Kentucky’s Thoroughbred racetracks – Keeneland, Churchill Downs, Turfway Park, Ellis Park and Kentucky Downs – united in their support of the medication reforms adopted Monday by the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission (KHRC). Their passage demonstrates an unprecedented unity among Kentucky’s Thoroughbred racing associations and a commitment to continue moving forward on initiatives that further strengthen safety and integrity protocols.
With Monday’s action by the KHRC, Kentucky becomes the first state to initiate a phaseout of the race-day use of Lasix. Beginning in 2020 and moving forward, the use of Lasix will be banned in Kentucky on race day for 2-year-olds; beginning in 2021 and subsequent years, the use of Lasix will be eliminated in graded stakes races held at Kentucky race tracks.
Other regulations were approved to limit the administration of other medications, including:
- Extending the withdrawal time for the administration of corticosteroids from 7 to 14 days pre-race;
- Extending the withdrawal time for non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) from 24 to 48 hours pre-race; and
- Eliminating the use of bisphosphonates in racing and in horses younger than four years old
In a bold measure to ensure transparency, the KHRC also approved a requirement that 14 days of medical records must be presented at the time a horse is entered in a race in Kentucky. Trainers must maintain a clear and accurate record of any treatment administered to their horses, and all medical records will be transferred to each subsequent owner and trainer.
The reforms approved yesterday are consistent with enhanced standards both Keeneland and Churchill Downs have advocated for as founding members of the Thoroughbred Safety Coalition.
“The welfare of our human and equine athletes is the sport’s top priority, and we thank the KHRC for making these reforms a reality,” Keeneland President and CEO Bill Thomason said. “These changes provide Kentucky racing with the tools to make our facilities safer and to protect the integrity and longevity of a sport we love so much.”
“Our entire industry has a responsibility to implement best practices for the care of our racehorses,” said Kevin Flanery, President of Churchill Downs Racetrack. “The passage of these important and meaningful reforms is an important step to further advance animal welfare and safety practices in the Commonwealth of Kentucky.”