CHRB Moves Forward on Third-Party Lasix: The Blood-Horse 9/16/15

By Jeremy Balan

Nearly a month after the California Horse Racing Board hit the brakes on third-party administration of furosemide in the state, the governing body spent just more than a minute to move the process along at a meeting Sept. 16 at Los Alamitos Race Course.

The CHRB approved a motion to send the current proposal out to a 45-day comment period, after it is evaluated by the state’s Office of Administrative Law.

The previous month’s discussion on third party furosemide, commonly known as Salix or Lasix, went 91 minutes and saw the board send the proposal back to its Medication and Track Safety Committee after opposition arose from veterinarians in attendance and the California Thoroughbred Trainers.

The difference in the current proposal, in comparison to the plan put in front of the CHRB in August, is more specific language regarding the hiring of the third-party veterinarian. Under the current proposal, the veterinarian or veterinary technician “who provides race-day furosemide administration shall be employed by the racing association and shall not have a current business relationship or prior veterinarian-client-patient relationship with participating licensees within 30 days of the date he or she is employed to administer furosemide.”

Official approval of third-party Lasix administration in the state likely won’t occur until later this year or early in 2016 because of required steps in the administrative process.

On a related topic, The Stronach Group representative Scott Daruty detailed a plan to install about 600 security cameras in the Santa Anita Park barn area, a measure the CTT has said is essential to work in tandem with third-party Lasix administration.

Daruty said the security cameras will be wired into the barn area and in high definition, but will be recorded on a “motion-sensing” basis. If there is no motion sensed by any individual camera, the recording will not be stored. There will also be six cameras added to the gap between the barn area and the track to monitor training during the mornings.

“We will ultimately install approximately 600 cameras throughout the backside,” said Daruty, who also indicated similar plans for Stronach-owned Golden Gate Fields in the future. “Those cameras will be positioned in all shedrows in such a manner (to) clearly show, in high definition, any person who enters or exits any stall on the backside. They will also cover many additional areas of the backside that would be of interest from a regulatory or safety standpoint.”

CTT executive director Alan Balch welcomed the plan for security cameras, but also expressed a desire for the CTT to be involved in future discussions on the topic.

“It would have been great if we would have been involved in some of these meetings that have been held,” Balch said. “We’ve been asking to be, but we haven’t been so far. The racing law does say matters related to the backstretch are under the province of the trainers’ organization, so I think we should be going forward, and we’ll look forward to that.”

Balch also expressed an interest in allowing trainers to monitor horses in specific stalls with video.

“I was at Keeneland on Friday and saw their camera installation, which (allows), particularly for the Breeders’ Cup, for trainers to view their horses in the stall,” Balch said. “That is what we, of course, are particularly interested in.”