  • Sean Kerr

    The bill is H.R.1733 or S.886 – Marc is right that it does not in any way shape or form create a bureaucracy. The mechanic for the actual punishment and the funding for it is actually tight and economically efficient as a model.

  • Sean Kerr

    Well said Cory.

  • Susan

    Mr. Irwin,
    This is a serious question. If Lasix is banned, what will people do with all their horses that start to bleed, and thus cannot race?
    What if they bleed after going through a correct and proper training routine, proper health care and management and times of rest, when needed?
    There are just so many backyard farms and riding academies that can accomodate this problem.
    What will you do with all YOUR HORSES that can no longer race if Lasix is banned? 
       

  • Sean Kerr

    I am grateful for the Breeders Cup position and implementation plan to phase out furosemide. Unfortunately, all of us who support it – and correct me if I am wrong folks – none of us thought about digitally photographing the scopes after the races. I hadn’t thought about it until hearing a few trainers complain after the race. It is incredible to be in a position to simply take the word of some trainers and the veterinarians who enable them as to what really happened. We need some truth. For the BC to be effective on this issue those scopes must be photo-graphed. To be really convincing: the horse’s medication history for its entire career should be part of the equation, as it can be argued that of the bleeding we do see, it very likely could be the result of the abuse and over-use of all the other legal medications before the race.

  • Big Red

    Ray, you are right on, for the rest of you cry babies, let’s just look at some facts:
    FACT: Horses do bleed
    FACT: Lasix helps bleeders
    FACT: The career of a horse the needs lasix will come to an end if kept from using lasix
    FACT: Many owners will simply get out of the game if their horses are rendered worthless because they bleed and can not have lasix.
    FACT: The value of a potential stud is not affected if he used lasix, the good ones will still bring 5 to 6 figures for a breeding (from people globally)
    FACT: The value of a broodmare will not be affected if she used lasix (just look at the last Keeneland sale)
    FACT: Overseas buyers will still buy our yearlings sired by lasix users (always have, always will)
    FACT: Barry Irwin is the biggest hypocrite in the game. 

    • Tinky

      No regular reader of this site will be surprised that you forgot to list the most important facts of all:

      Two-thirds of the racehorses in the world compete without Lasix, and the vast majority do so safely and successfully. 

      American horses raced without Lasix for many decades, and were significantly more durable prior to the widespread use of that medication.

      • Barry Irwin

        Tinky, you trouble-making SOB, stop confusing the issue with facts.

      • Marc Paulhus

        Indeed.  The simple truth.

    • RayPaulick

      Curious who your other top 5 hypocrites are and how you came about ranking Barry on top. Do you have a specific methodology or is it more of a “feel” or “gut-instinct” kind of thing?

      • Big Red

        really ?????
        what do you call someone who preaches one thing but does another ??
         
        let’s look at this from my point: I run a claiming stable (as most trainers). Some of the horses I claim need lasix just to breeze. I, nor my owners can afford to simply throw these horses away. Lasix isn’t going to hurt or kill them. The geldings certainly are not not going to pass any bad traits on. Would B.I. prefer that I give these horses away and end up with a trainer that uses something un-traceable to prevent bleeding (yes that happens) or worse yet, end up at the killers? 

        If B.I. was truly worried about passing on bad genes from lasix users, he wouldn’t be breeding to mares that used lasix or continue to use it on his future stallion Animal Kingdom…period.

        • Laytonregister

          Lasix is obviously good business for the claiming stable, but it is just as obvious that lasix is bad business for the animal and for the sport of Thoroughbred racing. If forced to choose, I’ve yet to see or read a story where drugs are involved have a happy ending.

    • Layton Register

      Please study these numbers (link is below) closely and please re-consider your “facts” and whether the value of North American bloodstock has been affected by race-day medication. The way I see the trend and the way I believe many other North American breeders would see it, their stock is worth barely half what it was prior to lasix being permitted on race day.

      http://reformracing.files.wordpress.com/2012/11/salescomps-sheet11.pdf

    • Sean Kerr

      FACT: Big Red doesn’t have the balls to show his face when resorting to insult
      FACT: Big Red’s logic demonstrates a simple mind

      • Stanley inman

        Sean,
        Simmer down my friend,
        (I don’t think big red has balls,
        me think big red is a
        Lady)

    • nu-fan

      Big Red:  As I had stated in another reply, Golden Gate Fields had 81 horses (from my program information) that ran this past Saturday and 80 of them ran on Lasix.  Were all of these 80 horses bleeders?  If yes, then, horseracing has a pretty big problem that even Lasix, alone, can’t solve.

      • Larry Ensor

        Nu-Fan you seem to be of the few that pose quality questions and offer constructive criticism. To answer your question IMO no they do not. They do because they can.
        IMO because it is perceived real or not as a performance enhancer though few will go on the record and say such. IMO most because they feel it acts as a preventive, real or perceived.

        • nu-fan

          Larry:  Thank you for your reply.  One question that keeps rattling around in my brain is this:  With so many horses running on Lasix, is there a possibility that one or two generations of horses may end up having severe (if not fatal) injuries or health issues because of this drug?  I’ve never liked the idea of putting all of my eggs in one basket.  Because Lasix is used so routinely, the numbers might be alarming and may have a truly negative impact on all of horseracing if, later, it is determined that Lasix does have serious side effects. Am I the only one who sees this as a really scary scenario–and, a possibly real one?

          • Larry Ensor

            Nu-fan, sorry for the delay have been plenty busy around the farm and the precious free time I have I would rather watch re-runs of NCIS then to get back into this debate that I spent far too much time with in the last 4 years. I am rather disgusted/dishearten with the whole thing, lack of direction, leadership in the flat and breeding industry in general. Though I feel this is an issue that needs to be addressed I just think there are so MANY bigger issues that need to be addressed.
            As to your question and I understand what you are asking I think not. Lasix has been around and in use for over 40 years. But not nearly at the level we have seen in the last 20. There are those that say because we breed bleeders to bleeders we are breeding a weaker horse, a horse that is predisposed. Now I am not an expert on genetics but I have a fairly strong self educated understanding of the process. And it would take many, many, many generations of breeding bleeder to bleeders to possibly prove out this hypothesis. Perhaps there is a chase there is a “recessive bleeder gene” that has evolved from recessive to sub-dominant. I doubt it though. How ever the Thoroughbred gene pool is a small one all TBs tracing back to the few foundation horses that the breed was established on. A given the fact that all TBs through out the world are directly related and do not, as we are led to believe have the same problems as the American breed it does beg the question. Personally I think its more do to our style of racing and training and the expectations of a quick return on investment and or action.

    • Sue M. Chapman

      WRONG!!!  Lasix helps the rare horse that actually bleeds.  It does NOTHING from horses genetically impaired.  It is PERFORMANCE ENHANCING.  No question.  You can do your own research on the science behind it. 

      FACT: The problem is NOT  if a mare or stallion raced on Lasix. How many horses do you really think actually bleed from the nose?????  VERY FEW.

       The problem is Breeders’ ignoring the genetic predisposition of horses that truly suffer from EIPH, and crossing it with another horse with the same predisposition to bleed.  It’s called breeding and selling to the Commercial Market. 

      The genetic quality of the American thoroughbred is rapidly deteriorating.  It is furthered by fools at 2YO in Training Sales buying the BABY that Works Fast.  Guaranteed Short Career. 

  • Big Red

    Ray, you are right on, for the rest of you cry babies, let’s just look at some facts:
    FACT: Horses do bleed
    FACT: Lasix helps bleeders
    FACT: The career of a horse the needs lasix will come to an end if kept from using lasix
    FACT: Many owners will simply get out of the game if their horses are rendered worthless because they bleed and can not have lasix.
    FACT: The value of a potential stud is not affected if he used lasix, the good ones will still bring 5 to 6 figures for a breeding (from people globally)
    FACT: The value of a broodmare will not be affected if she used lasix (just look at the last Keeneland sale)
    FACT: Overseas buyers will still buy our yearlings sired by lasix users (always have, always will)
    FACT: Barry Irwin is the biggest hypocrite in the game. 

  • Tinky

    No regular reader of this site will be surprised that you forgot to list the most important facts of all:

    Two-thirds of the racehorses in the world compete without Lasix, and the vast majority do so safely and successfully. 

    American horses raced without Lasix for many decades, and were significantly more durable prior to the widespread use of that medication.

  • Marc Paulhus

    There doen not appear to be any political;; support for establishing a national horse racing commission at this time.  There are too many independent ruling bodies, too many vested interests and too many incompatible opinions to pull it all together.  I fear we will end up where we started, Sean – which is to say that we’ll be embroiled in endless debate for the next 30 years.  

    Of course I realize that the proposed legislation isn’t nearly as comprehensive as you or I would like. But it is a valid proposal and it has gotten popular and political support, hearings in House and the Senate, and it can still be strengthened, revised or improved by committee amendment.You make a good point about the cumulative damage to horses from year-round racing. However, I think that is a separate economic issue and I don’t see a realistic possibility of expanding the scope of federal intervention, at this point in time, to encompass all that you, I and other reformers aspire to achieve.

    While we may still agree in principle, we disagree in terms of political  strategy.  I’m hoping to build consensus around any plan that better protects horses and has a good chance of being enacted in my lifetime.

  • Tbhorseman

    I am all for training and racing drug free as long as everyone has to as well.

  • Marc Paulhus

    Congress does not move any legislation forward without a compelling need or a demanding constituency.  The institution is reactive by nature, not proactive.  If we want a federal solution, we’re gonna have to come together and make some noise and generally agree upon a common solution.  And if everybody throws out different ideas, incompatible ideas, then politicians tend to avoid controversy by doing nothing at all.

  • Roisin

    Originally Lasix was intended for proven bleeders so why is every horse recieving the medication ? Are they ALL bleeders? And as studies have shown, Lasix does not help all the  known bleeders. It seems there is the belief Lasix improves performance, yet horses from Europe can race here and win without the drug.

    It is rarely pointed out the drug is intended to treat disease(s) such as conjestive heart failure and pulmonary edema The drug is NEVER given to healthy people or healthy animals with the EXEPTION of racehorses.

    It is not the benign drug it would seem considering how it is overused and misused in horses. As with all drugs there are side effects from Lasix, some of which are dehydration, electrolyte imbalance which can cause cardiac arrythmias which I’ve heard called “the thumps”? There are also risks in administrig the drug such as infection and repeated injections can result in an inflamatory process which, incidently, may explain the low grade fever often seen. Necropsies of claimers showed disseminated inflamation of the entire vascular system.

    A question comes to mind concerning bones, especially in young horses, and whether there is a negative effect on bone mineralization with repeated use of Lasix. And there are other possible negative effects such as agitation and profuse sweating. Not all people react exactly the same way to the same drug so why would it be any different in horses?

    Further, some horses race with as little as 3-4 days rest. Has anyone checked to see if that is enough time for the electrolytes to regain balance ? In hot weather it is even more important.

    The majority pushing for the status quo must believe Lasix enhanses performance, etc, and the chance of winning, regardless of the cost. Is that all that counts ?  Who is looking out for the welfare of the horse ?

    • Sue M. Chapman

      I researched Lasix in racing.  Lasix is positively, without question, PERFORMANCE ENHANCING.  Few horses show blood post exercise on endoscopic exam.  It is RARE to see a horse bleed from the nose.

      • Larry Ensor

        This is a statement I agree with. But my research comes from hands on experience. Going back to my days as a groom in the pre-Lasix days of the early 70’s.
        I have my trainers routinely scope our horses after a race and the ones I break and train here at our farm.
        I also scope my Steeplechase horses all of which were bought off the flat track all which ran on Lasix none of which run on it over jumps none of which have bleed. They run 3+ miles doing sub 2 minute miles over as many as 20 jumps. Talk about exerting themselves! IMO change the style of training and running.

        • Marc Paulhus

          Like, like, like.

  • Roisin

    Originally Lasix was intended for proven bleeders so why is every horse recieving the medication ? Are they ALL bleeders? And as studies have shown, Lasix does not help all the  known bleeders. It seems there is the belief Lasix improves performance, yet horses from Europe can race here and win without the drug.

    It is rarely pointed out the drug is intended to treat disease(s) such as conjestive heart failure and pulmonary edema The drug is NEVER given to healthy people or healthy animals with the EXEPTION of racehorses.

    It is not the benign drug it would seem considering how it is overused and misused in horses. As with all drugs there are side effects from Lasix, some of which are dehydration, electrolyte imbalance which can cause cardiac arrythmias which I’ve heard called “the thumps”? There are also risks in administrig the drug such as infection and repeated injections can result in an inflamatory process which, incidently, may explain the low grade fever often seen. Necropsies of claimers showed disseminated inflamation of the entire vascular system.

    A question comes to mind concerning bones, especially in young horses, and whether there is a negative effect on bone mineralization with repeated use of Lasix. And there are other possible negative effects such as agitation and profuse sweating. Not all people react exactly the same way to the same drug so why would it be any different in horses?

    Further, some horses race with as little as 3-4 days rest. Has anyone checked to see if that is enough time for the electrolytes to regain balance ? In hot weather it is even more important.

    The majority pushing for the status quo must believe Lasix enhanses performance, etc, and the chance of winning, regardless of the cost. Is that all that counts ?  Who is looking out for the welfare of the horse ?

  • Marc Paulhus

    The feds are already involved in racing by regulating interstate wagering. The new pending legislation would modestly nut importantly expand federal oversight to create uniform medication rules and uniform penalties.

  • Barry Irwin

    Susan, I will do the same thing that we have always done. We will keep the fillies and mares we like and breed them. Howe Great, a Graded stakes winner this year for us, is out of a mare that was a bleeder, for example. If horses are no longer viable for racing, we will find homes for them, as we always do.

    We don’t get many chronic bleeders.

    This year we had two horses bleed and both of them were as a result of the horses incubating a virus that went undetected and they bled as a result of being put under too much pressure when they were sick.

    We have given both of these plenty of time to recover.

    We raced all of our juveniles this year without Lasix and we never saw a speck of blood and each of them was scoped after they raced.

    Bleeding incidence that results in horses developing scar tissue that makes them chronic bleeders is rare in Thoroughbreds, in spite of what you may have been told or read.

  • RayPaulick

    Curious who your other top 5 hypocrites are and how you came about ranking Barry on top. Do you have a specific methodology or is it more of a “feel” or “gut-instinct” kind of thing?

  • Barry Irwin

    Sean, State governments are what give me a pain. I think the Feds can help where the States have failed, especially if the Feds can prevail upon the FBI to spend a little time on the backstretch. Do you think these trainers that tilt the playing field would be able to get away with the crap they do if the G men were on the job? How many months would it take them to clean up this game?

  • Barry Irwin

    Tinky, you trouble-making SOB, stop confusing the issue with facts.

  • Barry Irwin

    The mere fact that you have identified this contingency as a “crowd” proves how man do-gooders have lined up on the correct side of this issue.

  • Layton Register

    Please study these numbers (link is below) closely and please re-consider your “facts” and whether the value of North American bloodstock has been affected by race-day medication. The way I see the trend and the way I believe many other North American breeders would see it, their stock is worth barely half what it was prior to lasix being permitted on race day.

    http://reformracing.files.word

  • Anne

    Don’t bother in upstate NY. Gillibrand and Schumer (turn coat) have no intentions of helping race horses. Or horses in general. Both signed the slaughter bill that was put back on the table. I was in contact with both plus Hillary Clinton before she left for Sec. of State. Clinton was all for the end of horse slaughter. Schumer pretended to be until it was presented back on the table. Gillibrand never was. Could care less. It was a sad day to see her back in office. In our case I would have to contact Senator McConnell.

  • Roisin

    Well said and good points.

  • Tammy37

    you, like barry, are comparing apples and oranges. racing overseas is a completely different animal. they race much less, the racing is much less stressful, as they gallop early and run for 2 furlongs, and sprint dirt racing is not common. most of the bleeders over their come over here were they can be helped. i have many trainer friends who care greatly about their horses. they all say it is inhumane to race without a proven medicine, knowing 90% of horses bleed.(rick arthur has testified to this)
      people are not as dumb as many of the anti lasix people believe. they really can tell the difference between medications and illegal drugs. i bring new people to the track all the time, and when i explain what lasix is, the issue is over.
      i come to the conclusion of horses form, thru years of handicapping. you have a short memory or were not around prelasix. when a horse you handicapped and  bet on ran bad and you later found it it bled, it was very frustrating. it is now very are that that happens. 
     horsemen should care about one thing, the horse health. anti lasix people do not. 

  • RhettFincher

    American trainers must not be talented enough to train their horses drug-free is EXACTLY the reason that most of them don’t want the drugs taken away

  • Big Red

    really ?????
    what do you call someone who preaches one thing but does another ??
     
    let’s look at this from my point: I run a claiming stable (as most trainers). Some of the horses I claim need lasix just to breeze. I, nor my owners can afford to simply throw these horses away. Lasix isn’t going to hurt or kill them. The geldings certainly are not not going to pass any bad traits on. Would B.I. prefer that I give these horses away and end up with a trainer that uses something un-traceable to prevent bleeding (yes that happens) or worse yet, end up at the killers? 

    If B.I. was truly worried about passing on bad genes from lasix users, he wouldn’t be breeding to mares that used lasix or continue to use it on his future stallion Animal Kingdom…period.

  • Laytonregister

    Lasix is obviously good business for the claiming stable, but it is just as obvious that lasix is bad business for the animal and for the sport of Thoroughbred racing. If forced to choose, I’ve yet to see or read a story where drugs are involved have a happy ending.

  • nu-fan

    Sean:  Thank you for providing the specific numbers on these bills. I’ll take a closer look at them and, I would hope, that other readers will do the same. 

  • nu-fan

    Marc:  But, how does one organize a collective voice?  Are there organizations already working on this?

  • Barry Irwin

    Tammy, first of all “most” of the bleeders in the UK/Euro do not come over here. In fact, lately, bloodstock agents confirm that the traffic from UK/Euro has slowed to a (you should please excuse the word!) trickle.

    Secondly, horses in Europe/UK race more often than our horses, especially the 2yo runners.

    I don’t believe Rick Arthur ever said that 90 percent of horses bleed. First of all, let’s just say, for the sake of your argument, that 90 percent of horses do bleed.

    Do you think they bleed 90 percent of the time?

    This is the key.

    Horses rarely bleed enough to adversely impact their performance.

    You have been sold a bill of goods.

    This is all about using fear tactics.

    Why do you think I am willing to race all of my 2yo runners without Lasix? I am not stupid and I am not careless.

    Why on earth do you think that a bunch of owners that care about racing and their horses agreed to race them without Lasix?

    What is our motivation if not the betterment of the sport?

  • Sean Kerr

    Susan – Here is a serious question: why do you think that there will be that many current runners will no longer race without Salix? Do you really believe that the majority of horses racing now really bleed to such an extent that they must have a diuretic? I don’t think your fears are justified. If trainers are claiming that their horses are bleeding so much are either delusional or they are lying. And if they are not lying they are doing something terribly wrong and probably should not be training at all. Relatively few horses bleed enough to worry about. Horses are not going to be dropping dead.

    And you know why? Because we will get to see the truth.But here is the real question: when are we going to require that all medications during training or going to be publicly posted for all to see? I bet when we show the vet bills, all these claims of bleeding will disappear overnight: because whatever bleeding there is to worry about likely came about from the abuse and overuse of legally prescribed medications. To think that we aren’t abusing regular medications is to be in denial.

    One other thought: if we quit pushing our thoroughbreds to run insane 22 fractions like quarter-horses you would probably never hear anyone mention bleeding. 

    So if we stop all of that you won’t have to worry about finding homes for these horses anywhere except the racetrack.

  • Sean Kerr

    Tammy – how come guys like Leroy Jolly or Billy Turner, old school trainers, tell me that in 50 years plus of training they have only seen 2 or 3 bleeders of any real concern? They aren’t the only ones that have told me this – others who prefer to keep their names out of the public debate tell me the same thing. One private trainer of one of the oldest racing families in America told me that prior to the use of Salix he rarely ever saw any bleeding worth worrying about. Those trainers that tell you about how humane furosemide is don’t want to talk to you about the depletion of electrolytes after pissing 30 pounds away before it gets to the gate: so don’t tell me about being humane. What athlete in his right mind would dehydrate himself before a high performance athletic event. Trainers like Richard Mandella quit withdrawing water from his horses before the races after watching marathon runners drinking fluids while they run. And we give a drug to take those fluids away from the horse? It is insanity and you are completely wrong and completely mis-informed. And: the science does not support the unbridled use of Salix. I would love to see your list of trainers that claimed bleeding was the issue: compare that with their other drug violations and I’m quite confident that you will see some interesting patterns.

  • Sean Kerr

    Marc – would you bet your life on the premise that there is no political support in congress for a national racing and wagering commission? 

  • Sean Kerr

    FACT: Big Red doesn’t have the balls to show his face when resorting to insult
    FACT: Big Red’s logic demonstrates a simple mind

  • http://www.winnerscirclepartners.com/ Stewart Nickel

    Barry,

    I am sure you don’t intend to do so but it comes off as very condescending when you say “if you read the trades in our industry” to someone who is in “our industry”.  Not only do I read the trades and still disagree with your statement but even if the “beat” writers were biased it wouldn’t change the fact the press outside of the industry has been overwhlemingly biased against lasix.

    The politicians and non-industry activists are getting their information from sources outside the industry (mainly because they are lazy) so the industry trades have nowhere near the weight as biased sources such as the NY Times.  In the end the press isn’t doing their job either way since they don’t take the time to get educated on any issue and instead focus on sensationalizing topics to gain readers.

    And your reference to someone from the Graded Stakes Committee contacting you doesn’t change the facts.

  • Rachel

    The reason government is involved in racing to begin with is gambling. Not even a private business model can escape government (state or federal) oversight because of the gambling aspect.
    The reason federal government can’t just sachay in and take over from state government is a little thing called the 10th amendment. What it can do is use the “carrot/stick” approach, like it does with seatbelt, helmet laws, for example…pass a seatbelt law, get federal $$$
    The reason nothing will change is racing only pretends it is for the horses…it is all about money, the easiest way possible.

    • Sean Kerr

      I respectfully disagree with your premise Rachel. Attention legal minds on this chain – correct me if I am wrong: Article I Section 8 of the U.S. constitution gives a clear mandate that the federal government’s authority on interstate commerce supersedes the state’s authority over racing and wagering. In fact, the states current authority exists at the pleasure of the congress. Given the 1978 act and the subsequent legislation that allows internet wagering, then racing and wagering is now clearly and totally an interstate commerce activity. Wagering is no different than the high-frequency trading by hedge funds, so we may one day see wagering oversight correctly placed under the gaze of the U.S. treasury, the OCC, and the CFTC. But I digress. The federal government won’t sachay anywhere: their patience with the states inability to oversea or administer horse racing and wagering is eroding. Hopefully the hammer will fall soon.

  • Rachel

    The reason government is involved in racing to begin with is gambling. Not even a private business model can escape government (state or federal) oversight because of the gambling aspect.
    The reason federal government can’t just sachay in and take over from state government is a little thing called the 10th amendment. What it can do is use the “carrot/stick” approach, like it does with seatbelt, helmet laws, for example…pass a seatbelt law, get federal $$$
    The reason nothing will change is racing only pretends it is for the horses…it is all about money, the easiest way possible.

  • Barry Irwin

    Stewart, I should have used “one” instead of “you.”

    My point is this: it is the info one finds in the trades that influence those within the industry, not the stuff written in the secular press.

    And to a disturbing degree, the “beat” writers are taking up the side of the trainers for reasons pointed out in my post.

  • Tbhorseman

    That hurts Rhett…. I know exactly what you mean.  If you look at some of the big outfits the horses do the exact same thing everyday wear the same equipment.  Somewhere along the line the horsemanship was replaced by the assembly line..

  • Stanley inman

    Sean,
    Simmer down my friend,
    (I don’t think big red has balls,
    me think big red is a
    Lady)

  • Tbower

    Give us names Barry.  You are the one that criticizes anonymity.  Who is the member of the graded stakes committee that made that statement?  And why did you run first time Lasix older horses this year?   

  • Figless

    Because field size was DOWN in the juvenile races, and handle as well. If the Breeders Cup unilaterally bans Salix in all races, field size will decrease in all races, as will handle, as will interest, which will result in smaller purses, even less participation, etc. Suicide.

    And if will be worse for Kentucky if they follow suit.

    Wish it weren’t the case, but it is.

  • Figless

    Step 1 – We can start by banning Salix in Graded and Listed Races, those races having the biggest impact on the breeding pool. The Graded Stakes committee can do this in a heartbeat.

    Step 2 – Need a coalition of NY, KY, CAL and FLA to agree to a total ban on Lasix for 2yo’s. Hopefully some other jurisdictions join in.

    Step 3- Big 4 ban Lasix in all non-claiming events.

    Continue onward from there, the rest can be negotiated while being gradually implemented to mitigate the impact on the tracks. Nudge the smaller tracks to follow suit, simply by embarrassment, publicity, calling out the various Governors and legislatures. It can be done without Federal intervention.

    Personally I dont have a problem with claimers running on Salix, realize I am in the minority, at least on this forum, but believe the above is a fair compromise.

  • Larry

    FYI – Pennsylvania Racing Commission announced that as of Jan 1 2013 – 2 year
    olds will not be permitted to run on Lasix.

    • RayPaulick

      Larry, you are correct. In fact, an owner recently pointed out to me that Pennsylvania rules of racing prohibit Lasix for 2-year-olds. See section 163.305 (e) http://www.pacode.com/secure/data/058/chapter163/058_0163.pdf  

      Somehow, the Pennsylvania Horse Racing Commission was convinced to ignore the law for a number of years. 

      In Pennsylvania, anything is possible.

      • Sue M. Chapman

        Nobody is watching and nobody cares in Pa.

        • Larry Ensor

          Excuse me but I take exception to your comment. Exactly how much money, blood, sweet and tears do you have invested in breeding and racing in PA or the mid-Atlantic region for that matter? Maybe like us quite a bit. But unlike me there is no way to tell. You and the majority of people that post offer up no back ground information to support your comments. A simple Google search of my name without having to dig will give my background. Along with links to my various comments on the PR going back to its inception because I have always used my real name. Anyone that takes umbrage with anything I say can find easily find my phone number and email. For the record I and many others are very concerned about what’s going on not only in PA but the entire industry. And have been for many years. I am no Johnny come lately. It’s not only my livelihood but my life’s work and passion. A passion that is slowly slipping away while all the Neros fiddle about while Rome burns.

          • Sue M. Chapman

            Mr. Ensor, I will be in touch shortly.  Thank you! 

    • Stanley inman

      Rumor on the street:
      HBPA is moving headquarters to colorado in 2014
      After results in pennsylanvia
      Will need endless supply of wacky tobaccy
      To continue “all horses bleed” mantra

  • Larry

    FYI – Pennsylvania Racing Commission announced that as of Jan 1 2013 – 2 year
    olds will not be permitted to run on Lasix.

  • Stanley inman

    Figless,
    The total handle for both days was down, agreed
    Show me the numbers for the
    2yr.old races-handle and number of starters
    compared to 2011,2010,2009,2008
    Then your claim might deserve further analysis-
    (Even some validity, assuming all other variables are constant)
    Also please address (factually) the failed prediction about
    “all horses bleed”

  • Sean Kerr

    I respectfully disagree with your premise Rachel. Attention legal minds on this chain – correct me if I am wrong: Article I Section 8 of the U.S. constitution gives a clear mandate that the federal government’s authority on interstate commerce supersedes the state’s authority over racing and wagering. In fact, the states current authority exists at the pleasure of the congress. Given the 1978 act and the subsequent legislation that allows internet wagering, then racing and wagering is now clearly and totally an interstate commerce activity. Wagering is no different than the high-frequency trading by hedge funds, so we may one day see wagering oversight correctly placed under the gaze of the U.S. treasury, the OCC, and the CFTC. But I digress. The federal government won’t sachay anywhere: their patience with the states inability to oversea or administer horse racing and wagering is eroding. Hopefully the hammer will fall soon.

  • RayPaulick

    Larry, you are correct. In fact, an owner recently pointed out to me that Pennsylvania rules of racing prohibit Lasix for 2-year-olds. See section 163.305 (e) http://www.pacode.com/secure/d…  

    Somehow, the Pennsylvania Horse Racing Commission was convinced to ignore the law for a number of years. 

    In Pennsylvania, anything is possible.

  • Francis Bush

    Ray,
    Races at Santa Anita should be limited to fields of 8 horses. No winners outside post 8 on Friday’s Breeders’ Cup and just two won from beyond this post on Saturday. Why would a trainer take the chance of drawing into a field when he had no chance if his horse was outside post 8. If Breeders’ Cup is to continue at Santa Anita, then the track surface managers must correct for inside bias. Some very fine racers were left behind during the raced because of poor post position.     

  • Francis Bush

    Ray,
    Races at Santa Anita should be limited to fields of 8 horses. No winners outside post 8 on Friday’s Breeders’ Cup and just two won from beyond this post on Saturday. Why would a trainer take the chance of drawing into a field when he had no chance if his horse was outside post 8. If Breeders’ Cup is to continue at Santa Anita, then the track surface managers must correct for inside bias. Some very fine racers were left behind during the raced because of poor post position.     

  • Thelibrarian

    Without arguing the specific merits of pro/anti Lasix positions….99% of all owners/trainers in the US have made the CHOICE to run on Lasix for the past 30 years. It has been correctly stated 2/3 of the racing world doesn’t use it. But they have never been given the CHOICE either. I think when you have OVERWHELMING acceptance of ANYTHING to this magnitude….it’s VERY, VERY difficult to un-ring that bell? When you combine this overwhelming choice with oversight from authorities who’s superficial knowledge, desire for revenue & fear of change in-general you have formula for no change at all. The BC gets credit for implementing their agenda….but unfortunately the BC doesn’t own or run any racetracks.

  • Thelibrarian

    Without arguing the specific merits of pro/anti Lasix positions….99% of all owners/trainers in the US have made the CHOICE to run on Lasix for the past 30 years. It has been correctly stated 2/3 of the racing world doesn’t use it. But they have never been given the CHOICE either. I think when you have OVERWHELMING acceptance of ANYTHING to this magnitude….it’s VERY, VERY difficult to un-ring that bell? When you combine this overwhelming choice with oversight from authorities who’s superficial knowledge, desire for revenue & fear of change in-general you have formula for no change at all. The BC gets credit for implementing their agenda….but unfortunately the BC doesn’t own or run any racetracks.

  • nu-fan

    Big Red:  As I had stated in another reply, Golden Gate Fields had 81 horses (from my program information) that ran this past Saturday and 80 of them ran on Lasix.  Were all of these 80 horses bleeders?  If yes, then, horseracing has a pretty big problem that even Lasix, alone, can’t solve.

  • Marc Paulhus

    Having read most of these 170 plus comments so far, it occurs to me that this message thread pretty much sums up the difficulty in reaching uniformity with regard to permissive medication and illegal drug use in racing.  There are 38 states with different rules and little cooperation between the different states.  Rules and positions adopted by states are in a constant state of flux as pressure is brought to bear on appointed commissioners by various special interests.
     Much of the banter here is not unlike the conversation about medication and drug use I’ve heard over many months and years.  There are a lot of comments and ideas, some thoughtful, but others are just plain silly. Many folks identify problems but fail to suggest workable solutions.There are only a couple of very definitive proposals that have been put forward and that have some degree of specificity and broad support.  One, of course, is the proposal favored by the Jockey Club and “Clean Racing” advocates.  This has gained some notable backing and passes the test as a genuine and ongoing effort.  Unfortunately, it cannot achieve uniformity among all racing jurisdictions.The other is the pending federal legislation which would mandate uniform medication and drug use policies by law.  The federal legislation as currently drafted is very modest and lacks the broader elements of a national horse racing commission that some favor, or some of the ideas put forward by ARCI, The Jockey Club and others.  Nevertheless, It could be strengthened by amendment if such ideas gained considerable popular and political support.

    Of the two approaches, I prefer the federal legislation as the most practical and durable solution.  Independent industry reform on a state by state basis is an exercise in futility.   

    • Sue M. Chapman

      Please read my comments in reply to Barry Irwin.  Just posted.  I’ve tried to offer a solution and resolution about who governs racing.  Your comments are among the very few worth reading.

      • Marc Paulhus

        Thanks.  I agree with you about the welcomed leadership of the Breeders Cup.   Would that they had the authority to extend their reach to all tracks and all horses!

        Effective leaders and industry groups might consider the possibility that they could effectively partner with the feds to achieve their goals with minimum needless bureaucracy.

        • Sue M. Chapman

          Needless Bureaucracy is fictional and redundant.
           
          BC functions well worldwide; it makes AND enforces rules considered Internationally acceptable.  Let’s cut our losses, arguments, State Funded Studies, conventions, Federal Commissions, Debates, etc.  We have the tools.  Let’s use them. 

          If anyone has a better plan to keep government out of the Rules of Racing, please speak up.

  • Marc Paulhus

    Having read most of these 170 plus comments so far, it occurs to me that this message thread pretty much sums up the difficulty in reaching uniformity with regard to permissive medication and illegal drug use in racing.  There are 38 states with different rules and little cooperation between the different states.  Rules and positions adopted by states are in a constant state of flux as pressure is brought to bear on appointed commissioners by various special interests.
     Much of the banter here is not unlike the conversation about medication and drug use I’ve heard over many months and years.  There are a lot of comments and ideas, some thoughtful, but others are just plain silly. Many folks identify problems but fail to suggest workable solutions.There are only a couple of very definitive proposals that have been put forward and that have some degree of specificity and broad support.  One, of course, is the proposal favored by the Jockey Club and “Clean Racing” advocates.  This has gained some notable backing and passes the test as a genuine and ongoing effort.  Unfortunately, it cannot achieve uniformity among all racing jurisdictions.The other is the pending federal legislation which would mandate uniform medication and drug use policies by law.  The federal legislation as currently drafted is very modest and lacks the broader elements of a national horse racing commission that some favor, or some of the ideas put forward by ARCI, The Jockey Club and others.  Nevertheless, It could be strengthened by amendment if such ideas gained considerable popular and political support.

    Of the two approaches, I prefer the federal legislation as the most practical and durable solution.  Independent industry reform on a state by state basis is an exercise in futility.   

  • nu-fan

    Stanley:  Just wanted to make certain that I made myself clear to you.  I was not suggesting that fans be kept in the dark about the usage of Lasix.  I have found that when I mention Lasix to another person, they are usually bewildered and do know anything about it.  Others, however, just shrug their shoulders and make some negative comment about that is what horseracing is pretty much all about: cheating.  This latter group seems to reflect (in my small sampling) the predominant thinking that horseracing is cruel, inhumane, and saturated with “evil people”.  They do not go to the races.  Is that one big reason for the decline in attendance in horseracing?  Is that why we have fewer people wanting to be involved in such a sport that has such negative connotations?  I, sometimes, wonder if the federal government shouldn’t tale a stand on drugs (therapeutic and/or performance enhancing) for all sports in the U.S.   There isn’t a day that does by that I do not read something in the sports section about drugs and athletes (professional, college, high school, and Olympic).  Perhaps, the federal government should have a broad stand that includes all athletes, human and other animals, regarding the usage of drugs.

  • Stanley inman

    Nu-fan
    Your observation:
    “…there isn’t a day that goes by that I do not read something in the sport’s section
    About drugs and athletes ( professional, college, high school and Olympic)…”

    Thank you for reminding all of us about a reality
    in our sport (and life)
    that many conveniently choose not to think about.

  • Stanley inman

    Rumor on the street:
    HBPA is moving headquarters to colorado in 2014
    After results in pennsylanvia
    Will need endless supply of wacky tobaccy
    To continue “all horses bleed” mantra

  • Marc Paulhus

    I’ve had years of lobbying experience for animal protection groups and was always a bit surprised when a lawmaker was a fierce opponent on one issue and then a strong supporter on other, similar bills.  I think Chuck Schumer (D-NY) might surprise you and be a vocal advocate for racehorses.  

    On the other side of the aisle, Republicans have often been very good on animal welfare issues.  Bob Dole, for example, sponsored important animal and environmental laws like the Marine Mammal Protection Act, and he really fought to get the laws enacted.That said, Senator McConnell falls into that category. He may be a staunch fiscal conservative but he has a big heart for animals  and he can be effective on this issue.  He just needs to hear from enough people. And, in speaking to any federal legislator during this budget crisis, you have to underscore that the pending federal bill costs NOTHING, creates no new bureaucracy and pulls together the states in a way that levels the playing field in all jurisdictions.Remember that the pending federal bill – The Interstate Horse Protection Act – simply says that IF a state wishes to participate in interstate wagering, they must abide by the same medication rules and penalties – a level playing field.   I think if the Jockey Club and TOBA backed the federal bill, it could be redrafted (amended) to phase out race-day drugs in much the same way they have envisioned.

  • Marc Paulhus

    I would never bet that there isn’t ANY support for a national racing commission.  But I’d take the bet that there isn’t enough support for passage in the next few years. IMHO it’ll be a long slow process to build consensus.

  • Sue Chapman

    Barry, each racing State has it’s individual clueless politicians making decisions on subjects they know little or nothing about.  Allowing the Federal Government to do the same would be devastating.  Drop the FBI into the mix based on their racing expertise, and it will be game over.

    As Ray clearly noted, members within the racing community agree on few issues.

    The Jockey Club, which I believe should be at the forefront of national accountability in Racing, seems unwilling to act.  Maybe they can work on bank accounts for every registered foal.

    That leaves Breeders’ Cup as the Industry Leader.  2012 was a step up in self regulation.  Perhaps shortsighted or misguided in some ways, but a big step nonetheless. By adding ”When Racing WITHOUT Lasix” to “Win and You’re In,”  BC would make a substantial dent in eliminating race day medication for horses of all ages by supporting their own policies. 

    Require every horse to have a Lasix free last start prior to BC Day.  Show the bettors some respect. 

    The time is now for racing to Self Govern through the only organization with a proven track record for making decisions that work for every country.  Breeders’ Cup can, and should represent more than the best of breed on one day.  The resources are in place.  Let’s use them wisely.

  • Marc Paulhus

    Good point.  Excessive whipping is very disturbing and counterproductive.  Cruel, too.

  • Sue Chapman

    Please read my comments in reply to Barry Irwin.  Just posted.  I’ve tried to offer a solution and resolution about who governs racing.  Your comments are among the very few worth reading.

  • Sue Chapman

    Nobody is watching and nobody cares in Pa.

  • Marc Paulhus

    There are literally hundreds of individual horsemen, owners, and racing fans that support the federal solution.  A number of prominent individuals have spoken in favor of the bills.  And judging from the Congressional testimony (which you can listen to online) the comments of the Jockey Club and ARCI, are generally in agreement about the problem and the need for a uniform solution.  

    But, so far as I know, the only major organizations that have endorsed the legislation have been animal protection groups like ASPCA and HSUS.  That is no small matter since they represent millions of members, but it would be best to have major industry groups joining in as well.

  • Marc Paulhus

    The individual states have failed to enact uniform standards and they generally haven’t honored suspensions incurred as punishment from one state to another state. Industry self-regulation has failed.

    There are many, many things the federal government does exceptionally well. Meat and food inspection, clean air and water, national defense, Medicare, interstate highway system, etc.  

  • Marc Paulhus

    As currently written, the bill prohibits the race-day use of performance enhancing drugs.  That would include any drugs that enable horses to run that might otherwise be unable without the aid of drugs.  My interpretation: steroid injections, bute, Lasix, clenbuteral, etc., can affect performance and therefore would be banned in quantities sufficient to enhance performance on race day.

  • Marc Paulhus

    Indeed.  The simple truth.

  • Sue Chapman

    I researched Lasix in racing.  Lasix is positively, without question, PERFORMANCE ENHANCING.  Few horses show blood post exercise on endoscopic exam.  It is RARE to see a horse bleed from the nose.

  • Marc Paulhus

    Thanks.  I agree with you about the welcomed leadership of the Breeders Cup.   Would that they had the authority to extend their reach to all tracks and all horses!

    Effective leaders and industry groups might consider the possibility that they could effectively partner with the feds to achieve their goals with minimum needless bureaucracy.

  • Sue Chapman

    WRONG!!!  Lasix helps the rare horse that actually bleeds.  It does NOTHING from horses genetically impaired.  It is PERFORMANCE ENHANCING.  No question.  You can do your own research on the science behind it. 

    FACT: The problem is NOT  if a mare or stallion raced on Lasix. How many horses do you really think actually bleed from the nose?????  VERY FEW.

     The problem is Breeders’ ignoring the genetic predisposition of horses that truly suffer from EIPH, and crossing it with another horse with the same predisposition to bleed.  It’s called breeding and selling to the Commercial Market. 

    The genetic quality of the American thoroughbred is rapidly deteriorating.  It is furthered by fools at 2YO in Training Sales buying the BABY that Works Fast.  Guaranteed Short Career. 

  • Marc Paulhus

    Racing is already government regulated in every jurisdiction.  Too often, the regulators are state political appointees who lack knowledge, courage and/or integrity.

    The feds would bring consistency, a greater degree of political independence, and important resources.

    How effective is state-by-state regulation?  How many years have states tried and failed to reach interstate cooperation and consistency?  Decades.

  • Sue Chapman

    Needless Bureaucracy is fictional and redundant.
     
    BC functions well worldwide; it makes AND enforces rules considered Internationally acceptable.  Let’s cut our losses, arguments, State Funded Studies, conventions, Federal Commissions, Debates, etc.  We have the tools.  Let’s use them. 

    If anyone has a better plan to keep government out of the Rules of Racing, please speak up.

  • Sue Chapman

      Great conspiracy theory!!!  Both the trainers AND the vets are lying.   Now you have me confused.  Damn.  I thought, apparently incorrectly, that a SCOPE was a CAMERA not just a  magnifying glass on a tube stuck down a horse’s nose.  Don’t cameras take pictures?   

  • Sue Chapman

    Barry, I posted about Rock Hard Ten being a commercial failure.  He didn’t fail because he raced on Lasix.  He failed because he will never sire precocious two year olds.  Who, but thee can afford the gift of time for a horse? 

    If you mean that Rock Hard Ten was a serious bleeder, I doubt the Koreans would have considered him.  It remains my belief that horses genetically predisposed to EIPH are indiscriminately bred to mares with a similar propensity.  That is irresponsible and the cause of the decline of the American thoroughbred. 

  • Marc Paulhus

    Susan, as you know the Breeders Cup is not a regulatory agency and their influence does not extend to all tracks in all states.  The private organization sets the standards for Breeders’ Cup sanctioned races only, and its authority is therefore limited to just a handful of mostly Grade 1 Thoroughbred races.  The BC is not empowered to enforce laws and they have nothing to do with harness and quarter horse racing which are certainly a big part of the problem (not discussed on this message board).

    The states have absolutely not shown themselves capable of interstate cooperation and effective enforcement.  Private organizations like the Jockeys Club, TOBA and BC lack law enforcement authority over the wide world of racing.

    That pretty much limits the field of who is left to effectively police a diverse industry involving tens of thousands of people and equine athletes in 38 states.

    Who really has the resources and the necessary clout?  If not the feds, then who?

  • Roisin

    Yes, and the following is one illustration :  In the 6th race at Belmont on May 23rd the #12 horse, Jolienne, was DQ from show due to the outrageous behavior of the jockey, Jose Ortiz. The horse veered into path “shying under HARD LEFT HANDED STICK WORK, lost momentum as a result and was unable to get going again”….

    There should be real penalties for this kind of abuse, not just a DQ.

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

     we have a 2 party system here.   the lasix party and non lasix party.   both parties have good agruments.  so bleeders need lasix for their safety.  non bleeder’s health is effected in a bad way with the addition of lasix.  so no lasix for non bleeders.  i dont understand why vets give lasix to horses who dont need it.  vets are suppose to help the horse, not worry about their financial gain.  my 7 pound assignment will help all horses, not just a percentage. 

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

     barry, american vets and horsemen (which includes you) had no idea what problems they were creating more than 20 years ago with the addition of lasix.  now we know what health problems that lasix has created.  we have been breeding bleeders for the last 20 years.   if you eliminate lasix, then many of these bleeders will be led to slaughter houses.  many people cant afford to have no income horses.  bleeders can still have a purpose in racing and continue a healthy life.  there is nothing wrong with caring for bleeders.   the 7 additional pounds rule will create a world where both bleeders and non bleeders can both have happy lives. 

  • Larry Ensor

    Excuse me but I take exception to your comment. Exactly how much money, blood, sweet and tears do you have invested in breeding and racing in PA or the mid-Atlantic region for that matter? Maybe like us quite a bit. But unlike me there is no way to tell. You and the majority of people that post offer up no back ground information to support your comments. A simple Google search of my name without having to dig will give my background. Along with links to my various comments on the PR going back to its inception because I have always used my real name. Anyone that takes umbrage with anything I say can find easily find my phone number and email. For the record I and many others are very concerned about what’s going on not only in PA but the entire industry. And have been for many years. I am no Johnny come lately. It’s not only my livelihood but my life’s work and passion. A passion that is slowly slipping away while all the Neros fiddle about while Rome burns.

  • Larry Ensor

    This is a statement I agree with. But my research comes from hands on experience. Going back to my days as a groom in the pre-Lasix days of the early 70’s.
    I have my trainers routinely scope our horses after a race and the ones I break and train here at our farm.
    I also scope my Steeplechase horses all of which were bought off the flat track all which ran on Lasix none of which run on it over jumps none of which have bleed. They run 3+ miles doing sub 2 minute miles over as many as 20 jumps. Talk about exerting themselves! IMO change the style of training and running.

  • Larry Ensor

    Nu-Fan you seem to be of the few that pose quality questions and offer constructive criticism. To answer your question IMO no they do not. They do because they can.
    IMO because it is perceived real or not as a performance enhancer though few will go on the record and say such. IMO most because they feel it acts as a preventive, real or perceived.

  • Cory Patton

    Not all endoscopes have cameras.  The most common ones used by the vets practicing on the backside are just a tube with a lighted magnifying glass.

  • Sue Chapman

    Mr. Ensor, I will be in touch shortly.  Thank you! 

  • Sue Chapman

    Agreed. But the high tech ones, which I believe S. Kerr wrote about, would surely be available to most BC vets.

  • Sue Chapman

    Excessive use of the whip is closely regulated outside the United States.

  • Sue Chapman

    Remember, Breeding a horse with poor bone quality to another with a similar genetic imperfection is GUARANTEED to produce a bad boned baby with a short career.

  • Tammy37

    now we are getting somewhere. that is a  good point that not all horses bleed  90% of the time. dr arthur comment was actually, 95% of horses bleed at some point in their racing careers.i am sure you agree, that once they bleed, it is very hard to stop. you can give them 6 months off and they still will bleed when they come back.
     i totally agree with your 2 year old take, however, the more they race, the more stress they are under, and eventually they are gonna bleed. if i have an expensive horse, why would i want to risk the CHANCE that he will bleed, when their is a medication that can help it. 
      my biggest problem with the the anti lasix folks, is that you are causing the problem, not helping. as you make statements about no drugs, which 99% are for, you add medicine to this. the public and the naive press, assume you are saying lasix and bute are very bad illegal drugs. then you get joe drape writing that these drugs are major pain killers. the public does not know better and assume we have this terrible drug problem. the one point we need to get across is the difference between medicine and illegal drugs. lasix was a huge step forward when it came out. why go backward? because we have a pr problem? lets fix that, not the advances we have made in medicine for treating our animals. 
      when you race all your older horses,sans lasix, you can pump out your chest. however, that is not gonna happen. 
      Sean, you are off on so many points i cannot respond. my fingers hurt from conversing with barry.

  • Sue Chapman

    I documented every horse who raced without Lasix or Added Lasix, or was First Time Lasix for both Saratoga and Belmont Fall Meets.  Lasix is a performance enhancing drug. 

    Racehorse Bob needs help with his reading comprehension.  Pray with me he posts his rhetoric on his web page.  It is guaranteed to put him out of business. 

  • 2sunroofsue

    No, I would not make that bet, Sean.
     
    The bet I will make is that the power to legislate is disproportionate with the expertise of those making the decisions.
     
    NY is a perfect model for what Not to do, and who Not to put in positions of authority with regard to racing.
     
    Udall and Whitman were drowning in deep water during that hearing.  No wonder they have backed off.
     
     
     
     

    • Marc Paulhus

      After the summer hearings, the politics of the upcoming election and impending fiscal concerns tabled ALL other federal legislation.  The new Congressional session convenes in January.  We may very well see renewed interest in the Spring.

    • Sean Kerr

      2sunroofsue: I am 100% with you on the fiasco in New York. And the outcome will not be pretty. But I would rather have one government structure than 38 separate dysfunctional ineffective and underfunded like we have now.

    • Sean Kerr

      BTW: make no mistake – Udall and Whitfield have in no way backed off. Far from it.

  • 2sunroofsue

    No, I would not make that bet, Sean.
     
    The bet I will make is that the power to legislate is disproportionate with the expertise of those making the decisions.
     
    NY is a perfect model for what Not to do, and who Not to put in positions of authority with regard to racing.
     
    Udall and Whitman were drowning in deep water during that hearing.  No wonder they have backed off.
     
     
     
     

  • Sue M. Chapman

    I have spent hours reading posts regarding Lasix and the future of racing.

    It seems clear that Lasix IS a performance enhancing drug, unsuitable for two year olds, but acceptable in 3&Up horses at all performance levels.  I did my research, and have posted repeatedly what I learned.

    The critical issue is who should regulate our sport.  Lots of commentary; few suggestions or solutions. 

    My idea remains unchanged.  Racing cannot be regulated by politicians placed in positions to legislate our sport without serious insight at every level. NYRA, ignored State warnings of a takeover, nor could they self regulate in their own backyard. Decadess of changes in management at all levels made our lives and futures unstable .

    The Jockey Club is disinterested in increasing their load.

    That leaves Breeders’ Cup, which has proven effective in making decisions far beyond the scope for which they were created.  Coordinating one or two days of top shelf racing is no longer enough.  Horse Racing must agree to keep government out of the decision making process.  Breeders’ Cup has the tools and resources to return Racing to it’s lost glory.

    Let’s hire them to represent us. 

    • Thelibrarian

      The BC has the luxury to be able to run 2 days a year at the highest level & at someone else’s venue. State gov’t & racing commissions don’t give a ‘S’ about the JC. or BC. or what they think. They want control & they want to extract as much revenue as they can get. Oh…Yeah…and they want to be able to put all their retarded nephews,alcoholic brothers, kid touchin’ cousins,illegitimate sons & daughters…ex mother-in-laws…son-in-laws…ex-mistresses…get the picture? in racing commission jobs.

      • Sue M. Chapman

        Your point?

  • Sue Chapman

    I have spent hours reading posts regarding Lasix and the future of racing.

    It seems clear that Lasix IS a performance enhancing drug, unsuitable for two year olds, but acceptable in 3&Up horses at all performance levels.  I did my research, and have posted repeatedly what I learned.

    The critical issue is who should regulate our sport.  Lots of commentary; few suggestions or solutions. 

    My idea remains unchanged.  Racing cannot be regulated by politicians placed in positions to legislate our sport without serious insight at every level. NYRA, ignored State warnings of a takeover, nor could they self regulate in their own backyard. Decadess of changes in management at all levels made our lives and futures unstable .

    The Jockey Club is disinterested in increasing their load.

    That leaves Breeders’ Cup, which has proven effective in making decisions far beyond the scope for which they were created.  Coordinating one or two days of top shelf racing is no longer enough.  Horse Racing must agree to keep government out of the decision making process.  Breeders’ Cup has the tools and resources to return Racing to it’s lost glory.

    Let’s hire them to represent us. 

  • Thelibrarian

    The BC has the luxury to be able to run 2 days a year at the highest level & at someone else’s venue. State gov’t & racing commissions don’t give a ‘S’ about the JC. or BC. or what they think. They want control & they want to extract as much revenue as they can get. Oh…Yeah…and they want to be able to put all their retarded nephews,alcoholic brothers, kid touchin’ cousins,illegitimate sons & daughters…ex mother-in-laws…son-in-laws…ex-mistresses…get the picture? in racing commission jobs.

  • Marc Paulhus

    Like, like, like.

  • Cory Patton

    If the Breeders cup would ante up and pay for them.  The thing that bothers me is that they went through all the trouble to ban the lasix but didn’t at least have an anonymous scope of all the runners for the sake of finding out how many actually had blood.

  • Marc Paulhus

    After the summer hearings, the politics of the upcoming election and impending fiscal concerns tabled ALL other federal legislation.  The new Congressional session convenes in January.  We may very well see renewed interest in the Spring.

  • Sue M. Chapman

    Many thanks for your comments.  
     
    The Racing Industry has offered neither State or Federal agencies a plausible option for self regulation. 
     
    Again, lots of smart words and sarcasm without offering a solution. 
     
    Can’t we collectively agree to prevent a Federal Government takeover by supporting BC; a fully operational proven leader in the sport we live for? 
     
     

    • Marc Paulhus

      I am not aware of a single good model for self regulation in an industry where the enforcement of administrative and criminal laws requires law enforcement training and authority.  The issues go far beyond whether or not to allow Lasix – and if banned should it be phased out or eliminated cold turkey.  We’re really dealing with many legal substances including bute and steroids, many illegal drugs used with larcenous intent, and a desperate need to have uniformity throughout the diverse US racing world. 

      I think the permissive medication experiment in general has been disastrous for horses, and it certainly hasn’t lived up to the argument that pre-race medications would ease a horse’s discomfort, enable rapid recuperation without a lapse in training, and allow the magnificent animal to enjoy a longer, more productive racing career.

      I believe that the premise of your argument in favor of self-regulation under the Breeders Cup or any other industry group is that you have a strong distaste for government, state or federal. That argument is one we could discuss to mutual exhaustion without coming to agreement.  I’ve spent a lifetime working cooperatively with various government entities and have a far different opinion.

      Suffice it to say that I support the concept of a National Racing Commission that would offer some greater degree of uniformity and self-regulation, but I think that we are years away from achieving that goal even IF the entire racing industry got behind it.  At the moment, we’re not even having serious, well-informed discussions about self-governance and I doubt that any industry groups or state commissions are willing to cede control to another private organization.  And, at the end of the day, racing will always need an investigative and policing entity with real powers that can only be constitutionally vested in government agencies.  

      • Sue M. Chapman

        Other sports found a way.  There are How Many “national” organizations behaving ”as if”  they in any way represent horse racing?  Where is the NTRA?  Exactly where every other non functional entity professing to show us the way exists. Stars in their own eyes.

         Again, Mr. Paulhus, criticism is fabulous, if you offer an alternative.

        • Marc Paulhus

          My comments have dealt with the very narrow issue that Ray presented in his commentary, to wit:

          “This is a divisive issue, in some cases pitting owners against their trainers and veterinarians. It is not healthy for a sport already in trouble to have protracted debates about whether a drug should or shouldn’t be given to horses before they race, or to have permissive use of the drug for some horses but not others. We know from experience that getting medication uniformity through dozens of state racing commissions is an impossible dream. 

          There is only one way to eliminate race-day medication in horses racing in the United States and bring our rules and regulations in line with the rest of the world. That is through federal legislation.” 
          I fully support Ray’s conclusion that federal legislation is the only realistic means to achieve uniformity in medication rules and enforcement.

          Those that have an alternative opinion generally fall into one of two camps.  Either they do not want to see restrictions placed on some or all race-day drugs.  Or, they distrust government to such a degree that they cannot conceive of a federal role in racing (too late for that, actually).

          Perhaps you and I both agree that horses shouldn’t be raced if they have an injury or impairment that requires pain control or chemical intervention on race-day. We both believe that unsound horses should not pass on their genetic weaknesses. We both agree that the available, credible literature establishes that Lasix is performance enhancing.  

          But, unpopular as it is in some circles, I also believe that government is necessary, and that it does many things exceptionally well.  The federal government is generally more responsive to citizens, more democratic, and less secretive than private organizations (with obvious exceptions).  I look at the inner workings of agencies, see pride and dedication, and I largely discount the partisan nonsense that compels some politicians to make outrageous and inaccurate statements to rile up the base. The answer we seek is good government.  Sue I respect your opinion.  We differ on the role of government.  I admit to having very little regard for state racing commissions unless they are subject to federal oversight, and even less faith in the prospect of industry self-regulation.    

  • Sue M. Chapman

    Many thanks for your comments.  
     
    The Racing Industry has offered neither State or Federal agencies a plausible option for self regulation. 
     
    Again, lots of smart words and sarcasm without offering a solution. 
     
    Can’t we collectively agree to prevent a Federal Government takeover by supporting BC; a fully operational proven leader in the sport we live for? 
     
     

  • Matt Zebriski

    Bravo, Mr. Stevens!  As an middle income owner of thoroughbred racehorses, I am flabbergasted at the “out of touch with reality” mindset that the elimination of Lasix will benefit racing.  The immediate impact will be to essentially send thousands of claimers to the sidelines and their owners to the poor house.  Of course, people like Mr. Irwin would never understand this type of impact as he flaunts his diatribes about the impending doom of racing and the decline of the American breed because he uses OPM (that would be “Other Peoples Money”) to acquire a voice in the sport.  Its almost shameful that industry professionals allow syndicate owners to have such an impact on the game.    These people are professional managers who often have very little “stake in the game,” and irrespective of their syndicate horse’s health, success, or failure, these managers make money…sometimes mounds of it before the horse ever leaves the starting gate.  What a pulpit to to preach from, one laced with riches and built on the backs of others.  I would issue the following challenge to the industry — commission a private, non partisan investigator to look into sales practices (both public and private) as deeply as we are looking into the impact of Lasix on the health of the game.  Start by ceasing the unnatural inflation of prices for thoroughbreds.  Thoroughbreds will stand a better chance of paying their way, owners will have more money to turn over into the market, and the sport will have a fighting chance.  Sometimes I wonder whether stirring up these unrealistic, baseless criticisms of Lasix (as opposed to the myriad of other drugs that actually do provide for imbalance in the sport, and should be punished by jail time for fixing a wagering event) are just smokescreens created to simply deflect conversation and investigation away from the underbelly of the thoroughbred racing world and the nonsense that continues to go unchecked.

  • Barry Irwin

    The main reason Lasix is the subject of the current debate is simply that it is the last drug permitted on race day and proponents of no race-day meds have focused on it.

  • Kris

    If we can put a man on the moon then we can eliminate race-day medication.

  • Kris

    If we can put a man on the moon then we can eliminate race-day medication.

  • nu-fan

    Larry:  Thank you for your reply.  One question that keeps rattling around in my brain is this:  With so many horses running on Lasix, is there a possibility that one or two generations of horses may end up having severe (if not fatal) injuries or health issues because of this drug?  I’ve never liked the idea of putting all of my eggs in one basket.  Because Lasix is used so routinely, the numbers might be alarming and may have a truly negative impact on all of horseracing if, later, it is determined that Lasix does have serious side effects. Am I the only one who sees this as a really scary scenario–and, a possibly real one?

  • Barry Irwin

    Sue, my point about Rock Hard Ten was to comment on him as a failed sire (he simply failed to live up to the hopes for him) since a previous poster mentioned him. It has nothing to do with him as a bleeder. Sorry for any confusion. The Koreans have bought several bad stallions. They have different goals than most American breeders. They have been buying rejects for years.

  • Ron Crookham

      Let’s not kid ourselves, racing’s biggest problem is not Lasix,drugs, whipping, it is obscurity. Outside the myopic view of individuals involved in the industry, be it owner, fan or gambler, no one cares about thoroughbred horse racing. Except for the Derby and maybe Breeder’s Cup, no one gives this sport a second thought. For the majority of individuals I deal with outside of racing,it’s a relic of the past like coonskin caps and Howdy Doody. My wife and I ate dinner at the CharterHouse, about 3 miles from Hollywood Park, the night before Zenyatta’s retirement on 12/5/10. We mentioned that we were going to visit her the next day, the waiter and staff had no idea who we were talking about, despite a very large billboard of her that was just down the road. This is just one example of numerous encounters, I have had with the general public and horse racing.
      In truth the problem with the sport is that the connection is no longer there between the people and the horses. The general public is much more interested in Football,BasketBall, and Nascar than Horse racing. The industry shot it’s self in the foot years ago when tv was looking to broadcast horseracing. With social media such as facebook and twitter, horse racing may again have a golden age and the popularity of the sport may rise again. I agree that the issues everyone has brought up needs to be addressed, but let’s be honest, until we again gain the general publics interest,they are not paying attention, so relax everyone. :)

    • Sue M. Chapman

      Well Said!!!!!

  • Ron Crookham

      Let’s not kid ourselves, racing’s biggest problem is not Lasix,drugs, whipping, it is obscurity. Outside the myopic view of individuals involved in the industry, be it owner, fan or gambler, no one cares about thoroughbred horse racing. Except for the Derby and maybe Breeder’s Cup, no one gives this sport a second thought. For the majority of individuals I deal with outside of racing,it’s a relic of the past like coonskin caps and Howdy Doody. My wife and I ate dinner at the CharterHouse, about 3 miles from Hollywood Park, the night before Zenyatta’s retirement on 12/5/10. We mentioned that we were going to visit her the next day, the waiter and staff had no idea who we were talking about, despite a very large billboard of her that was just down the road. This is just one example of numerous encounters, I have had with the general public and horse racing.
      In truth the problem with the sport is that the connection is no longer there between the people and the horses. The general public is much more interested in Football,BasketBall, and Nascar than Horse racing. The industry shot it’s self in the foot years ago when tv was looking to broadcast horseracing. With social media such as facebook and twitter, horse racing may again have a golden age and the popularity of the sport may rise again. I agree that the issues everyone has brought up needs to be addressed, but let’s be honest, until we again gain the general publics interest,they are not paying attention, so relax everyone. :)

  • LKBrown

    It’s not only the race horse world that needs better enforcement of drug testing and leveling of the playing field with performance enhancing drugs. 
    http://www.calgaryherald.com/sports/rodeo-chucks/Erickson+Still+waiting+proper+rodeo+drug+testing/7630759/story.html

    • Marc Paulhus

      I couldn’t agree more.

  • LKBrown

    It’s not only the race horse world that needs better enforcement of drug testing and leveling of the playing field with performance enhancing drugs. 
    http://www.calgaryherald.com/s

  • Marc Paulhus

    I am not aware of a single good model for self regulation in an industry where the enforcement of administrative and criminal laws requires law enforcement training and authority.  The issues go far beyond whether or not to allow Lasix – and if banned should it be phased out or eliminated cold turkey.  We’re really dealing with many legal substances including bute and steroids, many illegal drugs used with larcenous intent, and a desperate need to have uniformity throughout the diverse US racing world. 

    I think the permissive medication experiment in general has been disastrous for horses, and it certainly hasn’t lived up to the argument that pre-race medications would ease a horse’s discomfort, enable rapid recuperation without a lapse in training, and allow the magnificent animal to enjoy a longer, more productive racing career.

    I believe that the premise of your argument in favor of self-regulation under the Breeders Cup or any other industry group is that you have a strong distaste for government, state or federal. That argument is one we could discuss to mutual exhaustion without coming to agreement.  I’ve spent a lifetime working cooperatively with various government entities and have a far different opinion.

    Suffice it to say that I support the concept of a National Racing Commission that would offer some greater degree of uniformity and self-regulation, but I think that we are years away from achieving that goal even IF the entire racing industry got behind it.  At the moment, we’re not even having serious, well-informed discussions about self-governance and I doubt that any industry groups or state commissions are willing to cede control to another private organization.  And, at the end of the day, racing will always need an investigative and policing entity with real powers that can only be constitutionally vested in government agencies.  

  • Marc Paulhus

    I couldn’t agree more.

  • Prolasix

    Thank god it is someone with little credibility like Irwin beating his chest. Those that put up their OWN MONEY and not investors should get more air time.

  • Poorinvestors

    Neither do the opinions of those that do not put up their OWN MONEY.

  • AJ Perrotta, Jr.

    I have read all of these posts with a pragmatic sense of inquisition (in order to establish the facts) and curiosity (in order to gather the various opinions of debaters).  The subject of Lasix is one of those distinctive debate topics where merits for both approaches can be argued concretely.  In cases such as these, we’re usually left with some body or individual charged with making a final decision for the “broader good.”  In this particular case, it is clear that the Jockey Club hasn’t the power, credibility, or aptitude to reach a determination, so the industry has been placed into a position where the Breeder’s Cup is stepping in as proxy and individual racetracks are creating rules that fit their own jurisdictions and constituencies (perhaps, on this particular point).

    My understanding as a horse owner for the past twenty years is this — when my horses suffer from some type of pulmonary bleeding, my trainer and vet administers Lasix for workouts and race day competition.  Interestingly, in most cases, the performance of my horses “off” of Lasix, but absent pulmonary bleeding, is identical to their performance “on” Lasix following pulmonary bleeding.  Practical conclusion?  Pulmonary bleeding causes horses to perform at a substandard level and well below their athletic capabilities.  This is undoubtedly the result of the animal essentially choking on his own blood every time he takes a breath.  The administering of Lasix alleviates the bleeding and therefore allows the horse to reach peek performance.  In much the same way I would not allow my son (who is a nationally ranked motocrosser) to enter a race with a severe head cold or respiratory infection, I wouldn’t ask my trainer to send a horse to the racetrack with pulmonary bleeding.  But more to the point, I would not deny my son the ability to race if a simple dose of non-drowsy Sudafed would provide temporary relief from his congestion and allow him the physical wherewithal to race (i.e., if the medication did not enhance performance or put him at risk for injury).  The Sudafed would not improve his chances of beating the other racers, all things being equal, it would simply give him the ability to compete at the level he is capable of achieving without the respiratory infection “obstructing” his capabilities.

    On the rare occasions that we started horses on Lasix following poor athletic performances where little, if any, pulmonary bleeding was evident (which is technically not supposed to be allowed as vet slips are required by racing jurisdictions in order to administer Lasix for competitive use, right?), I saw no dramatic improvement in the competitive nature of that animal.  Practical conclusion?  Lasix is NOT a “performance” enhancing drug.

    The industry needs a strict, coordinated, and comprehensive set of rules governing the use of PEDs.  I know that is a daunting task given the infrastructure of American Racing.  We already have strict drug policies in place, and even the Olympics allow for some use of medication in competition.  Focusing our attention on Lasix because it’s the “last of the race day medications” according to Barry Irwin (which I would argue is not an accurate statement) detracts from the real issue of PEDs plaguing the industry.  Even the crusade against steroid use seems to be a misuse of our precious debate time…the true culprits are painkillers.

    Horses are animals that will keep running as long as they can as hard as they can, its instinctual and hereditary.  Two specific variables determine how quickly a horse independently slows down its rate of pace — fatigue and pain.  With the former, even as a horse tires, it will continue running, at least until it physically cannot run anymore.  Pain is a response to stress (as in a joint) or impending injury, and like all animals, an instinct to avoid that injury causes the horse to seek remediation, perhaps by slowing down.  Relieve the pain, and a horse is physically able to perform better, but with a cost — risk of injury to animal, rider, and other participants in the race — and hence, the fundamental difference between PEDs and a drug like Lasix.  Risk!

    The banning of Lasix will have unintended consequences throughout the industry as the financial burden it will place on medium and small stables will reverberate for several generations of racing bloodstock.  Many owners will be forced to leave the game as their horses, already unproductive financially due to the egregious cost of ownership, will no longer be able to compete as effectively or as often….and this gets to my final point about these particular posts:

    Barry Irwin seems to be the self-appointed (by virtue of his consistent commentary and rebuttals) posterchild for the anti-Lasix camp, and I respect his opinion on the matter.  That being said, Mr. Irwin is a businessman with a special interest, just like a DC lobbyist.  His interest is getting people to put their money into his syndicates.  The more capital he raises, the better horses he can buy, breed, race, and manage.  Since his business model essentially uses the money his investors put forth (including expenses), he personally suffers little impact from horse requiring time off from the races.  Moreover, Mr. Irwin seems to be an individual who relishes the spotlight, and putting himself out front of an issue such as this is a great way to attract publicity, and perhaps sell more syndicate shares.  I am not sure what credentials he has, other than being a manager of other people’s horses, for being an expert witness for the Prosecution.

    • Tinky

      Quite a bit to unpack here.

      First, I’m sure that all readers appreciate your effort to be circumspect in your approach to the issue. Having said that, a number of your conclusions, based largely on your own anecdotal experiences, are highly questionable.

      Let’s begin with this:

      “Practical conclusion?  Pulmonary bleeding causes horses to perform at a substandard level and well below their athletic capabilities.  This is undoubtedly the result of the animal essentially choking on his own blood every time he takes a breath.  The administering of Lasix alleviates the bleeding and therefore allows the horse to reach peek performance.”

      That is a gross distortion of the facts. Horses have, for many decades, performed well in spite of bleeding. In fact, there is no evidence to suggest that relatively minor bleeding incidents prevent horses from performing to their full potential. They certainly don’t “choke” on their own blood unless the incident is significant. In other words, your blanket statement above undermines your position, as it utterly fails to take into account the degree of bleeding. If you want to draw a truly “practical conclusion” from the available evidence, then consider that two-thirds of the horses around the world race successfully without Lasix (and always have), and American horses did so for decades and were far more durable than those racing with medication today. Therefore the overwhelming evidence is that the vast majority of horses can and do compete successfully without Lasix.

      Next:

      ‘…I saw no dramatic improvement in the competitive nature of that animal.  Practical conclusion?  Lasix is NOT a “performance” enhancing drug.’

      By your own admission, your opinion is based on a few experiences with your own horses. Let’s juxtapose that with these facts:

      Lasix is classified as “performance enhancing” by every major sporting body in the world (e.g. the Olympics, NCAA, NFL, MLB, etc., etc., etc.).

      The Mayo Clinic classifies Lasix as “performance enhancing”.

      Trainers in the U.S., virtually without exception, have for decades been using Lasix on non-bleeders precisely because they believe it to be performance enhancing.

      Simple physics explains why – just like in auto racing – a lighter chassis confers performance advantages

      Next: Your points about illicit PEDs are irrelevant. That is a completely different topic, and no one who supports a ban on Lasix is unconcerned about that separate and admittedly important problem. It needs to be dealt with, but should not be introduced into the Lasix debate.

      Next:

      “The banning of Lasix will have unintended consequences throughout the industry as the financial burden it will place on medium and small stables will reverberate for several generations of racing bloodstock.”

      You sound like Ben Bernanke. Let’s just kick the can further down the road, and attempt to keep the house of cards from collapsing as long as possible, because addressing the problem(s) seriously will cause near-term pain.

      It is true that some industry participants will be hurt in the near-term. But not only will medication reform arguably benefit the industry as whole over time (which is the whole point, really), but owners, trainers and breeders who adapt quickly will be in a position to thrive.

      Finally, your attack on Barry Irwin was a cheap, and ad hominem. Irwin clearly believes that banning Lasix will benefit him, his stable, his clients, and the industry as a whole. He has been very specific in his views, and your response to him would carry far more weight if you stuck to the substance of the matter.

      • Sue M. Chapman

        How many of Mr. Perrotta, Jr.’s horses actually bleed, vs. how much has he paid to curtail it?

    • Vertigineux04

      Thank you Mr. Perrotta for your valid points concerning Lasix. As an owner, you’ve expressed the realities of the issues, through your experiences, unlike most who comment here. And your opinion of Mr. Irwin is on point. He has an agenda, much like a lobbyist, as does the Jockey Club and the breeders that the JC caters too. More owners and trainers need to take the time to speak on the subject to educate all the others.
      It is refreshing to hear from a voice of reason. Again, I thank you and my horses thank you. 
             

      • Sue M. Chapman

        Are the opinions of owners and trainers the views worth sharing?  Your ego is out or order.

        • Vertigineux04

          Ms. Chapman,
          While I did not read all of your many posts, I did read where you questioned what a scope looked like. If you have questions about what a scope looks like, then I would assume you’ve never looked through one- nor have you ever held a horse’s head up while he was bleeding after a race- until the vet arrived- so seriously, perhaps you should think twice about being part of this debate. And just so you know, if you have spent any time on the backside of a racetrack, bleeding is not just a “rare” occurance” as you say.
          You can bet that the views of the trainers and hands-on owners, and the vets are the only views worth sharing. They are the ones that live and breathe racing’s ups and downs each and every day. Not people who are trying to put syndicates together, nor people who have “done their research” and have ”spent hours reading about Lasix posts and the racing industry”.
          It is nice that you are passionate about the sport. And maybe you have a few good ideas. But you may want to take your own advice and drop the sarcasm, stop reading the “research” and go get involved. Remember, not all research is valid. Case in point, Dr. Sheila Lyons comments on Capital Hill.   
          I do not feel the need to defend myself to you on this blog. But commenting on my ego -really? - you know nothing about me – who’s out of order here? 

    • Sue M. Chapman

      Your comments are on a par with Mr. H. Stevens.

    • Sean Kerr

      Hi AJ – you were making a reasoned argument and had my respect until you got to the last paragraph making an unsubstantiated judgement on Barry Irwin. That was unfortunate and I think it is too bad that you chose to lower yourself in that way. I don’t know Barry personally but have met him, so I have no reason to defend him anymore than anyone else. AJ: are you privy to Barry’s tax records? Would you bet your life that Barry doesn’t have any of his money on the line? And so what if he is a syndicate manager? He is clearly the voice of his owners – if he wasn’t then his owners would drop him or pull their money. I don’t see Barry as the self-appointed poster anybody for the race day medication issue. That was a cheap shot – is there any jealousy or envy at work here? Seems weak to me.

      One other point about your post to be noted: not once did you mention changing the training regimen, or changing the diet or some other method to deal with the bleeding. I can’t help but wonder, are you too quick to rely on the medicine cabinet? Just something to think about. Would you please elaborate on the other medications your team may be using during the training cycle? Would you be willing to post all of your medication records publicly? Here is why I ask: if we made all of our medication records public, I bet all these exaggerated claims of bleeding would disappear overnight. 

      I don’t believe for one minute that the elimination of Salix will ruin horse racing or put owners or trainers out of business. If any of those parties cannot train or race without it, I sincerely hope that they will be put out of business. It would be great for the sport: we need to start over and build our great sport into something real. And we are nowhere near it.

  • AJ Perrotta, Jr.

    I have read all of these posts with a pragmatic sense of inquisition (in order to establish the facts) and curiosity (in order to gather the various opinions of debaters).  The subject of Lasix is one of those distinctive debate topics where merits for both approaches can be argued concretely.  In cases such as these, we’re usually left with some body or individual charged with making a final decision for the “broader good.”  In this particular case, it is clear that the Jockey Club hasn’t the power, credibility, or aptitude to reach a determination, so the industry has been placed into a position where the Breeder’s Cup is stepping in as proxy and individual racetracks are creating rules that fit their own jurisdictions and constituencies (perhaps, on this particular point).

    My understanding as a horse owner for the past twenty years is this — when my horses suffer from some type of pulmonary bleeding, my trainer and vet administers Lasix for workouts and race day competition.  Interestingly, in most cases, the performance of my horses “off” of Lasix, but absent pulmonary bleeding, is identical to their performance “on” Lasix following pulmonary bleeding.  Practical conclusion?  Pulmonary bleeding causes horses to perform at a substandard level and well below their athletic capabilities.  This is undoubtedly the result of the animal essentially choking on his own blood every time he takes a breath.  The administering of Lasix alleviates the bleeding and therefore allows the horse to reach peek performance.  In much the same way I would not allow my son (who is a nationally ranked motocrosser) to enter a race with a severe head cold or respiratory infection, I wouldn’t ask my trainer to send a horse to the racetrack with pulmonary bleeding.  But more to the point, I would not deny my son the ability to race if a simple dose of non-drowsy Sudafed would provide temporary relief from his congestion and allow him the physical wherewithal to race (i.e., if the medication did not enhance performance or put him at risk for injury).  The Sudafed would not improve his chances of beating the other racers, all things being equal, it would simply give him the ability to compete at the level he is capable of achieving without the respiratory infection “obstructing” his capabilities.

    On the rare occasions that we started horses on Lasix following poor athletic performances where little, if any, pulmonary bleeding was evident (which is technically not supposed to be allowed as vet slips are required by racing jurisdictions in order to administer Lasix for competitive use, right?), I saw no dramatic improvement in the competitive nature of that animal.  Practical conclusion?  Lasix is NOT a “performance” enhancing drug.

    The industry needs a strict, coordinated, and comprehensive set of rules governing the use of PEDs.  I know that is a daunting task given the infrastructure of American Racing.  We already have strict drug policies in place, and even the Olympics allow for some use of medication in competition.  Focusing our attention on Lasix because it’s the “last of the race day medications” according to Barry Irwin (which I would argue is not an accurate statement) detracts from the real issue of PEDs plaguing the industry.  Even the crusade against steroid use seems to be a misuse of our precious debate time…the true culprits are painkillers.

    Horses are animals that will keep running as long as they can as hard as they can, its instinctual and hereditary.  Two specific variables determine how quickly a horse independently slows down its rate of pace — fatigue and pain.  With the former, even as a horse tires, it will continue running, at least until it physically cannot run anymore.  Pain is a response to stress (as in a joint) or impending injury, and like all animals, an instinct to avoid that injury causes the horse to seek remediation, perhaps by slowing down.  Relieve the pain, and a horse is physically able to perform better, but with a cost — risk of injury to animal, rider, and other participants in the race — and hence, the fundamental difference between PEDs and a drug like Lasix.  Risk!

    The banning of Lasix will have unintended consequences throughout the industry as the financial burden it will place on medium and small stables will reverberate for several generations of racing bloodstock.  Many owners will be forced to leave the game as their horses, already unproductive financially due to the egregious cost of ownership, will no longer be able to compete as effectively or as often….and this gets to my final point about these particular posts:

    Barry Irwin seems to be the self-appointed (by virtue of his consistent commentary and rebuttals) posterchild for the anti-Lasix camp, and I respect his opinion on the matter.  That being said, Mr. Irwin is a businessman with a special interest, just like a DC lobbyist.  His interest is getting people to put their money into his syndicates.  The more capital he raises, the better horses he can buy, breed, race, and manage.  Since his business model essentially uses the money his investors put forth (including expenses), he personally suffers little impact from horse requiring time off from the races.  Moreover, Mr. Irwin seems to be an individual who relishes the spotlight, and putting himself out front of an issue such as this is a great way to attract publicity, and perhaps sell more syndicate shares.  I am not sure what credentials he has, other than being a manager of other people’s horses, for being an expert witness for the Prosecution.

  • Tinky

    Quite a bit to unpack here.

    First, I’m sure that all readers appreciate your effort to be circumspect in your approach to the issue. Having said that, a number of your conclusions, based largely on your own anecdotal experiences, are highly questionable.

    Let’s begin with this:

    “Practical conclusion?  Pulmonary bleeding causes horses to perform at a substandard level and well below their athletic capabilities.  This is undoubtedly the result of the animal essentially choking on his own blood every time he takes a breath.  The administering of Lasix alleviates the bleeding and therefore allows the horse to reach peek performance.”

    That is a gross distortion of the facts. Horses have, for many decades, performed well in spite of bleeding. In fact, there is no evidence to suggest that relatively minor bleeding incidents prevent horses from performing to their full potential. They certainly don’t “choke” on their own blood unless the incident is significant. In other words, your blanket statement above undermines your position, as it utterly fails to take into account the degree of bleeding. If you want to draw a truly “practical conclusion” from the available evidence, then consider that two-thirds of the horses around the world race successfully without Lasix (and always have), and American horses did so for decades and were far more durable than those racing with medication today. Therefore the overwhelming evidence is that the vast majority of horses can and do compete successfully without Lasix.

    Next:

    ‘…I saw no dramatic improvement in the competitive nature of that animal.  Practical conclusion?  Lasix is NOT a “performance” enhancing drug.’

    By your own admission, your opinion is based on a few experiences with your own horses. Let’s juxtapose that with these facts:

    Lasix is classified as “performance enhancing” by every major sporting body in the world (e.g. the Olympics, NCAA, NFL, MLB, etc., etc., etc.).

    The Mayo Clinic classifies Lasix as “performance enhancing”.

    Trainers in the U.S., virtually without exception, have for decades been using Lasix on non-bleeders precisely because they believe it to be performance enhancing.

    Simple physics explains why – just like in auto racing – a lighter chassis confers performance advantages

    Next: Your points about illicit PEDs are irrelevant. That is a completely different topic, and no one who supports a ban on Lasix is unconcerned about that separate and admittedly important problem. It needs to be dealt with, but should not be introduced into the Lasix debate.

    Next:

    “The banning of Lasix will have unintended consequences throughout the industry as the financial burden it will place on medium and small stables will reverberate for several generations of racing bloodstock.”

    You sound like Ben Bernanke. Let’s just kick the can further down the road, and attempt to keep the house of cards from collapsing as long as possible, because addressing the problem(s) seriously will cause near-term pain.

    It is true that some industry participants will be hurt in the near-term. But not only will medication reform arguably benefit the industry as whole over time (which is the whole point, really), but owners, trainers and breeders who adapt quickly will be in a position to thrive.

    Finally, your attack on Barry Irwin was a cheap, and ad hominem. Irwin clearly believes that banning Lasix will benefit him, his stable, his clients, and the industry as a whole. He has been very specific in his views, and your response to him would carry far more weight if you stuck to the substance of the matter.

  • Sue M. Chapman

    Well Said!!!!!

  • Vertigineux04

    Thank you Mr. Perrotta for your valid points concerning Lasix. As an owner, you’ve expressed the realities of the issues, through your experiences, unlike most who comment here. And your opinion of Mr. Irwin is on point. He has an agenda, much like a lobbyist, as does the Jockey Club and the breeders that the JC caters too. More owners and trainers need to take the time to speak on the subject to educate all the others.
    It is refreshing to hear from a voice of reason. Again, I thank you and my horses thank you. 
           

  • Sue M. Chapman

    Love the commentary and freedom of the press.  Again, I beg all of you to lose the medication rhetoric and focus on the matter at hand.  Gulfstream Park was unable to card more than 8 races on Wednesday.  Why, because Churchill Downs owns Calder, and is doing all it can to end racing there.  Gulfstream cannot fill cards without the horse population at Calder.

    I add this to the conversation because the lack of a Horse Racing Governing National Organization will allow Florida racing to self destruct. 

    So friends, please put all other issues aside and make our Industry whole.  Or keep bickering, and watch your investments and lifestyles in Horse Racing disappear. 

  • Sue M. Chapman

    Love the commentary and freedom of the press.  Again, I beg all of you to lose the medication rhetoric and focus on the matter at hand.  Gulfstream Park was unable to card more than 8 races on Wednesday.  Why, because Churchill Downs owns Calder, and is doing all it can to end racing there.  Gulfstream cannot fill cards without the horse population at Calder.

    I add this to the conversation because the lack of a Horse Racing Governing National Organization will allow Florida racing to self destruct. 

    So friends, please put all other issues aside and make our Industry whole.  Or keep bickering, and watch your investments and lifestyles in Horse Racing disappear. 

  • Sue M. Chapman

    Are the opinions of owners and trainers the views worth sharing?  Your ego is out or order.

  • Sue M. Chapman

    Your comments are on a par with Mr. H. Stevens.

  • Sue M. Chapman

    How many of Mr. Perrotta, Jr.’s horses actually bleed, vs. how much has he paid to curtail it?

  • Sue M. Chapman

    Other sports found a way.  There are How Many “national” organizations behaving ”as if”  they in any way represent horse racing?  Where is the NTRA?  Exactly where every other non functional entity professing to show us the way exists. Stars in their own eyes.

     Again, Mr. Paulhus, criticism is fabulous, if you offer an alternative.

  • Sue M. Chapman

    Your point?

  • Marc Paulhus

    My comments have dealt with the very narrow issue that Ray presented in his commentary, to wit:

    “This is a divisive issue, in some cases pitting owners against their trainers and veterinarians. It is not healthy for a sport already in trouble to have protracted debates about whether a drug should or shouldn’t be given to horses before they race, or to have permissive use of the drug for some horses but not others. We know from experience that getting medication uniformity through dozens of state racing commissions is an impossible dream. 

    There is only one way to eliminate race-day medication in horses racing in the United States and bring our rules and regulations in line with the rest of the world. That is through federal legislation.” 
    I fully support Ray’s conclusion that federal legislation is the only realistic means to achieve uniformity in medication rules and enforcement.

    Those that have an alternative opinion generally fall into one of two camps.  Either they do not want to see restrictions placed on some or all race-day drugs.  Or, they distrust government to such a degree that they cannot conceive of a federal role in racing (too late for that, actually).

    Perhaps you and I both agree that horses shouldn’t be raced if they have an injury or impairment that requires pain control or chemical intervention on race-day. We both believe that unsound horses should not pass on their genetic weaknesses. We both agree that the available, credible literature establishes that Lasix is performance enhancing.  

    But, unpopular as it is in some circles, I also believe that government is necessary, and that it does many things exceptionally well.  The federal government is generally more responsive to citizens, more democratic, and less secretive than private organizations (with obvious exceptions).  I look at the inner workings of agencies, see pride and dedication, and I largely discount the partisan nonsense that compels some politicians to make outrageous and inaccurate statements to rile up the base. The answer we seek is good government.  Sue I respect your opinion.  We differ on the role of government.  I admit to having very little regard for state racing commissions unless they are subject to federal oversight, and even less faith in the prospect of industry self-regulation.    

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

    Less than 5% bled in the juvenile races on the BC card, Shanghai Bobby was an standout giving his pre race results.

     Why spending more than 20 million on lasix shots for keeping 5% of unsound horses in the game??

     Everybody knows that federal legislation in the US might be achieved over an 25 yrs timespan.

     Each juridiction one by one is the best way to solve this, in the meanwhile the public will learn enough from the medicated horse buisiness game in the US.

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

    Less than 5% bled in the juvenile races on the BC card, Shanghai Bobby was an standout giving his pre race results.

     Why spending more than 20 million on lasix shots for keeping 5% of unsound horses in the game??

     Everybody knows that federal legislation in the US might be achieved over an 25 yrs timespan.

     Each juridiction one by one is the best way to solve this, in the meanwhile the public will learn enough from the medicated horse buisiness game in the US.

  • Vertigineux04

    Ms. Chapman,
    While I did not read all of your many posts, I did read where you questioned what a scope looked like. If you have questions about what a scope looks like, then I would assume you’ve never looked through one- nor have you ever held a horse’s head up while he was bleeding after a race- until the vet arrived- so seriously, perhaps you should think twice about being part of this debate. And just so you know, if you have spent any time on the backside of a racetrack, bleeding is not just a “rare” occurance” as you say.
    You can bet that the views of the trainers and hands-on owners, and the vets are the only views worth sharing. They are the ones that live and breathe racing’s ups and downs each and every day. Not people who are trying to put syndicates together, nor people who have “done their research” and have ”spent hours reading about Lasix posts and the racing industry”.
    It is nice that you are passionate about the sport. And maybe you have a few good ideas. But you may want to take your own advice and drop the sarcasm, stop reading the “research” and go get involved. Remember, not all research is valid. Case in point, Dr. Sheila Lyons comments on Capital Hill.   
    I do not feel the need to defend myself to you on this blog. But commenting on my ego -really? - you know nothing about me – who’s out of order here? 

  • Sean Kerr

    No Tammy: that is not true. It is NOT hard to get a horse to stop bleeding if it shows any sign. Where did you get that information from? Please: tell us. What led you to that conclusion? You you cannot respond to my points because you cannot argue your points: that is why you aren’t responding. Until you can prove me wrong you don’t have a valid point to make. I’ve seen horses that ‘allegedly’ bled with one trainer, go to another barn and there has never been an incidence of bleeding again. How do you account for that Tammy? Also: it is interesting how you and so many pro-lasix parties use the term ‘bleeding’ as if it is a general, blanket one size fits all condition. It is interesting that you don’t qualify what you mean as bleeding, you don’t differentiate between relevant bleeding, or relevant bleeding. Prove me wrong Tammy.

  • Sean Kerr

    Hi Prolasix: speaking of credibility – apparently you don’t have the spine or the guts to show your face and attack Barry Irwin. Aside from your sheer cowardice – can you confirm for us that you are privy to Barry’s tax records? Have you verified that Barry has no skin in the game? Until you show your face you probably ought quit posting such pathetic gutless garbage.

  • Sean Kerr

    Hi AJ – you were making a reasoned argument and had my respect until you got to the last paragraph making an unsubstantiated judgement on Barry Irwin. That was unfortunate and I think it is too bad that you chose to lower yourself in that way. I don’t know Barry personally but have met him, so I have no reason to defend him anymore than anyone else. AJ: are you privy to Barry’s tax records? Would you bet your life that Barry doesn’t have any of his money on the line? And so what if he is a syndicate manager? He is clearly the voice of his owners – if he wasn’t then his owners would drop him or pull their money. I don’t see Barry as the self-appointed poster anybody for the race day medication issue. That was a cheap shot – is there any jealousy or envy at work here? Seems weak to me.

    One other point about your post to be noted: not once did you mention changing the training regimen, or changing the diet or some other method to deal with the bleeding. I can’t help but wonder, are you too quick to rely on the medicine cabinet? Just something to think about. Would you please elaborate on the other medications your team may be using during the training cycle? Would you be willing to post all of your medication records publicly? Here is why I ask: if we made all of our medication records public, I bet all these exaggerated claims of bleeding would disappear overnight. 

    I don’t believe for one minute that the elimination of Salix will ruin horse racing or put owners or trainers out of business. If any of those parties cannot train or race without it, I sincerely hope that they will be put out of business. It would be great for the sport: we need to start over and build our great sport into something real. And we are nowhere near it.

  • Sean Kerr

    The point is: BC did NOT photo-scope. So we have no irrefutable evidence to put to rest any claims yes or no. It is ridiculous to suggest anyone is claiming ‘conspiracy’ here. It was a missed opportunity. I hope that the BC will do it going forward. This sport deserves transparency and the public needs reliable information, not hearsay. Again: when one of the trainers who claimed bleeding has had his barn raided by stewards, has broken numerous serious medication violations, it is reasonable that all efforts to verify should be made.

  • Sean Kerr

    2sunroofsue: I am 100% with you on the fiasco in New York. And the outcome will not be pretty. But I would rather have one government structure than 38 separate dysfunctional ineffective and underfunded like we have now.

  • Sean Kerr

    BTW: make no mistake – Udall and Whitfield have in no way backed off. Far from it.

  • Sue M. Chapman

    How nice to be in agreement.  Sean, know more than any politician cares to know,
    about Racing.  No good can come from losing our autonomy.   

  • Sue M. Chapman

    How nice to be in agreement.  Sean, know more than any politician cares to know,
    about Racing.  No good can come from losing our autonomy.   

  • Larry Ensor

    Nu-fan, sorry for the delay have been plenty busy around the farm and the precious free time I have I would rather watch re-runs of NCIS then to get back into this debate that I spent far too much time with in the last 4 years. I am rather disgusted/dishearten with the whole thing, lack of direction, leadership in the flat and breeding industry in general. Though I feel this is an issue that needs to be addressed I just think there are so MANY bigger issues that need to be addressed.
    As to your question and I understand what you are asking I think not. Lasix has been around and in use for over 40 years. But not nearly at the level we have seen in the last 20. There are those that say because we breed bleeders to bleeders we are breeding a weaker horse, a horse that is predisposed. Now I am not an expert on genetics but I have a fairly strong self educated understanding of the process. And it would take many, many, many generations of breeding bleeder to bleeders to possibly prove out this hypothesis. Perhaps there is a chase there is a “recessive bleeder gene” that has evolved from recessive to sub-dominant. I doubt it though. How ever the Thoroughbred gene pool is a small one all TBs tracing back to the few foundation horses that the breed was established on. A given the fact that all TBs through out the world are directly related and do not, as we are led to believe have the same problems as the American breed it does beg the question. Personally I think its more do to our style of racing and training and the expectations of a quick return on investment and or action.

  • John Ed Anthony

    Really bad move here Ray. Seriously disappointing.  

  • John Ed Anthony

    Really bad move here Ray. Seriously disappointing.  

  • No Government Intervention

    Ray
    Do you actually see what’s happening in the FederalGovernment, now and for the past many years? Just watch and see what happens as the Government gets more involved in your healthcare. The people in Washington are ruining this country. And you want them to govern Racing? Seriously, be careful what you wish for….

  • No Government Intervention

    Ray
    Do you actually see what’s happening in the FederalGovernment, now and for the past many years? Just watch and see what happens as the Government gets more involved in your healthcare. The people in Washington are ruining this country. And you want them to govern Racing? Seriously, be careful what you wish for….

  • Jenie47

    why before my T.B 3 yr old runs does the white of her eyes looks like blood they are so red you see no white? Are they giving her somthing that would do this to her and is it dangours for her?

  • Jenie47

    why before my T.B 3 yr old runs does the white of her eyes looks like blood they are so red you see no white? Are they giving her somthing that would do this to her and is it dangours for her?

Twitter