MTHA Board OKs increase in Lasix fee to $25

The MTHA Board of Directors Dec. 10 voted to increase the fee charged for administration of race-day Lasix to bring it in line with several other Mid-Atlantic racing jurisdictions.

The fee for Lasix, which is administered by regulatory veterinarians, has been $20 at Laurel Park and Pimlico Race Course. It will increase to $25 effective Jan. 1 at Laurel.

According to a regional sampling, the fee at three New York Racing Association tracks—Aqueduct Racetrack, Belmont Park and Saratoga Race Course—as well as Parx Racing and Hollywood Casino at Penn National Race Course, is $25. It’s $35 at Monmouth Park and $20 at Delaware Park.

Dr. Jay Baldwin, Chief Medical Officer for First Equine Health Services, told the MTHA board that about 80% of the cost of a track’s Lasix program goes to pay vets. Under the National Uniform Medication Program, Lasix is administered by third-party vets rather than private practitioners as was the case previously.

Baldwin, whose practice handles race-day Lasix administration, said it’s important to maintain the quality of the program. He said he approached Delaware Park this past summer about a fee increase, and was told the track wanted to see progress on a uniform figure regionally.

“There are quality people (administering the Lasix programs) in Maryland and Delaware,” Baldwin said. “Maryland has been a great place to work—trainers and grooms enthusiastically supported our people from day one. There is a great culture of racing in Maryland and Delaware.”

The Maryland Racing Commission awarded the contract for race-day Lasix administration to Baldwin’s group in December 2013. Baldwin told MTHA board members he is open to suggestions should horsemen believe the process can be improved.

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