The Lasix Debate: Rosenberg Weighs In
This week Dr. Larry Bramlage of Rood and Riddle Equine Hospital minced no words when offering his opinion on how American horse racing can improve how it is perceived by the public. His comments spoke specifically about race day medication, the central focus of the stalled Thoroughbred Horseracing Integrity Act of 2015, which is currently being re-worked for a re-launch later this year.
In a recent Paulick Report article, Bramlage was quoted as saying that while he is a proponent of furosemide (Lasix) and feels it is beneficial to racehorses, the bad publicity that runs rampant among horse racing critics about race day medication outweighs any reason the drug should continue to be used on race day.
“…[W]e cannot withstand the bad publicity that [race day furosemide administration] creates worldwide,” said Bramlage.
Bramlage is just one of many individuals and organizations that put their names behind the Barr-Tonko bill, which aimed to create uniform medication oversight for the sport of horse racing and ban the use of race day medication, including furosemide.
“I am strongly in total agreement with the elimination of race day medications and in support of the Barr-Tonko bill as being vital in the process of restoring public confidence in our sport,” said Dan Rosenberg, who has more than 40 years in the Thoroughbred business, which has included several key appointments on boards like the Kentucky Thoroughbred Farm Managers and the UK Maxwell H. Gluck Research Foundation.
Rosenberg (and Bramlage) note that all other major racing jurisdictions around the world have already implemented measures to ban medications on race day and the move has been met with public approval.
“I am also for more out-of-competition testing and stiffer penalties for those who are in violation of the rules,” added Rosenberg. “Public perception is a big motivating factor, but more than that I think it speaks to the welfare of the horse first. If a horse needs medication to perform well, perhaps it shouldn’t be racing.”
Bramlage, Rosenberg and others agree a disconnect has been created between the public and those involved with Thoroughbred racing and breeding, which has resulted in a marked decrease in the popularity of the sport and a marked increase in critics of horse racing, many of which focus on animal welfare and a level playing field as their biggest points of contention.
Read the full Paulick Report story on Dr. Bramlage’s comments here.