When owner/breeder and lifetime horseman Bob Reeves, the executive vice president of the Ohio HBPA, learned of the Breeders' Cup's decision to begin the elimination race-day medication over the next two years, it prompted him to write Breeders' Cup President and CEO Craig Fravel with his thoughts and the news that after many years, Reeves would stop nominating the foals he breeds to the Breeders' Cup.
Reeves' well-written letter is a good reminder that every horseman has a voice and the ability to exercise that voice to speak out or take action regarding policies he or she feels are bad for their horses, their business, and/or the racing industry. The more horsemen that exercise their rights and make their feelings known, the more impact horsemen can have on such policies.
Take a few minutes to read Reeves' letter to the Breeders' Cup, which is reprinted below with his permission:
Although I am a breeder and owner, I am more hands-on than most any owner you have met. I hire veterinarians to scope a lot of my horses to check for bleeding and mucus. I grew up in the horse racing business and both my father and grandfather were horse trainers. I remember when we did not use anti-bleeding medication and experienced horses bleeding so bad the blood was running out their nose when they pulled up after a race. I currently have fourteen horses in training, and I bred all of these horses. I accept the fact that I am in charge of their health and care.
I have consistently nominated my foals to the Breeders' Cup program although I breed to race, not sell. Your Board is doing what they think is right regarding baring the use of Lasix on race day. I personally think this is a public relations gesture, and their position is not based on scientific evidence. If they think eliminating the use of Lasix on race day is a great public relations move, consider your response when one of the two year olds staggers across the finish line after a Breeders' Cup Championship race with blood flowing from his nose on national TV.
I think the use of Lasix protects my horses from bleeding, and I will do everything possible to prevent my horses from ever tasting blood. Since I do not agree with your Board on this issue, I am not going to nominate any more of my foals to the Breeders' Cup program beginning with my 2011 foals.
Lasix has been proven to reduce or prevent exercise-induced pulmonary hemorrhaging, and I will continue to use it where permitted for the welfare of my horses.
Very truly yours,