The Kentucky Horse Racing Commission (KHRC) passed a ban Monday on the race-day administration of the drug Lasix in horses. The ban takes effect in 2020 for all 2-year-old horses and in 2021 any horse in a stakes race cannot receive the drug the day of the competition.
The newly approved medication reforms were backed by a number of industry stakeholders nationwide with an eye toward bolstering safety in the sport.
The move came two weeks after the Kentucky Equine Drug Research Council approved the Lasix recommendation
The calls for the ban come after more than three dozen horses perished at Santa Anita over a 10-month span. While there have been concerned about track conditions at the California track, it’s also led to a discussion among racing officials bout other steps that could be taken to prevent injuries and fatalities.
Last month, Kentucky-based Churchill Downs Inc., TSG [The Stronach Group], the New York Racing Association, and others announced the formation of the Thoroughbred Safety Coalition. The purpose behind the coalition is to increase transparency and create a unified set of regulations, such as the drug laws passed Monday by the KHRC.
“Today, the KY Horse Racing Commission adopted new medication reforms, including ones that double the pre-race withdrawal time for corticosteroids & NSAIDS and eliminate the use of bisphosphonates,” Lexington, Ky-based Keeneland Association, another coalition member, posted on Twitter Monday.” We applaud these efforts & will continue work to make our sport safer.”
It sounds encouraging doesn’t it? We want to feel encouraged. However, American horse racing is running scared. They should be. Yet, they would not be doing any of this if Santa Anita had not killed all those horses for God and everyone to see culminating in the death of Mongolian Groom on the final day of the Breeders’ Cup.
So horse racing will pledge all sorts of changes and reforms but the carnage will continue. It will continue. Because we know what really needs to be done. And if we know it, they know it. Horse racing’s problems begin in the shed. Its breeding practices have brought them to these gut-wrenchingly deadly times. And where in America would they know this better than in Kentucky?
FEATURED IMAGE: Mongolian Groom (Sports Illustrated)