Bramlage: Racing And Training 2-Year-Olds Reduces Their Risk Of Injury – Here’s Why

by Natalie Voss

 

Before most horse racing jurisdictions shut down across the country and threw the economic balance of the sport into question, the industry’s biggest problem was its need to reduce racing and training fatalities. Veterinarians and scientists are still learning about the causes of catastrophic injuries and, so far, it seems there may be a number of risk factors at play in any given injury.

One theory that many people have offered over the years is that the practice of allowing horses to race at two years old is either the direct cause of early breakdowns or predisposes horses to serious injury later. Many such hypotheses equate training and racing a 2-year-old with putting an elementary school-aged child into the Olympics. For more than two decades, the sport has heard calls to put an end to 2-year-old racing. Those calls have been renewed recently, as some fans have seen the racing shutdown as a good time to reevaluate and modify its structure and improve equine welfare.

The problem, according to Dr. Larry Bramlage, top orthopedic surgeon and Rood and Riddle Equine Hospital, is the halt of 2-year-old racing and training wouldn’t be a net gain for welfare or fatality rates – it might actually be a loss.

 

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In The Face Of Climate Change, Experts Offer Tips For Making The Most Of Your Hay

by Natalie Voss

 

The cost of keeping horses has been rising for some time now, but last year was an especially bad one when it came to finding hay. According to the National Agricultural Statistics Service, hay stocks fell to the lowest point they’d seen in a decade and in December 2022 were at their lowest since 1954. After a dry late summer and fall in many places, some 37 percent of the country is still considered to be in “extreme drought” conditions, with even more sitting at milder drought ratings despite recent precipitation.

According to statistics presented at a webinar hosted by the American Horse Council, the average cost of grass hay is up to $109 per ton nationally while alfalfa has climbed to $143 per ton. (This varies widely depending on where in the country you are.)

AHC President Julie Broadway said that hay prices and availability are subject to a variety of drivers, from the weather to fuel costs to fertilizer expenses and even the pricing/demand for hay from foreign countries that import it for their grazing animals.

Louisiana Officials Revoke Ownership License Of Former Co-Defendant In Zetas Money Laundering Case

by Natalie Voss

 

Louisiana stewards have revoked the ownership license of Carlos M. Nayen-Barbolla after determining Nayen-Barbolla – one of the men convicted as part of the Zetas drug cartel’s drug laundering case – lied on his application.

According to a ruling dated Oct. 21, Nayen-Barbolla was affiliated with the ownership group Red Sea Racing and applied for an owner’s license on July 20.

“When filling out his application he answered ‘no’ to Question 1 Have you ever used an alias or been licensed under any other name? and Question 6 Have you or your spouse ever been arrested or charged with any misdemeanor or felony, including DWI?’” the ruling read.

 

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Lasix Mythbusters: Drug Masking, TCO2, And Impact On Racehorse Breakdowns

by Natalie Voss

 

For decades now, people with an interest in horse racing have had opinions about furosemide, commonly referred to by its trade name of Lasix or Salix. Even now, as its use has been gradually pushed back farther from race time, theories abound on why trainers use it, and how (or whether) it should be used.

But floating about amongst all those opinions are sometimes misconceptions, including one we’ve heard repeatedly at the Paulick Report – that furosemide is used as a masking agent to cover up illegal drug use in post-race testing.

Dr. Rick Sams, former laboratory director at LGC Science, said that under current regulations, that just isn’t possible. Here’s why.

 

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The Change Ahead: Void Claim Rules Will Soon Become National, Via HISA

by Natalie Voss

 

On July 1, the first round of new regulations are scheduled to go into effect as a result of the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act (HISA). HISA will seek to bring about the uniformity in medication, testing, and safety regulation and enforcement which so many in the racing industry have asked for in recent decades.

As the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Authority fights multiple lawsuits challenging the constitutionality of the new organization, it remains to be seen when, whether, and how it will implement new rules. It has been made clear by those working for the Authority so far that it will not be a night-to-day change between June 30 and July 1, 2022, especially since the Anti-Doping and Medication Control Program will not go into effect until Jan. 1, 2023. There will also be a phase-in process for its Racetrack Safety Program, which in many ways will seek to codify best practices suggested by the NTRA’s Safety and Integrity Alliance and the Association of Racing Commissioners International.

Assuming the Authority is able to bring about this change, there are a few jurisdictions and racetracks that will be in for a rude awakening. In this series, we take a look at where American racing stands now with key parts of the new regulations. What do we know about the history behind new rules? How have some states fared after implementing safety rules voluntarily? What has stopped some jurisdictions from adopting these changes on their own? 

 

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Louisiana Commissioners Lengthen Penalties For Trainers In Zilpaterol Cases

‘This Is No Mistake’: Louisiana Commissioners Lengthen Penalties For Trainers In Zilpaterol Cases

Louisiana Downs in Bossier City, La.

Racing commissioners in Louisiana took penalties for zilpaterol overages one step farther in a lengthy meeting April 26, extending the already-significant suspensions handed out by stewards a few weeks earlier.

The commission considered eight positives from trainer Rosendo Valdez, four from Lanny Keith, four from Manuel Pizana, three from Manuel Macias, and two from Fernando Lopez. The overages were part of a flood of recent zilpaterol positives in the state.

Zilpaterol is not approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for use in horses. Instead, it is a drug approved for use in beef cattle to promote weight gain and lean muscle mass. It’s commonly administered as a feed-through product when given to cows.

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Breeders’ Cup Diaries: Leonard Looks Back At His Racing Start In Louisiana Backcountry

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Leonard and California Angel

 

 

This is our third edition in a daily diary series following trainer George Leonard’s first trip to the Breeders’ Cup with California Angel. Find Part 1 here and Part 2 here.

It may be the first time George Leonard has brought a horse to Del Mar, but he managed to find a familiar face on the West Coast. Leonard left his regular exercise riders back home with his Indiana Grand string, and picked up the services of jockey Chester Bonnet to help him work California Angel ahead of her run in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf.

Bonnet and Leonard go way back, to the days when both were still in their home state of Louisiana. Leonard transferred to Indiana and Kentucky, and Bonnet came to California to be nearer to his son.

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NHBPA, State Horsemen’s Groups File Suit To Halt HISA; Jockey Club ‘Confident Law Is Constitutionally Sound And Legal’

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The National Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association, together with state affiliates in Arizona, Arkansas, Indiana, Illinois, Louisiana, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Washington and West Virginia (Mountaineer) have filed a federal civil suit in an attempt to put the brakes on the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act (HISA). The suit, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas, names the Federal Trade Commission and several of its employees, as well as the people tasked with forming the Nominating Committee for the new federal authority.

The suit seeks to have HISA and a number of its elements declared unconstitutional, to enjoin defendants from taking any action to implement HISA, as well as nominal damages of $1 and compensatory damages of any fees charged to horsemen by the new authority.

The lawsuit is being handled by The Liberty Justice Center, a non-profit legal center “that represents clients at no charge and was founded to fight against political privilege,” according to its press release about the case.

 

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When It Comes To Training Horses, ‘You Get The Behavior You Reinforce, Not The One You Want’

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Much has been written through the centuries about the process of training horses, much of it specific to the type of work a horse is meant to do. In a recent webinar hosted by the British organization World Horse Welfare however, experts reminded horse owners that it’s critical to take into account the way horses learn and process information when setting up a training program for them, regardless of the job they’re intended to do.

Dr. Gemma Pearson, veterinarian and equine behaviorist, said that horses do not learn the way we do. As a species, they have what Pearson called “limited mental capacity” which isn’t to say they aren’t intelligent, simply that they learn best when complex tasks or situations are broken down into very simple steps where it’s clear what they’re being asked. Pearson used complex dressage movements as an example. Many of them start with a horse learning two different cues from a rider’s leg — speed up, or lengthen stride. It helps horses to feel the rider use different part of the leg for each request, so it’s clear what’s being asked. The same is true for rein cues, which can be broken down into different but related questions. As a horse’s training advances, a rider can combine these clear, well-learned instructions for more complicated results.

 

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Farrier Offers Guidance On Shoeing To Protect Sesamoid Bones In Racehorses

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A number of questions still surround Justify’s left hind foot ahead of the 143rd Preakness Stakes

It’s no secret that the proximal sesamoid bones, which form the back part of the pastern, are a big vulnerability for racehorses. Fractures of the sesamoid bones or failures of the suspensory ligament apparatus that holds them in place are associated with 30 to 50 percent of fatal injuries in Thoroughbred racehorses. So, while we wait for better methods to detect impending injury to those structures, how do we better protect those bones?

(Read more about research on sesamoid bones and their role in a horse’s movement in this Paulick Report feature from January 2021.)

Farrier Steve Stanley, who has worked on racing Thoroughbreds and Standardbreds for some four decades, offered a few suggestions at a recent virtual edition of the Tex Cauthen Memorial Seminar focusing on racing safety.

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