Breeders’ Cup Bans Lasix for ‘Win and You’re In’ Challenge Races

Following in the gilded footsteps of the Triple Crown races, Breeders’ Cup World Championships officials announced Wednesday its Challenge Series races will run Lasix free.

Improbable-Awesome Again-BC Challenge
Improbable’s romp to the Awesome Again Stakes title at Santa Anita last fall came in a Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series race. This year, the Awesome Again and its other ‘Win and You’re In’ Breeders’ Cup races will run Lasix-free. (Image: Benoit Photo)

The Challenge Series races are the “Win and You’re In” races spread out over the world. Those events give all-expense-paid spots in the various Breeders’ Cup races to the winners. Typically, they’re Grade 1, or at the least, Grade 2 events at major tracks in North America, Europe and Asia.

Along with this, horses will only receive Graded Stakes points toward a Breeders’ Cup starting spot running in Lasix-free graded stakes races. If a horse runs in a graded stakes race that does not ban Lasix, they receive no points.

This is not foreign ground to the Breeders’ Cup. Last year at Keeneland, it ran its “Future Stars Friday” card of 2-year-old races without the anti-bleeding medication. That fell in line with major tracks banning Lasix for juveniles in 2020.

2021 Breeders’ Cup the First Run Entirely Lasix-Free

This year, the entire two-day Nov. 5-6 Breeders’ Cup card at Del Mar runs without Lasix.

This latest anti-Lasix domino falling fell in line with the recently passed Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act (HISA). HISA set a July 1, 2022 deadline for ending Lasix racing.

“Even before HISA was signed into law, running the World Championships Lasix-free was a goal of Breeders’ Cup,” said Drew Fleming, the Breeders’ Cup president and CEO in a statement. “Extending this standard to all races associated with the Breeders’ Cup World Championships will hopefully set an example for other racetracks and stakeholders to embrace forthcoming safety and integrity measures, including the elimination of race day medication.”

One of the Strongest Voices for HISA

Fleming’s organization was one of the industry standard-bearers pushing for HISA’s passage. It said in its announcement that this pushed the industry toward eliminating race-day medication, “and to better align the industry with the rest of the world.”

This move essentially aligns the organization with many of the US’s major tracks, including those in Kentucky, California and New York. Those are three states banning Lasix usage in graded stakes this year.

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