Maryland To Card First Races for 2-year-olds In 2020, Lasix-free Study To Begin

August 5, 2020

Lasix free experiment to commence in Maryland

LAUREL, Md. — A survey study of all 2-year-olds that race in Maryland this year to determine the extent of exercise-induced pulmonary hemorrhage is set to begin Friday, Aug. 7, at Laurel Park.

The Maryland Equine Safety, Health and Welfare Advisory Committee, which falls under the Maryland Racing Commission, on July 31 approved the plan for post-race video endoscopies of all starters in all 2-year-old races. The first 2-year-old races of the year in the state have been carded as extras for the Friday, Aug. 7 program.

Under an emergency regulation approved Aug. 2, all 2-year-old races through Dec. 31 will be run Lasix-free with a 48-hour cut-off of the therapeutic medication. The survey study is part of a broader agreement between the Maryland Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association and The Stronach Group for the Lasix-free pilot program that runs through 2023 for 2-year-old races and graded stakes only, including the G1 Preakness. Graded stakes in 2020 are not part of the pilot program.

Private veterinarians who practice at Laurel will conduct the video endoscopies and complete information forms for each horse that will include the horse’s name, its EIPH score, any related comments, and whether the horse trains on Lasix. Additional useful data from each race and race day will be added to the information forms, which will be transferred to an online database.

The MRC will maintain all records from the survey study, and only a horse’s owner and trainer will be given the results of a scope to maintain anonymity. Horses will be scored using a range from 0 to 3—none, mild, moderate or severe bleeding—for the purpose of simplification.

Dr. John Sivick, a Laurel-based veterinarian who is a member of the Equine Safety, Health and Welfare Advisory Committee, said endoscopies are usually performed 30 minutes to 90 minutes after a race, but the goal will be a window of 40 minutes to 70 minutes post-race to keep the scores as consistent as possible.

All horsemen who enter 2-year-olds in Maryland for the rest of this year can expect the horses to be scoped. The Maryland Jockey Club Racing office will notify horsemen when entries are made and also the morning of the race. Grooms must wait with a horse until it is scoped.

Owners and trainers do not have to pay for the video endoscopies however, they will be entitled to the results.

No 2-year-old races have been run in Maryland so far this year. There are no such races in the current Laurel condition book, which runs through Aug. 22, so the races will be listed as extras on overnights. Maryland Jockey Club President Sal Sinatra said that there will be two late breaking extras for Friday, August 7th: X7 Lasix-free 2-year-old MSW five furlongs; X8 Lasix-free Filly 2-year-old MSW five furlongs.

The MRC on July 16 approved—subject to adoption of an emergency rule—an agreement between the Maryland Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association and The Stronach Group/Maryland Jockey Club for a Lasix-free pilot program through 2023. The pilot program was subject to the approval by the AELR Committee of the revised Lasix regulation, which states that no 2-year-old can be administered Lasix within 48 hours of a race; the remainder of the regulation will not be changed.

Maryland Jockey Club Press Release

Photo credit: Maryland Jockey Club

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