LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) — Trainers complain a new rule that allows only state veterinarians to administer the anti-bleeder medication known as Lasix to horses on race day isn't working.
The Lexington Herald-Leader reports (http://bit.ly/WlT4NA) that since the rule took effect on Oct. 5, four mistakes have been made.
The most recent errors occurred last week at Churchill Downs when Booby Prize had to be scratched after receiving Lasix shots from two state vets. Then Outofsiteoutofmind was scratched when one of the same state vets gave him two Lasix shots, the second one too close to race time.
"It was basically, 'Too bad, we're sorry' is what they're telling me," said Outofsiteoutofmind trainer Phil Sims. "I'm kind of disappointed in how they're handling this. I had a stable employee try and stop (the vet) from giving the second Lasix shot, and she gave it anyway. When the private vets were giving the Lasix, this kind of stuff didn't happen, or it happened very rarely."
Two other errors happened at Keeneland, one on the first day of the new regulation when Exothermic was given a Lasix shot when he was not supposed to receive one on the meet's opening day. Then at an Oct. 24 race, Infrattini was not given a Lasix shot but won anyway.
Kentucky Equine Medical Director Mary Scollay is asking for patience as the new system is implemented.
"We certainly understand the horsemen are angry, and that is not at all how we anticipated things working," Scollay said. "Obviously, the occurrences of error have been unacceptable. There really is no acceptable occurrence of error."
She also said new protocols are being put in place to prevent future errors.
Lasix treatments now are being reported to the test barn coordinator before they happen, so there is a chance to intervene before a mistake is made. Also, colored tags are now placed on the stalls of horses that have been treated. That's similar to how things are done in New York, another place where state veterinarians administer Lasix.
Kentucky-based trainer Buff Bradley, who conditions Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Sprint winner Groupie Doll, said he is still not comfortable with the rule.
"Every time it's happened, it's getting a little more severe and a little scarier," he said.
Information from: Lexington Herald-Leader, http://www.kentucky.com