Only several weeks after the New York Times published a devastating (if flawed) indictment of horse racing in the United States pertaining to equine fatalities, jockey injuries and deaths, and race-day medication, the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission voted on the phase out of furosemide on race-day in the Bluegrass state. The result was not reform, but “business as usual.”

According to the Associated Press, “The Kentucky Horse Racing Commission ended the tense discussion [Monday, April 16, 2012] on the use of furosemide with a 7-7 roll call vote on the proposed regulation that would have prohibited the drug from the Kentucky Derby in 2014, and in the whole state starting in 2015. The race-day ban would have first applied to 2-year-olds racing in 2013…The proposal would have made Kentucky the first state to ban race-day use of furosemide, marketed under the brand names Lasix or Salix.”

Kentucky Revised Statute 230.225 specifies that Kentucky Horse Racing Commission members are appointments by the governor for 3-year terms. Consequently, by the end of Governor Steve Beshear’s term of office in December 2015, he will have had the opportunity to replace every sitting member.

The next one or two vacancies on the Commission will be of utmost importance because the people appointed can break the tie on the Lasix issue. Governor Beshear will undoubtedly be under intense pressure from advocates on both sides.

Beshear came into office in 2007 with a deserved reputation as the most pro-horse racing governor ever. It will be interesting to see how this friend of horse racing decides what is in the best interest of the sport in Kentucky.

The view here is that he should see to it through his appointments that Kenucky bans the race-day use of furosemide. If racing’s image can’t be rehabilitated in the horse breeding and sales capital of the United States, the mission is lost.

Copyright © 2012 Horse Racing Business


  1. Beshear should immediately demand the resignations of the 7 members who voted to keep race day Lasix. Get ’em out now. Clean up racing and its image and start in my Old Ky. Home.

  2. RandyB, I agree with you in principle, but Jennie Rees gives an argument for the other side. Check it out:


  3. no one that has ever led a coughing horse back to the barn after a race will be anti-lasix.

  4. fb0252

    How about the lads in Ireland and England?

  5. karen if u’re talking about Ireland and England it would be a safe guess that u too have yet to train a usa horse. however, explain it to u. Ireland/English horses race on grass. I can breeze a horse on grass every 3 days for 40 consecutive breezes and it will never cough or bleed. same horse, first time on dirt is a bleeder. So why talk about Irish/English. Q is do u want to race a horse with EIPH. For myself, since horse health trumps the “perception” of those that know nothing about horses. better yet, get on a horse at speed sometime and see for yourself what happens with the breathing.

  6. A comment borrowed from the Paulick Report:

    Trainers who feel they cannot race horses without injecting them with raceday drugs are simply unqualified horsemen. Horses deserve better than to be medicated on raceday, as over 90% now are. Horses have long successfully raced clean when properly cared for and appropriately conditioned, and have raced more safely than mismanaged horses that require medication to get them around the oval each race. Conscientious horsemanship and appropriate husbandry of stabled racehorses manages both EIPH and soundness. Horses need to get out of their stalls each afternoon for a few hours of grazing and walking about, perhaps some lungeing to lung up the lungs and flush the metabolism. Horses are to born to move nearly constantly, and it is this near constant movement that appropriately conditions lungs to handle the athletic rigors of a horserace. Humane care of the horses is the answer to managing bleeding and breakdowns, not drugs, my goodness. The bleeding medication issue is entwined with the breakdown issue, as it is the horses medicated for bleeding that breakdown approximately 4X more frequently than clean running horses.The horses will prevail soon, as the ban on raceday drugs is inevitably necessary to revive the sport and restore integrity to the game. Horses everywhere will breath great sighs of relief at not having to be needled with drugs hours before every race they run.Your racehorse advocate, SaratogaSid

  7. Karen, ur intentional r good, and u mean well for the horse. trust this–my race horses r turned out daily. they still bleed on dirt tracks. if u’re interested in horse welfare, train a race horse. get hands on before forming an opinion that affects the welfare of the horse.