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Old 12-22-2020, 03:10 PM   #1
Thomas Roulston
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What Options Do Lasix-Dependent Horses Have?

I'm talking about high-end Lasix-dependent horses; specifically, horses that have used up all of their allowance conditions.

The reason I'm asking this is because I was just on the NYRA's web site, and saw their first 2021 condition book - and even ungraded stakes are barred to Lasix users.

I was hoping that they would at least have the decency to card "money condition" allowance races or overnight handicaps for the Lasix-dependent horses - yet there is not a single such race in the condition book.

So what do these martinets expect trainers to do - run horses that are worth half a million dollars or even more in $62,500 optional claimers?

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Old 12-22-2020, 03:18 PM   #2
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I don't know. What happens to human athletes who can't compete without performance enhancing drugs? I guess they lose.

The good news is their opponents won't get to dope either.
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Old 12-22-2020, 03:41 PM   #3
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Old 12-22-2020, 03:45 PM   #4
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I'd be curious how many horses really are Lasix dependent. We have no idea currently. Horses are forced to use it because if they don't they are at a competitive disadvantage. That is how we got where we are in the now!

I would think some reasonably smart people could come up with a plan where horses that really need Lasix get penalized, and the only real way to do that is by adding weight. Jerry Brown of Thorograph is the first I saw suggest this. But we've already seen it tried in the Pegasus and it didn't do much.

In the first running, one horse took the five pound weight break and that was a shipper from I believe South America that was never a factor and finished last. In the second and third years, it was upped to seven pounds with no takers. I don't know where you would start, but it clearly has to be much more than seven.

Trainers for the most part are not dumb. They know seven pounds is not enough to make up for losing Lasix. Maybe I'd start at 12 pounds and go from there. It would probably take some trial and error. Maybe 12 is the number, maybe it would turn out seven was good, but we won't know unless we try. What we don't want to do is lose a bunch of horses that can't race without Lasix because we have a horse shortage as it is.
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Old 12-22-2020, 03:53 PM   #5
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Tom you know as well as I do that the NYRA was last racing association in the U.S. to permit LASIX in the first place.

Guess what, as far as Iím concerned Pre-Lasix racing was FAR superior in so many respects to what we have today.

But donít take my word for it.
Take a look at the last 2 paragraphs from trainer, Gasper Moschera commentary:
https://nypost.com/2003/01/02/traine...ng-to-florida/
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Old 12-22-2020, 03:57 PM   #6
Thomas Roulston
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Originally Posted by cj View Post
I'd be curious how many horses really are Lasix dependent. We have no idea currently. Horses are forced to use it because if they don't they are at a competitive disadvantage. That is how we got where we are in the now!

I would think some reasonably smart people could come up with a plan where horses that really need Lasix get penalized, and the only real way to do that is by adding weight. Jerry Brown of Thorograph is the first I saw suggest this. But we've already seen it tried in the Pegasus and it didn't do much.

In the first running, one horse took the five pound weight break and that was a shipper from I believe South America that was never a factor and finished last. In the second and third years, it was upped to seven pounds with no takers. I don't know where you would start, but it clearly has to be much more than seven.

Trainers for the most part are not dumb. They know seven pounds is not enough to make up for losing Lasix. Maybe I'd start at 12 pounds and go from there. It would probably take some trial and error. Maybe 12 is the number, maybe it would turn out seven was good, but we won't know unless we try. What we don't want to do is lose a bunch of horses that can't race without Lasix because we have a horse shortage as it is.

How about splitting the difference and making it 10 pounds?

But the thing is that the new Lasix regulations don't affect claiming horses, who will continue to be able to use it. Only stakes and allowance horses are impacted - and what's wrong with running money-condition and open allowance races on a regular basis? Such races were run on such a basis when I became old enough to go to the track in the late '70s - so that trainers of Lasix-dependent horses are not forced to simply give them away. Isn't that more than enough of a penalty for using Lasix - having to run them in races with $90,000 purses in New York instead of $250,000 or even $500,000 purses in stakes races?
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Old 12-22-2020, 04:04 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Thomas Roulston View Post
How about splitting the difference and making it 10 pounds?

But the thing is that the new Lasix regulations don't affect claiming horses, who will continue to be able to use it. Only stakes and allowance horses are impacted - and what's wrong with running money-condition and open allowance races on a regular basis? Such races were run on such a basis when I became old enough to go to the track in the late '70s - so that trainers of Lasix-dependent horses are not forced to simply give them away. Isn't that more than enough of a penalty for using Lasix - having to run them in races with $90,000 purses in New York instead of $250,000 or even $500,000 purses in stakes races?
Those races don't get written because they don't fill. Hard to imagine there would be enough horses to make them fill now. That is something for the racing secretary to figure out.

As I said, who knows on the best number. Maybe it is 10. But since clearly seven wasn't enough, I was looking for a little bigger bump than three more pounds.

To be clear, I'm not suggesting making it an option like it was in the Pegasus. I'm saying something like the conditions---121 pounds, if entered with Lasix, 133 pounds. Then after a year you analyze the data and see if you need to go up or down, but always leaning towards non-Lasix users when data is murky.

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Old 12-22-2020, 04:58 PM   #8
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Those races don't get written because they don't fill. Hard to imagine there would be enough horses to make them fill now. That is something for the racing secretary to figure out.

As I said, who knows on the best number. Maybe it is 10. But since clearly seven wasn't enough, I was looking for a little bigger bump than three more pounds.

To be clear, I'm not suggesting making it an option like it was in the Pegasus. I'm saying something like the conditions---121 pounds, if entered with Lasix, 133 pounds. Then after a year you analyze the data and see if you need to go up or down, but always leaning towards non-Lasix users when data is murky.

They'll fill now - thanks to the new Lasix rules.

And you can pretty much build a de-facto "Lasix penalty" into the conditions by writing such races like this:

"For (insert age, gender etc.). Three-year-olds, XXX lbs. Older, XXX lbs. (based on time of year). Non-winners of four races other than maiden, claiming or starter allowed 3 lbs. Of three races other than maiden, claiming or starter, 5 lbs. Of two races other than maiden, claiming or starter, 7 lbs. Of a race other than maiden, claiming or starter, 10 lbs. (Highweights on the scale preferred)."

It is rather obvious that the Lasix-dependent horses would be entitled to no weight break at all, since they will have long since exhausted their allowance conditions (those that haven't can continue to run in N1X, N2X etc. allowance races now, until they win at those levels).
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Old 12-22-2020, 05:07 PM   #9
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Wouldn't it make more sense to see if the number of entries plummets first before giving out weight punishments? If you start taking entries and each race has four horses entered, then yeah, go right to some weight penalty for Lasix. But don't you want to get data on how many enter when Lasix isn't allowed first, so you know how drastic an action is needed?
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Old 12-22-2020, 05:08 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by Thomas Roulston View Post

So what do these martinets expect trainers to do - run horses that are worth half a million dollars or even more in $62,500 optional claimers?
If they are Lasix dependant they are no longer worth half a million dollars.
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Old 12-22-2020, 05:22 PM   #11
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It will be interesting to monitor the speed figures of non Lasix races relative to their recent PARs and then monitoring how horses that have been running with Lasix that have contending or superior figures do when forced to run without it.
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Old 12-22-2020, 06:02 PM   #12
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It will be interesting to monitor the speed figures of non Lasix races relative to their recent PARs and then monitoring how horses that have been running with Lasix that have contending or superior figures do when forced to run without it.
At tracks that do it on a limited basis, it would pretty easy to spot. If they eliminate it for all races, it will very hard to know what the Lasix effect is. I've always thought it was about 7 points on the Beyer scale when Lasix was much less common, but that was mostly for horses that didn't really need it. For those that did it could obviously be much more.
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Old 12-22-2020, 06:08 PM   #13
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At tracks that do it on a limited basis, it would pretty easy to spot. If they eliminate it for all races, it will very hard to know what the Lasix effect is. I've always thought it was about 7 points on the Beyer scale when Lasix was much less common, but that was mostly for horses that didn't really need it. For those that did it could obviously be much more.
Just though of this is I typed the above, but 7 points would be worth about 14 pounds on the TimeformUS system, so the 12 I proposed isn't too far off. I'd even say 12 might be better as I doubt the effect of weight is a simple and of course it will vary horse to horse anyway. It doesn't matter on our adjustments currently because we don't see that big a swing very often, if ever.

But I'd guess the more weight is added, the effect starts to grow, something like this:

5 pounds 2 points
10 pounds 5 points
15 pounds 9 points
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Old 12-23-2020, 11:18 AM   #14
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Just though of this is I typed the above, but 7 points would be worth about 14 pounds on the TimeformUS system, so the 12 I proposed isn't too far off. I'd even say 12 might be better as I doubt the effect of weight is a simple and of course it will vary horse to horse anyway. It doesn't matter on our adjustments currently because we don't see that big a swing very often, if ever.

But I'd guess the more weight is added, the effect starts to grow, something like this:

5 pounds 2 points
10 pounds 5 points
15 pounds 9 points

Good points throughout this thread.

Connections laughed at seven pounds. Only case I can make against it being closer (to 7 than) to your twelve pounds is the tradeoff of trying something new (and that I don't recall well meant horses actually accepting the break).

I'd rather see it twelve pounds or more. If it's a slight penalty rather than a perfect handicap, that's OK in this situation. Can always slightly lower the handicap after some data. The point is to make lasix-free the standard, and make taking on a weight handicap as a case of whether the horse is a bleeder who only benefits from lasix, not to have trainers simply doubling down, or making gentleman's agreements.
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Old 12-23-2020, 11:30 AM   #15
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But I'd guess the more weight is added, the effect starts to grow, something like this:

5 pounds 2 points
10 pounds 5 points
15 pounds 9 points
I'm not a big weight guy, but I never thought about it like that.

So basically close to 50 years later I may still be underrating Forego (like he didn't beat me often enough already).
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