Only several weeks after the New York Times published a devastating (if flawed) indictment of horse racing in the United States pertaining to equine fatalities, jockey injuries and deaths, and race-day medication, the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission voted on the phase out of furosemide on race-day in the Bluegrass state. The result was not reform, but “business as usual.”
According to the Associated Press, “The Kentucky Horse Racing Commission ended the tense discussion [Monday, April 16, 2012] on the use of furosemide with a 7-7 roll call vote on the proposed regulation that would have prohibited the drug from the Kentucky Derby in 2014, and in the whole state starting in 2015. The race-day ban would have first applied to 2-year-olds racing in 2013…The proposal would have made Kentucky the first state to ban race-day use of furosemide, marketed under the brand names Lasix or Salix.”
Kentucky Revised Statute 230.225 specifies that Kentucky Horse Racing Commission members are appointments by the governor for 3-year terms. Consequently, by the end of Governor Steve Beshear’s term of office in December 2015, he will have had the opportunity to replace every sitting member.
The next one or two vacancies on the Commission will be of utmost importance because the people appointed can break the tie on the Lasix issue. Governor Beshear will undoubtedly be under intense pressure from advocates on both sides.
Beshear came into office in 2007 with a deserved reputation as the most pro-horse racing governor ever. It will be interesting to see how this friend of horse racing decides what is in the best interest of the sport in Kentucky.
The view here is that he should see to it through his appointments that Kenucky bans the race-day use of furosemide. If racing’s image can’t be rehabilitated in the horse breeding and sales capital of the United States, the mission is lost.
Copyright © 2012 Horse Racing Business