09/26/2012 1:55PM

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.”

Ange More than 1 year ago
Well, I just hope the fans are up to the task of seeing quite a few of these babies coming back after the races with blood running out of their noses. It's much harder on a horse to bleed than it is to run on lasix, but all the anti-lasix people don't seem to get that. The problem isn't lasix people, it's the illicit drugs that the small percentage of horsemen use on their horses. The frog juice & snake venom & other "natural" things that don't get tested for. But hey, let's ban lasix and make everyone feel better about themselves. And yes, I'm an owner, breeder & trainer.
chad mc rory More than 1 year ago
So for race day only the youngsters test clean but they get dosed all the time while in training ... Is that how I read it?
mikey More than 1 year ago
Is lasix a cure for Pletcheritis then he need's a truck load.
Ray Sousa More than 1 year ago
if 2y olds need laxis then this sport is doomed,the trainers ought to be achamed of themselves for defending using drugs on these young horses period.but of course with vet bill running at 700 to1000 bucks a month,its just another gravy train.sometimes i wonder if the horses even get the lasix as often as the owners are billed,or if there are kickback schemes with vets.
Thomas Cook More than 1 year ago
The problem is not the use of lasix in legal dosage. The problem is uses of adjunct meds such as premarin and sodium iodide jugs and such. But being that these are natural elements in a horses system..you cannot prove their use. Thats why ny uses holding barns in certain races. To level the playing fields and ensure cleaner racing.
Morris More than 1 year ago
taking away lasix is placing 1 more finanual strain on the owner. if a horse bleeds& gets on the vets list. he cant run, but the training bill goes on & on. it wont be drugs that ruin horse racing. all these new rules will eventuly price owners out of the market. the cost of training & racing a horse, has already surpassed the point of being "the sport of kings". just saying "an ole railbird"
Ray Sousa More than 1 year ago
price owners out of the market? do you think the drugs are free.average vet bill is $700 a month most of it pissed away on lasix and other meds.add to that the $120 day rate at ny tracks for example and yes its expensive,this lasix thing is the biggest scam ever.
Jack More than 1 year ago
Euro owners are doing fine without lasix,but they have the option of shipping/selling their bleeders over here to race.
Paul_Tuon More than 1 year ago
The owners/trainsers will be up in arms and will fight this banned until the Breeders' Cup drop the ban. Most of lthem will withold their horses from running in the BC races, Fletcher and Baffert being the most likely unhappy campers. I just hope that the BC officials take a tough stance and not sway by the pressures put on by owners/trainers and keep trying to achieve a "drug free," no raceday medication and zero tolerance BC events in the near future. No one else in the industry have the courage to take a stance because of fear of a backlash from owners/trainers/breeders. I am delighted in knowing that the BC is doing something--no matter how small it is--about this serious problem. We have to start somewhere and banning raceday lasix for 2yo races is a good start; and let's not stop here. Breeders' Cup, PLEASE TAKE A STANCE even if it results in a 4- or 5-horse field. No one is doing anything and it is a breath of fresh air to see the BC is doing something. I just hope they march on forward through the resistance and not compromise with owners/trainers/breeders. Let the Breeders' Cup die if they [the owners/trainers/breeders] want to.
chad mc rory More than 1 year ago
clean horse racing.org
Eric Rickard More than 1 year ago
Why does almost every two year old run on LASIX? I was at Saratoga and saw Micromanage in person. Beast is all i say. Bred like a champion and won like a champion. But if pletcher runs him on lasix and than ships out west and takes it off him. I have to bet against. Too Bad. I will never get the 5-1 again.
ngunn7 More than 1 year ago
i don't think Micromanage is being pointed to the BC at least thats what Repeole said
Steve More than 1 year ago
Lasix has great benefits when it is used as originally intended. There would have been no Mineshaft or Lava Man without Lasix. Tons of European horses on the bleeder list in Europe also come here to run due to the ability to use Lasix. As with all athletic sports, there's abuse involved. Just like athletes that use supplements and fertility drugs (technically not performance enhancers by themselves) to mask the true performance enhancers. Lasix in it's original dosage form is good for the sport as ANY trainer, east coast or west will tell you. Problem is the rampant abuse of it's original intended form. Kiaran and Sadler both make those points in their statements in the article and they are both correct. but of course, a few bad apples always ruin it for the majority.
RunningDog More than 1 year ago
CA trainers are addicted to drugs, resistance to anti medication in CA is going to met with strong wording from the majorioty of the top 10 guys. No raceday medication, zero tolerance is the only way the madness will stop.
Big Jeff More than 1 year ago
You tin foil hat is too tight.
chad mc rory More than 1 year ago
Jeff, If God and Mother Nature did not make it, then the stuff don't belong in a horse.