Excerpted from NAT mag’s “Do Bleeders Breed Bleeders?”

5 thoughts on “Excerpted from NAT mag’s “Do Bleeders Breed Bleeders?””

  1. hmm
    to bleed or not to bleed that is the question..to be slow and not bleed or fast and bleed…hmm
    think I’ll try fast

  2. With regard to Al Mufti:

    a) The fact that he was not known to have been a bleeder himself, yet produced a high percentage of bleeders, sheds no light on the inheritability of the weakness. He may well have carried a genetic predisposition for it, yet it wasn’t expressed during his racing career.

    b) It is, of course, not uncommon for successful sires to typically pass on undesirable characteristics; Storm Cat would be a very obvious example. Whether or not such sires are, on balance, good for the breed or not, is arguable.

    c) Using a single example does little to support the theory that those sires which produce “faster” runners are more likely to produce a higher percentage of bleeders. In fact, I know of no compelling evidence to suggest such a correlation.

    John Greathouse, as he does occasionally on the Paulick Report site, is spouting mostly nonsense here. He claims, for example, that “You’re not enhancing anything with Lasix.”

    That is demonstably false in several respects. First, as it lowers blood pressure, every horseman, with the apparent exception of Mr. Greathouse, knows that it is advantageous to use Lasix on any highly-strung horse. They are much more likely to get to the post in relatively relaxed fashion, which in turn allows them to conserve important (if not crucial) energy. What that means, in practical terms, is that even in the case of non-bleeders, without the use of the drug, many would fail to perform as well as they otherwise would naturally.

    Furthermore, it has been well-established that Lasix enhances performance. In stark contrast tp Mr. Greathouse’s unsubstantiated claims, let’s take a look at some science. As commentator LBJ noted on a recent Paulick thread:

    “Dr Kenneth Hinchcliff, the same eminent researcher who authored the South African paper that showed the benefits of Salix in reducing bleeding, authored another paper which you can all read here:


    This paper clearly outlines the performance enhancing capabilities of Salix….’After analyzing the race records of 22,589 thoroughbreds, the researchers found that 74 percent (16,761) of the horses were given furosemide prior to a race. These horses raced faster, were 1.4 times more likely to win a race, 1.2 times more likely to finish in the top three and earned an average of $416.00 more than the horses not receiving the drug.’ ”

    When Mr. Greathouse claims that the use of Lasix is simply “enabling a horse to perform to his capabilities” he is both wrong, and heading down a very slippery slope.

    He is wrong for the reasons outlined above (i.e. it does in fact enhance performance), and is on a slippery slope for a rather obvious reason. Let’s substitute a different medication:

    Bute is simply “enabling a horse to perform to his capabilities”.

    Or how about…

    clenbuterol is simply “enabling a horse to perform to his capabilities”


    Where, exactly, should one draw the line?

  3. So as to avoid any misconception that the advantage of using Lasix is related solely, or even primarily to the prevention of bleeding, consider this (again from LBJ):

    “Here is another peer reviewed study on Salix and its effects on weight loss in thoroughbreds


    Their conclusion and summation in the second study was very clear….

    ‘Improvement of performance in the furosemide trials was due more to the weight-loss related effects of the drug than its apparent alleviation of EIPH.’ “

  4. Genetic variance resulting from breeding, which is rumored to be the evolutionary purpose of sexual reproduction, virtually insures a certain percentage of every trait present in the gene pool. I am astonished at the relatively low instance of bleeders cited above, given the frequency of treatment. Again, “medication strengthens the weak, and weakens the strong,” including the population as a whole.

  5. Before placing all the blame for bleeding on any stallion I’d want to see a companion study analyzing other progeny of the mares which produced breeders to his cover. It seems beyond naive to assume that the predisposition to bleed rests solely with the sire.

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