Can modern-day Thoroughbreds win without the benefit of Lasix, the diuretic given on race day to nearly every horse racing in America today?
Yes, says trainer Stacy Lane Hendry, whose horses have won 10 races from 50 starts without the drug this year through Labor Day while stabled at Tampa Bay Downs and Delaware Park.
Joe Gorajec, in his InsideRacing Regs blog at The Jockey Club and Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association's Horse Racing Reform website, shares Hendry's philosophy of training and racing without Lasix, also known by its generic name furosemide or trade name Salix.
Spending his formative years at the late Fred Hooper's farm in Florida and studying old-school methods of trainers like the Hall of Fame Burch family (William, Preston and Elliott), Hendry said the emphasis on training for speed, both at sales of 2-year-olds and in racing, has increased the need for trainers to rely on Lasix for their horses.
“The horse that Lasix helps is one that is running farther than it is fit, physically or mentally, to go,” he said. “If all you ever do is work your horse as hard as it can go and then you let it shut its engine down and then you try to run it a mile, more than likely that horse is going to bleed and Lasix will help that horse. But you are also dehydrating that horse and over time making the bone brittle.”
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