New Year's Day (right) winning the Breeders' Cup Juvenile last monthPICTURE: Jeff Gross/Getty Images
Cup chief surprised by findings on juveniles
USA: Breeders' Cup president Craig Fravel has expressed surprise after a study found more two-year-olds running on Lasix at last month’s two-day Santa Anita meeting had bled than those who had not received the medication.
The research, conducted by the Hagyard Equine Medical Institute, looks sure to be seized on by critics of the decision to reverse the ban on Lasix in the juvenile races next year.
While two-year-old starters in the Breeders’ Cup were not administered the anti-bleeding medication furosemide – better known by its former trade name Lasix – the restriction did not apply to non-Breeders’ Cup events for juveniles, although owners and trainers who voluntarily participated in the study were assured their identities, and those of their horses, would remain confidential.
The study concluded there was no evidence exercise-induced pulmonary haemorrhage (EIPH) was more severe in juveniles not treated with furosemide, and noted that treated horses had a higher frequency and severity of EIPH on a “statistically significant basis”.
Findings revealed bleeding among 71 per cent of 14 furosemide-treated youngsters tested, compared to 37 per cent of 41 non-treated horses also subject to endoscopic examinations.
Fravel said: “Beyond the stated conclusions which, given prevailing sentiment are both striking and surprising, this observational study reinforces our commitment to investing in research focused on EIPH.
“We urge the racing industry to reflect thoughtfully on the results and to support further scientific inquiry into this.”