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Kentucky Approves Race-Day Salix Ban But Battle Looms
In the US overnight, the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission (by a 7-5 vote with 1 abstention) "approved an administrative regulation that would ban the use of furosemide on race-day in graded & listed stakes over a 3-year period beginning on 1 January 2014" reported bloodhorse.com. But "whether it is enacted remains to be seen. Horsemen after the vote said they intend to lobby lawmakers to oppose the regulation & there were indications from the KHRC that if other major racing states don't follow suit by next year, the regulation could be re-examined." Under the regulation (which now must make its way through a lengthy legislative review process) furosemide, the anti-bleeding medication also known as Salix or Lasix, would "not be permitted in graded or listed stakes for 2YOs in 2014. The prohibition would expand until it includes all horses in graded or listed stakes in Kentucky by 2016." The KRHC originally proposed to begin the phase-out of race-day Salix use in graded & listed stakes on 1 Jananuary 2013, but "officials said the start date was pushed back a year because of the legislative approval process". After the vote, Kentucky Horsemen's Benevolent & Protective Association executive director Marty Maline was "asked if horsemen plan to fight the Salix ban" & he declared bluntly: "It's exactly where we're heading. Even some racing commissioners may come & join us. We'll talk about the economic effects (on the horse industry) & the science (behind Salix). I think they'll be more willing to listen to what we have to present." However KHRC member Tom Ludt (who abstained in the vote) noted the issue "isn't just about Salix" & explained the US "needs uniformity in all medication rules" & he would have preferred "having 3 or 4 other major racing states on board with a similar phase-out of Salix before Kentucky took the action". Ludt said he has "no confidence other states will jump on the bandwagon" & asked "why the vote was necessary now". Meanwhile Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear issued a statement emphasising: "Today's action by the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission is an important step in removing race-day medication at Kentucky tracks, something the public has expressed a desire to see happen. We must instill a sense of confidence in the betting public's mind that horses running in graded & listed stakes at Kentucky tracks are doing so on their own abilities. I am hopeful that other racing jurisdictions across the country will follow suit."