Salix to be Outlawed for Horses in Kentucky Stakes Races By Kentucky Equine Research Staff · August 31, 2012
Beginning in 2014, use of Salix (furosemide, also known as Lasix) will be phased out for horses entered in graded stakes and listed stakes races in Kentucky. This is the decision of the state’s Horse Racing Commission. Kentucky is the first state to move ahead with such a ruling, although the issue is being considered in other regions. The vote by the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission must gain approval in the state’s legislature to become law.
Furosemide is a medication used to prevent or lessen the severity of exercise-induced pulmonary hemorrhage (EIPH, “bleeding”), a condition that causes bleeding in the horse’s respiratory system during exercise. In some horses, bleeding is severe enough that they are unable to race without Salix. The medication is effective in controlling bleeding in many horses, but there is also evidence that horses on Salix, a diuretic that reduces body weight, tend to run faster and therefore gain an advantage over nonmedicated horses.
Under the plan adopted by the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission, treatment with Salix on race day would be outlawed in stakes races for two-year-olds beginning in 2014. In 2015, the medication would not be allowed for stakes entries by two- and three-year-olds. No stakes horses could be administered Salix on race day in 2016 and beyond.
Proponents, such as the Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association’s Grades Stakes Committee and The Jockey Club, feel that the ban on Salix will please racing fans who want to see less medication used on racehorses. They also point out that race-day use of Salix is already outlawed in international jurisdictions. Opponents, including the Kentucky Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association, claim that trainers of horses racing on Salix will simply take their horses to other states, crippling the racing industry in Kentucky. At least five other states are currently considering rulings that would ban the use of Salix in racehorses.