Thursday, September 17, 2015

Florida HBPA Report Indicates Majority of Horsemen Support Same-Day Use of Lasix

By Jim Freer

Thursday, Sept. 17The Florida Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association (FHBPA) said on Wednesday that an ongoing survey of its members is showing that approximately 75 percent of them support the same-day use of the anti-bleeding drug Lasix (furosemide) on horses.

In a news release  on Wednesday, the FHBPA said that  for   several months it has  been calling  account holders with the Horsemen’s Bookkeepers Office, which the FHBPA operates, to update addresses and capture email addresses.

The FHBPA added that it has been asking the account holder (trainer or owner) one question about Lasix: “What is your position on race-day Lasix?” There are three possible answers: “I support it, I’m against it, or I have no opinion.

Suvey results

Through mid-September 1,068 account holders have been called with each account holder permitted one vote.  In other words, if a horseperson was involved in five different accounts, he/she would only be entitled to one vote.

The FHBPA said that, at this time, of those that have an opinion on the use of race-day Lasix 90.5 percent support its use while less than 9.5 percent oppose its use.

FHBPA executive director Kent Stirling said  the survey shows the strong support among “owners and trainers who are actively racing their horses at Gulfstream Park” for  the option of the same-day use of Lasix.

The issue of race-day use of  Lasix  gained added  prominence this summer when Gulfstream ran about a dozen Maiden  Special  Weight  races for 2-year-olds in which same-day use of Lasix  was not permitted,

As an incentive for trainers and owners, Gulfstream offered higher purses on some of those races than on MSW 2-year-old races in  which  use of race-day  Lasix  was permitted.

Gulfstream officials declined to comment on the FHBPA survey.

The  Stronach Group, Gulfstream’s parent company, has been a leader of thoroughbred racing industry members that want to phase out the use of various medications,  including Lasix on race  days.

Stirling, said, “We began this study because we kept hearing from those that opposed race-day Lasix that we didn’t really represent the true opinion of our membership. Since well over 80 percent of our account holders are owners, it was great to see that we really did represent the opinion of  those owners and trainers who are actively racing their horses at Gulfstream Park.”

The actual totals were: 817 in support, 86 against and 165 with no opinion. The FHBPA said this means that even if one were to couple those who voted against Lasix with those with no opinion that still 75.5 percent of the account holders would be in favor of race-day Lasix.

“The ‘vocal minority’ makes a lot of noise with no surveys to back up their assumptions,” Stirling said. “But now the ‘silent majority’ has had an opportunity to speak, and they have spoken loud and clearly. I think any survey of those with actual ‘skin’ in the game done in any other jurisdiction would bear the same results.”

Follow-Up Study

Meanwhile Gulfstream is  working with Dr. Stephen Selway, a veterinarian  who is conducting a study involving trainers permitting voluntary post-race throat scoping of 2-year-olds racing with and without Lasix this summer at Gulfstream.

A purpose  is to determine if there are widespread differences  in  bleeding in the mouth,  during  and after races,  among  horses racing  with  Lasix and those racing without it.

“The results of the study will hopefully be of significant benefit to the well being of racehorses,” Selway  said in July.

“The study has been set up as to eliminate most variables and yield non-bias data,” he added. “The cooperation of Gulfstream Park, the FHBPA, and the trainers and owners is greatly appreciated. Without their support this timely study could not be done,”

Selway’s study also receives private funding from Zayat Stables, which campaigned 2015 Triple Crown Champion American Pharoah. Video endoscopy equipment is provided by R F Systems.

It  is expected that results of the study will be  released this fall,  following the Oc

Florida HBPA Report Indicates Majority of Horsemen Support Same-Day Use of Lasix

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