Statement: Breeders’ Cup ‘Remains Committed’ to ‘Best Practices’ on Lasix

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Breeders’ Cup released the following statement on Friday afternoon, the day after a California Horse Racing Board meeting in which Joe Morris, executive director of the Thoroughbred Owners of California, revealed that 2-year-olds will be permitted to run with Lasix in the 2014 Breeders’ Cup. This year’s edition of the Breeders’ Cup will be run with the same race-day medication restrictions as last year, which prohibit race-day Lasix in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile, Juvenile FIllies, Juvenile Turf, Juvenile FIllies Turf, and a non-championship race called the Juvenile Turf Sprint.

Breeders’ Cup remains committed to the goal that the world’s major international racing events, including the Breeders’ Cup World Championships, should be conducted under the same rules and conditions with regard to race-day medication. We will continue to work constructively with stakeholders in the US and elsewhere, including potential host sites, racing commissions and horsemen’s groups, toward that objective.

We were successful in implementing event-specific race conditions for 2012 and 2013 which prohibited race day administration of furosemide in Breeders’ Cup 2-year-old races in cooperation with the CHRB, Santa Anita and the TOC. However, in evaluating host-site options for 2014, it became apparent that the race-day medication policy for 2014 would have to be consistent with rules in effect in any eligible host jurisdiction at the time of the event. The horsemen’s groups in potential host jurisdictions indicated that they would withhold their approval of simulcast rights unless this was the case, jeopardizing our ability to conduct simulcast wagering on our event, and thus the event itself.

There has been good progress toward uniformity on model rules in the US over the last several months and the Breeders’ Cup has endorsed that effort. To date, no racing jurisdiction in the US has established a policy eliminating the use of all race-day medications and none of our potential future host sites has been able to offer assurances that such an eventuality is likely in the near term.

We have committed to the TOC and CHRB to conduct data collection at our 2013 event and monitor the performance of the runners in the juvenile races which will be held absent race-day medication. We hope that the results of 2012 and 2013, while obviously a very small sample, along with voluntary efforts by others in the US on juvenile races, will further inform the discussion on this issue.

As a longstanding leader in the US racing industry on standards of safety, security, testing and integrity, Breeders’ Cup remains committed to continuing working on best practices in these areas.

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  • Tinky

    The BC “remains committed to best practices”? Really? That seems to be sharply at odds with:

    a) the fact that such a small percentage of horses bled during last year’s experiment

    b) the BC’s own admission as to the real reason for the decision: “The horsemen’s groups in potential host jurisdictions indicated that they would withhold their approval of simulcast rights unless this was the case, jeopardizing our ability to conduct simulcast wagering on our event, and thus the event itself.”

    In other words, the decision had little to do with the welfare of the horse, and a great deal to do with the welfare of the BC coffers.

    Shocking, eh?

    • Stanley inman

      Tinky,
      Don’t you love how forthright and transparent
      They are about the fact they have
      Zero ethical standards

    • Margaret Thurner

      Tinky, I agree with you 100%!! Most decisions have little to do with the welfare of the horse and everything to do with the cofers. BC 2012 made about 53 MILLION in 2 days of wagering and LITTLE or NOTHING went to Throroughbred Rescue and Rehab Groups. They announced that 3 million was recently released. What the heck is 3 million? Nothing compared to the money they are making and have made in the past years. If what they say is true then the horsemen’s groups need to be charged with extortion! Horsemen’s groups are similar to gangsters. They control tracks in N.A. they control simulcast rights. they take automatically 10% of all purse money won from owners, they give little in return and favour only small percentage of trainers. If they don’t like a trainer they destroy your career. In order to like a trainer you have to participate in their little scheme. In the end the wagering public and horses get screwed.

  • Ann Maree

    Very depressing!

  • Hopefieldstables

    In all world class sport, no effort is spared to ensure drug free competition. We are reminded of this almost daily in our news coverage.

    To accept otherwise in any such sport would be considered intolerable. Members suggesting otherwise would be pariahs.

    By extraordinary contrast, the Breeders Cup, America’s idea of a “world championship” in the “sport” of horse racing will continue to see each competitor receive a cascade of drugs in days before the event leading right up to a final drug by IV injection a mere 4 hours before the start (to the uninformed public, raised on doping scandals, this must be scarcely believable).

    The post race urine tests from these “championships” should they be sent to any regulatory laboratory in any other major horse racing jurisdiction would see each and every competitor fail for a multitude of “pre race” drugs. Not just one, but many.

    At this “championship”, these tests will pass. This must be sport in the twilight zone.

    The Breeders Cup board should hang their heads in shame.

    They have failed. They are unable to promote neither a clean sport nor an ethical one. What exactly is their raison d’etre ? do they know themselves?

    You could not make this fiasco up. The regulators of this sport in this country are unable to see the forest for the trees.

    • Stanley inman

      Hopefield,
      Twilight zone observation sums it up
      Proof that life with the needle
      Distorts reality & Produces fatal outcomes

  • Marshall Cassidy

    Pretty much in sync with Tinky and Ann Maree, above: What a convolution of self-serving motives this 2013 Breeders’ Cup decision has become!

    Was it ever stated by Breeders’ Cup “World Championships” that their annual rape of race track proceeds was indulged for the benefit of the Thoroughbred racehorse, or the sporting venue? Surely not, as I read this August 23, 2013 Breeders’ Cup press release screed and try in vain to find evidence of industry leadership above Thoroughbred breeders’ best interests solely.

    Race tracks be damned! The sport and business be damned, I guess. “Let the good times roll for furosemide endorsement” must be Breeders’ Cup’s ongoing credo! What a shame on the sport/business is this bleeder-medication decision. What an artificial game have been our Breeders’ Cup “Championships!” But, such is Breeders’ Cup as it has always been, I guess: an artful sham of Machiavellian proportions..

  • Right then, Right now

    More lip service from “our leaders.”

  • guest

    How about banning phenylbutazone (bute)? Absolutely no justification for this drug in the horse in any amount!

    • G. Rarick

      According to the vet sheets released by the NYRA, five (5!) of today’s Travers’ contenders have been treated with bute and banamine within 48 hours of the race. And no, don’t tell me it doesn’t affect performance. Bute erases signs of lameness five days after it is given. And no, it’s not “just like an aspirin.” Five lame horses in a Group 1 race. If they’re not lame, don’t give it to them, and if the ARE lame, they shouldn’t run.

      • Hopefieldstables

        Actually if you check all of the records you will see that 8 of the 9 runners are doped up with one or more of bute, ketofen or banamine.

        5 have bute/banamine
        1 has ketofen/banamine
        1 has bute/ketofen/banamine
        1 has only bute

        Only Orb is drug free.

        The mere act of giving a drug for the purpose of affecting performance in the race is doping (it matters not one iota whether it helps or hinders). The intent is not hidden by the records, the drugs are stated as “pre race”.

        This is institutionalised legal doping. All of the above have been given within 48 hrs of the race and would fail a post race urine test everywhere else bar a bush track in a third world country.

        We had looked to the BC to provide a drug free oasis in the American racing world (admittedly lasix is not the whole story but would have been an important step).

        They failed to live up to that expectation.

        • SteveG

          “This is institutionalised legal doping.”
          Bull’s-eye.

  • G. Rarick

    I left a comment with a link, so obviously it won’t post, but as I tried to say, have a look at the comments on the Racing Post story on this to see what Europeans think of American racing (and breeding).

  • Big Red

    Excellent decision ! Time to move on.
    (I’m guessing the Euro’s and that small stupid group of Lasix hater owners will still show up in 2014)

    • Hopefieldstables

      Imagine there has been only 12 double Breeders Cup winners in its entire history and despite having only a tiny fraction of the entries and only competing in a few races on each card, 5 of those 12 horses were trained in Europe.

      How is it possible with all that lack of “therapy” and “protection” nearly HALF of the multiple winners come from so small a group ?

      How is it this small group without the “protection” seemingly sustain their performances for longer ?

      And as for triple BC winners ? there is only one.

      And she was trained in Europe.

  • Gina Powell

    Let me guess: Bob Baffert, Todd Pletcher the cry babies of horse racing, the spoiled rotten brats who get their own way above all other trainers. I allege that something else is going into that needle other than Lasix, and they want to win with the needle. They can’t train or run without drugs. Let me guess: Bob Baffert and Todd Pletcher will win many races at this year’s BC 2013. Let me guess: Frank Stronach has to have his hand in the cookie jar: I allege that his pedigree offspring of sires he owns will win some. I allege that post-race samples are handled by specific individuals that they have a direct line to. You expect people to wager or invest money into this business?! Craig Fravell good friends with the California contingency. CHRB Arthur and Bo Derek buddies with Baffert. It’s one big cesspool of alleged corruption. NOTHING HAS CHANGED!! The Europeans should boycott the BC. How can they compete against this auotocracy? When was the last time a small outfit won at the big races?? BB, Pletcher, Asmussen all have it wrapped out in one neat egg roll. Put some soya sauce on that boys!

  • jttf

    today, at saratoga we have a two year old race with 10 horses (travers day’s 3rd race). only four of them are using lasix. even the educated top trainers in new york are learning not to use lasix on their youngsters.

    • jttf

      can someone get some more info on why oneill’s horse scratched in today’s 5th race. was the horse really given amino acids on raceday ? did they test the horse afterwards ?

  • Barry Irwin

    Does ANYBODY believe for even a millisecond that either the owners/horsemen or the racing board in California would dare to bar the Breeders’ Cup from conducting its event at ANY racetrack in the State of California if Lasix were banned? Answer: OF COURSE NOT!

    The Breeders’ Cup simply blinked first.

    Does the Breeders’ Cup not believe in its own strength and power enough to take a stand?

    If the Breeders’ Cup had this little fortitude, they should not have tried to restrict Lasix in the first place, because all they have served to do is weaken the alliance against drugs and race day medication.

    This is very discouraging.

    • fb0252

      lasix prevents EIPH and allows EIPH horses to run. what is ur position on these two salient points?

      • G. Rarick

        Um, not that you were asking me, but you are wrong on both points. Lasix does not prevent EIPH. In some of the most extreme cases, it can lessen the impact. In most cases, it does nothing but dehydrate the horse (read closely the South African study that everyone wants to quote). And if you do really believe that lasix “allows EIPH horses to run,” then you must also be in favor of steroids that allow Barry Bonds to hit more home runs and EPO to bring out the best in those cyclists competing in the Tour de France (who also all seem to have asthma, interestingly enough). The purpose of sport, including horse racing, is to allow athletes to compete at their natural best, not to dope them so they can compete at a level that is NOT their natural best. In horses, Group (or Graded) races are there to select the best breeding stock. Horses who need medication to surmount EIPH are not the best breeding stock. The Breeders’ Cup has again become the Bleeders Cup, making it inconsequential on the world stage.

        • fb0252

          easy to say for someone that races on grass.

          possibly u’d elaborate on ur position that Lasix fails to prevent or lessen chances of EIPH. To quote DW Lukas on his anti-lasix vid on the “clean horses” website:
          “some think lasix prevents EIPH, and there’ probably something to that…(Lukas twang). Unnecessary to hear it from Lukas. Anybody that’s raced a horse on dirt understand this purely by observation.

          Comparing steroids–a performance enhancing drug, to lasix, a drug that prevents bleeding in the lungs, is ludicrous imo.

          • G. Rarick

            Lasix is considered a performancing-enhancing drug in every sport except horse racing. Read the rules. And while you’re reading, READ the ENTIRE South African lasix study. Don’t just listen to what American trainers parrot because they don’t know how to train any other way.

            Yes, we run on grass, mostly. Just got back from a trip down-country where they don’t water, and the turf track was harder than anything you’d run on in America. My horse didn’t bleed. (Didn’t run well, either, but that’s because he’s not very talented, but that has nothing to do with bleeding.)

          • fb0252

            u declined to elaborate on ur statement that Lasix fails to prevent or lessen chances of EIPH.

            also–horses running on any kind of grass surface regardless how hard produces geometrically less concussion than running on a normal dirt surface. My personal estimate–1/3 to 2/3 the amt. of concussive force per hoof strike. Horses rarely bleed on grass regardless of conditions, and, if one does bother to read the studies including the South African study (and, how sad is it that the major lasix study comes from SA on a Q of this importance for American horse racing) one knows the studies show that 85-90% eventually bleed running on dirt.

            Possibly u’d explain to the owner who has just invested $50,000 to race their horse that they’d risk losing that investment to EIPH that might be prevented with lasix–and, that’s other than to discuss the inhumanity to the horse of forcing training and racing that u know in advance is going to cause EIPH. Try training some time in the summer in Louisiana, Ms. Rarick. It will change your tune considerably.

      • Hopefieldstables

        Lasix prevents EIPH? what a sad delusion. Just listen to your fellow trainers; in every state that allows an “adjunct” nearly every horse uses one in addition to lasix.

        Now how could that be ?

  • Ed Brockman

    These people in authority seem hell bent on causing the Federal Government come in to regulate the industry. That is what will eventually happen I believe. Those key figures in the game are much like teenage boys that think nothing bad can happen to them, regardless of how irresponsible their actions may be.

  • Arazi

    Disappointing,we are going the wrong way!
    Less is always better regarding any medication close to race day
    We need the breeder’s cup,Toba,the graded stake committee and the jockey club to work together.
    We need real leadership,stand up to the horsemen’s groups…

  • Hoops and Horses

    I think you can thank the California horse-people for this one:

    This to me shows simply put, there are some trainers who either don’t know how to train and race horses without Lasix or simply don’t want to have their horses race without it. This can be rendered moot if owners agreed on their own that their horses NOT race with Lasix.

    What is really needed is a five-year phaseout of Lasix starting with the top events like the Triple Crown, Breeders’ Cup and other select Grade 1 events AND ALL races for two year olds, slowly expanding to ALL Grade 1 & 2 events and races for three year olds before the Belmont Stakes and evenually ALL races.

    What also is needed is for the sport to both follow and expand on the rules now in place in Harness Racing that for Standardbreds now require those horses to race through at least their four year old season as originally implemented by Jeff Gural for races at the tracks he owns (The Meadowlands, Vernon Downs and Tioga Downs) and is also followed by Woodbine Entertain Group for major Harness stakes at Woodbine and Mohawk Raceway. That has already led to its desired effect in its first year as virtually every top three year old from last year returned for their four year old season. For thoroughbreds, I would expand on this and make it so top horses have to race through their five year old season.

    What the latter case would do is force changes in the way horses are bred if breeders’ realized that horses would have to hold up through at least four seasons of racing and at least 35-40 starts, with horses being bred for soundness, durability and stamina as opposed to speed, precociousness and the quick buck. It would reverse many of the problems the breed has had in recent years, though not overnight as horses would slowly gain more stamina and be able to race more often and for longer periods of time.

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