The Maryland Equine Safety, Health and Welfare Advisory Committee, which falls under the Maryland Racing Commission, has approved a plan for post-race video endoscopies of all starters in 2-year-old races in the state through the end of the year. Details of the survey study designed to determine the extent of exercise-induced pulmonary hemorrhaging were released Tuesday morning by the Maryland Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association and follows Sunday's announcement of an agreement to card Lasix-free 2-year-old races in the state through Dec. 31.
Private veterinarians who practice at Laurel will conduct the video endoscopies and complete information forms for each horse that will include the horse's name, its EIPH score, any related comments, and whether the horse trains on Lasix. Additional useful data from each race and race day will be added to the information forms, which will be transferred to an online database.
The MRC will maintain all records from the survey study, and only a horse's owner and trainer will be given the results of a scope to maintain anonymity. Horses will be scored using a range from 0 to 3–none, mild, moderate or severe bleeding–for the purpose of simplification.
Dr. John Sivick, a Laurel-based veterinarian who is a member of the Equine Safety, Health and Welfare Advisory Committee, said endoscopies are usually performed 30 minutes to 90 minutes after a race, but the goal will be a window of 40 minutes to 70 minutes post-race to keep the scores as consistent as possible.
The survey study is part of a broader agreement between the MTHA and The Stronach Group for a Lasix-free pilot program that runs through 2023 for 2-year-old races and graded stakes only. Graded stakes in 2020 are not part of the pilot program.
The first 2-year-old race of the year in the state was drawn Tuesday and will run on Friday's program. The five-furlong event drew a field of 10 colts and geldings and will be contested as the sixth race on the program with a purse of $40,000.