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Letter from the President, Spring, 2013

April 20, 2013

How many times, in a day, a week, a year or a lifetime, do you get more than you expect? When I started to think about it, I realized that, for better or for worse, it happens quite often. The small favor that brightens someone's day or changes their life, to the cross words that turn into an argument, a fight or the end of a get more than you ask for.

What is happening in New York, the Mid Atlantic and the surrounding states is certainly more than the "ask" when it comes down to medication reform and its catalyst, the Lasix debate. Think of it: even if Lasix was eliminated from every one of our graded races (457 in 2013), and those races averaged 12-horse fields (which is obviously optimistic), that ban would affect 5,400 starters. Without getting into the pros and cons of the Lasix question, the Mid Atlantic Uniform Medication Program will, conservatively, affect that many starters in just 10 days of racing.

The Mid Atlantic Uniform Medication Program affects every horse, every race, every day. The horses will be protected by more restrictive medication rules, with testing performed by accredited labs that will be held to the highest standards. It's so much more than the "ask."

The catalyst, the Lasix debate--while it was certainly divisive, fatiguing and at times pretty ugly, it forced the horsemen, the horsemen's groups, the owners and the trainers, to look in the mirror and evaluate, not just policies on Lasix, but on medication in general and all of its ramifications. It certainly galvanized our stance on Lasix, but, at the same time, to have any credibility at all, we had to examine the whole picture. We didn't have a Lasix issue, we had a medication issue, and we needed to address it.

So, many thanks for inspiring horsemen to focus on both the small picture and the big one. There have been many journeys planned that started in one direction, but ended in a better place. Our Uniform Medication Program is so much more than the "ask."

Rick Violette Jr. 

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