New Lasix rules allow 2-year-olds medication


FORT WASHINGTON -- The Maryland Racing Commission yesterday voted to adopt new guidelines for the anti-bleeder medication Lasix for thoroughbreds.

The rules increase the framework under which Lasix is policed, but horsemen will not be affected significantly by the changes.

The commission, in its monthly meeting at Rosecroft Raceway, approved the following Lasix rules:

* Two-year-olds can receive Lasix, for which they previously had not been approved.

* A "strictly enforced" limitation of treatment is to take place no sooner than three hours before a race. Previously, stewards had occasionally allowed half-hour leeway in the three-hour rule for special circumstances, such as a late-arriving van.

* As previously permitted, administration of the medication can be done intravenously, intramuscularly, or both.

* A 2-cubic-centimeter minimum dosage and 15 cc. maximum dosage -- with a variation not to exceed 5 cc. between races -- is to be implemented. There were no prior dosage restrictions.

* The schedule for which bleeders are not allowed to race was slightly revised.

The impetus to the changes was a meeting last year of officials in Maryland and surrounding states with racing; uniformity in Lasix rules was a primary goal. But following considerable debate among industry leaders in Maryland during the last few months, yesterday's vote resulted in few substantive changes.

In other commission business:

* After a four-hour review, a stewards' decision that ordered owner Andrew Lemeshewsky to accept a horse after a voided claim was upheld by the commission. Both Lemeshewsky and Blazing Stables, Inc., submitted claims for Paparatius for $8,500 from a race Feb. 2. Blazing Stables initially was awarded the filly, but the stewards disallowed the claim several hours later on a technicality.

* Marty Jacobs, vice president at Pimlico and Laurel race courses, briefly outlined plans for commingling of wagering pools on Laurel/Pimlico races with wagering pools from other states on those same races. A bill that proposes commingled pools will be considered by the House Ways and Means Committee in Annapolis today.

Another legislative matter concerning racing is scheduled for today in Annapolis. The Senate Finance Committee will hear testimony on the twilight racing issue for thoroughbreds. Laurel officials will ask for a late-afternoon post for Tuesday programs at the Laurel meeting in July.

On Monday, the Cloverleaf Standardbred Owners Association board of directors voted unanimously to not oppose Laurel's request as a gesture of compromise with the thoroughbred industry.

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