Archive for Lasix

Once A Wildfire Issue, Why Has The Push To Ban Lasix Cooled????

This week’s LET IT RIDE.COM HOT TOPIC comes from Steven Crist of The Daily Racing Form…take a read and VOICE AN OPINION!

Five reasons why the effort to ban Lasix has stalled

The movement to ban Lasix from American racing, which looked like an odds-on favorite only a year ago, seems to have pulled up at the top of the stretch with the announcement last week that the Breeders’ Cup has scrapped its plan to enforce a ban in this year’s races.

Lasix will again be banned in only the four juvenile races while the treatment will be permitted in the 10 others, and insiders expect even the juvenile ban to be gone in another year or two. So, if there are 30,000 races in North America in 2013, Lasix will be permitted in 29,996 of them and prohibited in just four.

Regardless of which side of the thorny and divisive debate you are on, this is a stunning reversal. A year ago, Kentucky regulators were on the verge of phasing out Lasix completely but now are likelier to phase in a retreat from those rules. Efforts to enact similar legislation stalled in New York and never got off the ground in California. Numerous industry organizations have retreated from strong anti-Lasix stances.

What happened? Zealots on each side of the issue will call it a triumph of good or evil by forces of enlightenment or darkness, but it may be more valuable to examine why a movement that seemed inevitable suddenly lost its momentum. There probably are dozens of other factors, but here are five that contributed to the sputter:

◗ The willful attempt to blur the clear lines between administering a legal and regulated medication and the nefarious use of illegal and dangerous drugs to fix the outcome of races was a tactical error that alienated potential supporters who have an open mind on the topic.

Proponents of a ban consistently overstated their case and lost hearts and minds by trying to make Lasix sound inherently dangerous and linking its usage – with little veterinary evidence or support – to a supposed decline in the health and durability of the breed.

◗ The claim by proponents of a ban that Lasix use was harming the sport’s popularity was unfounded and unconvincing. After more than two decades of widespread Lasix usage, a span in which the sport had periods of both growth and decline, the argument that it had suddenly begun alienating potential customers lacked credibility. This was borne out when in 2012, a year in which racing probably received an unprecedented amount of negative coverage for medication and animal-welfare issues, American betting handle actually increased for the first time in six years.

◗ The lack of support for a Lasix ban from virtually any successful trainer left the anti-Lasix proponents not only without an influential spokesman but also with the weak and nasty rebuttal that trainers are either incompetent or shady. Even trainers who ban proponents thought shared their views said they found Lasix a useful and humane treatment.

◗ While it may be intellectually defensible (through the “playing by the existing rules” and “level playing field” arguments) to rail against the use of Lasix while continuing to race one’s own horses on it, people both inside and outside the industry found this to be a mixed message at best. Telling people to do what you say, not what you do, never goes over well in general and took the wind from the sails of the position that Lasix was so detrimental to racing that it must be banned.

◗ The argument that the United States is out of step with the rest of the world by uniquely permitting Lasix is both true and sobering, but a lack of conformity is not in and of itself a reason to change. What was needed to make that a more compelling argument was some illustration of how the United States could implement foreign procedures to replace Lasix instead of an assumption that we must be wrong.

There also continues to be a lot of misinformation surrounding comparisons between American and, in particular, European racing. It has become gospel that horses in Europe make more starts per year than American runners, and that Lasix might be to blame, when, in fact, the statistics are almost identical.

Whatever the reasons, the impetus to change Lasix policy has evaporated, but that should not mean the topic is permanently closed. Even those who have come to accept and defend its use would be hard-pressed to argue that it is commendable that American racing has gone down a path where virtually every horse is treated with it. Perhaps the next time the issue rears its head – and it will – there can be a more constructive, civilized, and informed discussion.


Do All of Racing’s Problems Boil Down to A Lack of Leadership???

This week’s LET IT RIDE.COM HOT TOPIC comes from Paul Moran of…take a read and VOICE AN OPINION!

Facing the leadership deficit

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. — As they do every summer, the powers that be in the racing game gathered here last weekend for the Jockey Club Round Table on Matters Pertaining to Racing. As is the case every summer, what happens in Saratoga stays in Saratoga, even in a summer such as this, when reform, which is to say medication reform, is foremost on a short agenda.

The anti-Lasix movement appears to have subsided. Much well-grounded support among horsemen and the scientific community has quelled the opposition.
There is no opposition to reform and standardization of rules, though making that happen in a disjointed environment is a daunting task. The Jockey Club proposes changes in withdrawal periods for commonly used, legal therapeutic medications that are perfectly reasonable — 21 days for clenbuterol, for instance. Other substances, corticosteroids, in particular, beg for longer withdrawal periods in the interest of the safety of both horse and rider.

The anti-Lasix movement appears to have subsided. Much well-grounded support among horsemen and the scientific community has quelled the opposition. Bleeding is bad. Still, the administration of Lasix under regulatory supervision is absolutely necessary. Such a program, which confines the administration of Lasix on race day to veterinarians employed by the association, has worked for some time in New York and elsewhere and demands universal adoption.

But there are other issues pertaining to medication that the sport has failed to recognize let alone address.

Nothing is currently more popular and rare than transparency. Yet, racing is no less opaque than government and other criminal enterprises. A major move toward shedding light on the mysterious aspects of the sport hidden from public view would be identification of veterinarians who practice at the nation’s racetracks. Disclosure — on the program — of every veterinarian who has treated a horse between starts, procedures performed and the medications administered would be the most radical move toward reform racing’s leaders could possibly undertake.

In many states even the gelding of a horse is not disclosed to the public and nowhere are most surgical procedures made known. Yet, the sport is supported in the main by gamblers who are placed at a bleak informational disadvantage with the blessing of regulators.

Veterinarians as well as trainers should face the weight of responsibility for violations and suffer identical consequences. A positive should send both into suspension, another area in need of careful reconsideration. How many transgressions will regulators permit? How many Rick Dutrows can the game afford and still expect to be taken seriously?

Dutrow faces a life-time ban for a litany of violations in many states but continues to train horses while his lawyers make a mockery out of due process, the end of which is nowhere in sight. Meanwhile, a less tolerant industry would have rid itself of this man long ago. He is, at the moment, the seventh-leading trainer at the Saratoga meeting.

A positive for overage of a legal medication and one for an illegal, performance-enhancing substance are very different things …
Ironically, it was an indiscreet admission by Dutrow, who stated matter-of-factly that Big Brown, winner of the Kentucky Derby and Preakness and in preparation for the Belmont Stakes of 2008, was administered anabolic steroids that led to the only meaningful mediation reform in the last 50 years. This surprised no one and such substances were at the time legal if widely abused in racing but the resultant furor led individual states to ban anabolic steroids. So, in a way unintended, Dutrow has done a service to the sport — and the breed — even while thumbing his nose at regulators rendered impotent by the legal process.

Reform, however, should not be the serendipitous result of indiscretion.

A positive for overage of a legal medication and one for an illegal, performance-enhancing substance are very different things and while repeated transgressions of the first type should result in progressively longer suspensions and – after three – a lifetime ban. The second demands that the sport impose a zero-tolerance posture. One strike and you’re out.

No trainer convicted in the recent rash of positive tests for dermorphin — a painkiller several times more potent than morphine — should ever again be issued a license to train horses anywhere in the United States. At the moment, the punishment in no way fits the crime.

What racing really lacks is effective leadership; people of vision positioned to create order and consensus from chaos. The risk of delay is inevitable irrelevance, which is becoming more a possibility as time goes on with the status remaining quo.


How Much Attention Should Racing Pay to the Sensationalism of the New York Times???

This week’s LET IT RIDE.COM HOT TOPIC comes from Eric Mitchell of The Bloodhorse…take a read and VOICE AN OPINION!

Rogue Reporting

The sledgehammer-like beating the Thoroughbred racing industry has taken recently in the New York Times over drug use has been hailed by many owners and racing organizations that want the industry to clean up its act. The coverage, which has cast racing in the worst possible light through slanted reporting and faulty statistics, has been widely expected by anti-drug supporters to accelerate change.

But these advocates have hitched their horse to the wrong wagon. Instead of rallying behind a champion, they’re giving credence to gross misrepresentations of the sport and allowing racing to be buried under a mountain of unchallenged and unmitigated negativity. This is dangerous policy for an industry that acknowledges a severe perception problem already exists in the minds of casual fans or non-fans of the sport.

Are there problems in Thoroughbred racing? Sure. Are there people trying to beat the system and ignoring what is in the best interest of their horses? Yes. Are these bad apples a substantial subset of racing’s owners, breeders, and trainers? A resounding no.

Super testing done in 2001 and 2002 on 1,596 samples from racing Thoroughbreds, including some samples retested with more sensitive equipment, found 98.7% of the samples were clean.

Without question, racing needs leadership to implement a system that punishes the cheaters and bans repeat violators from the sport, possibly sending them to jail. But the Times series is not moving us closer to this goal. The sensationalistic reporting has not advanced the The Jockey Club’s proposed medication reform rules across all racing jurisdictions. The reporting has not caused any jurisdiction to join Kentucky in taking even a baby step toward outlawing Salix.

Why? Because the Times seems to be taking the tack that sensationalism is more important than meaningful facts. Instead of shedding light and educating, its reporting screams and exaggerates. In the paper’s middle-of-the-front-page Sunday launch to its campaign against racing March 25, it quoted statistics compiled from race charts. One had to hunt for the explainer text buried inside, noting the statistics were for “breakdowns or signs of injury.” Lots of inflammatory text about incidences wrapped around pictures of dead horses and paralyzed jockeys obscured problems with the reporting. One problem is the statistics combined Quarter Horse and Thoroughbred racing, which are entirely different breeds and very different styles of racing. Problem two is that incidences include horses that may have been pulled up in a race, walked off the track, and were found later to have minor, treatable injuries. If the article had focused on the national Equine Injury Database, which monitors only fatalities in Thoroughbreds and has data verified by veterinarians, many of these “incidences” would have been cut in half.

The Times has been handling racing in this way for some time. Columns and editorials about drugs in racing have continued mentioning the breakdown of Eight Belles long after it had been proved the filly was clean, and all the racing industry has done is wring its collective hands. In its reporting on medication issues, the Times regularly exaggerates and misstates drug issues, most recently equating total carbon dioxide overages with “doping horses.” Milkshaking, while banned, involves baking soda, water, and sugar. No drugs are involved.

We should not be fooled into believing the Times is out to help horse racing; it is out to help the Times by attracting readers with sensational stories and grim photos designed to attract national awards—all at the expense of racing. If the newspaper actually cares about the sport, why doesn’t it present balance in its coverage? Instead, to garner maximum attention year after year, it rolls out the negative story timed to coincide with the Triple Crown series.

Unfortunately, the Times has been wracked by its own scandals, numerous times involving false and made-up reporting. The unimpeachable reputation the Times once deservedly earned seems no longer to exist. We have no access to the Gray Lady’s inner sanctum, but what a shame it would be if the motivation behind this series is to simply inflame emotions over drugs and animals in the hope of garnering some journalist laurels. Judging by its record, self-reward rather than racetrack reform seems to be the motive.

The racing industry should immediately cease condoning these articles in the Times and attempting to use them as its stalking horse. If it does not, it may one day find that even when Thoroughbred racing succeeds in ridding itself of all drugs, there won’t be enough people left who care anymore; that irreparable damage has been done by the blizzard of bad publicity.


Should Kentucky Ban Race-day Lasix???

This week’s LET IT RIDE.COM HOT TOPIC comes from Jennie Rees of The Courier-Journal…take a read and VOICE AN OPINION!

Want to see a bloody corpse? Kentucky racing without race-day lasix

I don’t know a more polite way to say this but: IS THE LEADERSHIP OF THE KENTUCKY HORSE RACING COMMISSION THAT WANTS TO BAN RACE-DAY BLEEDER MEDICATION (in such a sneaky fashion that even some of its commissioners didn’t know it would be up for a vote at Monday’s meeting until late last week) BONKERS?

This is a game-changer for Kentucky racing, and not for the good. Rather, it would contribute in alarming fashion to the devastation of a circuit already on the ropes. You want to see a bloody corpse, that would be Kentucky racing if getting rid of the proven-effective anti-bleeder medication furosemide is banned on race day.

I don’t think I’m exaggerating.

Horses bleed, not just thoroughbreds. Lasix has been proven to prevent or reduce the incidence of bleeding. It is highly regulated. The bettors know who is on Lasix and who is not, because it is prominently noted in the program. It is a system that works when you’re talking about integrity and protecting the public.

Let me stress something else: Mere months ago, Mary Scollay, the commission’s equine medical director, repeatedly assured horsemen that no one was trying to ban Lasix in Kentucky – emphatically and categorically, and she couldn’t understand why trainers such as Hall of Famer Bill Mott and prominent veterinarian Ken Reed kept wanting to turn the dialogue back to potential efforts to ban race-day Lasix, when what she was only discussing was the so-called adjunct bleeder medications also permissible in Kentucky and some other states. Then this comes out of the blue about a flat-out ban on race-day Lasix, with absolutely no warning. And they wonder why horsemen don’t believe what they are told by commission administrators.

I’m guessing those wanting to ban the one medication* allowed on race day (certainly far fewer than, I would guess, any of the commissioners use in any 24-hour span, remembering that caffeine and a whole lot of other things we take daily are illegal in horse racing) are ones who attend Keeneland, with its huge crowds, and Derby and Oaks, where one certainly could believe everything is hunky-dory. (*Also the adjunct anti-bleeder medications in some states. But today virtually no jurisdiction allows anything else within 24 hours of race, and even some very innocuous therapeutic medications can’t be given with 48 hours or more. For those following the rules, it is incredibly drug free. If there are those not following the rules, guess what? – They don’t care! A ban would only be in their favor.)

I suspect those on the commission seeking to ramrod this through are not paying the bills on a 6-year-old horse running for $5,000 claiming on a Thursday at Turfway Park. The Thursdays that Turfway still runs, anyway. (I would say Wednesday, but those have been eliminated at every track in the state but for Keeneland’s six weeks of racing a year and Churchill’s short fall meet. I can’t even say for a Thursday at Ellis Park, since those have been gone for a couple of years.)

Or if they are paying those bills on a nickel claimer, they think they can’t win because everyone else is cheating – certainly not because they have a too-slow horse! – and if only Lasix is banned they would have a better chance.

These commissioners wanting to ban Lasix certainly haven’t been in Kentucky’s racing offices struggling to pull cards together, even with a significant reduction in days.

Surely, for goodness stakes, the motivation isn’t to get an atta-boy! from The New York Times.

The ultimate outcome of Kentucky becoming the first jurisdiction to repeal Lasix would not be universal trumpeting about how great and courageous the commonwealth’s racing regulators are. Instead, it would result in the further exodus of horses to other jurisdictions and heads shaking everywhere by those grounded in reality.

As trainer Dale Romans told me the day before he won the Blue Grass Stakes with Dullahan – and few people in the commonwealth in any position have as much at stake in the industry as he does, with his huge stable (including many he owns), training center and now a farm to house broodmares – trainers and owners don’t need anything more to give them the legitimate excuse to go race at Indiana, where the purses are fatter thanks to slots and the competition not as tough. Or Pennsylvania. West Virginia. And probably soon, Ohio. Think about it: Kentucky a loser to Indiana, Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Ohio racing.

What has kept Kentucky racing as good as it still is, despite its serious erosion and mega-problems, is loyalty of its owners and trainers who want to race here, whether it’s because they live here or admire the appreciation the public has for the sport. Get rid of Lasix, many will feel no one cares about them and their horses, so why should they care about Kentucky racing?

The racetracks also need to speak out if they find the potential for Kentucky to be standing alone with a Lasix ban to be alarming and risking their already shrinking horse population.

If getting rid of Lasix is such a noble cause, why hasn’t New York – home to many of the horses raced by the elite of the Jockey Club – shown any inclination to repeal its use? You think those horses are going to ship into Kentucky for stakes when they can find similar races elsewhere (and quite possibly for more money) and not risk subjecting their horse to a bleeding episode?

Just take Aruna, winner of last fall’s Grade I Spinster at Keeneland. She was a bleeder in France and sent to America so she could race on Lasix and prove herself on the track, which she did. I’ve used her as an example before, because her camp is open about what brought her to America. But does American racing (and Central Kentucky) really want to get rid of the Arunas of the racing world? She is from one of the greatest racing and breeding operations in the world.

For those owners and breeders (including apparently some on the KHRC) who say Kentucky should be the first in line to ban lasix, I say you don’t need a regulatory change to not run your horses on anti-bleeder medication. Set the example and don’t run your horses on such medication and prove you can be successful without it and that it is just the needless and dangerous crutch you contend it is. Take out ads that your stallion/broodmare never raced on Lasix, if that is the case.

The fact is that horses only have so many starts in them. In many instances, each race has financial impact for those involved with the horse. Why do something that hurts its chances to compete at its best? Especially in the current climate?

It makes no sense, and it has dangerous consequences.


An Opinion Changed: Lasix Benefits Outweigh Downside?

This week’s LET IT RIDE.COM HOT TOPIC comes from Dick Powell of Brisnet…take a read and VOICE AN OPINION!

Handicapping Insight

I have the pleasure and luxury of attending just about every horse racing conference held in the United States. Clients of my consulting business send me to every HBPA event, RCI, International Simulcast Conference, University of Arizona Symposium on Racing, Albany Law School Racing Conference and New York Gaming Summit. I attend all the sessions even though some of them do not directly affect what I do.

One topic that many of these conferences have covered is race day medication. I have sat through numerous panels discussing medication issues and have learned a lot.

For years, I was against Lasix being allowed on the day of the race. Back in 1994, I was still a consultant for the New York Racing Association (NYRA) reporting directly to the president. When Gerry McKeon retired and was replaced by Kenny Noe, my days were numbered. Being an adviser to Kenny Noe was like being a deckhand on a submarine. I’m not saying Kenny didn’t listen to his staff but his idea of a suggestion box was a paper shredder.

So one night at dinner the subject of Lasix came up and Kenny was adamant about changing NYRA’s stance against its use on race days. His point was how can the rest of the country be wrong and NYRA be right? We discussed the pros and cons of legalizing it and I came down on the side of keeping the policy of banning it. Big mistake; at least, for me.

But as time has gone by and I have not only had the luxury of attending conference sessions on the topic but having numerous discussions with many horsemen and veterinarians, my stance has changed.

Exercised induced pulmonary hemorrhaging (EIPH) is what happens when capillaries burst in a horse’s pulmonary system. At best, the blood from the hemorrhaging is insignificant and has no effect on the horse’s performance. At worst, it can result in sudden death to the horse and not every horse that dies from it has visible evidence of the bleeding coming out of its nostrils. In between, the severity varies. Nearly all horses racing suffer from it in some form.

Just about all horses performing in any form suffer from EIPH. Quarter Horses, Standardbreds, barrel racers, etc. suffer from it in addition to Thoroughbreds. What makes Thoroughbred racing different is how it is anaerobic in nature, meaning the horse goes into oxygen debt for lengthy periods at the end of the race. Anyone that has ever run a 400-meter race on track knows the feeling. Running hard for long periods of time results in lactic acid being secreted and muscles tying up. We used to call it rigor mortis.

Not only is the Thoroughbred asked to go into major oxygen debt but often times has to do it in bad air quality. Throw in heat and humidity and you have all the ingredients of asking horses to do things that border on being inhumane.

Lasix can relieve the symptoms of EIPH in most horses. Considering the positive therapeutic effects, it’s hard to understand that it has become the source of controversy that it is.

I used to think that giving two-year-olds Lasix was a big mistake and that all two-year-old racing should be devoid of it to see who the best horses are. However, I learned that the earlier you treat horses with Lasix, the less permanent damage is done to their lungs.

Lasix, because of its effect of being a diuretic, used to be used as a “masking agent” for other drugs. But, what everyone seems to agree upon is that today’s sophisticated drug tests are good enough to detect the banned medications whether Lasix is being used or not.

The rest of the world bans Lasix so why don’t we? All of the United States, Canada, most of south America and Saudi Arabia allow race-day Lasix. While that is still a minority, the fact is that the entire racing world with the exception of Hong Kong and Singapore allow horses to train on it.

In conversations with many people that have international experience, there is a feeling that the drug testing that other jurisdictions brag about are not up to our standards. They test urine, not plasma, and they have high thresholds that trigger a positive. Adjunct medications are allowed and one trainer told me he would love to take samples of international horses and run them through our testing procedures to see who is really “clean.”

We all bemoan the drop in average starts per season in America. Many blame it on our addictions to race-day medications. Yet, the data shows that the entire racing world has seen the average number of starts per starter each year has dropped.

Twenty years ago, the United States was third in annual starts per starter. Japan was number one and Italy was number two. Now, Japan is still number one, even though their average starts per starter each year has dropped, South Africa is number two and the United States is still number three. How can that be? That’s not what we hear from the Lasix opponents but the statistics are from the International Federation of Horseracing Authorities (IFHA).

Steroids were banned from most jurisdictions a few years ago. While that may have been the right thing to do, we haven’t seen a jump in starters since it went into effect. Will we see a jump in starts per starter if we ban Lasix? I sincerely doubt it as you are removing a therapeutic medication that keeps horses racing.

As a bettor, we have all had to adjust to the presence of Lasix. First time Lasix can be a powerful indication of expected improvement. Sometimes second time Lasix is a big move since we don’t really know how big the dosage was the first time. For me as a bettor, I don’t want it to be a factor at all. But rather than ban it, I think we should mandate it.

Nearly all Thoroughbred race horses bleed. If you think we can breed our way out of this by separating the horses that bleed from those that don’t and breed a new racehorse that doesn’t bleed and doesn’t need Lasix, you would have to ban it in training as well which nobody wants to do.

And, how do you explain banning it to the animal rights activists that view our sport as being cruel and inhumane? We went nuts after Eight Belles broke down in the 2008 Kentucky Derby (G1). Task forces were formed and racetracks and their maintenance procedures were examined in order to show the general public that we were doing everything we could to protect the horses that are racing.

If we mandated that all horses that are racing be treated with the same dose of Lasix, we take it out of the handicapping equation. We show the general public that we continue to diligently look out for the welfare of the horses that are racing. And we do the right thing by the horse by reducing the severity of EIPH.


Is American Racing Ready To Let Go Of Lasix???

This week’s LET IT RIDE.COM HOT TOPIC comes from Jeff Scott of The Saratogian…take a read and VOICE AN OPINION!

The Debate on Lasix Continues

Among the reasons why virtually all racing jurisdictions outside North America ban race-day use of Lasix is because they want to be able to identify heavy bleeders — especially horses that bleed profusely enough to have blood show up in the nostrils (epistaxis) — and, as much as is possible, keep them out of the breeding population. The reason they want to keep these horses out of the breeding population is the concern that epistaxis is an inheritable condition that can become more widespread over time.

This topic came up in comments by South Africa-based veterinarian John McVeigh at the two-day “International Summit on Race Day Medication, EIPH and the Racehorse” held last week at Belmont Park.

In his remarks, McVeigh referred to an extensive South African study — “A genetic analysis of epistaxis as associated with EIPH in the Southern African Thoroughbred” by H. Weideman, S. J. Schoeman and G. F. Jordaan — that involved over 60,000 horses who competed in that country over a 16-year span.

This 2004 study concluded that epistaxis “has a strong genetic basis,” one that is “strong enough to be considered in breeding strategies.” The study recommended the creation of “an international database for epistaxis” and that “furosemide [Lasix] be banned internationally from racing, or failing that, breeders should refrain from buying potential sires that have raced on this drug.”

Here in North America, Lasix is nearly as much standard equipment for a Thoroughbred racehorse as is a saddle and jockey. The extent of the drug’s use (and its growth in popularity) is illustrated in recent statistics from Saratoga Race Course.

Last year, 97 percent of all horses who started at Saratoga were treated with Lasix, compared to 92 percent in 2005. During the same period, the percentage of 2-year-old starters on Lasix at the Spa increased from 78 to 93. The latter figure included 91 percent of first-time starters.

It is impossible to know how many of these horses would have bled profusely enough to interfere with performance had they not been given Lasix; how many were given Lasix just in case they did bleed; and how many were given the drug because their connections didn’t want to miss out on any additional boost it might provide on the track.

Since everyone on both sides of the Lasix debate agrees that excessive bleeding is a bad thing, and since there is evidence that the condition is inheritable, knowing which horses were heavy bleeders during their racing careers — or would have been had they not been treated with Lasix — would seem to be information that would be of considerable interest to breeders. Or so one would think.

It would also be interesting to hear Hall of Fame trainer Richard Mandella expand upon a remark he reportedly made at last week’s conference at Belmont, and which appeared in a story by Eric Mitchell at

“I believe I’ve had horses out of certain families and by certain sires, that I won’t name, that definitely tended to bleed more than others,” Mitchell quoted Mandella as saying.

In her Brooklyn Backstretch blog, Teresa Genaro — who reported extensively on the conference — wrote, “Mandella and [trainer Graham] Motion both said that bleeding seems to be a family trait and that the offspring of bleeders tend to bleed.”

What has been needed for a long time is a comprehensive study dealing with questions related to Lasix use and its long-term consequences for the breed. The problem is, given the degree to which Lasix has become woven into the fabric of American racing, it is unclear how many people would want to know the answers.