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NYSRWB Considering Lasix Rule

Published: April 30, 2012 3:01 pm ET

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The New York State Racing and Wagering Board has announced that it is considering a rule proposal regarding the use of lasix in racehorses.

As part of a preliminary process, the board is requesting input from the industry and public at large concerning the use and regulation of lasix.

Among the questions posed to the industry:

  • What is the cost/benefit analysis of lasix overall? For example, does the annual cost of lasix shots plus the impact on the breed exceed the aggregate benefit for horses that are kept in racing, the prophylactic value, and the avoidance of costly alternatives (e.g., prolonged rest)? What alternatives are available?
  • How can a lasix ban be introduced without causing major disruption and hardship? For example, proponents favor banning race day lasix starting with two-year-old horses. Some suggest banning race-day lasix for major stakes races because of the impact on fan perception. Others suggest that dosage levels be gradually reduced each year. Should a racing circuit be available for horses that need lasix to treat significant EIPH and keep racing?
  • What are the costs if lasix use is curtailed? Who should bear the costs if lasix is banned or curtailed? I.e., will individual owners and trainers bear the entire cost? Is there affordable insurance against the risk that a horse might be unable to race because of EIPH? Should breeders contribute? Will racetracks be able to attract enough horses to fill fields and how will that affect handle, revenue, and tax receipts?
  • Is giving lasix to all horses before any exertion actually a prophylactic? I.e., is there any scientific data that treating all horses before any exertion improves the prognosis of horses that experience a significant (Grade 3 or 4) EIPH?
  • What is the impact on fan support of allowing lasix on race day?
  • How will trainers react to a lasix ban? What substitutes will be used and what impact will they have on race integrity and horse safety? Can they be readily detected like lasix?

(With files from NYSRWB)

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