The Breeders' Cup board voted Friday to rescind its previous plan to ban the race-day use of the anti-bleeder medication Lasix in all its race this season and will instead only restrict the use of the medication in juvenile races, as it did in 2012.
Horses participating in all other Breeders' Cup races will be permitted to race on Lasix, which will be administered only by veterinarians authorized by the California Horse Racing Board (CHRB) and approved by Breeders' Cup.
In addition to changing the Lasix policy, Breeders' Cup also voted to drop the 6-furlong, $500,000 Juvenile Sprint from its roster of races in the Breeders' Cup World Championships after two years, reducing the two-day card from 15 races to 14.
The decision to pull back on the Lasix policy was brought on in part, according to Breeders' Cup chairman Tom Ludt, by "great divisiveness in our industry over medication rules." The Board has also pledged funding, and called upon other Thoroughbred racing organizations to support an industry-wide independent study of the causes, effects and potential alternative methods of reducing the occurrence of EIPH (Exercise-induced pulmonary hemorrhage) in racehorses.
"Joining together in the common goal of independent scientific research of the effects of race-day medications, coupled with industry pursuit of uniform rules, will move us toward eliminating such divisions," Ludt said in a statement. "Our board feels this measure, keeping the policy in place for the Juvenile races and maintaining the 2012 policy on the remaining races, is the most practical course of action at this time."
A handful of 2-year-olds who competed in the Breeders' Cup races last year were reported to have bled.
Breeders' Cup said all horses competing this year will be monitored for 72 hours prior to post time of the horse's race.
The 2012 Juvenile Sprint won by D. Wayne Lukas-trained Hightail drew only five starters, and it had nine starters in 2011. "The number of starters and overall quality of the Juvenile Sprint fields for its two runnings did not meet the standards expected for the Championships," said Craig Fravel, Breeders' Cup president and CEO.