As you wake this morning, startling and worldwide horse racing news has just broken in the U.S.
A coalition of race track owners in the United States have released statement saying they will phase out Lasix from 2YO racing , and by the end of 2020 all Black Type races as well.
And that coalition makes up 89% of ALL stakes races in the U.S.
This has come about because of one thing and one thing only – the Court Of Public Opinion, driven by PETA and associated animal welfare groups, has rattled a very loud sabre and the owners have heard it.
Race day drug administration is one of two major concerns they have had regarding race horse welfare – the other is the use of whips.
And as sure as God made little green apples – that crack down is coming too.
But back to Lasix. The U.S. has long been behind the rest of the world in this area and now it means vaunted U.S. races like the Gr 1 Kentucky Derby is vulnerable.
An outsider can come in now and swoop the big crown off the homebreds – because Lasix is a performance enhancer. Ridding it from the sport makes for an even playing field. And U.S. trainers, all of whom train their horses much differently than say the English, French and Australian mentors, will not have an advantage of their horses racing above their lung capacities now that Lasix will be banned.
That aside, the welfare of the horse is what’s driven PETA and co to push and succeed in getting this.
“This is a huge moment that signals a collective move to evolve this legacy sport,” said Belinda Stronach, chairman and president of The Stronach Group. “While there is still more work to be done, these reforms are a good start. This industry coalition has taken an important step forward toward a uniform policy and we are committed to focusing our attention and resources on how to make further improvements that directly prioritize equine health and safety. We applaud our industry partners and we look forward to continued collaboration.”
Closer to home, because we don’t use Lasix, our only major issue is the use of whips in races. And that scrutiny is coming.
Individual tracks participating in the U.S. coalition include: Aqueduct, Arlington International Racecourse, Belmont Park, Churchill Downs, Del Mar, Fair Grounds, Gulfstream Park, Gulfstream Park West, Keeneland, Laurel Park, Lone Star Park and Remington Park, Los Alamitos (Thoroughbred), Oaklawn Park, Pimlico, Presque Isle Downs, Saratoga Race Course and Tampa Bay Downs.
The Stronach Group’s Golden Gate Fields and Santa Anita Park have already started Lasix reduction and whip reduction programs. Lasix on race day is still administered at those tracks but in 5mil doses, down from the 10mil everywhere else.
By 2020 that will be 0 mils!