Sky Lantern ridden by Richard Hughes comes home to win the Moyglare. Photo ©INPHO/Ryan Byrne.

Ban on drug at Breeders’ Cup keeps some away


Cross-posted from the New York Times

ARCADIA, Calif. (Oct. 30, 2012) — Call it uncharted territory, as some horse trainers here have, or the new facts of life, as many breeders and drug reformers prefer, but for the first time in the history of the event, 2-year-old horses at this weekend’s Breeders’ Cup world championships will not be allowed to be injected with a drug that is intended to restrict pulmonary bleeding.

Next year the ban on the raceday drug will be imposed on horses in all 15 of the Cup races, in an effort to get American racing in step with the rest of the world.

Even though Breeders’ Cup officials announced the rule change in July 2011, it has been met with resistance and criticism by prominent American horsemen. It will continue to be debated until Friday, when the first of the series of races worth more than $25 million in purses are run. Leading trainers like Todd Pletcher, Dale Romans and Bob Baffert have expressed their displeasure with the ban on furosemide, a diuretic sold under the name Lasix or Salix.

“We call ourselves a world championship and we attract some of the best horses in the world each year,” said Craig Fravel, the Breeders’ Cup chief executive. “It is time to start moving to the same rules and same formats as the rest of the world.”

Even if the furosemide ban were not the cause of the smaller field sizes, Fravel said that he and his board would remain undeterred.

Read full report >>

Finally, a voice of reason in U.S. horse racing. –Editor.

Sky Lantern ridden by Richard Hughes comes home to win the Moyglare. Photo ©INPHO/Ryan Byrne.
Sky Lantern (the grey) ridden by Richard Hughes comes home to win the Moyglare Stud Stakes (Group 1). Curragh Racing, The Curragh Racecourse, Co. Kildare 9/9/2012.

In related news, however, Richard Hannon Jr., assistant trainer to his legendary father, is sending Group 1 winner Sky Lantern to the Breeders’ Cup in Santa Anita to run in the Juvenile Fillies Turf because the drug is banned.

Hannon Jr. tells ESPN:

“We have thrown a few darts in the past without success, but there is no Lasix for two-year-olds this year which makes it a level playing field for all of us, so we will be heading across the Atlantic with our tails up.”

6 thoughts on “Ban on drug at Breeders’ Cup keeps some away”

  1. Two things: One, hooray for Craig Fravel for showing some leadership. Two, I allege that there is MUCH MORE going into the needle than Salix. The big name trainers are crying like babies because they know something that we don’t. There should be NO needle going into a racehorse on race day. It’s as simple as that.


    1. Agree Gina. What we don’t know I believe is sinister. They are always trying to stay one step ahead of the drug testing looking for ways to slip under the radar with drugs that have no standardized methods of detection. The whole North American way of doing things reeks of deceit,lies and inhumane treatment of these gentle, loving creatures all for the sake of money. NA should be disgraced at what they have done to this sport. The sadness of reality and what really happens is overwhelming.

      Why isn’t NA like the rest of the world???? What is wrong with the mindset and why only here? The pompousness and righteousness of these people sickens me. To think they know better than the rest of the world is simply egotistical and engrossed in their own well-being at the exclusion of the welfare of the horse…it’s simply the bottom ..yet another feature of the decline and fall of the NA empire…greed and narcissism.


  2. Hooray! Seriously, if a horse needs drugs on race day, is it fit to run? This is a very positive baby step in the right direction.

    I like a smaller field because it’s less dangerous for the horses and the riders. It’s the competition that’s exciting, not the number of horses. And the the playing field will indeed be more level.

    Wow, what if breeders had to start breeding for quality instead of quantity? What if a stallion could run until he was 5 or 6? Wouldn’t that prove him to be a “better” horse than a 3-year-old who’s been retired to the shed row so he doesn’t get hurt (by running drugged)?


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