The following is a letter from the New York Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association to New York State Racing and Wagering Board Chairman John Sabini supporting the use of Lasix as a race day medication.
Dear Chairman Sabini,
For everyone involved in the sport of racing, from the 5,000-plus owners and trainers represented by the New York Thoroughbred Horseman's Association to the breeders to the handicappers and casual fans, the safety and welfare of the horse is the most important issue. We fully support any initiative that we believe is in the best interest of our horses.
It is that very mindset that motivates our position on raceday Lasix. According to scientific studies headed by the most respected experts in the field, the majority of racehorses are vulnerable to exercise induced pulmonary hemorrhage (EIPH), and Lasix, scientifically proven, is the safest and most effective preventative treatment available. The raceday use of Lasix is in the best interest of the horse and, by extension, the sport.
We firmly believe that Lasix, strictly regulated, should be the only permitted raceday medication. A ban on Lasix will not address any of the problems faced by horse racing.
Lasix does not contribute in any way to injury or unsoundness. It does not mask pain and, when administered under the tight controls required in New York, it does not mask other medications. • There is no medical reason to withhold Lasix from 2-year-olds and expose them to EIPH. Using Lasix as a tool to try to prevent horses from suffering episodes of EIPH is, we believe, the best horsemanship.
The industry's tight regulation of the use and administration of Lasix promotes a level playing field for every horse racing, which is in the public's best interest and protects the integrity of the event. To ban Lasix would return the industry to a time when alternative methods of dealing with EIPH were detrimental to the health of the horse and compromised the integrity of our sport.
There are reforms that regulators can embrace that will improve the safety of our horses and our jockeys, but we oppose any change in the current New York State Racing & Wagering Board rule regarding the raceday use of the medication Lasix. Without a researched and reasoned plan for dealing with EIPH going forward, a ban on Lasix at any level or on any scale is contrary to our obligation to make every effort to protect our horses.
from New York Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association