Bramlage: We’ll Have to Give Up Lasix on Race Day

by | 09.29.2014 | 10:49am
Dr. Larry Bramlage of Rood & Riddle

The list of Honor Guests of the Thoroughbred Club of America reads like a Who's Who of the Thoroughbred racing and breeding world dating back to its first Testimonial Dinner in 1932 when Col. E.R. Bradley was recognized for his contributions to the sport.

There have been numerous owners and breeders, racing and auction company officials and executives, a handful of trainers, and even a media member or three have been honored. A select number of veterinarians is also on this list of Honor Guests: Charles E. Hagyard, Arthur H. Davidson, William R. McGee, Dewitt Owens, Jack Robbins and Robert W. Copelan.

This year, for the first time, the TCA named three Honor Guests – all of them veterinarians – for its Testimonial Dinner, held Sunday night at Keeneland: Larry Bramlage, Edward Hagyard Fallon and A. Gary Lavin. It's a well-balanced triumvirate: Dr. Fallon, a fourth-generation veterinarian, specialized in the area of breeding and reproduction; Dr. Lavin was a distinguished racetrack practitioner for decades; and Dr. Bramlage is a world-renowned surgeon.

As 1998 Honor Guest D. Wayne Lukas said in the testimonials, “As far as veterinarians go, this is the super trifecta of all time. Each one has made unbelievably extraordinary contributions to their profession and is a credit to their entire community.”

Read more testimonials for all three Honor Guests here

In addition to honoring excellence in a particular field, the TCA dinner provides the Honor Guest an opportunity to speak his or her mind about the industry they have distinguished. This year was no exception.

Lavin recalled the days when medications were confined to “antibiotics, a few vaccinations, tetanus antitoxin, some blood work and vitamins” – until the “medication clouds were beginning to form” with the appearance of Butazolidin, an oral medicine for inflammation. That, Lavin said, led to “an avalanche of steroids, hormones and synthetic medications. … Used properly, and I emphasize properly, they were therapeutic in purpose and very effective as such. The abuse of the same became a serious burden on the industry.”

Lavin, citing interstate wagering, called on federal prosecutions of cases involving banned substances. “Swift results and severe penalties most certainly would be a monumental deterrent,” he said.

Bramlage joined a growing list of industry participants who believes in the inevitability of the elimination of race-day medications, like furosemide, better known as Salix or Lasix.

“Let there be no doubt about what I am saying,” Bramlage said. “I believe furosemide is valuable to the horse when racing. But there are too many reasons we can't keep it. The general public can't understand it and the continual drumbeat of journalists, most of whom truly have no idea what they are talking about, will become a death knell if we don't stop it. The connotation that has been created is unsavory to the general public because they can't discriminate between furosemide and cocaine, they just read the headline ‘race-day medication' and feel racing is proving itself ‘unsavory,' if not ‘dishonest' again. Other racing countries won't let up emphasizing that they have no race-day medication, and overseas yearling consignors aren't going to give up the newly found marketing advantage of their bloodstock being so-called ‘drug free.' So I think the horse, and we connections, will have to go back to racing without furosemide's help. Racing survived 100 years without it, we can do it again, though it will cost horsemen more money and be terminal to some horses' careers to do without it.”

The other change called for by Bramlage was for racing jurisdictions to adopt the Uniform Medication Rules, saying, “You can't afford to oppose it any longer. Resist the temptation to ‘tweak' one or two items before you endorse them and adopt the rules first, and then work on them as we go forward. And, don't leave the penalty structure on the sidelines when you adopt the rules. Tolerating 65 percent of our positives from 5 percent of our trainers and their owners and veterinarians is not conscionable. We must prune the ‘diseased wood' with meaningful penalties or it will take the entire tree with it. A progressive penalty structure protects us all.”

Written remarks by Dr. Bramlage

Written remarks by Dr. Fallon

Written remarks by Dr. Lavin

Thoroughbred Club of America program

  • Tinky

    Lavin, citing interstate wagering, called on federal prosecutions of cases involving banned substances. “Swift results and severe penalties most certainly would be a monumental deterrent,” he said.

    Exactly. Glad to hear that at least a few insiders recognize this crucial point.

    Lavin recalled the days when medications were confined to “antibiotics, a few vaccinations, tetanus antitoxin, some blood work and vitamins”

    Funny how horses started 30+ times in their careers back in those days, and less than 11 now, while promiscuously medicated.

    • Andy in the desert

      “Funny how horses started 30+ times in their careers back in those days, and less than 11 now, while promiscuously medicated.”

      Indeed. Even as recently as the late 80s horses were starting 30+ times normally, and we’re not talking geldings here.

  • Tinky

    Racing survived 100 years without it, we can do it again, though it will cost horsemen more money and be terminal to some horses’ careers to do without it.”

    Ironically, Bramlage’s bias blinds him to the likelihood that intelligently managed horses racing without Lasix will enjoy longer careers, and potentially make more money for their owners and trainers.

    With regard to his latter point, it is astounding that he fails to understand why those horses shouldn’t be racing in the first place, nor that they shouldn’t be brought into the breeding pool.

    • DARN

      Facts and stats please. Not just your unsubstantiated opinion.

      • Tinky

        Feel free to consult the archives. I (and others) have referenced many facts and stats to support the above assertions. Among others, there was a recently published Australian study that clearly demonstrates that with the exception of the worst bleeders (5% of the population), horses’ careers are not adversely impacted by EIPH. These are horses that do not compete with race day Lasix.

        • Greg J.

          Thx Tinky.

    • forestwildcat

      Wrong

    • FourCats

      “potentially make more money for their owners”

      The vast majority of horses lose money. I would like to see horses have longer careers, but there is little reason to believe that having longer careers would make these horses profitable for their owners. In reality, it would just increase the losses.

      Also, one of the reasons (a major one in my view) that horses race less often is a change in the way they are trained. The standard today is to gallop a horse a mile or mile and a half daily and only give that horse serious work every other week or so (with a race every 30 days or so). Horses in the past were given serious works several times a week. And if they didn’t have a race within the most recent 2 weeks, it was considered a layoff. As such, I believe that most horses trained nowadays are very much undertrained and much more prone to injury on the track as a result.

      • togahombre

        i agree, taking the avg # of lifetime starts and laying it all off on lasix use is only helpful for the no lasix crew who want to blame the state of racing all on this, as you say, training methods, ownership goals ( higher wp %), trainer goals, and most of all the changing economics, people live longer now than 30 years ago, granola sales are up = people are living longer because their eating more granola!

        • Peyton

          Most of us are not “laying it off” on Lasix. Most of us realize there is no real requirement for horses to be put on the list, yet almost all are racing on it. The problem is it is a performance enhancing drug that is being used by too many horses for the wrong reason. It is being abused. That’s my real reason for wanting it banned. Not anything to do with the average number of starts.

          • togahombre

            you have your opinion fine, i respect that, you have your reasons which helped you form it, fine, what i object to is when some folks cherry pick their facts ( real or not as real), and present them as all the proof you need, ask for a fair assessment of all the pertinent facts and you’ll probably get the same response dr bramledge is getting right here

          • Peyton

            The rules for putting a horse on Lasix is not my opinion. It is written in all jurisdictions’ rules. And if you would venture to read them you will see there is no proof required that a horse is a bleeder before he is placed on the drug. The ‘scientific reasoning’ for placing a horse on Lasix is that he is a bleeder. Fine. Then require proof that he is in fact a bleeder. A fair assessment of the facts is horses are racing on Lasix even though they are not bleeders. Ask any owner and trainer and you will also find that the fact is they think their horse must be put on the drug in order to compete with all the other horses which are using it.

          • togahombre

            You just do the same thing over again, take some facts position them as all you need to know, and disregard the rest as uninportant, thats not proof thats cherrypicking, which happens to be my point, either way this issue will get resolved without you or me, but if the process of getting there isn’t correct you’ll have a similar flawed outcome

          • Ben van den Brink

            Furosemide is an loop diuretic. The kidney is forced to rid fluids from the body, so reduces weight. As an lighter horse ( up to 30 pds or more) is an faster horse so anyone is using the stuff, whether the horse requires it,s use has become irrelevant.

          • togahombre

            Enough with the scientific talk, how about explain how righteous it is to see these horses on your dinner plate when their racing days are done

          • Ben van den Brink

            Horses and equines are part of our food chain, written in our laws btw.
            As an part of that, you are not able to inject horses with every thing you can find. Bute is not allowed to be in the system, regardless of it,s use in horses btw. And many more.

          • togahombre

            so whats the difference, slaughtering horses is acceptable in your world, lasix is acceptable in ours, you’d expect us to respect your customs, but you have nothing but contempt for ours, i would think thats a little hypocritical, but maybe i’m wrong

          • Ben van den Brink

            176000 Horses from US origin, have been slaughtered in Canada and in Mexico. So thanks to the liberal custom market we have been fed up with them. Thank god, there is push on the way, for an fully documentation from any horse offered for slaughter. And not in the way that is open for fraude.

          • togahombre

            what does that have to do with any of this, you do like to change the subject but brother; you are really bad at it, your better of addressing the issue even if it is difficult

          • ben van den brink

            Lasix is no more or less than an race enhacer. As I strongly oppose that kind of medications. A horse does not need,the stuff and in the long runit is harmful. My apetite is more from th german way of view, Medication free racing

          • togahombre

            your just like that other clown, you just hear what you want to hear than go on with that same old speech, you should try to respond to the point others make, its really not so bad

          • ben van den brink

            At least Iam having some experience in that filed, some 30 yrs plus

          • betterthannothing

            “so whats the difference, slaughtering horses is acceptable in your world, lasix is acceptable in ours”

            You have reached a new low with that lame argument! The slaughter of horses is acceptable in your world too. Horse slaugther is protected by the American Horse Council and endorsed by the AVMA, AAEP and AQHA to name a few organizations, fresh off the racetrack, drugged-up to their eye balls or not. Nobody knows and nobody cares. Our country don’t do the killing and butchering (except for some barbaric POS in FL that do it illegally and in most cruel ways) but the end is exactly the same for American horses once the killers get them.

          • togahombre

            ata boy

        • Tinky

          i agree, taking the avg # of lifetime starts and laying it all off on lasix use is only helpful for the no lasix crew…

          This type of classic straw man argument is sadly typical of the quality of your contributions.

          • togahombre

            Everybody loves, your long winded trips thru never neverland, keep it coming, just because you won the vocabulary award doesn’t mean your logic passes as fact

          • Tinky

            Yeah, you can’t trust that guy, Bubba – he uses them fancy-ass words.

          • Bellwether

            Never herd about the AWARD you received Tink ???…Hoo presented it and when ???…

          • togahombre

            you’d be a heck of a warm up act for larry the cable guy

      • Tinky

        Who said anything about “profitable”? Sheesh.

    • Lost In The Fog – Robert Lee

      The macro view and the real takeaway from Bramlage’s comments is the following line from Ray’s article:

      Bramlage joined a growing list of industry participants who believes in the inevitability of the elimination of race-day medications, like furosemide, better known as Salix or Lasix.

      Regardless of his reasons for reaching that conclusion, regardless of his condescending comments about the press and general public, regardless of his belief that Lasix is valuable to the horse when racing, what matters most is that a major old-guard figure who is highly respected by his old-guard peers has resigned himself to the inevitability of the elimination of Lasix and is saying that at a major old-guard industry function. Another domino has fallen. From my point of view that’s progress.

      • Tinky

        Good point, and I fully agree.

  • Greg J.

    Bramlage’s is so wrong on every front regarding lasix, bottom line is just get rid of it, it is not needed at all.

    • DARN

      Please list facts and stats there Greg. Without them your opinion means nothing.

      • Greg J.

        Read Tinky’s reply down below, nothing more to add (thanks Tinky).

      • togahombre

        no facts, no stats, but lots of wind

    • togahombre

      please enlighten us lowly earthlings with your veterinary credentials

  • davidinD

    I’m no vet, but I find Bramlage’s comments quite condescending. I mean really: “The general public can’t understand it and the continual drumbeat of journalists, most of whom truly have no idea what they are talking about, will become a death knell if we don’t stop it. The connotation that has been created is unsavory to the general public because they can’t discriminate between furosemide and cocaine, they just read the headline ‘race-day medication’ and feel racing is proving itself ‘unsavory,’ if not ‘dishonest’ again.”

    Dr. Bramlage, actually I think most of the betting public and virtually all of the connections understand the difference between Lasix and other medications, on this you totally miss the point. What, evidently, other people understand (and you evidently don’t) is the social reality that any athlete that requires ‘medication’ to compete should not be competing. This is true when humans are the athletes and true for horses. Frankly, I think we the ‘ignorant public’ understand the issue far more clearly than you do. Perhaps the dollars vets make in administering ‘race day meds’ have blinded you from ethical reality.

    • G, Rarick

      Couldn’t agree more. This attitude that anyone with an opinion can’t possibly have a clue is what is killing racing.

    • betterthannothing

      David, great post… But the big bucks are not made on race-day but every day, selling and administrating drugs to further exploit or dump horses that are mismanaged, sick, injured and/or spent and should be rested or retired instead, to enhance performance including with “therapeutic medication” and then patch-up the toxic ravage to “the horse” caused greedy unethical conduct on both sides of the vet bills.

      • davidinD

        That’s an interesting observation; sort of reminds me of American healthcare where doctors are paid for treatment rather than health. Obviously, there are perverse incentives at play.

        • betterthannothing

          You bet there are! Pharmaceuticals (and lawyers) apply direct and indirect pressure on doctors to over-test and over-drug. Glad to see how the public is becoming much wiser about staying healthy and off-drugs, however, the pharmaceutical industry is constantly and cleverly pushing drugs onto the public as the best, happiest answer to everything.

  • jazz mania

    Talking about change is the opiate of Horse Racing.

    • Peyton

      Maybe we should just get religious and start praying for change or become communist, I think that’s where the expression originated. Mao? I agree, change just doesn’t seem to be happening. So on we go with our rants, raves and objections. Have you ever wondered why people cheer on their football team. It’s as if they think they can affect the outcome. On and On.

      • jazz mania

        Hey, I’ve hollered my horse to the wire more than once;)

        RE: the “opiate” ; Originally it was a mistranslated quote of Karl Marx, used out of context. Here is the original in context. Marx is interesting reading and a good way to understand some of our own current political mess.

        “Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, just as it is the spirit of a spiritless situation. It is the opium of the people. The abolition of religion as the illusory happiness of the people is required for their real happiness. The demand to give up the illusion about its condition is the demand to give up a condition which needs illusions.”

        Karl Marx

        Disclaimer: I do not believe governmentism, communism, socialism or God forbid, utopianism is a solution for anything. Nor is an unwillingness to change going to solve anything.

        • Peyton

          Thanks. Now what’s your thoughts on that yelling at a football game? ) Those are people down there playing a serious game, not just animals running around an oval.

          • jazz mania

            I’m from New Orleans; My thoughts are more about crying at football games today;(

          • Bellwether

            Horses are not and NEVER will be JUST ANIMALS…These ‘Noble Creatures’ have served humans (over and beyond the call of duty) for many moons and will continue to do so…

          • Peyton

            The whole thread was meant to be a little sarcastic. Sorry you missed it. However, historically you will probably find lots of evidence that these creatures have been used over and over in a lot of non noble endeavors.

  • Elle

    Dr.Bramlage is spot on. The general public, for example, the people that post on this site, don’t truly understand Lasix. How many people have as much hands on equine veterinary experience as someone like the “world-re-known” Dr. Bramlage? You can disagree with him and have your own opinion, but most of you don’t know which end of the horse eats.

    • turffan

      Talk about not knowing from which end of the horse eats. Lasix is nothing more than a crutch/band aid..& for the small minority for which it is more, they should not be running. Proper horsemanship( note I said horsemanship not trainers) & conditioning (again not training) can all but make EIPH a non factor… Young wanna be conditioners need to study under the older horseman, not the guy with the highest %….

      • Elle

        Let me be clear…as an owner/breeder/groom/assistant trainer/ rider/ vet assistant I have been hands on in the full care of any horse that I’ve ever owned.. All were started properly, with miles and miles of conditioning including flat work and uphill. Every one of them had extra time off when needed and races spaced in the most appropriate and conservative way. When they no longer could race or wanted to race I sold or gave them away. All of my horses bled to some extent, some worse than others. Also had one that couldn’t tolerate Lasix at all. Most people , esp. those that post, I can assure you have not had 40 years of experience in the way that people like me have. I have always taken the conservative route with my horses and believe me I have learned a lot from the oldtimers. Lasix allows horses to breathe better and therefore compete. Question to you…who will care for all the horses that will not be able to participate if/when Lasix is banned from raceday use?

        • turffan

          For 99% of your reply I thought I was reading about myself. Owner/breeder(mares & stallions)/trainer. My vet bills mostly consisted of i.m. HA & precautionary X-rays/scopes & the Chiro. Of course there were other thing as needed to clear up mucus ect.ect….My experiance with bleeding, through numerous scopes has apperantly been much differant than yours & when a 1 or 2 on the scale was seen it was almost always accompanied my some mucus or other inflamation, for which the horse had not given any indication of being “sick”.
          Also, you’re right, I don’t quite have 40 yrs experiance, as I’m just under 40…Got my 1st pony @ 5, worked in my 1st racing stable @ 12, bought my 1st 2yr old & promoted ( after 3 months)to farm manager at a show stable because of how I did things @ 19, stallion @ 20 & licensed as a trainer in KY @ 21….So 33-34 yrs 100% hands on experiance is the best I can do.
          AS for your question, I would hope that the Lasix ban would be implemented over a 3-4 yr period, starting with the highest levels & working down, so that the lower level horses could finish out thier careers without flooding the market, giving the entire equine industry time to adjust.

          • turffan

            P.S. an immediate reduction back to 5cc’s (250mg I believe) is in order. No Horse, No where, that needs 10cc’s has any business running.

          • Elle

            I appreciate your reply and even if we don’t agree on what’s best for the horse, I value your opinion because you have illustrated to me that you are a hands on horseperson. Most posters, I do not think , have this valuable experience. I see two more problems that no one seems to care about…1) I don’t think that people understand that without Lasix, it will force a lot of people to look for another alternative and they will find it, as I’m sure many are experimenting with right now. Is this fair to the horses? I would much prefer to have my vet give my horse a tried and true agent to help with breathing, rather than some “herbal” supplement etc. I would agree with you about the 3-4 year implementation…but 2) what happens to all the up and coming young horses home breds, or bought out of the sales. who are prepped in the best possible way and then bleed? there will be many…these will also need new homes…because even with a ban on raceday Lasix….there still will be bleeders.

          • turffan

            Don’t get me wrong, I am NOT anti Lasix, it can be a helpful tool for many horses. I am very anti the current dose, use & abuse of Lasix. I have stated many times before that a redutction to a 250mg dose coupled with pre-Lasix blood draws for testing purposes would, in my eyes, be in the best intrest of the horse. Since this won’t happen the only alternative is banning it. I too hope that the new generations of horseman understand that there are ways to condition through 2m licks,breezes, works & nutrition to manage EIPH without not letting a horse drink or giving them snake oil. EIPH stems from a natural process in the horse, unique to the horse as a species but it can be controlled in the majority of the population without vodoo.

  • Tiznowbaby

    Thank goodness I have Dr. Bramlage to explain to me how dumb I am.

    • Politics101

      Right on.

  • Telling that his opinion is that lasix is valuable and the reasons to get rid of it are solely due to clueless journalists & fans that don’t know the difference between lasix and coke.

    “I believe furosemide is valuable to the horse when racing. But there
    are too many reasons we can’t keep it. The general public can’t
    understand it and the continual drumbeat of journalists, most of whom
    truly have no idea what they are talking about, will become a death
    knell if we don’t stop it. The connotation that has been created is
    unsavory to the general public because they can’t discriminate between
    furosemide and cocaine, they just read the headline ‘race-day
    medication’ and feel racing is proving itself ‘unsavory,’ if not
    ‘dishonest’ again

  • Ben van den Brink

    When an horse is in the need of any type of medication in horseracing, than it should not been running at all ( that is true animal welfare)

    • JP

      The general public doesn’t care if a horse is medication free when he breaks his leg and is destroyed during a race. More than anything catastrophic breakdowns damage the sport. I’ve taken lots of friends to the races for the first time. They may ask why a horse runs on Lasix but they can understand it when it is explained to them and accept it. What they will never accept or forget is seeing a horse standing by the rail with part of his leg dangling by a piece of skin. Racing can clean up it’s medication issue but unless it resolves the break down problem it’s game over folks.

      • Peyton

        Good point. There will always be a dangling leg. So why is the sport acceptable at all? Probably the same reason, people keep watching college and pro football, even though occasionally someone is paralyzed right there on the screen in front of us.

        • Ben van den Brink

          Lasix is not only dehydrating an horse, but it is depleting calcium as well (the stuff that is making bones). The time for replacement the los of calcium is about a month any time. But the ugly point is: Lasix is taking weight off an horse, what means faster race times and thus more stress on the bones.

      • G, Rarick

        You are absolutely 100 percent right about fatal, horrible accidents being the number one problem in racing. So why is it, do you think, that the rate of these horrible, fatal accidents in the United States is three times higher than in the rest of the world? A combination of three reasons: Race-day medication, sprint races around a turn and always the same direction, and surfaces that are too hard to accommodate that kind of race on an over-medicated horse. Race-day medication is a primary reason horses break down.

        • betterthannothing

          What about the day to day use, misuse and abuse of all kinds of medications administered to enable and enhance performance, including cortisone-type IA injections, stacking of painkillers, etc.?

    • Lynn

      You said; “When an horse is in the need of any type of medication in horse racing, than it should not been running at all ( that is true animal welfare)”.

      Any Medication covers everything.

      Under your rules of racing:

      No more protecting horses from many diseases with vaccines, no longer to able prevent parasites with anti-parasitic medications, no medication to save an injured eye, no antiseptic medications or antibiotics for wounds, etc. etc., etc.
      Maybe you should study The Veterinary Oath.

      • G, Rarick

        Lynn, you are completely twisting the argument. No one said horses shouldn’t be wormed or vaccinated or treated for whatever problem they have. Once the treatment clears the system, and the problem is resolved, THEN the horse is fit to run. Not before. Prophylactically medicating a horse for a problem it may or may not have, and stacking so-called therapeutic medications (again, for problems that may not even exist) is what’s wrong with racing. Any sport that requires drugs to compete is inhumane and is not a sport. (Unless you are human, in which case YOU make the decision to take the drugs. The horse has no voice here.)

        • Lynn

          You need to get a course on modern Analytical Chemistry.
          “Once the treatment clears the system”
          Today testing is easily done at the picogram, that is ten to the minus 12 grams, or 0.000,000,000,001 of one gram. At this level common medications that help an injury heal, and those that prevent disease can detected not just for days, they can be found for years.

          • G, Rarick

            You’re right, Lynn, so sorry I said anything. Keep on keeping on. Since you can test for it, you might as well keep using it. As owners desert the game in America, hopefully they’ll come to Europe, where we still believe in drug-free racing.

  • togahombre

    I guess all you internet powerhouses out there( and you know who you are) , that think they know more than a highly respected lrg animal vet, who just happened to be picking another award in his very distinguished career, must’ve stayed at that motel thats so nice you’ll think your an expert on various subjects, but its ok to fool yourself, its fooling others that can get dicey, hey, did you get a group rate?

    • Tinky

      Ah yes, challenging those in power who have credentials is so silly. That’s exactly why it would be ridiculous for anyone to challenge the actions of President Obama, who, after all, is a Constitutional “scholar”, and Nobel Peace Prize winner!

      • Tiznowbaby

        Well, to be fair, togahombre said “highly respected”.
        I kid. Sort of.

      • togahombre

        my point is not that difficult to understand, plain english, if someone pretends to know more than a distinguished vet, not politics, and also not credentials,accomplishments, resond to the point presented not the one you imagined

        • Tinky

          Your “point” is ridiculous on its face. It is ludicrous to suggest that because someone has credentials of some kind, they are therefore above criticism from those who lack the same credentials.

          Furthermore, there are thousands of well-credentialed vets around the world who agree with my position, and disagree with Bramlage’s.

          Most importantly, the evidence – which is not difficult for non-vetrenarians to understand – is overwhelmingly clear, and contrary to Bramlage’s position.

          I have laid out that evidence numerous times on this very forum. If you want to make a serious effort to argue the point, then produce some contrary evidence.

          • togahombre

            when did i ever claim that challenging authority was dangerous, you on the other hand seem to lack the proper apparatus to bring your fight to these credentialed professionals who dare disagree with you and your thousands of loyal followers, instead you bless all of us on this venue with your comforting wisdom, i’ve seen how you cut and run when and industry stakeholder calls you on one of your “points”, you like the water so much, go try the deep end

          • Tinky

            I work in the industry, and discuss these issues with other professionals regularly.

            As to your bizarre fantasy re: cutting and running, you won’t be able to link to a single instance, because they exist only in your head!

          • togahombre

            well i’m honored, i believe gameful employment is a virtue thats very misunderstood today, besides; why cut and run when its so much easier to just change the subject

        • G, Rarick

          Distinguished medical doctors holding diplomas from accredited medical schools used to do advertisements for Camel cigarettes. Perhaps we should go back to never questioning anyone with a diploma. Ah, the good old days when what Dr. says must be right!

          • togahombre

            i get your point, but it bothers me that the doc has put his life into this field, makes a tough endorsement for ending race day lasix, in doing so lets his feelings on the subject be known, and that incites a lynch mob of anti- lasix purists, they got what they wanted( the call for a new policy) but without him bowing and kissing their ring

    • Ben van den Brink

      Yes, I do from experience from my own. Keeping horses in the buisiness that have no point in that is inhumane.

  • ptrckj7777

    i agree.i can’t speak for ’60’s or before but in the ’70’s and ’80’s it was wide open for the drugs given to race horses.Lasix was the least of the problem.

  • Lexington 4

    Dr. Bramlage is exactly right. Every word.

    No offense, but while I would trust the very lives of my horses in the hands of Dr. Bramlage, I couldn’t even see hiring any of these internet “experts” as a hotwalker.

    By the way, did anyone see how all of those Lasix-tainted American pedigrees sold at Keeneland this month?

    • Ben van den Brink

      And where will they be racing in grand majority. The US.

  • turffan

    I can answer why. It has become, though not intended, a crutch & an abused substance. Lasix or the human “water pill” can indeed help certain horses to be comfortable enough to give thier best effort. But it is mostly unneeded in the presence of proper nutrition & conditioning. The International buyers know this, which is why they continue to purchase our stock. Just as joint injections where once used as a healing tool & now are part of pre-race reg…Bramlage is sorta right on this, perception is everything.

  • togahombre

    “Sometimes a mans gotta know his limitations” dirty harry

  • Tinky

    If you had bothered to read even a small percentage of my many posts on the topic, you would have known that I have consistently pointed out that there are other contributing variables. In fact, the seasonal aspect is particularly important, as is the degradation of breeding practices.

    I have never remotely claimed that Lasix was anything like the “real culprit”, so try to come up with something other than straw men next time.

  • gus stewart

    Meeting after meeting rant after rant, who is really going to try to fix it. Thanks to Mr Paulick, we have a venue we can all speak and read. The leaders that run the majority of business that go into decline want to suck as much out of it as they can before it implodes. The vet is looking at this from his perspective for the animal and then the biz, ok with that. You have to really want to change this sport around, and if that means you fire your friend or your family member to better your biz, then you do it. Even if myself or someone else is offered a job in the racing biz today, and I thought, I am not the right guy for this position, you need to find someone else to save your biz who fits in today’s market 2014. This is the attitude needed to resurrect this sport. In Calif we must recycle 90 percent of the leaders in other positions. Med and drugs a major problem, but bodies and a younger interest, contemporary thinking may be a solution.

  • usfmike

    My father was told by his trainer that his two year old needed to be on Lasix. My father said he doesn’t bleed. The horse doesn’t need Lasix. The trainer said it wasn’t Lasix he needed, but the drugs that Lasix masks which would make him run much better.
    This trainer is now banned. He never told us the drugs that are masked when you use Lasix.

  • Bellwether

    The main thing is can they progress past ‘The Lip Service’ for a CHANGE ???…

    • Peyton

      Yes this is the main point. I am guessing not. Even though there is a lot more lip service lately. Read jazz mania’s assessment that talking about change is the opiate of horse racing.

  • I walked out of the Thoroughbred Club of America’s dinner with a feeling of deep satisfaction. When a veterinarian of Dr. Bramlage’s standing concedes that Lasix must go, it shows how far the grass roots movement of WHOA and its individual members have come in their movement to rid the sport of race day medication. Larry didn’t come by his transformation without a great deal of consternation and introspection, so I totally admire his courage in taking this stance. With The Jockey Club firmly committed to the project, one gets the feeling that progress is about to be made that will give our game its best chance for survival as a viable sport in America.

    • betterthannothing

      WHOA is winning! Clever of you to take the high road and ignore, at least in your post, Dr. Bramlage’s condescending words.

  • Elliott ness

    Money money money. The vets see the writing on the wall. Look at the size of the fields and the handle at churchill downs. I actually have met though my business people after seeing my few win pictures in my office admonish me for owning racehorses. They feel it is cruel, drugs, whipping, breakdowns. I agree. The whip overuse, big issue. They don’t see the vets hypo injecting the horses, the whip number one public perception issue. Breakdowns, huge public perception issue, duh, joint injections cause 85% of all leg snaps . If they outlawed joint injections, the breakdowns would stop. The horse with the sick sore joint could not pass the pre vet. Sore horses don’t extend to orthopedic failure. The famous vets here are finally speaking up because they see the money drying up because of public perception, it’s not because it’s what they want. These vets have all become wealthy to an unbelievable degree with the drugs they now admonish. Hippocratic oath, goodness gracious me. The one vet now that he no longer practices wants the people that he has become wealthy from , by treating their horses and selling them horses he has bred , at keeneland, to face federal prosecution. The vets jump ship with the tide, not with their true beliefs. This is a game of money, politics, always has been always will be. Never has been about the horse, money, money , money. Lasix is such a minuscule aspect of the overall issues facing this industry. Yes , it would be great to get rid of Salix, but that would be only a first step.

    • betterthannothing

      Elliott ness: Great post, from beginning to end! Thanks.

  • jorge

    Notice he did not touch on corrective surgery. Oh sorry that would affect his bottom line!!!!

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