As those of you with a decent knowledge of this industry well know, Lasix is a controversial issue. There are those, the so-called reformers, who hold that the drug is but a performance-enhancer: A diuretic, Lasix helps shed water weight (lighter=faster) and, as a flush, may also aid in concealing the illegal stuff. The other side argues that Lasix is humane: Rapidly-moving racehorses, they say, naturally bleed from their lungs – “exercise-induced pulmonary hemorrhage,” it’s called.
Count $115-million trainer Dale Romans among those who have defended the drug: “Racing causes [EIPH] in 100% of horses. [O]ne of the worst abuses that can be done to the racing horse is to ban Lasix.” Colleague Rick Violette: “Horses bleed. That is a fact. To force an animal to race without [Lasix] is premeditated, borderline animal abuse.” Finally, and most damning, trainer Mike Rogers: “This BS that horses don’t bleed is insane. They actually bleed so much, they’re drowning.”
That raceday Lasix is primarily used to make horses faster is a pretty good bet. But what if the Romans/Violette/Rogers crowd is also correct – that pulmonary bleeding is inherent in a racing-horse? Translated, this would mean that the “sport’s” fundamental physical action universally causes some level of pain or suffering; the abuse the above are so compassionately attempting to save their horses from is already there – from the start.
With all that as backdrop, this from the 6th at Mahoning yesterday: “Cowtown Cowboy chased the pace into the turn, stopped and returned bleeding bilaterally” – from both nostrils, that is. And yes, he was on Lasix. The 8-year-old Cowtown, by the way, had just recently resurfaced after a 27-month absence from racing.