On the first day new rules for administering the anti-bleeder medication Lasix went into affect in Kentucky, a horse who was not supposed to receive the drug was given a pre-race shot by accident on the opening day of the Keeneland Fall Meet.
Exothermic, a 3-year-old son of Empire Maker owned by Richard Masson and trained by Rusty Arnold, was given Lasix by a Kentucky Horse Racing Commission veterinarian hours before he was slated to run in the day's seventh race, a $54,000 allowance test going 11⁄8 miles on the turf.
Though Lasix shots could previously administered by private veterinarians, a new rule was put in place stating only Commission vets could give the drug no less than four hours before a race.
John Ward, executive director of the KHRC, said the commission vet who previously scheduled to work Friday was out with gallbladder surgery and that the mix up occurred during the reassignment.
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"It was a piece of information that got dropped," Ward said. "It was just human error."
Ward added that in addition to the wireless InCompass system vets use, they would also now carry overnight entry sheets indicating which horses are intended to race on the medication.
The fact Exothermic would run on Lasix was announced to the Keeneland crowd and the dark bay colt went to finish second in his first start since February.
"I think it was an honest mistake," Arnold said. "They said we had the option to run with it or scratch but we had given him eight months off and ... Keeneland is such a short meet that if I scratch, there was no guarantee I get back in at the meet.
"I think if there is anything in this to be pointed out, it's that it's not as simple back in these barns as they think it is. But I'm in favor of the state's giving the Lasix. I want the program to be in, but better refined."
Alicia Wincze Hughes