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Breeders' Cup reverses policy on anti-bleeding medication

March 01, 2013|By Eric Sondheimer
  • Horses warm up at Santa Anita Park during the 2012 Breeders' Cup in November.
Horses warm up at Santa Anita Park during the 2012 Breeders' Cup in… (Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles…)

Under pressure from trainers and owners who support the use of the diuretic furosemide to prevent bleeding in race horses, the Breeders’ Cup Board of Directors voted Friday to reverse a decision that would have banned the drug’s use for all races at its world championships on Nov. 1-2 at Santa Anita.

Instead, the Breeders’ Cup will continue the medical policy it put in for this past year’s world championships, banning furosemide, previously known as Lasix, for only the juvenile races.

“We recognize that there has been great divisiveness in our industry over medication rules, but joining together in the common goal of independent scientific research of the effects of race-day medications, coupled with industry pursuit of uniform rules, will move us toward eliminating such divisions,” Tom Ludt, the chairman of the Breeders’ Cup board, said in a statement. “Our board feels this measure, keeping the policy in place for the Juvenile races and maintaining the 2012 policy on the remaining races, is the most practical course of action at this time.”

The Breeders’ Cup will drop from 15 to 14 races over two days after deciding to discontinue the $500,000 Juvenile Sprint.

Santa Anita-based trainer John Sadler, one of the most vocal critics of the restrictive Breeders’ Cup policy, welcomed the change.

“It’s what everybody has been hoping would happen,” Sadler said.

The Breeders’ Cup had pledged funding to support “an industrywide independent study of the causes, effects and potential alternative methods of reducing the occurrence" of bleeding in the lungs that affects some horses.

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