On behalf of the more than 29,000 Thoroughbred owners and trainers across the U.S. and Canada, I wish to register concern regarding your editorial. The false assumption and misrepresentation are misleading.
Racing's image and fan base take a beating from hyperbole in editorials like this, not from the use of one medication which has largely eliminated catastrophic bleeding incidents and been safely administered for almost 40 years.
Owners, trainers and veterinarians choose the use of this one therapeutic medication to help ensure the safety and welfare of their animals, just as millions of people in the world use Lasix. Should folks feel otherwise, they may race their horses without Lasix at any time. Every day, horses are racing Lasix-free across the country and Canada already, and many beat those who do race on Lasix.
The editorial says Lasix is administered "ostensibly" to prevent bleeding in the lungs. Peer-reviewed scientific studies have proved Lasix mitigates bleeding, the damage of which is also acknowledged to be progressive.
We, as an industry, have conceded that for us to promote and sustain the horse racing we love and are so passionate about, the uniformity of our model rules is paramount. The current rule referred to in your editorial has been put forth by the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission. It conflicts with not only the national Model Rule, but the best advice of the American Association of Equine Practitioners.
As for bettors, they would be happy to tell you that to handicap horses racing with Lasix, that then participate in the one or two Lasix-free races and return to races with Lasix, is too difficult. They would bet less, not more.
In summary, while this discussion will still rage on, there is certainly no emergency here, unless it is our concern to promote safety and the welfare of horses and the jockeys who ride them.
This proposal does not aid the industry, it fans the flames of division and dissension.