My name is Glenn Thompson and I am a thoroughbred horse trainer with over 30 years experience in training. Throughout my career I have been fighting the bleeding issue with my horses, sometimes winning and sometimes losing. I am not sure what has been the cause for the bleeding to get so bad, but I do know that it has gotten much worse as the years have passed. It could be a combination of a few things: The steroids that were legal all those years; the over-use of antibiotics; the anti-inflammatories; or even the pesticides used in the hay, straw and oat fields.
When I was running my father's shed back in the seventies we had a 40 horse outfit and if we had a horse bleed it was usually because of a mess up. A groom not checking a temperature or a horse being otherwise sick and we missed it. If we had three horses bleed all summer at Monmouth Park that was a lot, and this was before lasix. I feel like now if you had a 40 horse outfit and no lasix, over the course of the summer you would have over 100 horses bleed, and of those I feel pretty confident that 3 or 4 would bleed to death on the track. The people that have witnessed one of these deaths know what I am talking about when I say it is not pretty and we do not need to subject our horses or our fans to this horrible death.
It sounds like I don't want to ban lasix, right? Wrong! I would love to ban lasix and think we can if the powers that be start to focus in the right direction. Everyone seems to be very happy arguing about whether to ban it or not, but I don't hear much about an alternative to it. If we come up with something that is a proven alternative to use the day before the race, there will be no more divide and the whole country will back it. I now challenge the powers that be, The Jockey Club, the THA and the other organizations to quit bickering, get focused and find a suitable replacement. That, and only that, should be the main focus with this issue, because if you do ban it and don't have a replacement for the day before, I feel you are going to double the death rate on the track.
I wrote an ebook entitled "The Tradition of Cheating at the Sport of Kings". In the book I talk about some alternatives that I use the day before I breeze horses that have helped with the bleeding. One of them is a medication called Naquazone. It is a diuretic and if I give it the day before I breeze to my bad bleeders, they don't bleed. Also allowing us to get a little closer to the race with Clinbuterol might help. Those are just a couple of medications that the researchers might consider when they start the studies.
The lasix issue is not the main problem that we have in racing right now. It is the two or three other shots that the vets bring in and give along with the lasix. In my book I talk about the frustration I have with the cheating going on all across America and the different medications being used on race day. It has turned into a culture and I claim that 85% of the trainers are giving their horses a little help on race day. My book has been out just about six weeks, and since it has come out not one vet or trainer has challenged the 85% number – not one! I feel that speaks volumes about the truth of which I speak.
The problem is I feel that the blame falls on the racing commissions, stewards and track security at the racetracks. Just like a teacher that gives a test and then leaves the room for an hour while the test is being taken, you can count on a lot of cheating going on. The people that are in charge of the integrity of horse racing have left the room. They brag that 99% of the tests come back clean, but I am here to tell you that if the 24 hour rule on other medications were to be applied, 15% of the trainers might pass the test. The trainers and vets know what passes and what doesn't and act accordingly. This is very frustrating for the trainers that play by the rules.
If I have a horse that is a bad bleeder, follow the rules and race against a guy that has no problem giving his bleeder a little Azium and Kentucky Red with his lasix then I am at a distinct disadvantage. If you were watching a golf tournament on T.V. and saw a golfer look over his shoulder and kick a ball out from behind a tree when no one was looking and then watched as he went on to win this big tournament, smiling and holding his trophy up in the air, I could pretty much tell you what you would think of him; yet every day owners and trainers are holding their trophies up in the air when, if the truth be told, they should be disqualified.
I hope this article and my book helps point the people that can make a difference in the right direction as far as the lasix issues go and we do ban it in the future with the help of a great replacement.
Article Contributed by Glenn Thompson
The views expressed in this article are those of the author and not of HorseRacing.com.
Back to Blog