NYRA announces ban on Lasix in all stakes effective Jan. 1, 2021

Posted: Dec. 26, 2020

The New York Racing Association has announced that, in accordance with its commitment to eliminate race-day medication, the use of furosemide, commonly called Lasix, will be prohibited within 48 hours of all stakes conducted at NYRA tracks beginning Jan. 1, 2021.

In April 2019, NYRA led the formation of a coalition of leading racing organizations founded to address race-day medication in a uniform and consistent way throughout the sport. The initiative commenced Jan. 1, 2020, when NYRA prohibited Lasix in all 2-year-old races at the three NYRA tracks: Aqueduct Racetrack, Belmont Park and Saratoga Race Course. Beginning Jan. 1, 2021, the same prohibition will extend to all horses participating in any NYRA stakes, including New York-bred and New York Stallion Stakes Series races.

“NYRA is pleased to honor the commitment we made to our coalition partners by greatly expanding the ban on race-day medication to all stakes races in 2021,” said Martin Panza, NYRA Senior Vice President of Racing Operations. “We look forward to working with racetracks around the country who share our desire to achieve uniform and consistent rules that advance safety and integrity.”

NYRA conducted 127 stakes in 2020, with the exception of New York-bred and NYSSS races, accounting for 25% of all stakes run in the United States. Ninety-five of those stakes were of the graded variety, representing 25% of all graded stakes run in the U.S. NYRA hosted 33 Grade I stakes in 2020, or 35% of all Grade I races run in the U,S. Due to the myriad impacts of COVID-19 and the reorganization of the stakes calendar, 36 stakes scheduled for 2020 were not run, with 17 of them graded.

NYRA’s 2021 stakes program kicks off New Year’s Day at Aqueduct with the $150,000 Jerome, a one-turn mile for 3-year-olds offering 10-4-2-1 Kentucky Derby qualifying points to the top-four finishers.

New York State Gaming Commission rules prohibit the use of Lasix, which is used to treat exercise-induced pulmonary hemorrhage in racehorses, 48 hours before the scheduled post time of the race in which the horse is to compete—unless a waiver is obtained for the horse to race with the medication. This rule remains in effect and no waivers will be granted for 2-year-olds or horses entered in stakes.

Current NYSGC rules will allow for horses previously entered in stakes who are dropping down to non-stakes competition to apply for a waiver seeking permission from the NYSGC to utilize Lasix after documenting EIPH.

The 2020-21 winter meet at Aqueduct resumes Dec. 31.