Item 1: Vivien Malloy, owner of Edition Farm in New York, in an interview with Eclipse Award-winning writer Claire Novak of the Blood-Horse, made some intriguing comments pertaining to her philosophy of breeding racehorses: “I don’t breed for speed. I’ve always believed in trying to breed as well as I could for stamina and soundness—not plodders, but [a racehorse] with stamina who does have that wonderful turn of foot when they need it. The other thing I’ve believed in for a long time is trying to go back to Europe or South America and get bloodlines that have not raced on medication. That’s very important to me, and it seems all the world is turning in that direction now… “

Item 2: The U. S. Polo Association has strict rules on the use and administration of therapeutic medication. Its publication titled USPA Polo Pony Welfare Guidelines states that 250 mg. or less of furosemide (a diuretic) and 800 mg. of dantrolene (a muscle relaxant) may be administered at least three hours prior to competition.

Interestingly, the majority of the mounts used in polo are Thoroughbred horses (not ponies), so exercise induced pulmonary hemorrhaging appears to plague the polo sport as well as horse racing (furosemide is also sometimes used in barrel racing).

The USPA also mandates that “Any drug administered at least 12 hours prior to the competition for a medically and scientifically valid therapeutic purpose must (1) be administered by a Veterinarian licensed in the specific state…wherein the USPA event occurs; and (2) requires that a USPA Medication Report Form 1 be submitted by the owner or his or her representative to explain the presence of the medication that may later appear on a Drug Test Screen.”

(As an aside, I recently visited the Museum of Polo and Hall of Fame in Wellington, Florida. The museum building is immaculately maintained and the collection of silver trophies and exhibits is impressive. Several of the Hall of Fame inductees had or have ties to Thoroughbred racing, including currently John Oxley, whose Monarchos won the 2001 Kentucky Derby. Admission to the museum is free though one can leave a donation.)

Item 3: According to Dr. George Maylin, director of the New York State Racing and Wagering Board’s Equine Drug Testing Program at Morrisville State College: “Furosemide does not interfere with drug detection, provided that it is administered at least four hours prior to racing and within an intravenous dose range of 250 to 500 mgs. New, ultra-sensitive instrumental testing, combined with the regulatory control outlined above, precludes the possibility of furosemide interference with drug testing.”

Item 4: Reputable medical websites that do not have a point of view, but rather present scientifically documented information, identify a lengthy list of side-effects of furosemide in both humans and animals. The side effects are usually not discussed in detail in the ongoing controversy over furosemide use in racehorses.

Copyright © 2013 Horse Racing Business


  1. You are sharing good advice…we need to turn the Industry around before its too late!