Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Racing Commission Defers Proposed Lasix Usage Rule

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Racing Commission Defers Proposed Lasix Usage Rule

Article excerpt

A proposed rule which would allow the use of Lasix, an anti-bleeding drug, in Oklahoma horse racing was deferred Tuesday by the Oklahoma Horse Racing Commission to allow the drafting of amendments which may provide for post-race drug testing as an option to pre-race detention barns.

The rule will be considered again during the commission's regular monthly meeting on Feb. 25.

Lasix, or Furosemide, is a medication which can be given to horses prone to bleeding in the lungs brought on by maximum bursts of effort. Lasix also is a diuretic drug which many feel can be used to mask the use of illegal substances by diluting them in the horse's system.

Only three racing states - Oklahoma, New York and Wyoming - don't allow the use of Lasix.

Officials with Remington Park, Blue Ribbon Downs and the Oklahoma Thoroughbred Association have expressed their desire to have Lasix legalized in Oklahoma.

Remington Park officials have said they cannot attract top quality horses if the use of Lasix is not authorized.

The proposed rule before the commission Tuesday was in line with National Association of State Racing Commissions guidelines in proposing a detention barn be used to hold horses prior to racing.

David Vance, executive vice-president and general manager of Remington Park, said requiring a detention barn would force the racetrack to convert one of its 17 barns to a detention barn, which would result in the loss of 76 stalls.

Gordon Hare, executive director of the racing commission, said horsemen oppose detention barns because horses often get nervous and become "washy," or sweaty, in the unfamiliar surroundings of a detention barn and then don't race well.

Commissioner Ron Shotts said he coud draft some amendments to the proposed rule which would make post-race blood or urine testing an option to a pre-race detention barn, if such post-race testing is proven as a viable alternative.

Such testing is currently under development at the Illinois Racing Board laboratory but has not been perfected. …

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