09/26/2012 2:55PM

Breeders' Cup Juvenile: Lasix ban in 2-year-old races won't stop Pletcher from participating

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Barbara D. Livingston
Shanghai Bobby is a perfect 3 for 3, including a victory in the Grade 2 Hopeful. He has been treated with Lasix for all of his races.

For now, the banning of Lasix for this year’s races restricted to 2-year-olds at the Breeders’ Cup will not deter trainer Todd Pletcher from running in the $2 million Juvenile at Santa Anita.

Pletcher, who has the strongest arsenal of 2-year-olds of any trainer in the country, said he will let upcoming performances and his owners dictate whether to run in the Juvenile, the winner of which has been crowned 2-year-old champion 16 of the last 20 years.

“If we had a problematic bleeder, it might mean that you wouldn’t go,” Pletcher said. “Right now, the 2-year-olds that we’re dealing with, none of them I would classify as problematic bleeders. I think we will continue to manage them the way that we normally do and then on race day we hope they run well without Lasix.”

Pletcher won 23 races restricted to 2-year-olds at Saratoga this summer – 21 maiden races and two stakes – and all of his runners competed on Lasix, a medication used to help keep horses from bleeding. The Breeders’ Cup is moving to become Lasix-free in a few years, but is starting this year by banning its use in all five of its races restricted to juveniles.

“Personally, it doesn’t bother me, I can’t speak for all my owners,” said Pletcher, who won the Juvenile in 2010 with Uncle Mo. “What are your choices? If you have Shanghai Bobby or Archwarrior or somebody that wins the Champagne, by deciding not to go to California you’re giving up the opportunity to run in a $2 million race, you’re giving up the opportunity to be champion 2-year-old to run in the Remsen for $200,000? It’s the way it’s set up, it’s not great, but it is what it is. Play or don’t play.”

Shanghai Bobby is the most accomplished of Pletcher’s 2-year-old colts, having won all three of his races including the Grade 2 Hopeful at Saratoga. He is targeting the Grade 1 Champagne at Belmont on Oct. 6. Pletcher said that the highly touted Archwarrior is definite for the Champagne, while debut winners Violence and Micromanage could run in the Champagne or the $75,000 Dover Stakes, a mile and 70-yard stakes at Delaware Park on Oct. 6.

Tizracer, who won his second start for Pletcher at Belmont by 10 1/2 lengths, is being pointed to the Grade 1 Breeders’ Futurity at Keeneland on Oct. 6.

In Southern California, a field of 11 was entered Wednesday for Saturday’s Grade 1 $250,000 FrontRunner Stakes at Santa Anita. Of the 11, only one – Imperative – was not entered to run on Lasix.

John Sadler, trainer of Capo Bastone, one of the favorites for the FrontRunner, doesn’t like the idea of banning Lasix and said he is treating his decision to race in the Breeders’ Cup on “a case-by-case basis.”

“I think it’s a bad idea, personally,” Sadler said. “I think it’s anti-horse. If you understand the science, it doesn’t make any sense.”

While Kiaran McLaughlin is pro-Lasix, he has started most of his 2-year-olds without the medication the last two years. That includes Fortify, who won his debut at Saratoga and finished second in the Hopeful. McLaughlin said Fortify also will be Lasix-free in the Champagne and the Breeders’ Cup, if he makes it that far.

“Everybody’s going to be concerned on that side of no Lasix, we’re not, it has to be an advantage,” McLaughlin said. “It might not be on the day when the gates open. Someone might run very well without it, and most of them probably would.”