The major problems of racing in the United States at the present time are caused by too much racing. This has led to too few horses and small fields. Consequently many owners and trainers are trying to enter their horses too frequently and to race them when they are not really fit to run. The desire to race horses as frequently as possible has led to constant pressure from horsemen through their organizations for so called "permissive medication". Started in the state of Colorado approximately ten years ago this has grown until finally there are only a few states, notably New York and New Jersey that have resisted the pressure. The drug that gave the opening wedge to permissive medication was phenylbutazone, but this in many states has led to the inclusion of other drugs including analgesics and drugs that veterinarians claim are needed for therapeutic purposes. Some states have endeavoured to control phenylbutazone medication by quantitation and while lower limits cause little difficulty, maximum allowable limits have caused problems and are not practical. While there has been no publicity to my knowledge about frusemide (furosemide, lasix) the abuse of this drug for so called "bleeders" is an example that may seriously interfere with drug detection in urine and its use should be confined to proven "bleeders" (i.e. horses suffering from epistaxis). Pre-race blood testing began roughly ten years ago at the harness tracks and has been resisted by our flat tracks rather successfully up to the present time. The blood testing methods and those used by the same laboratories in post-race urine testing is inadequate and will not detect many illegal drugs.
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