08/20/2003 11:00PM

Elana d'Amour stuck with Lasix for now


VANCOUVER, British Columbia - Elana d'Amour will be hard pressed to repeat as horse of the year in British Columbia, and if the vote were held right now, she would finish behind Shelby Madison as the top older filly and mare. Her connections are hoping to get her back on track in the 6 1/2-furlong Cover Girl Handicap Saturday.

Elana d'Amour, owned by Gary Mayo and trained by Joe Apperloo, looked as good as ever in her first start of the year, a two-length victory over Lilsisterlightning in the Strawberry Morn Stakes in early May. But Elana d'Amour finished a dull third in the Washington Legislature at Emerald Downs in her next start, and that's where her troubles started.

According to Elana d'Amour's assistant trainer, Apperloo's stepson Brian Giesbrecht, she bled and was treated with Lasix for her next start. The Lasix didn't produce the desired result, though, and she finished third as the 4-5 favorite in the Brighouse Belles.

Lasix, a diuretic that controls bleeding, had a detrimental effect on Elana d'Amour, and Giesbrecht would like to get her off the medication. But because of a Canadian rule that forces a horse who has started on the Lasix program to stay on it for at least 90 days, Elana d'Amour will have to run on Lasix in the Cover Girl.

"The only time she bled was when she ran at Emerald, and it was because she had such a difficult time handling the surface down there," said Giesbrecht. "We reacted by putting her on the Lasix program, but that turned out to be a big mistake. When she ran on Lasix up here, she cramped up. Basically the Lasix acts as a diuretic, and it was probably because she had lost so much fluid that she developed the cramps."

Elana d'Amour also has had problems with her thyroid, but that problem appears to be under control, and she has looked sensational in her last three works. If she runs to them, she will be very tough to beat Saturday. Be warned, however: According to Giesbrecht, Elana d'Amour worked without Lasix but will be treated with it for the Cover Girl.

"That's exactly the way we want her to work," said Giesbrecht. "She's never even come close to bleeding at Hastings, but there's not much we can do about the Lasix rule, so she'll have to run with it. However, win, lose, or draw, she'll be off it for her next start."

Keith Smith, senior steward at Hastings, isn't in favor of the rule, either, and would let Elana d'Amour run without Lasix if it were his call.

"Our hands are basically tied, and this is a perfect example of what's wrong with the rule," Smith said. "All horses don't react the same to it, and so what's the point of forcing a horse like Elana d'Amour, who it obviously doesn't help, to use it? I like the way they've gone in Kentucky and Oregon, where you don't have to be scoped to get on the program and can get off it if it's not helping the horse."

He's got money - how about a win?

Not many horses in this part of the world can earn more than six figures without getting past their nonwinners-of-two condition. But Blowin in the Wind has earned $111,338 for trainer Dave Forster and his wife, Teri, and he goes into the S.W. Randall Plate off his second career win, in a $35,000 optional race Aug. 9.

Blowin in the Wind earned a large portion of his earnings by finishing second in the B.C. Derby last year, and while he has never won a stakes, he has been stakes placed on a few occasions and could be ready to get over the hump this Saturday.

"He's certainly training like he'll run a big race, and hopefully he'll break through Saturday," said Dave Forster