Frustrated with a Breeders’ Cup decision to require starters in its five juvenile races at this year’s World Championships to race without Salix, owner Mike Repole will not send any horses to this year’s event.
Repole had been considering four 2-year-olds for the Breeders’ Cup on Nov. 2-3 at Santa Anita Park including grade II winner Overanalyze , Notacatbutallama, Coconut Shrimp, and Micromanage . Repole also will not send two older horses he was considering, grade I winner Stay Thirsty and two-time grade II winner Caixa Eletronica.
Aiming for consistency with other international racing events, Breeders’ Cup will phase out race-day Salix, also known as Lasix, beginning with its five juvenile races this year. It plans to expand the ban to all its championship races next year.
Repole opposes most race-day medication but said in talking with veterinarians and trainers that Salix seems to be the one drug proven to prevent exercise-induced pulmonary hemorrhage.
"If you want to experiment with racing 2-year-olds without Lasix, I think I’m open to that. But let’s do it on the second race at Belmont on a Wednesday afternoon. Let’s not do it on one of the biggest days when people are actually paying attention," Repole said. "To me it makes no sense. Why would you want to experiment with top 2-year-olds? I wouldn’t want it to be my horse who bleeds or gets injured."
New York-based Repole, who also is upset that Breeders’ Cup has not had the World Championships in New York since Belmont Park hosted in 2005, also believes bettors will become frustrated if top juveniles are hampered by bleeding and fail to perform.
"I always say you need to worry about the horse first and the fans second," Repole said. "This decision seems to say they’re not really worried about the horse and they’re not really worried about the fans."
Breeders’ Cup President Craig Fravel said the organization has heard a variety of opinions on the decision but plans to stay on schedule with its policy this year and its full ban in 2013.