Board: No Lasix For California 2-Year-Olds This Year - Horse Racing News | Paulick Report

Board: No Lasix For California 2-Year-Olds This Year

Thoroughbreds training at Santa Anita Park in Arcadia, Calif.

At a lengthy teleconference meeting held Thursday, the California Horse Racing Board approved rule language that would prohibit the administration of furosemide in 2-year-olds beginning this year. The move comes as part of a desire outlined by the Thoroughbred Safety Coalition (of which The Stronach Group and Del Mar are members) to phase out the drug in juveniles and stakes races.

The language would also reduce the maximum allowable dose of furosemide from 500 mg to 250 mg.

The text of the rule was changed slightly during the call, because it previously stated that the furosemide prohibition would apply to “foals born in 2018 and subsequent years” which could have carried the prohibition forward past the juvenile year, and ultimately require them to run against older horses who were still getting the drug.

The theory behind the Coalition's desired furosemide restrictions is that they would allow trainers to get a real sense for whether their horses needed the bleeder medication or not after racing a horse's first season without it–if a 2-year-old does bleed in a race, they would have time to take a rest and come back with the drug in their 3-year-old season. An eventual prohibition of the medication in stakes races (which the Coalition suggests should begin in 2021) is supposed to reduce the number of horses in the breeding population that have raced with the drug.

All commissioners on the call approved the measure, but due to the last-minute wording edit, it is now out for a 15-day public comment period.

Also during Thursday's meeting, board members expressed interest in considering a multiple medication violation (MMV) rule. Previously, staff members said the board's legal counsel had questioned whether such a rule would be permissible under double jeopardy laws, but a review has revealed that this would not be an issue. A MMV rule would escalate penalties for trainers with repeat medication violations, similar to points on a person's driver's license. California's lack of a MMV rule has prevented it from achieving complete adoption of the National Uniform Medication Program, which requires certain therapeutic substance thresholds, drug testing laboratory accreditation, and third party furosemide administration. Staff were asked to get possible rule language to the commissioners at an upcoming meeting.

The Board also approved rules requiring that veterinarians submit treatment records to the commission in a digital format. Currently, daily treatment sheets may be submitted in hard copy, which CHRB equine medical director Dr. Rick Arthur said inhibits the commission's ability to analyze patterns of medication administration on the backstretch. Dr. Jeff Blea, representing racetrack veterinarians, expressed concern about the logistics of records submissions, particularly for veterinarians who may not have a reliable internet connection at all times in the barn area or whose billing codes don't easily match up with the commission's system.

Trainers may also be required to maintain medication records on each of their horses for the examination of the board. Rule language did not specify whether these records had to be digital or written, and the board acknowledged many trainers already have a system in place for maintaining this information. California Thoroughbred Trainers expressed support for the rule.

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