Belmont Race Down to Two Horses After Lasix Mix-Up; Veterinarian Dismissed


The third race at Belmont Park Friday was left with just two horses entered to run after Lasix was not administered to four horses who were supposed to receive it. The veterinarian charged with administering the Lasix, Dr. Steven Lascher, “is no longer employed by NYRA,” the company said.

The race, a $100,000 allowance optional claimer at one mile had drawn six entries, but was left with just two: Pharoah's Heart (American Pharoah) and Honey Money (Central Banker) after the omission came to light.

“Four horses entered to run in today's R3 at Belmont Park @TheNYRA were not administered Lasix within the permitted timeframe,” Tweeted NYRA's Director of Communications, Patrick McKenna. “As a result, Impazible Donna (#1), Dancing Sophia (#2), Ok Honey (#5) and Movie Moxy (#6) have been scratched by the stewards.”

Reached by email, McKenna outlined the relevant rule requiring the stewards to scratch the horses.

The rule is Gaming Commission rule, 4043.2 Section 7, which reads. “Ineligibility to start. Any horse that is eligible for the administration of furosemide must be present on the grounds of the racing association or corporation no less than four hours prior to scheduled post time of the race in which the horse is scheduled to compete. A horse that is not present at least four hours prior to post time or that has not received the administration of furosemide pursuant to this subdivision shall be ineligible to start.”

“Per the stewards, purse money only is not an option in this instance,” McKenna added. “NYRA is responsible for the administration of Lasix at Belmont Park, not the New York State Gaming Commission. NYRA will review the relevant internal protocols and update as necessary.”

“What I was told was that the vet did not administer Lasix to four of the six participants, which caused them to be scratched,” said Linda Rice, who was scheduled to send out Movie Moxie (Street Sense) in the race. “Obviously no one is happy.”

Rice said that the Lasix should have been administered between 9:30 and 10 a.m., and that four hours before post time, scheduled for 2:16 p.m., those horses who had not been treated were scratched.

Trainer Rob Atras sent out Honey Money, who did receive Lasix Friday morning.

“I'm not there today, but what I was told is that the vet missed (giving them) the Lasix,” said Atras. “I don't know how he got two, but missed the other four,” he said, adding that Michelle Nevin's starter, Pharoah's Heart, is in a barn close to his, and also received the medication.

A spokesman for the New York State Gaming Commission said that the commission had no official comment for publication.

Friday's was the second incident in under a year when four horses had to be scratched after not receiving Lasix in a timely manner–both involving Lascher. In 2022, he was fined $4,000 by the Gaming Commission after “failing to follow proper Lasix procedures necessitating the late scratches of horses racing.”

Friday's third race was won by Pharoah's Heart, who went off the 1-2 favorite.

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