NYRA Stakes to be Run Without Lasix in 2021

AqueductChelsea Durand

In accordance with its commitment to eliminate race day medication, the New York Racing Association will prohibit the use of Furosemide–more commonly known as Lasix–within 48 hours of all stakes races conducted at NYRA tracks beginning Jan. 1, 2021.

In April of 2019, NYRA led the formation of a coalition of leading racing organizations founded to address race day medication in a uniform and consistent way throughout the sport. The initiative commenced Jan. 1, 2020, with NYRA prohibiting Lasix in all 2-year-old races at the three NYRA tracks. Beginning Jan. 1, 2021, the same prohibition will extend to all horses participating in any NYRA stakes, including New York-bred and New York Stallion Stakes Series races.

“NYRA is pleased to honor the commitment we made to our coalition partners by greatly expanding the ban on race day medication to all stakes races in 2021,” said Martin Panza, NYRA SVP of Racing Operations. “We look forward to working with racetracks around the country who share our desire to achieve uniform and consistent rules that advance safety and integrity. As evidenced by the passage of The Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act, there is significant appetite for positive change that will benefit the sport.”

NYRA conducted a total of 127 stakes races in 2020, with the exception of New York-bred and NYSSS races, accounting for 25% of all stakes run in the United States. NYRA hosted 33 Grade I stakes in 2020, or 35% of all Grade I races run in the United States. Due to the myriad impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and the reorganization of the stakes calendar, 36 stakes races scheduled for 2020 were not run, with 17 of them graded.

NYRA's 2021 stakes program kicks off on New Year's Day at Aqueduct with the $150,000 Jerome, a one-turn mile for newly minted sophomores offering 10-4-2-1 GI Kentucky Derby qualifying points to the top-four finishers.

The New York State Gaming Commission rules prohibit the use of Lasix 48 hours before the scheduled post time of the race in which the horse is to compete–unless a waiver is obtained for the horse to race with the medication. This rule remains in effect and no waivers will be granted for 2-year-olds or horses entered in stakes.

Current NYSGC rules will allow for horses previously entered in stakes who are dropping down to non-stakes competition to apply for a waiver seeking permission from the NYSGC to utilize Lasix after documenting EIPH.

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