From Josh James, Kentucky Public Radio

The Kentucky Horse Racing Commission has set a town hall meeting to discuss a proposal that would phase out the use of an anti-bleeding drug on race days in the U.S. The drug, furosemide, also known as Lasix, is given to horses to prevent bleeding in the lungs caused by the stress of racing. Eric Mitchell, editor-in-chief for Bloodhorse magazine, says Kentucky is among the first states to debate a limited ban on the practice.    

“There’s one side that says ‘we know enough, we’ve looked at the drug, we know what it’s impacts are. There’s no reason that North America should be using this race day medication when the rest of the world isn’t.’ The pro Lasix (people) will make a point that bleeding is an important health issue, this is a medication that we’ve used a long time. It’s proven safe,” he said.

The ban would initially apply to two-year-olds, starting next January, and then to two and three-year olds starting the following year. By 2015, the ban would be in effect for all horses entered to race in graded or listed stakes races in the state. The meeting is set for June 5 in Frankfort.

Rick Howlett is host of WFPL's weekly talk show, "In Conversation."