‘Beaten Down By The PR Machine’: Bramlage On The Best Prescription For Racing

by | 02.24.2017 | 12:21pm
Dr. Larry Bramlage of Rood & Riddle

Dr. Larry Bramlage, renowned orthopedic surgeon specializing in Thoroughbred racehorses, said the time has come for those in the racing business to stop expecting the public to see things the same way horsemen do.

Speaking at Rood and Riddle Equine Hospital's annual client education seminar this week, Bramlage was one of a panel of speakers fielding pre-selected audience questions. The veterinarian was asked to provide thoughts on the sentiment that medication is a significant factor negatively impacting the popularity of racing.

Bramlage, who served 22 years on the American Association of Equine Practitioners' On Call team, believes there are three basic things the industry must do with regards to medication to improve public perception.

Firstly, Bramlage said the sport needs to eliminate race-day furosemide – not because it doesn't work or he has serious concerns about its use but because the ship has sailed on convincing the public it is safe and necessary.

“I'm a big Lasix fan. It's good for the horse,” he said. “But we cannot withstand the bad publicity that it creates worldwide. Society is against drugs, and they can't tell the difference between heroin and Lasix.”

Bramlage is hopeful research set to be released later this year will demonstrate the administration time for furosemide could be pushed back further from the race without the drug losing effectiveness. Although he pointed out furosemide is quickly eliminated from the body, the drug could have lingering impacts. Bramlage used aspirin as an analogy: although it needs to be taken every few hours to reduce inflammation, one dose of it can increase bleeding for days, which is why people preparing for surgery are warned not to take it in the preceding week or two. Furosemide could similarly have impacts on the body well after much of it has been metabolized.

Secondly, Bramlage encouraged attendees to support the Barr-Tonko bill creating uniform oversight for the sport. Although he initially had reservations about earlier drafts of the Thoroughbred Horseracing Integrity Act, Bramlage said he has changed his stance, particularly since it would make laboratory testing and funding more consistent.  The legislation, currently dormant, would put the non-governmental, independent United States Anti-Doping Agency in charge of a national uniform medication program.

“It's come a long way,” he said. “There are still some petrifying things about it; the Humane Society of the United States is involved, and I don't trust them as far as from here to the back of the room; however, they have huge political clout, and if you're going to pass it, we're probably going to need them.

“I have changed from being opposed to it to thinking it's our best chance. It's our best chance because 98-plus percent of our positives are laboratory screw-ups or mistakes in the barn. We can't get rid of the mistakes in the barn, but we can reduce them if there's not different race rules for every racing jurisdiction.”

Lastly, Bramlage said veterinarians and the racing industry need to get better at communicating with the public about improvements in welfare policy. Much of the racing public is under the impression other countries do a better job policing medication than the United States, but Bramlage said people would be surprised to learn what is actually permitted ahead of a foreign classic race. Two weeks out from the Epsom Derby, for example, Bramlage said a veterinarian can inject all a horse's joints without fear of penalty as long as the treatment is reported to authorities in Britain. A veterinarian treating a Kentucky Derby contender would be limited in whether and how they could inject a Thoroughbred's joint before the race, for fear of causing an overage.

“Our story is much better than we tell it,” he said. “We've already been beaten down by the PR machine. We have to make people understand that we're making progress.”

  • PointGivenTCL

    He’s right about this – the traditionalists within the industry will be the death of it because they can’t understand or accept how the public perceives the sport. Although his comment about 98% of positives not being from willful cheating is somewhat ridiculous. Cheating and a lack of concern for the horses’ welfare in deference to the almighty dollar is rampant everywhere but especially among cheaper horses and smaller tracks. A national body that’s separate from and not beholden to all the political entanglements between the state and local racing commissions and horsemen’s associations is absolutely necessary to clean this up. The HBPAs will hate it, but they are their own and racing’s worst enemy if we’re talking about the cultural cachet and longevity of the sport.

    • wjfraz

      He knows Lasix is a masking agent. Ask him directly.

      • slvrblltday

        Any published references? Would love to see if true

      • Consultant

        Then, why is it proven to be an effective way to limit Bleeding . … ?

  • wjfraz

    While I respect Bramlage, his support of Lasix is off base. Lasix masks other drugs in the way the metabolize in the horses system. That is the reason trainers do not want to eliminate it on race day. If and until when a complete and open investigation into the amount of money race track veterinarians make from giving drugs to horse that really don’t need them; steroids and the like, and the public actually know what a lucrative business it is for them, nothing will happen. As I trained and ran horses in California, the vets drove new trucks or cars while most trainers did not. The real people making a killing financially in racing are the vets who are dead set against the elimination of drugs on the race track and they have a powerful lobby on the issue of drug use. When a $25 dollar bottle of bute, given in 5cc increments costing $20-25 a shot and a $25 dollar bottle of Lasix given at $20-25 a shot is used as a benchmark on drug use, and every horse has these every time they run, well except a few, you can see how much these vets make. A bottle of bute costing $25 has 100cc’s, divided by 20 doses, the vet makes about $500 for that bottle. Total highway robbery.

    • Boo-Hiss

      Racetrack vets aren’t any different than small animal vets, except that they work harder for less money. I was shocked by the bill the last time I took my dog to the vet. Heck, look at your doctor’s bill the next time you get a shot of something. You’re charged a highly inflated price for the medicine itself PLUS another $30 for the nurse to give the injection. That’s just the way things work with the medical profession, veterinary or human. Maybe Trump will change this.

      I agree that some veterinarians are to blame for drug violations and unnecessary drugs and procedures, but trainers who want to do these things seek out vets they know will do them. They’d never go to the most ethical vet on the track and ask him. So it’s collusion.

      Racing commissions need to start watching vets closer, like Indiana did with Dr. Ross Russell. And they need to get the FBI involved if they find one, like in Pennsylvania. If the penalty for getting caught means losing their vet’s license, this will stop.

    • According to testing expert, Dr. Rick Sams, in testimony provided to the KY Horse Racing Commission “there were no effects, no significant effects, on our ability to
      detect drugs and their metabolites in the samples
      that were collected from a Furosemide treated
      horses under these regulated conditions.” KHRC November 14, 2011

  • Tinky

    While Bramlage is a terrific surgeon, he is also clearly a rank, industry status quo apologist.

    Here are two quotes supporting my conclusion.

    First:

    “I’m a big Lasix fan. It’s good for the horse,” he said. “But we cannot withstand the bad publicity that it creates worldwide. Society is against drugs, and they can’t tell the difference between heroin and Lasix.”

    Sure thing, doc. The reason that race-day Lasix isn’t allowed in virtually every other major racing jurisdiction in the world, and hasn’t been for many decades (at least), is because the owners, breeders, trainers, vets, and regulators who work with the animals, and continue to support that position, can’t tell the difference between Lasix and heroin.

    Also, no mention, of course, of the fact that there is zero evidence that the two-thirds of the racehorses around the world that compete without race day Lasix are less healthy or durable than their American counterparts, nor the insidious masking of bad bleeders with Lasix, insuring that they will return to, and degrade the breeding pool.

    Then this:

    “I have changed from being opposed to it to thinking it’s our best chance. It’s our best chance because 98-plus percent of our positives are laboratory screw-ups or mistakes in the barn. We can’t get rid of the mistakes in the barn, but we can reduce them if there’s not different race rules for every racing jurisdiction.”

    Talk about spin! In Bramlage’s world, the drug problem in racing apparently boils down, essentially, to mistakes in the barn! It sounds as though he believes his own propaganda, which closely mirrors that of the various HBPA organizations. They’d have the public believe that because there are so few positive returns in current testing, racing is obviously quite clean!

    While I’d like to cut him some slack and chalk it up to naïveté, or ivory tower myopia, Bramlage is too experienced and well-connected to be so oblivious of of PED problem.

    Very sad.

    • Tints mom

      Please cite aby scientific journal that states it is a PED.

      • Tinky

        Do some cursory research, please. I’ve been over this countless times on this very forum, but for the umpteenth time:

        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.

        • Lehane

          Lasix is banned outright in Australia – that’s how ‘good it is for the horse’.

          • Ben van den Brink

            Not only there, In Germany no use in training nor in racing

          • Neither in a breading horse (stallion) I can post a link to that

          • ben

            I raced in Germany, I know that ( about the stallions)

          • Cool. I was just expanding on your statement. I believe the same is true for Russia and other eastern block country’s

          • Minneola

            Just curious. Is there any other country, other than the U.S., that does allow Lasix? I haven’t heard of one but you are probably more knowledgeable about this than I am.

          • Ben van den Brink

            Just a handful allows it in training, some allows it only in minor races (claming) but the most by far, nor in training nor in racing.

        • Peter-John

          Comparing its classification with humans to horses isnt fair. Humans do not undergo EIPH which it is used to treat so it has a very different effect on the two. The question to ask to me is whether actual bleeders should be allowed to suffer because Lasix is used on non-bleeders, or should we put in place ways to prevent non-bleeders getting lasix?

          • Tinky

            If by “actual” bleeders you mean bad bleeders, they should not be allowed to race or be bred.

            Over 90% of the Thoroughbred population is obviously well-equipped to race without Lasix, in spite of bleeding to a lesser degree,.

          • Minneola

            Or one more option: Don’t race bleeders!

          • longtimehorsewoman

            Exactly – the humans are using it as PED.

          • ben

            THE wada, has completely banned lasix, last yr several athletes getting caught with the stuff, severe penalties were giving.

            In industry in the US and not the horses, has become medication addicts.

            Creating their own loopholes, no problem in the end this problem will be solved, thanks to tjhe public and the the rubbing from the bettors,

          • Carla Parrillo

            That is my point. The monitoring of how, when, where, and why the Lasix is administered to any and every horse receiving it. Any animals on aspirin can run into bleeding, I had to monitor this on a pet myself. Post race exams can also reveal new bleeding episodes the horse might not have had before. Now Lasix could be a future consideration.

          • Carla Parrillo

            This is my very point. …just because some do need the lassix doesn’t seem the non- competitive. They are being given a sporting chance to race against the horses that don’t need it.

        • Minneola

          I find it rather odd that no one ever questions why all (that I have ever seen) program guides list whether a horse is running on Lasix or, even, first time Lasix. That is also noted by those so-called “expert” handicappers when discussing their picks. If those program guides are used by the betting public, why would it matter whether a horse is running on Lasix or as first time Lasix? Why would those handicappers also mention this drug?

          • Tinky

            Those are, as you likely know, rhetorical questions.

            Back in the day, when Lasix was first being used, it quickly became apparent that it “helped” those racing on it for the first time, and in most cases not because they had suffered a serious bleeding incident in the previous race.

          • Minneola

            Precisely! But, I do find it bewildering that others do not see this connection. Thank you for your answer.

          • Ben van den Brink

            It was used for horses that putted on weight, ( on the verge from getting older)
            to keep them competitive.

          • Carla Parrillo

            That to me sounds like a good move. I almost think all living things animal or human have similar internal makeup that function or misfunction as they get older. I had a device put in the lunar area of my back. I did some research on it and before it was approved in the U S some would go to other countries to receive it.
            My research found that Lee Trevino the famous golf champion had to get on after an injury on the Golf course. I enhanced his performance after his injury. But without it he would not have functioned well on or off the course. Isn’t Lasix doing the same for the horses that need it?

          • Ben van den Brink

            They does not need it. Only they are not competitive anymore without the stuff.

          • Carla Parrillo

            …would have they continued to be competitive if they continued with bleeding from a race? So take the run away from the horse, that might love running, or improve a physical problem that can be controlled and still give the horse the years he deserves to enjoy running which hecwas bornvto do.. And again, selectiveness could be the key. Not all horses will need it.

          • Ben van den Brink

            The owners NEEDS the money so they thinking the they can preserve that, not the horses.

            It is just making money from the back of the horses and nothing else, trying to safeguard the investment.

        • Carla Parrillo

          This is as good point. That some horses out there nigh nit need lassix. This is where the strict monitoring of the distribution is important.
          …I still find it hard to accept this as a perfomance enhancing drug. If it helps their breathing during a race, then this is a necessity for the chemical balance of the horse. I had to pets. That needed this med. The last one developed a heart condition. Without the lassix the other medication could have been more damaging then not. Huumans take it all the time for high blood pressure, and fluid retention.. Without it they wouldn’t be able to function.

          • Tinky

            Those that truly “need” it shouldn’t be racing, or breeding.

            Is that difficult to understand?

          • Lehane

            Carla, your compassion and concern is admirable. Tinky’s response to you is absolutely spot on.

          • Carla Parrillo

            I agree and from what I observe many horses are pressured to perform beyond their ability. Is this because. Every time they hit brake a record they are pushed to beat it again. Then the physical stamina of the horses and their health is not being considered. …as you said it’s the compassion for the horses. Some owners and trainers are, (this is not a reflection on any parents)discontented parents. You know the ones that are never satisfied unless their kids are only the best. Every time they accomplish a goal successfully the parent, instead of just praising without limits,will say good job but point whatvto do next time to be even better. I’m sure even horses have their llimits.

        • Carla Parrillo

          in this comparison the auto racing organization has stipulations too. Stock circuits that I have experience in. We had a car (a funny car on a 1/4 mile step,)the weight of the car was reduced by treatment to the hood. In some areas it was not a problem. The weight was exceptable and within the legal range to enhance the speed of the car. …BUT!! When we ran on a track that did not accept the weight we would have to take a starting time handicap. We had to get from a 4 to a 10 second handicap. The car ran so well we never came in under 2nd place. In some cases we won. So the same is with the issue of the horses. To remain physically in tact and be given a sporting chance some horses will need lassix others won’t. I have to think that these horses didn’t start their careers needing lassix, but and again here is where monitoring is in demand, if signs of bleeding show up after racing starts to be seen, then the choice needs to be made for the sake of the individual horse.

          • Tinky

            You really don’t get it.

            Over 90% of racehorses do not need raceday Lasix, and the small percentage that do, shouldn’t be racing.

            Enabling the latter group with medication is stupid for what should be plainly obvious reasons.

      • longtimehorsewoman

        Really? It is well known, just do a google search.

    • Lindley Paxton Barden

      WELL SAID, TINKY!! Although I greatly respect Dr. Bramlage as a surgeon, his out-dated ideas concerning pre-race meds (PEDs) do no good for the HEALTH AND BREEDING of racehorses. And I am a baby-boomer, and I DO care about the issues mentioned by millenial William. Even taking the chance of allowing Washington’s oversight of racing, it would definitely improve the sport (and health of horses and jockeys) if every state, trainer, and vet were on the same page.

      • Tinky

        Thanks Lindley, and yes, I agree that uniform rules would be an important reform.

    • Lehane

      Thank you, Tinky. I could barely contain myself on reading this article, however, you have expressed my thoughts exactly.

      • Tinky

        Thanks! Happy to help!

    • Rachel

      Thank-you, Tinky!
      I love how in one breath he says Furosemide is perfectly safe, then in the next he compares the lingering risks of its side-effects to that of bleeding If aspirin is taken too close to a surgery.
      Any one on high-blood pressure meds knows very well the side-effects and careful monitoring and medication level adjustments needed to ensure safe application of this drug.

      • Judoon

        That is not what he said. What he actually said is that Lasix, like aspirin, may possibly linger in the body and have an impact for some time after ingestion.

        • ben

          So the effects of the medication can be worsening the ailment.

    • Peter-John

      I agree with a lot of what he’s said, but I disagree that you should conform to public pressure and ban lasix. Anyone that is against lasix has never been active around a racehorse and responsible for their wellbeing. When horses go under cardiovascular stress all of them will bleed at different rates. But if you have ever been around a horse that has bled it takes a drastic toll on the horse. Every time a horse bleeds is causes significant scaring of the tissue in the lungs causing them to bleed worse and worse, until it is quite possible they could die during exercise.

      To me I think forcing a bad bleeder to run without lasix is straight up cruelty.

      • Hopefieldstables

        “Anyone that is against lasix has never been active around a racehorse and responsible for their wellbeing. ”

        John Gosden?
        Andre Fabre?
        Criquette Head?
        Richard Hannon?

        etc
        etc

        I think they “been active around a racehorse” or two.

        • Lea

          never used lasix…condition the horse instead???

      • Tinky

        What part of “two-thirds of the racehorses in the world perform without raceday Lasix, and have done so for many decades at least” do you not understand?

        That means that a large majority of the owners, breeders, trainers and veterinarians around the world are able to manage horses without its use, and those horses are as healthy, if not healthier than their American counterparts.

        Your scarring claim is quite clearly rank, over-the-top propaganda, as if it were remotely accurate, the division of older horses around the world would have been decimated 100 years ago.

        Only a very small percentage of bleeders are unmanageable without Lasix. That is a well-established fact, and one that you, and other frightened apologists routinely ignore.

        • McGov

          Well said…..as usual ;)

          • Tinky

            Thank you!

      • Larry Sterne

        should not race or be breed.

        • slvrblltday

          Cannot underscore this enough

      • Ben van den Brink

        Those less than 5% from the racehorsepopulation needs to be cut, just like I did when I had one in my possession ( gave the filly away as a pasture ornament. It was a financial blow. But that was the best thing for the horse involved. She was a total pancake, and just that was the source for the problems.

      • Whirlaway4ever

        Bad bleeders shouldn’t be running at all, period. Nor should they be sent to the breeding shed. Geld them and retire to a trail riding barn. For mares, please don’t breed ones that bleed on the race track.

      • Carla Parrillo

        I have to agree with this. I Also do not see Lasix as a speed enhancing drug. But to avoid medical conditions that can be harmful to the horses than let them have it. Maybe some horses don’t have a use for it. Then perhaps a strict plan to monitor how , when, and what horses need to gave it administered to them. This has to be better then to cause fluid to build up on lungs and the heart to cause heart failure on the track. When someone comes up with a good PT plan to teach or help the horses to breathe better while runnung then give them what they need to race safely.

        • Ben van den Brink

          Better to give them ACE.

      • ben

        P>J Ireally oppose your view btw, and I did race a filly, that turned out to be a bad bleeder, without warning earlier on. I damn well the reason no, so with my knowledge at this time, she schould not have been racing, and I should have scratched her last minute. She was pancaking in the paddock and sweating all over,but improved in the upcanter, came relaxed. At that point in time, i think that the damage was already done. It was a very hot day and a very high humidity.

        It is a thing from their mind and their make- up which results in their physics.

        And no way that it is the other way around.

        • ben

          It was shown ( the bleeding) in the race btw after 2 furlongs from the gates.

      • Carla Parrillo

        This is where Lasix gets a plus. … As long as you are adding weights to the horse to keep the weight issue sound, (though wrong on so many levels)then something needs to be done to assist the horses with the extrra stress this is putting on their hearts and vascular flow. With this fact to be known then Lasix is needed for their safety. …and don’t put the weight issue on the responsibility of the jockey either. Perhaps a complete. Overview of this weight issue is where the changes should start. Then less strain on the horses respiratory system could help to balance out the pros and con of the use of lasix.

    • kmlman

      But Tinky the bottom line is he supports the Tomko Barr bill and is against race day Lasix. If one is in favor of those things, then “why” is not the most important question. If there’s a consensus, regardless of the reasons, then he should be supported. It’s hard enough to get anyone to agree in this business; just think about how impossible it would be if everyone had to agree on reasoning.

      • Tinky

        Yes, that is a fair point, and as suggested in my original post, I am not painting Bramlage with a broad brush.

        At the same time, however, consider how the form of his support might play with hard-liners in the industry. Some, if not many, may argue that he has caved to external pressures, and should instead stand firm with those who “know what’s best for the horse”. In other words, his tepid support doesn’t help nearly as much as a strong and honest appraisal would.

        • kmlman

          True, but there’s not much we can do about the latter.

          • Tinky

            Agreed. And better tepid, than nothing.

      • reality check

        One would also think that he might not consider withdrawing water for an increased time period would be beneficial to a horse who is exerting a great deal of energy.

    • Marlaine Meeker

      Since we have such an opiate epidemic in this country, maybe we can replace it using Lasix. The addicts will never know the difference and they might have better performance records.

    • slvrblltday

      While I can’t appreciate your first point as he clearly means laypeople/popular culture, your other points are right on if painfully so. I have admired this Dr for his position and advocation for the facts about 2yo racing. But this stuff is nonsense as you point out and I can’t help but wonder what else is agenda-motivated or otherwise nonsense. Thanks for your post

      • Tinky

        Yes, he is referring to laypeople, but the clear implication is that they cannot appreciate the importance of raceday Lasix, and how “good” it is for the horse, while the real experts, horsemen and vets, etc., can.

        However, if it were true that Lasix was needed to keep racehorses healthy, then, from Bramlage’s perspective, virtually all owners, breeders, trainers and regulators outside of the U.S. are abusing the animals by preventing its use, and are, by implication, every bit as unsophisticated as the laypeople to whom he specifically referred.

        So, I actually wasn’t switching from apples to oranges at all.

        • slvrblltday

          You’re right.

    • Carla Parrillo

      There is one very strong language here in one important line. The Lasix is good fire the horses , but they will discorage the use of it because it is caysig bad publicity.
      What is more important. The health and well-being of the horses or the poor publicity.
      The public opposing this need more education in its benefits to The horses.

      • Tinky

        I’ve been relatively patient with your recent posts, as you are a newcomer to this forum, but that patience is beginning to wear thin.

        You apparently haven’t a clue about Lasix, and if you had bothered to read some of my many posts on the topic, you could have learned something. For the umpteenth time:

        Two-thirds of the racehorses in the world perform without raceday Lasix, and have done so for many decades at least, and hundreds of years in some cases. They are as, if not more healthy and durable than their American counterparts.

        Horses in the U.S. raced without Lasix for a hundred years, and were far more durable than those racing today.

        Only a very small percentage of runners (~5%) are such bad bleeders that they require Lasix to run, and, quite obviously, they should neither be allowed to race or breed.

        These are the facts of the matter, and any suggestion that Lasix is “needed” for the vast majority of horses to remain healthy is sheer propaganda.

  • Mindy

    “Bramlage is hopeful research set to be
    released later this year will demonstrate the administration time for
    furosemide could be pushed back further from the race without the drug
    losing effectiveness.”
    so, would that mean horses would be losing fluids, dehydrating, for even longer? is this a good thing? is the few hours before a race, during, and after it, not long enough? I don’t get it, if I’m missing something, please explain it to me

    • PointGivenTCL

      What time they administer the drug, if it’s the same dose, will have no effect on how long the horse will feel the effects. If the effect lasts two days, then it lasts two days now and will last the same two days no matter when they adminster it.

  • William

    As a millenial I can speak that the vast majority of us don’t care about drugs. We grew up in the age of steroids being in baseball. Trust me drugs don’t sway us one way or the other. Ask most millenials and they will tell you they don’t care about drugs in sports and many will go as far to say they prefer drugs in sports.

    Now I am not saying we need PEDs in horse racing, Lasix isn’t btw. But this whole hoopla over drugs in sports is over blown and the public really doesn’t care, especially my generation. It’sthe silent majority who don’t care. The blowhards on message boards who gave taken this up as a cause seem to care the most. The angry few get he most air time.

    Therapeutic drugs all day everyday, against PEDs is my stance. If we can improve the quality of a race horses life, improve the chances of it running without getting injured by therapeutic drugs, and give it more comfort overall then I am all for it with therapeutic drugs. The highest athletes in today’s world don’t go a day without taking some type of therapeutic drug but we somehow expect horses to do the same.

    Horse racing is dying for many reasons but drug usage, especially therapeutic drugs, aren’t one of them. The millenial generation couldn’t give a hoot. There are many problems to fix but this isn’t one of them.

    Keep crying over something that doesn’t change the mind of any millenial towards horse racing and watch it die. You seem to be doing a good job of it.

    William Knoll

    • Tinky

      Your perspective is valuable, William. Having said that, the analogy between racing and other major sports doesn’t hold water, as those sports do not derive primary revenues from gambling.

      Also, you might want to do some cursory research into Lasix, as it is unequivocally a PED.

      • tony a

        Well his perspective may be different from other millenials, after all he said he was at work!

      • Hamish

        William the “plant” came out of nowhere with his pontification of the position of a millenial. His remarks are well scripted and seemingly meant to be genuine. Fact is, folks of his generation don’t support horse racing with their parimutuel wagering, but they do love the fancy parties on big race days. Drug abuse is an acceptable situation of the millenials, what a shame, but it says a lot about today’s derelict society and the young folks that are the new leaders.

        • PointGivenTCL

          Okay, Grandpa. Should we get off your lawn, too? I am a millennial and I certainly wouldn’t describe drug abuse as “acceptable” or my generation as part of a “derelict society.”

        • ofmyownaccord

          It is a well known fact that millennials have lower rates of alcohol and drug abuse than any generation in the last 60 years. Multiple studies prove it. In fact, they’ve been shown to be more in step with their grandparents values which happen to be known as the greatest generation.

      • Tinky, I thought you could spot a phony like Bill Troll. Disappointing.

    • billy

      When you see a horse break his leg and continue to try and run unabated you might change your mind ask some trainers about the horses they’ve claimed that had to be put down or never raced again due to the injuries they had the only reason they were able to run is those ” therapeutics to begin with do you see testosterone as a therapeutic drug these drugs are ruining horses lives and careers not to mention keeping them going when they most definitely shouldn’t be go spend two weeks with a horse coming off the track or the horse that lays down for days from being sore I urge you to look first hand for yourself

    • PointGivenTCL

      As a millennial I fervently disagree with pretty much every point you’re making and can’t imagine anyone I know saying they “don’t care about drugs in sports.” So…there’s the counterpoint.

      • ofmyownaccord

        As another fellow millennial, I whole-heartedly share your view. William doesn’t speak for the rest of us and sounds more like a self-absorbed baby boomer than any millennial I’ve ever come across.

        • Ben van den Brink

          William is defending the winner takes it all, the lead up does not bother him

        • wjfraz

          Don’t diss baby boomers. We are not as self absorbed as millennials who have also been labeled as the “me, me, me” generation. As a baby boomer, I believe any drug that enhances performance should be banned and anyone who is caught using or enabling their use, should be summarily banned from racing.

          • He’s got you playing his game. Ignore him.

        • He is a troll. It is a put-up job.

    • Larry Sterne

      the bettors care william, it doesn’t make for a fair bet. they r the customer and when u screw the customer what can that say for your business model. not good. where did Dr Bramlage get the 98% number. whe re is his source. to justify they r as bad as we r is not a good argument for integrity glad he spent more time on his vet doctoral paper than this speech should be a pharmacy rep for lasix

    • Cyradis4

      Speak for yourself. I’m a Millenial and I hate the idea of drugs in sports, and especially drugs used in animals who can’t make their own choices! Drugs and cheating is why racing is crashing in the US but doing well most other places. Who wants to bet on who has the better chemist? Not I!

    • missedgehead

      As a Generation Xer, I would agree with you,if you were talking about the NFL. Trust me, most NFL fans don’t go nuts over an NFL suspension for drugs. PEDs, meh. Marijuana suspensions, are the ones that most fans think are stupid. I do, as well. However, this is horse racing. and drugs in horse racing is an INTEGRITY of the GAME issue, as well as a health issue. If a horse does NOT need the drug, and can run well without it, there is no logical reason to give it to him. Lasix is being used as a PED. Why subject the horse to a drug, he or she doesn’t need? Drug use is hurting the sport. I totally disagree with you.

    • There you go again, misspelling your name Bill Troll. Proof reading would help.

  • William

    Sorry for typos I am on my phone at work

  • Whynotwest

    Smart man. Not sure he has all the right answers however.

  • Hopefieldstables

    “Two weeks out from the Epsom Derby, for example, Bramlage said a veterinarian can inject all a horse’s joints without fear of penalty as long as the treatment is reported to authorities in Britain”

    Bullsh*t Dr Bramlage.

    They have to pass the post race test in the same way as the Kentucky vet. “Reporting the treatment” does not exonerate the horse.

    Further if the joint injection is less than 14 clear days (i.e the race is 15th day past injection day) they can be DQ irrespective of whether they pass the post race test. Horses have been DQ based on the medication record alone.

    You are misinformed.

    • Erekose77

      I was hoping someone would clear this up; it sounded dubious at best. Especially since the ARCI model rules and withdrawal guidelines for the medications used in joint injections allow for the procedure to be performed as close as 7 days in racehorses in North America. Suddenly that 14 days sounds like an eternity.

    • Peter-John

      He is talking about painkillers and pain blockers being allowed to be injected into an injured area of a horse (eg. cortisone in the joints). This is not in the bloodstream and cannot be tested for. The only way to stop it is preventing the doctors from doing it or catching them if they try

      • Erekose77

        It is not that simple. When an organism is administered a chemical, that chemical is absorbed by the body, distributed throughout the body, metabolized by the body, and ultimately is excreted (along with its metabolites) by the body. The bloodstream is critical for this process. In fact, joint fluid–much like milk–is a filtrate of blood.

        • Hopefieldstables

          His comment is beyond stupid and not worthy of wasting your time with a response. Not a clue.

      • Carla Parrillo

        This is an area I agree with. If the horses joints are painful on a given day without waiting, so waging can be adjusted in time,, or not then scratch the horse and rest the legs in trouble. Don’t add to the problem. Off track One or two days and. Proper P T Could make a difference.

    • Guest

      It is within the rules of even the most strict U.S. jurisdictions to inject joints 7 days out, assuming the veterinarian is attentive to corticosteroid doses. Are horses being tapped one week prior to Grade 1 races? Absolutely. Anyone who says otherwise is lying or sadly misinformed. Dr. Bramlage is 100% correct here and I applaud him for saying it publicly. Don’t believe me? Look up the report on the Life at Ten incident. That horse was injected four days out. Documents available publicly on the internet.

      • Erekose77

        You misread the statement from the article. It was claimed that in Britain, one can treat a horse up to 14 days out without regard to withdrawal times or threshold levels. The implication was that North America, where as you said, one can treat a horse much closer to a race, somehow has a stricter medication policy. However, the reality is that horses in Britain indeed are still subject to post-race testing and must adhere to the thresholds established by the BHA.

        • Hopefieldstables

          Thank you.

      • Fred and Joan Booth

        We have galloped horses who were dead lame at a walk who after having received a joint injection were raced 4 days later! The horse after he was injected actually was a pain to gallop as he had no soreness in his near fore carpal joint. Of course a few days after his race the horse became dead lame at a walk again but remarkably could actually gallop on the track! For these reasons we feel racing has insurmountable image difficulties with many younger people. Nothing more horrible than to see horses breakdown in front of young families with their horse loving children!

  • Lehane

    I have no doubt that Bramlage is a very good equine surgeon. But, how does he expect to convince and gain the trust of the public when he says –

    “….It’s our best chance because 98-plus percent of our positives are laboratory screw-ups or mistakes in the barn. We can’t get rid of the mistakes in the barn,….”

    “Mistakes” just how stupid does he think the public are and what an insult to their intelligence.

  • David Stevenson

    The performance enhancing qualities of lasix have been known for years and taken advantage of by horsemen and smart gamblers since the get go. The industry stupidity perpetuated the thinking by placing symbolism on the daily program and making it a gambling tool. ie- L1, L2 et al. The masking qualities brought it to a higher level by confounding the lab analysts. There are multiple disqualifying properties in addition to “horse health” that have been blatantly ignored and are bringing the sport to its demise in this country. Our survival is threatened by how long the rest of the world will continue to accept us without applying the ultimate penalty to the U.S. horse herd, both through eliminating wagering on our signals and by allowing the participation of our pedigrees and stakes runners. Presently the claiming herd is dictating our survival!

  • Gls

    It’s the mind set of the business that bothers me, “without fear of penalty”. How about fear for the horse, if a horse needs their joints injected to run then there is a problem.

  • Winn S Troll

    Fascinated by Natalie’s use of the formal firstly, secondly and lastly construction for this story vs the more casual first, second, third.

  • “I’m a big Lasix fan. It’s good for the horse,” he said
    If Salix is good for the horse why shouldn’t it be used? Wouldn’t an argument against the use of a product promoting horse health be contrary to the veterinary oath “do no harm”?
    “Society is against drugs, and they can’t tell the difference between heroin and Lasix.”
    Are people that dumb? Maybe he should initiate an educational outreach for people to better understand why he is a big Salix fan. The Jockey Club would love that – the same organization that is against Salix use, and he sits on that Board (Grayson).

  • Carolyn Hyatt

    Horses on Lasix can become dehydrated, heat stroke or the combination of both.
    Dehydration is severe fluid loss through sweating and urination. If the water is not replenished sodium and potassium rise to toxic levels resulting in cramping, nausea, headache and finally a coma or even death. For every 1 hour of walking in the heat of the day, a human can sweat off 1 to 2 quarts of fluid. Imagine how much a horse will sweat off in an hour of walking, training, racing. Symptoms are excessive thirst, dizziness, nausea and they will lose strength, pass out and the little fluid that is left in their body is being diverted to their vital organs. If only the horse could tell you how thirsty he is, if only the owner, trainer, or jockey would lead their horse to water, he would drink. How many more youngsters have to die before its realized that Lasix will lead to dehydration, high sodium and potassium levels can cause cramping of the muscles, and what is the heart? The largest muscle in your body, hence heart attack, death. This is a death sentence to your Thoroughbred racing horse, hence your cash cow. As Patrick would say, this is horseracing.

    When a horse becomes overheated, it is dehydrated, and may have a heat stroke or the combination of both. Dehydration is severe fluid loss through sweating and urination. If the water is not replenished sodium and potassium rise to toxic levels resulting in cramping, nausea, headache and finally a coma. For every 1 hour of walking in the heat of the day, a human can sweat off 1 to 2 quarts of fluid. Imagine how much a horse will sweat off in an hour of walking, training, showing. Symptoms are excessive thirst, dizziness, nausea and they will lose strength, pass out and the little fluid that is left in their body is being diverted to their vital organs. If only the horse could tell you how thirsty he is, if only the owner, trainer, rider would lead their horse to water, he would drink. How many more youngsters have to die before its realized that the heat, stress, pain being inflicted onto the horse will lead to dehydration, high sodium and potassium levels can cause cramping of the muscles, and what is the heart? The largest muscle in your body, hence heart attack, death.

    “Lasix begets a plethora of additional drug use. Wherever pre-race Lasix is permitted, additional drugs are administered to most all of the diuretically-infused racing horses by their trainers and attending veterinarians. Lasix allows and encourages a lot of drug use. It legitimized the stage for the medication mentality that has haunted racing in recent years with all the notable breakdowns, sudden deaths and wrecks.”

    “Lasix or Salix is furosemide, a potent diuretic that dilutes the urine and lowers the pulmonary blood pressure. The drug alters the electrolyte balance of racing horses and makes them vulnerable to heat stroke and metabolic dysfunction. As well, chronic diuretic use interferes with locomotory abilities required to run biomechanically sound by altering cardiac function, muscle function, nerve function, and most every other physiologic function.”

    “Diuretics weaken horses. These days there is little doubt that pharmaceutically weakened horses are more vulnerable to breaking down. It is not surprising that Lasix jurisdictions have more breakdowns than drug-free jurisdictions. We should have known. Now we know.”

    Lasix Is Bad for Horses

    NOVEMBER 6, 2013

    With the Lasix ban for juveniles ending with this past weekend’s Breeders’ Cup and a trend toward keeping the drug raceday legal in the U.S., I thought it appropriate to revisit these words written by equine veterinarian Sid Gustafson in The New York Times a couple years back (10/28/11). At the time, Gustafson believed that Lasix was on its way out.

    “The only ones who benefit from racehorses being medicated on raceday are the attending veterinarians and, subsequently, the veterinary surgeons. …the science continues to demonstrate that chronic use of raceday drugs degrades the quality and safety of racing while impoverishing the welfare of racehorses. Raceday medications increase the breakdown rate.”

    “Lasix begets a plethora of additional drug use. Wherever pre-race Lasix is permitted, additional drugs are administered to most all of the diuretically-infused racing horses by their trainers and attending veterinarians. Lasix allows and encourages a lot of drug use. It legitimized the stage for the medication mentality that has haunted racing in recent years with all the notable breakdowns, sudden deaths and wrecks.”

    “Lasix or Salix is furosemide, a potent diuretic that dilutes the urine and lowers the pulmonary blood pressure. The drug alters the electrolyte balance of racing horses and makes them vulnerable to heat stroke and metabolic dysfunction. As well, chronic diuretic use interferes with locomotory abilities required to run biomechanically sound by altering cardiac function, muscle function, nerve function, and most every other physiologic function.”

    “Diuretics weaken horses. These days there is little doubt that pharmaceutically weakened horses are more vulnerable to breaking down. It is not surprising that Lasix jurisdictions have more breakdowns than drug-free jurisdictions. We should have known. Now we know.”

    “In two years, American racing jurisdictions are scheduled to join the rest of the racing horse world and eliminate Lasix in the United States and Canada. …Good riddance to Lasix and all the drug use it has encouraged and facilitated. Good riddance to Lasix and all the electrolyte imbalances, metabolic dysfunctions, shortened careers, breakdowns and weaknesses the drug has caused…”

  • Carolyn Hyatt

    “The only ones who benefit from racehorses being medicated on race day are the attending veterinarians and, subsequently, the veterinary surgeons.

    When a horse becomes overheated, it is dehydrated, and may have a heat stroke or the combination of both. Dehydration is severe fluid loss through sweating and urination. If the water is not replenished sodium and potassium rise to toxic levels resulting in cramping, nausea, headache and finally a coma. For every 1 hour of walking in the heat of the day, a human can sweat off 1 to 2 quarts of fluid. Imagine how much a horse will sweat off in an hour of walking, training, showing. Symptoms are excessive thirst, dizziness, nausea and they will lose strength, pass out and the little fluid that is left in their body is being diverted to their vital organs. If only the horse could tell you how thirsty he is, if only the owner, trainer, rider would lead their horse to water, he would drink. How many more youngsters have to die before its realized that the heat, stress, pain being inflicted onto the horse will lead to dehydration, high sodium and potassium levels can cause cramping of the muscles, and what is the heart? The largest muscle in your body, hence heart attack, death.

    “Lasix begets a plethora of additional drug use. Wherever pre-race Lasix is permitted, additional drugs are administered to most all of the diuretically-infused racing horses by their trainers and attending veterinarians. Lasix allows and encourages a lot of drug use. It legitimized the stage for the medication mentality that has haunted racing in recent years with all the notable breakdowns, sudden deaths and wrecks.”

    “Lasix or Salix is furosemide, a potent diuretic that dilutes the urine and lowers the pulmonary blood pressure. The drug alters the electrolyte balance of racing horses and makes them vulnerable to heat stroke and metabolic dysfunction. As well, chronic diuretic use interferes with locomotory abilities required to run biomechanically sound by altering cardiac function, muscle function, nerve function, and most every other physiologic function.”

    “Diuretics weaken horses. These days there is little doubt that pharmaceutically weakened horses are more vulnerable to breaking down. It is not surprising that Lasix jurisdictions have more breakdowns than drug-free jurisdictions. We should have known. Now we know.”

    Lasix Is Bad for Horses

    NOVEMBER 6, 2013

    “The only ones who benefit from racehorses being medicated on race day are the attending veterinarians and, subsequently, the veterinary surgeons. …the science continues to demonstrate that chronic use of race day drugs degrades the quality and safety of racing while impoverishing the welfare of racehorses. Raceday medications increase the breakdown rate.”

    American racing jurisdictions need to join the rest of the racing horse world and eliminate Lasix in the United States and Canada. …Good riddance to Lasix and all the drug use it has encouraged and facilitated. Good riddance to Lasix and all the electrolyte imbalances, metabolic dysfunctions, shortened careers, breakdowns and weaknesses the drug has caused…”

  • Robin

    As an animal lover I would always want what is scientifically proven to be of benefit to the equine athletes. The world we currently live has groups arguing from emotion and feeling not from actual data. Standards need to be developed by science not by emotion.

  • His conclusions are well reasoned and a result of much thought. I laud him for his stances. Thank you Larry. He is courageous whether readers recognize it or not.

    • snazzygirl

      Bramlage made some good points, and he definitely is qualified by his expertise and experience to make these observations. He also is rather brave to state his opinion in public, given the responses of some of the Paulick Report readers.

  • Carolyn Hyatt

    The only ones who benefit from racehorses being medicated on race day are the attending veterinarians and, subsequently, the veterinary surgeons.

    When a horse becomes overheated, it is dehydrated, and may have a heat stroke or the combination of both. Dehydration is severe fluid loss through sweating and urination. If the water is not replenished sodium and potassium rise to toxic levels resulting in cramping, nausea, headache and finally a coma. For every 1 hour of walking in the heat of the day, a human can sweat off 1 to 2 quarts of fluid. Imagine how much a horse will sweat off in an hour of walking, training, showing. Symptoms are excessive thirst, dizziness, nausea and they will lose strength, pass out and the little fluid that is left in their body is being diverted to their vital organs. If only the horse could tell you how thirsty he is, if only the owner, trainer, rider would lead their horse to water, he would drink. How many more youngsters have to die before its realized that the heat, stress, pain being inflicted onto the horse will lead to dehydration, high sodium and potassium levels can cause cramping of the muscles, and what is the heart? The largest muscle in your body, hence heart attack, death.

    Lasix begets a plethora of additional drug use. Wherever pre-race Lasix is permitted, additional drugs are administered to most all of the diuretically-infused racing horses by their trainers and attending veterinarians. Lasix allows and encourages a lot of drug use. It legitimized the stage for the medication mentality that has haunted racing in recent years with all the notable breakdowns, sudden deaths and wrecks.

    Lasix or Salix is furosemide, a potent diuretic that dilutes the urine and lowers the pulmonary blood pressure. The drug alters the electrolyte balance of racing horses and makes them vulnerable to heat stroke and metabolic dysfunction. As well, chronic diuretic use interferes with locomotory abilities required to run biomechanically sound by altering cardiac function, muscle function, nerve function, and most every other physiologic function.

    Diuretics weaken horses. These days there is little doubt that pharmaceutically weakened horses are more vulnerable to breaking down. It is not surprising that Lasix jurisdictions have more breakdowns than drug-free jurisdictions. We should have known. Now we know.

    Lasix is Bad for Horses

    The only ones who benefit from racehorses being medicated on race day are the attending veterinarians and, subsequently, the veterinary surgeons. …the science continues to demonstrate that chronic use of race day drugs degrades the quality and safety of racing while impoverishing the welfare of racehorses. Raceday medications increase the breakdown rate.

    American racing jurisdictions need to join the rest of the racing horse world and eliminate Lasix in the United States and Canada. …Good riddance to Lasix and all the drug use it has encouraged and facilitated. Good riddance to Lasix and all the electrolyte imbalances, metabolic dysfunctions, shortened careers, breakdowns and weaknesses the drug has caused…

  • snazzygirl

    I can verify this statement about the vet bill. Many times the monthly vet bill I paid for a horse was larger than the training bill, especially if the horse raced, between diagnostic x-rays, cortisone shots, and pre-race vitamins/minerals/lasix injections. And this is not just limited to California. Racetrack vets across the country make huge amounts of money doing the same thing. In fact, I asked one trainer in California to not use a particular racetrack vet who was shot-happy. In my opinion cortisone injections should be severely monitored and limited……they mask potential breakdowns.

  • forestwildcat

    Lasix is bad for the breeding shed but good for race day, i.e. long term the breed would be better off without Lasix but I think it would be devastating to racing

  • Larry Ensor

    Dr. Bramlage makes valid but obvious points coming from a veterinarian standpoint.

    IMO and experience of recent years talking with folks about racing and or getting into racehorse ownership. The points made by Dr. Bramlage rarely enter the conversation. Yes, the use of “drugs” may come up in the conversation.

    But far more of a concern is the “new social morality” of the sport and industry. Society as a whole has changed as to what is acceptable and what is not. People didn’t give much thought as to what happens to all the horses when they are retried from racing for the majority of its long history. Out of sight out of mind. There was no easy access to find out if the question was asked. Nor was it covered in the general media of the day. When it was it was far more of the exception than the norm.

    Society the general population has long lost its agrarian roots. The future of the sport and industry will continue to struggle when the top 5+ on a Google search using the key words, Life after Racing, Racehorses after racing returns;

    “From Stud to Slaughter”
    “Beasts of Burden”
    “Over breeding and Slaughter”
    “Slaughtered horses the shame of Racing”
    “What to do with all these horses”

    In one form or another people have said to me, I like racing but it is not something I want to associated with anymore.

    The industry has made great strides addressing after care in the last 8 years or so. But unfortunately the barn door was left open far too long. The negative aspects of breeding and racing has been in and discussed in social media considerably longer than just the last 8 years or so.

    Considerably more horses have been “rehomed” than ever before in the sport. But in the end “all” will not find greener pastures. Not even close to “all”. Saying this is “The cost of doing business” is not acceptable in today’s society IMO. I’m not sure if we can get around this fact.

    The second challenge are the “numbers” the expense of ownership and the return for money spent. Prize money for the vast majority of races has not kept up with the expenses. Breaking even was never easy. But these days pretty much impossible. IMO since the financial meltdown people have been taking a much closer look at the numbers. There is little to no demand for “blue collar” horses. The bread and butter horses that make up the majority of races run on any given day.

  • anne russek

    Dr. Bramlage should also own the fact that he has been a pro slaughter advocate for years and I would love to see his PR policy for convincing the public that racing is good for horses because we eliminate the losers.

    • Fred and Joan Booth

      UGH! We knew there was something we didn`t like about him. Just instinctively knew there was more to him than what we have read of.How can anyone be pro- slaughter on a thoroughbred who has feelings and is aware of its environment as we are also.In our experience those people who are pro-slaughter horse people do not understand how sensitive horses of all breeds are. We have had buyers come to our farm and our herd of horses sensed that the buyer was not good by not coming to our barn until we went out to the barn/ field with them.The owner of our farm asked the prospective buyer if he was a meat buyer and he said” What of it” The owner of our farm told him to get off our property NOW. He left in his fancy dual wheel pickup spinning gravel with his tires all the way out to the paved county road! We would rather have a vet or horse person work with our horses that has more empathy towards horses and understands how sensitive they are. Horses have feelings too.

  • MNJustin

    I respect Dr. Bramlage but banning Lasix is not the first thing that needs to be done. The average American racing customer or handicapper could not care less about Lasix being administered on race day. We need better testing, more barn surveillance, uniform rules and enforcement for shock wave therapy, and tougher penalties when cheaters get caught.

    • Fred and Joan Booth

      Boy! Is that the truth! We have seen shock wave therapy used on a mare EVERYDAY for two weeks up to and including the day she broke both her legs in a race at the top of the stretch despite our state forbidding its use within 30 days of a race. That trainer and his wife still race to this day and they owned their own shock wave machine!

  • Stephanie Clark

    I agree with Dr Bramlage, especially on nationwide standards, the individual states having different rules should have been changed years ago. As stated in the past by others, horseracing should be no different than NFL, NBA, NHL, MLB. It would help everyone in the business.

  • Carla Parrillo

    What I know of Lasix and what it does for the horses I agree with the points made that it will keep the horses safe from bleeding. Maybe not every horse is in need of it on race day. Think of the physical impact the lungs must take during a race. Why put their lives in jeopardy if it can be avoided. If Lasix can protect them then we owe this to them. Look at what these beautiful animals do for us. Maybe there are other running remedies that should be allowed for theor sake and not inflict discomfort on them. I’m referring to an approach to changes in equipment, hoof applications to avoid abscesses etc. As I said, why not. They certainly have earned a watchful eye on their wellbeing while racing for us.

  • Rob B

    Lasix is as big of an issue in horse racing as same sex marriage is in this country. Its about 89,577th on the list of issues we should be concentrating on.

    • MNJustin

      Amen!

  • Ellen Brayshaw

    Dr. Sams is correct. This drug criteria us blown out of proportion. Lasix is a drug that prevents a Horse from rupturing capillaries, thus blood, that can clogged airways at top speed, is a lifesaver. Tapping a joint before a race is not a choice of my horses, rather adequan shots, icing will naturally maintain synovial fluid and less damage to a joint along with toning down workouts until inflamation decreases. Nasaids and asprin are given days before a race and control inflamation. If a Horse races with inflamation it can be a saftey issue for catastrophic breakdowns affecting other horses and jocks. PETA, and other forms of untrained loud mouths and medication should be outlawed from any discussion period. They are not medically trained and know squat about medication for race horses.

    • Lehane

      Lasix is banned in Australia, and some other countries as well, because it is a performance enhancing drug.
      I’ve been told by top vets here that the constant use of Lasix is bad for the horses’ health. If Bramlage opines that it’s ‘good’ for the horses then why is he advocating for it to be banned?

    • Carla Parrillo

      What you are pointing out and and I have understood makes. sense. I see the use of lasix can only keep the horses from the internal damage that can occur without it. The wear and tare of their bodies during a race I’m sure can be unsurmountable. To avoid damage to their health with lasix makes sense. …Then the Lasix should NOT be viewers as a speed enhancing agent. I remember when Southern Bell collapsed I was so up set. Then all racing was to me were horses going around a react. One wouuld win. But even then I loved the horses. So Bell was the first female to challenge the males. Co workers owned horses and explained the stress that can be put on their heart and lungs. Oasis was unheard of for animals then. Lasux could have prevented So Bell’s fate. Is it better to risk their lives by assuming these blood issues will happen to one horse but not another? Lets look further into the distribution of the medication and see what changes if needed can be made. It helps the horses stay healthy then I say don’t take it away. But monitor it closely for each horse, as any living thing, is different.

      • Richard Holmes

        Carla, Are you talking about Eight Belles? She wasn’t the first filly to take on the boys. Plenty of fillies have taken on the boys. Fillies have won the Ky Derby before. In addition, Eight Belles broke a leg. What does that have to do with lasix? And by the way, she was on lasix. I think you need to get your facts straight.

        • Carla Parrillo

          No, there was a horse. She was the first time they allowed a female to race against the males in the K Derby. Up to this point female horses had their own classification. The officials did not want her on the track with the males. But they finally agreed and she was given the GO to race in the Derby. Southern Bell died before Barbero. This happened over ,,,25yrs ago if I have my time lapse correct.. The first reports were what was obvioiuys that she fell and the injury was fatal. But she died on the track without euthenaisia.before she hit the ground. Then I learned about her heart. She was a very young horse. I think of her as a hero since. She like other females broke the male female barriers on the track. I saw an interview the other night I don’t recall who it was but some trainers still won’t put their fillies on a track with the male horses. I can’t answer the whys but I did here this. It was a few years after her that Barbero got hurt and broke his leg.

          • Richard Holmes

            Carla, To say you are a little confused would be an understatement. There was no filly named Southern Bell. There was a filly named Eight Belles who ran in the Ky Derby in 2008. She finished 2nd but she broke her leg and died about a quarter of a mile passed the finish line. With regard to fillies running in the Ky Derby, they have been running in the Ky Derby for well over 140 years. The first filly to run in the Ky Derby was Gold Mine in 1875. A total of 40 fillies have run in the Ky Derby over the last 142 years. Two of them have won. Genuine Risk won in 1980. Winning Colors won in 1988. You should probably do a little research before posting.

        • Carla Parrillo

          As far as the lassix connection this was the first time I heard of the dilemmas on bthe horses. Not just the bleeding but it was commonly known then thatfluiud would accumulate on their hearts and lungs from the physical stress of running. The fluid accumulation would have been controlled with a diuretic. After dilemmas like this, other bone injuries. Some things started to change for the care and nutritional improvements for the race horses. My guess would be that the public enthusiasts did not want to see another horse faced with physical dilemmas from lack of nutritional supplements to improve their health. Horse owners I knew helped me understand alot of the biology if the horse in general . this is where I began observing and learning what I could about basic care of horses. I loved them all my life but, regretfully, never owned one.

  • Michael Castellano

    I’m no expert on the various drugs or EPAs or steroids that trainers may use, but what makes most sense if you want to deter cheating and misuse is to have real fair and swift univeral enforcement and penalties that deter. In baseball. Alex Rodriquez, arguably the biggest name in baseball, got a year suspension. It clearly discourages other players from using banned substances. As part of their licensing, trainers should have to promise to refrain from certain practices and usages. And any suspension should be against their entire operation, so they can’t get a son or daughter or associate to fill in. That penalty alone would have a huge impact. Without enforcement with teeth things will never change, as cheating currently pays dividends.

  • Lynne

    How in the world he can claim that Lasix is “good for the horse” is beyond me. Firstly, if a horse bleeds enough that it requires Lasix (or other diuretics), to perform, it shouldn’t be racing. Diuretics remove water from the cells and “sludge up” the blood when circulation of fresh, oxygen filled blood is so badly needed throughout the hard-working horse’s body. The brain, legs, lungs especially are demanding more oxygen as the horse gets closer to the finish line. After the race, the heavily sweating horse needs fresh blood to cool down asap so as not to cause extreme damage to the horse. Blood needs to flow freely and quickly to all parts of the horse to get the much needed red blood cells with oxygen throughout and to remove/return the damaged/used blood. Slowing up the process is definitely not “good for the horse”. The usual pre-race program is to give the horse electrolytes which encourages the horse to take in water and bumping up minerals. The Lasix horse’s then get a diuretic. Post race, the horse usually gets more electrolytes and lots of water to replace the lost fluids. Standardbreds, which commonly race once a week, are on a constant yo-yo. Thoroughbreds get a much bigger break between events. What is good for a horse is, obviously, green pastures, fresh water and natural exercise. What is not good for horses is a concoction of what humans need to make a horse get over the finish line first and make money for its owner, trainer, groom, vets and drug/supplement manufacturers!

    • Lehane

      Well said.

  • Duke

    Finally, someone with some sense of sanity tells it like it is.
    Not people who have never stepped foot on the backside.

  • Always Curious

    The Humane Society of the United States is a sham operation. The money does not go to the animal shelters, the ones with the pitiful animals suffering. Less than 1% go to shelters and they operate none themselves. 85% goes to advertising and operational costs (staff, pensions). They settled out of court in 2014 for 9.3 million dollars for a RICO case brought against them. It involved bribing a witness in federal court about the Ringling Brothers Circus. So it gives me shiver to think they will be involved, like making a deal with the devil. They are political activists like PETA. The is not the ASPCA operating since the 1800’s.

  • Carla Parrillo

    I want to bring attention to the comment re horses in other countries who do not get lassix. A few weeks ago I caught a documentary on animal sports. A few countries were observed in the sport of horse racing. In one country in paticular, (i prefer not to mention which one) in the course of two days 4 horses collapsed during the race. They didn’t break down they collapsed. And died. Suddden death and heart attacks were mentioned. I’m not an expert but i try to pay attention to pros and cons to most issues. I. Think if we are working to give our beloved horses the best chance to stay strong and healthy then I say do this for them. They are pushed to achieve almost impossible goals for us. They shouldn’t have to put their lives at risk to get there.
    I cringe everytime a new speed or distance is broken because i know some horse out there Will be driven to try and beat it.
    While tracks keep getting faster, and sooner or later even longer. It will be a WINX, ARROGATE, GUN RUNNER UNIQUE BELL OR McCracken out there pushed to meet every task.

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