TWO-YEAR-OLD LASIX BAN TO START IN 2020; STAKES RACES LASIX BAN IN 2021
18 April 2019, USA ~ A coalition of leading Thoroughbred racing associations and organizations announced today a new initiative committed to phasing out the use of the medication Furosemide (Lasix) beginning in 2020 and eliminating the use of Lasix in stakes races held at their racetracks beginning in 2021.
Coalition racetracks that have signed on to this initiative include all tracks owned or operated by
Churchill Downs Incorporated (CDI), the New York Racing Association, Inc. (NYRA) and The
Stronach Group as well as Del Mar, Keeneland, Lone Star Park and Remington Park, Los
Alamitos Racecourse (Thoroughbred), Oaklawn Park and Tampa Bay Downs. Taken together
these tracks represent 86% of the stakes races assigned graded or listed status in the United
States in 2018. The coalition tracks will work diligently with their respective horsemen’s
associations and racing commissions towards implementing this effort.
Under the new program, beginning on January 1, 2020, two-year old horses would not be allowed
to be treated with Lasix within 24 hours of a race. Beginning in 2021, the same prohibition would
extend to all horses participating in any stakes race at coalition tracks. Accordingly, in 2021 the
races comprising the Triple Crown would all be run under the new rules regarding race day
Breeders’ Cup Limited, the Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders’ Association (TOBA) and the
American Graded Stakes Committee of TOBA, and the Kentucky Thoroughbred Association have
also joined the coalition in support of this new policy.
“This is a progressive and unified approach to the subject of race day medication, achieving
consistency with international standards for young horses and those that form the foundations of
our breeding stock,” said David O’Rourke, president and chief executive officer of NYRA.
“This is a huge moment that signals a collective move to evolve this legacy sport. 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,” said
Belinda Stronach, chairman and president of The Stronach Group.
“Over the past several years, we have met with numerous stakeholders to drive action on many
of our sport’s central issues,” said Bill Carstanjen, chief executive officer of CDI. “This is a
significant and meaningful step to further harmonize American racing with international standards.
We will continue to work with other stakeholders, including our horsemen and regulatory
agencies, to fully implement this and other important reforms.”
“This new program is an essential step as we look toward the long-term sustainability of US-breds
on the national and international stages. Protecting the integrity of our sport is core to our mission
and is our collective responsibility to the industry,” said Keeneland president and chief executive
officer Bill Thomason.
The coalition racing organizations invite other North American race tracks to join this effort and
adopt the same policies. Participating tracks include Aqueduct Racetrack, 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. Golden Gate Fields and Santa Anita Park will continue to run under the
previously announced limitations to race-day medication.
Participating: Breeders’ Cup Ltd, Churchill Downs, Inc, Del Mar Thoroughbred Club, Keeneland, Kentucky Thoroughbred Association, Los Alamitos Race Course, The New York Racing Association, Inc., Oaklawn Park, Remington Park and Lone Star Park, Tampa Bay Downs, Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders’ Association, The Stronach Group.