Owners support med-free racing

Updated: August 3, 2013, 4:32 PM ET
By Frank Angst | Bloodhorse



For the second year in a row, many of horse racing's top owners have pledged to race their juvenile starters without race-day medication.

The only medication permitted to be administered on race day in most racing states is Salix (furosemide, commonly called Lasix), a diuretic used to prevent or reduce the severity of exercise-induced pulmonary hemorrhage.

The Jockey Club has called for the U.S. to phase out Salix to move into line with other major racing countries while the Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association has supported a prohibition of Salix in graded stakes races for juveniles. For a second straight year, Breeders' Cup will not allow race-day medication in its World Championship juvenile races.

This year 43 owners have pledged not to race their 2-year-olds on Salix. TOBA President Dan Metzger said that number could grow as more owners become aware of the second year of the pledge. Last year a total of 60 owners committed to not racing their juveniles without race-day medication.

Through Aug. 1 the owners who had committed to racing their juveniles without race-day medication include: Josephine Abercrombie (Pin Oak Stable), John Amerman, Antony Beck (Gainesway Stable), Amy Bondon, Albert Brewster (Cool Spring Farm), Carrie Brogden (Machmer Hall), James Bryant, Bill Casner, Claiborne Farm, Dennis Dale (Deltin Stable), Darley, Adele Dilschneider, Karl and Andrea Donaghy.

Also signing the pledge are, Carl Gessler Jr. M.D., Dr. Amy M. Gill, James Gorski, Arthur Hancock (Stone Farm), Dell Hancock, John Haran, James E. and Marilyn Helzer, Ronna Hoffman, Stanley Inman (Shenanigan Farm), Gretchen and Roy Jackson (Lael Stable), Stuart S. Janney III, Corey Johnsen, Aaron and Marie Jones, and Juddmonte Farm.

The pledge also was signed by Jon and Sarah Kelly, William Koester, Ted Maher, Helen Masek, Michael J. McMahon, Ro Parra, John W. Phillips, Ogden Mills Phipps, Dr. Hiram Polk, Fred Seitz, Shadwell Stable, George Strawbridge Jr. (Augustin Stables), Frank Stronach, Team Valor International, Stephen Wigmore, and Peter S. Willmott.

In 2012 the pledge made an impact. For instance, the number of juveniles at Saratoga Race Course who made starts without Salix in 2011 was just 59. In the first year of the pledge last year, that number increased to 140. Throughout North America, 89 races were won by horses racing without race-day medication.

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