Louisiana: State can partially opt out of Lasix ban

Louisiana: State can partially opt out of Lasix ban
Photo: Alexander Barkoff/Eclipse Sportswire
The Louisiana State Racing Commission briefly discussed a possible opt-out from the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Authority’s ban on the anti-bleeder medication Lasix during its Tuesday meeting. The discussion did not lead to any final action, and any opt-out would only apply to claiming races.

Members of the commission said the proposed HISA rules contained a mechanism for tracks to opt out of the Lasix restriction for those races.

“It was brought to our attention that HISA does have an opt-out from the Lasix rule for all horses running in claiming races,” Louis Reine, LSRC’s first chairman said during the meeting. “Not stakes horses, no allowances horse, no 2-year-olds.”

The rules proposal currently on the HISA website does not specify an exemption for states looking to opt out of the Lasix rule. However, Lasix is listed as an exception to the race-day prohibited substances “in accordance with specific provisions of the Act and/or any guidance or exceptions approved by the Authority.”

Reine also said the board would have to vote unanimously on any opt-out. According to Louisiana Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association executive director Ed Fenasci, the commission will seek more information as to what races may be eligible for exemption from Lasix rules.

“I asked (LSRC executive director Charles Gardiner) to inquire about any state-bred programs and see if there’s any room for them to opt out,” Fenasci said.

The discussion was informational only and did not lead to any action by the board.

The brief discussion of Lasix was not the only time HISA was brought up during the nearly five hour meeting on Tuesday. Rules committee chair Tom Calvert also mentioned the authority during his update time.

“We reviewed the constitutional challenges to HISA and no one knows how a judge is going to rule, but they do not seem to be frivolous challenges to the statute,” Calvert said.

HISA currently faces a lawsuit from the National HBPA, which claims the bill that created the authority, which passed in 2020, gives legislative authority to a private organization and private individuals and is unconstitutional. The Louisiana HBPA joined in that suit.

Calvert also noted HISA’s recent struggle to find a new drug enforcement agency after the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency could not come to an agreement with the Authority.

“That seems to be a problem for them, for HISA coming to play in July,” Calvert said. “We don’t know how it’s going to work out and whether or not they’re going to contract with another independent lab.”

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