Lasix Debate Continues After Vote

Jun 14, 2012

FRANKFORT, Ky. - Kentucky could be poised to become the first state to ban the race-day use of Lasix in upper-level stakes races, starting in 2014.

The drug currently given to horses before races is what’s known as an “anti-bleeder” medication, but it’s also a diuretic, which has led critics to consider it a performance-enhancing drug. Robert Beck, Chairman of the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission, said the vote by his commission to begin phasing out use of the drug is a step in the right direction.

"We weren't really doing it just to try to send a message. I think we were doing it because we think it's the right thing. I hope that our current fans and potential fans understand that we're trying to take a positive step with regard to the public perception of the use of race day medication," he says.

Critics, such as Churchill Downs President Kevin Flanery, worry the new requirements could put Kentucky at a competitive disadvantage. Beck says other states appear ready to follow in Kentucky’s lead should the ban go forward.