Repole Sounds Off

On the surface, it seems that Mike Repole should be a happy man.

On Tuesday, champion Uncle Mo turned in his fourth consecutive encouraging work at Saratoga and seems on his way to making a comeback in the Aug. 27 King's Bishop.

Repole is also only a couple weeks removed from winning the Jim Dandy with Stay Thirsty, who could be the favorite for the Travers and is all of a sudden in the hunt for championship honors.

Oh by the way, Repole has the top-ranked 2-year-old in the country for the second straight year with Sanford winner Overdriven, and he is tied atop the Saratoga owners' standings.

But if you think Repole is humming a cheery tune, think again. Just hours before Day 2 of the Fasig-Tipton Saratoga select yearling auction, the outspoken owner wanted to make sure he got a couple of things off his chest. Specifically, about the soon-to-be announced location of the 2012 Breeders' Cup and the hotbed subject of Lasix, which won't be permitted on race day in the 2012 Breeders' Cup and in 2013 it won't be allowed in any horses at the World Championships.

On Wednesday, the Breeders' Cup is expected to announce that the 2012 World Championships will be held at Santa Anita for the third time in five years. Repole, a New Yorker through and through, is not happy about the expected decision. He made that clear on Tuesday afternoon, going as far as saying that a boycott is a possibility.

You won't want to miss this:

"I think it's a huge mistake that the Breeders' Cup has chosen California over New York to host the 2012 World Championships. Let me be clear: I love California. My wife loves L.A. I love San Francisco. This is not an East Coast vs. West Coast thing. It has nothing to do with New York vs. California. I watch California racing regularly and I think their racing is great. In fact, I've talked to a couple trainers about running a string of horses out there in the future. If New York had the Breeders' Cup three of the last five years I would also say it isn't fair.

"The Breeders' Cup should be in New York, Kentucky, and California on a rotating basis. If they want to throw in a fourth venue that is fine too. But this is a travesty to the sport. There are a lot of top trainers, jockeys, and owners on the East Coast, and for the Breeders' Cup to not be there since 2005 is very unfair. I don't think this is the vision they had when the Breeders' Cup started more than 25 years ago. If anything, the Breeders' Cup is setting itself up for a possible boycott. Other East Coast trainers and owners have stated the same thing to me. The horsemen on the East Coast are at a huge disadvantage having to travel six hours for the third time in five years.

"And, how does the Breeders' Cup pick a venue that doesn't even have its track surface figured out right now? How can that happen?

"If I have top horses like Mo, Thirsty, and Overdriven running next year, I am going to have to rethink my decision to go over there. It's just not fair. They don't hold the Super Bowl at the same venue three out of five years. It's a joke. I wouldn't be surprised if some of the top East Coast trainers and owners didn't go out there next year.

"Actually, if NYRA decided to run some big races on the same weekend as the Breeders' Cup, I would encourage other horsmen to stay close to home."

If you think those comments are strong from Repole, his opinions on the potential ban of Lasix are even stronger.

"From the experts I've talked to, vets and trainers, and from what I have read, Lasix is probably the one drug that we need to have on race day. I'm all for banning every other race-day medication, except for Lasix. I think racing has enough image and marketing issues right now and if they ban Lasix it will only make things worse.

"I see where the Breeders' Cup already made the decision to ban Lasix for 2-year-olds next year and for all horses in 2013. To do that on a huge weekend when millions are watching on a national stage, it could not be a bigger mistake. Here is a weekend when our sport is being showcased to the whole country and all of a sudden they want to ban Lasix? It just doesn't make sense and was not thought out well enough.

"What if a 2-year-old has made the first three or four starts of his career with Lasix and all of a sudden he is being asked to run without it in the Breeders' Cup. It's not fair to the horse, the owners, or the gamblers. Worst case scenario, what if a horse is 40 lengths behind bleeding from both nostrils? Is this the stage they want to experiment on? On racing's biggest weekend? I don't think they thought about the consequences. I think the racing industry should be more concerned about the horse, the fan, and the sport. It seems like everyone is more concerned with their own vested interests.

"As an owner who regularly spends up to $4 million on horses per year, what am I supposed to do if one of these horses bleeds after his first start and I get a call from Todd (Pletcher) telling me ‘Sorry Mike, he bled and we have to send him to the farm for four months or possibly retire him'? Is that fair to the owners who spend all these millions at sales? What happens to our investment? From what I've been told, almost every horse will bleed at some point in their life. Lasix is a necessary drug that helps horses.

"I really hope the Breeders' Cup reconsiders its decision on this. If not, I may join forces with NYRA and start my own Empire State Games. I'll fund it for NYRA and we'll compete against the Breeders' Cup."

Whether or not you agree with him, it is refreshing to have an outspoken owner like Repole give his opinions on these important subjects. At the very least, it will spark lively debate.

Anything else you want to get off your chest, Mike?


Leave a Comment:

Mike Relva

Agree with Repole on all of the issues stated,he makes sense.

09 Aug 2011 5:45 PM
Rachel NH

A true bleeder who needs 4 months off should never be seen in the breeding shed, better to find out early. Who wants to stand a bleeder as a stallion?

Since it takes 4 weeks or so to recover from lasix and about 30 days rest (I've been told) for a mild/moderate bleeder before the next race, and since lasix can cause ulcers and lower blood pressure, I see only the upside to banning it on race day...

09 Aug 2011 5:56 PM

nice job. unable to agree more!

09 Aug 2011 5:59 PM

I have to say I completely agree with Mike. I am from the west coast and I hate the fact the BC and Stronach are going behind the backs of horseman, fans and handicappers to go back to Santa Anita. Switch it up like they used to or have a rotating schedule between several tracks. It's only fair.

09 Aug 2011 6:27 PM
Brian Appleton

While I wold hate to see the Breeders' Cup fields diminished in quality, I have to agree with Mike Repole, on both counts. He really thinks things out before he wonder he's been so successful.

09 Aug 2011 6:40 PM
Dustin Van Gorp

1. What are the odds a World Championship Turf race will be "off track" at Santa Anita?

2. Does NYRA run their books like The Sopranos?

09 Aug 2011 7:00 PM
Criminal Type

I really really like Mike Repole. He is a straight shooter who tells it like it is. His comments are intelligent and well thought out. His argument for Lasix is a damn good one, and he is right. If millions of television viewers, particularly the newer fans who are not especially knowledgable about a horse's physicality, see blood coming from the horses nostrils, They are going to be horrified. Not to mention the fodder it would provide to those squirrel snacks over at PETA.

Mr Repole is right about the  BC venue as well. Did I mention I really like Mike Repole ? I too think it should be rotated between the 3 tracks with a different venue thrown in on the 4th year, if Santa Anita had it in 2008 & 2009, CD  had it in 2010 & 2011, it would follow that a NY venue would have it in 2012 & 2013. Then go to a fourth track say Gulfstream for 2014. Then back to Santa Anita for one year and so on. Maybe by then they will have their surface issues cleared up.

Im wondering if Mike Repole would consider moving to Washington. In my opinion we need people like him there, badly.

09 Aug 2011 7:09 PM

Repole is right on target with the BC being at SA AGAIN!  That stinks to high heaven.  I don't know enough about the Lasix issue to have an opinion.  Anyone?

09 Aug 2011 7:10 PM

In the immortal words of Desi Arnaz, a great supporter of California racing, "I think you might got somethin' there, Mike!"  Mike Repole is just great for this sport, an innovator, an out-of-the-box thinker, an entrepreneur.  I am in complete agreement about the Breeders' Cup venue sights, and his idea of their annual rotation.  The safest, best run tracks should host the BC event.  I would include NJ in the NY venue, as Monmouth did host it after 2005, the year Curlin won which I believe was 2007.  Ever since the deluge of rain that year at Monmouth the BC has "hightailed" it out of the East, apparently never to return any time soon.  I don't understand the thinking in picking Santa Anita for next year either when the surface issues are not yet resolved and the clay/sand/silt combinations are not remedied.  I love California and it's racing too as Mike does, but the BC needs to exhibit fairness in track selection and consider the entire country.  

The Lasix issue is quite another matter and basically I agree but believe more research needs to be done.  Apparently, at the inception of the use of Lasix, it was aesthetically masking the unsightly bleeding out of the horses' nostrils.  I'm sure fans were alarmed at the sight of bleeding nostrils.  Then it was misused when it was found out that it masked the use of other drugs by diluting the urine.  Then all horses were put on it whether they had bled or not to level the playing field.  I think further intensive medical studies are needed to determine if Lasix/Salix/Furosemide is beneficial or not, and harmful or helpful to the breed in the long run.  I'm for banning all the meds, the Lasix I'm not 100% sure on.  Are it's dehydration properties and side effects contributing to the weakness in the breed and is it's use causing more bleeding in the breed?  Industry greed cannot determine this decision, they need to make a sincere horse first educated medical decision on what is best for our horses.

So glad Mo, Thirsty, and Overdriven are doing so well.  

09 Aug 2011 7:26 PM

Now the east coasters may understand why so many west coast horses are hesitant to travel to the east coast. Lots of flyiers miles. Not to mention the top horses in California make the trip to the east coast for the Triple Crown every year without complaint. I do agree that they should move it around to more tracks but boycotting the event in front of a National Audience won't help our industry shine either.

As far as lasix, I agree that once it is banned the sport may have a rough few years but down the road it will pay off. I feel strong that lasix does help horses but it is masking a larger problem. That is it is inadvertently weakening the breed by masking a growing problem. For example a severe bleeder may recieve lasix and look like only a mild bleeder. The horse then goes to the breeding shed, breeds to more bleeders(severity of these horses also masked by lasix), and you get more and possibly worse bleeders. We are breeding this weakness in the equine athlete to be more prevelant thus meaning that eventually they will bleed through the lasix. We survived just fine before the advent of lasix so why can't we do so now? It will take time to breed back to sturdier horses but the eventual benefit will be worth the initial cost.

Finally, I do agree that having horses running on lasix leading up to the BC then running without is dangerous. It will completly change the handicapping and risks injury to horses that are severe bleeders but are able to run thanks to lasix. Certainly a horse bleeding visible won't look good in the national spotlight. I think more than anything the move by the BC is to encourage others to ban race day medication prior to the 2012 and 2013 BC races so that the problem can be avoided and the severe bleeders weeded out.

09 Aug 2011 7:27 PM
John A

I totally agreed with Mike it makes no sense to run without laxis after the horse has been on it. Also for New York not to have the 2012 Breeders Cup is a travesty.  John A

09 Aug 2011 7:44 PM

I think the World Series should be held at Dodger Stadium every year, and the players should not be allowed to wear batting helmets.

I think California based TVG should have exclusive television coverage, and Zenyatta should be grazin on the sidelines.

09 Aug 2011 8:50 PM

Right on!  I agree across the board;  I would go to New York for a program next year, not Calif. where I went for their last two BCs.  This is not the KD or Masters; the charm is in the rotation of location, including Woodbine and Monmouth.

I love the Baseball All Star game in part from new locations.  Same with B.C.

09 Aug 2011 8:54 PM

I totally agree about the BC venue.  Rotate it every four years between Cali, New York, Kentucky and a random 4th site.

The lasiz issue is a difficult one.  IT's difficult to wean hroses away from it that have raced with it all their lives.  My feelings though is that it should eventually be banned completely.

09 Aug 2011 9:01 PM
Linda in Texas

Yeah, Criminal Type, i will say it:




And it is someone elses time to hold The Breeder's Cup Races, someplace where they didn't have to take up the whole darn track because they didn't get it right the first time. Is it right yet?

As far as the Lasix issue, i have no opinion. I never had to give my horses Lasix so i should simply bow out on the subject. And i do.

And super for the sale, prices staying solid again tonight.

09 Aug 2011 9:17 PM

I think that it is time to ban Lasix, for the horse and for future horses. While it will be difficult for owners and trainers to make their decisions regarding which races they will enter and they may choose not to enter the BC due to having already run their colts/fillies on lasix, those with promising animals can begin to demand that  prep races also ban lasix.

The BC would like to be considered a World Championship, as such it needs to bring its policies in alignment with the rest of the world.

While we don't want to be renaming the Breeders Cup the Bleeders Cup, it is important that a first step be taken. The health of the individual horses, the breed, and the sport demands it.

Mike's argument about how much he spends on horses each year sounds very self-serving to me and I wish that I had not read it. His "investment" is in an animal; not a stock. Further, a decent financial adviser would suggest that buying race horses is gambling, not investing.

There may be good reasons to not ban lasix on race day, but I did not read them here.

How would Mike feel about lasix use if he found out that it had contributed to Uncle Mo's liver disease? Not saying it did, just saying that lasix cannot be good for a liver.

09 Aug 2011 9:30 PM

Looks like Pletcher has taught Repole how to behave like a hand puppet. So an owner of a top rated horse is gonna boycott racing's richest day huh Mike? What exactly are you putting in that bottled water you drink?

09 Aug 2011 9:31 PM
Mike in SB

I am a big fan of Mike Repole and his horses and I understand his anger and frustration with the Breeders Cup committee and I would also prefer a rotation of sites, but I think a boycott of the Breeders Cup or a New York rival to the Breeders Cup would be terrible for racing and unfair to racing fans. Like it or not Santa Anita is getting the 2012 Breeders Cup, and a boycott of New York horses won't change that. It will only damage the Breeders Cup which has been a big positive for racing and deprive fans from seeing the best horses race in our championship races. Mr. Repole and other owners, trainers, fans and racing writers should first demand that the Breeders Cup committee explain how they pick the sites. If they don't like the answer or it seems that New York is being unfairly passed over then consider a boycott in 2013. This way they could have a greater influence on the selection, it's too late for 2012.

09 Aug 2011 9:32 PM
an ole railbird

on the subject of "bleeding ". i have been a student of art of horse raceing for over 5 1/2 decades. i spent my child hood on a "backside". i went from child hot walker to gallop boy, to jockey to trainer ,to owner. to life long, die hard fan. i have a very good memory for individual horses that few people enjoy. in the arguement of lasix, i have mixed emotions. but i have come up with this oberservation. i have sat in my arm chair,& thought for over 3 months, about the horses that i have seen that were bleeders. and the period of time it was in. i have made a list of the horses (both quarter horses & throubreds) that bleed .    from the late 50s until 1992, i can remember only 21 horses that i saw that were termed bleeders . AFTER 1992 it is not uncommon, to see 21 bleeders on the race track at on time. i understand that modern methods have enabled us to condition to a peak, that we didnt  reach a few years ago. horses will exsert themselves to the point of danger. BUT i cant help but to believe that exstream bleeding is a man made disase. before we do away with lasix, we need to know for sure , behind a reasonible dought, what causes bleeding.

09 Aug 2011 9:38 PM
Paula Higgins

As a member of the ASPCA, I should not have been laughing my head off over "those squirrel snacks over at PETA" comment made by Criminal type, but I was. I love Mike Repole. I think he is one of the best people in this sport. I totally understand his point about rotating the site for the Breeders Cup. No argument. But I hope he doesn't boycott it. I do hope the people behind the decision, listen to what he is saying. As for Lasix, I have heard the pros and cons and both sides have an argument. If it were me, I would still plan on eliminating Lasix. The Brits don't use it and their horses do just fine. The problem is, there will be a transition period for our horses. I am not sure there is any way to avoid it, but the only other alternative is to continue to use it. I do agree with Mike that doing it before a major race is not wise. I do think all 2 year olds as of 2013 should not use it. I think the horses will be better over the long term for it. The short term, not so much.

09 Aug 2011 9:51 PM

I too think that the races should move from track to track each year. If they want to use S.A. as the home track for west coast racing so be it. Racing there every two years is just not fair to the rest of the country. If there was national rule on lasix where most horses running could not go on it I would agree with Mike, but when 90 percent of all horses running are on it or a similar drug something is very wrong. American horses are better than that.

09 Aug 2011 9:57 PM

Good  job ! Refreshing to hear  an intelligent opinion from a great guy for the sport we all love. I hope the BC guys love the sport enough to listen. I think he states the majority opinion of all sides if that means anything to them.

09 Aug 2011 10:01 PM

Lasix should be allowed on race day ONLY if administered by the state vet.  We need to keep the private Vets away from the horses on race day.  The reason why lasix has come under fire is because "some" trainers use it as a masking agent for other performance enhancing drugs.  Keep the private Vets away from the horses on race day and you equal the playing field.

As it relates to the Breeders' Cup being in California lets wait to hear the announcement first and the reasoning behind it before we get our panties in a bunch.

09 Aug 2011 10:16 PM
Dr Drunkinbum

I think it's ridiculous that the Super Bowl is in all of these good weather places and covered stadiums all of the time. Give it to Green Bay or Chicago and let's see who the real champion is. As far as the BC I think it should be planned ten years out with a rotating schedule between probably four tracks. I don't know why they're giving it to SA again but at least the chances of good weather are better(you don't want good weather for football but you do for horse racing and baseball). The only thing I can think of for giving it to SA is that they are strongly considering giving it to SA half of the time or more in the future because of the weather. On the lasix issue I agree 100% with the BC, and I applaud their courage to stand up to owners and trainers that think winning is more important than the welfare of the horse and the breed and in my opinion the sport. It's time to especially let 2 year old body's mature without weakening their bones and ligaments with lasix and other meds. In time the sport will be much better off with no race day meds for any horse at any age. We'll get a Triple Crown winner again becaause we'll have one healthy enough and strong enough to do it. The talk of boycotting the BC is sad and not what we need for the good of the sport. What is Santa Anita, a commie enterprise or something? The only reason someone would boycott the BC is if they thought they were going to lose anyway.

09 Aug 2011 10:17 PM



09 Aug 2011 10:54 PM

The only people who are against lasix are the idiots keeping racing down.

Repole is right this time and I agree that having the Breeders Cup in California in 2012 is a joke. Um, lets see, Stronach owns Santa Anita and he is outspoken against lasix and so are the idiots who run the B.C right now. They know that if its held in NY they wont get the backing to ban it so they run it in S.A. because the puppet Stronach will be on their side.

I want to ride in a three jockey race against Barry Irwin and Frank Stronach and see who wins. If I win they dont ban lasix. OOps, not sure if either of the two have ever been on a horse in their lifetime, let alone one that can run fast and could actually bleed.

09 Aug 2011 10:55 PM

I totally agree with Mike.

MESSAGE TO : All the Breeders Cup board members who voted to ban lasix for 2yr olds in 2012 and every horse in 2013. Why are you still running your horses with LASIX if it is so harmful to them?

A bunch of HYPOCRITES.......

09 Aug 2011 10:58 PM
Arian Haxhillari

I have seen some other tracks that have the potential to hold the BC.

Houston has a great truck with nice weather during november and would be perfect for this event but it is hard to do it when this game is a monopoly.

Horse racing should be like other sports and it biggest races should be in different cities.

Doing this would spread the sport to other big states and increase the interest of more fans.

09 Aug 2011 11:18 PM
Dr Drunkinbum

Paula Higgins

   The 2012 BC is over a year away and the 2013 BC is over two years away. Plenty of time to adjust ahead of time with the med regime. Don't run your two year olds in 2012 on race day meds and you won't have to adjust. I'll bet you that there will be BC winners in the 2yo races in 2012 and winners in numerous races in 2013 that are already not doing meds on race day prior to the BC.

an ole railbird

   Excellent post. I agree. My 84yo Grandpa with a heart condition had to take lasix but he didn't like it. I don't know of any kids that take it but I'm sure there are a few. I don't know how we got to the point where every horse has to take it in every race including two year olds, but it's crazy. It's detrimental to their still developing muscular-skeletal systems. All this lasix talk is making me feel like I gotta pee like a racehorse. I gotta go.

09 Aug 2011 11:21 PM
Terry M.

I agree with Mike Repole re the Breeders' Cup location. How about Canada? It should be in the rotation. Woodbine hosed it once and even that was by accident when Arlington couldn't! The West Coast is harder for Europeans than any other location, too. Even things up. Rotate it amongst California, the midwest/south, the east coast and Woodbine.

Re Lasix. Not so long ago, I agreed with Repole on this. Not anymore. It is not a cure and it is performance enhancing. The cure is to breed horses that don't bleed! The widespread use of Lasix is bound to increase the percentage of bleeders being used for breeding, which decreases the inherited soundness of Thoroughbreds bred in countries that allow the use of Lasix on race horses. If a horse is a bleeder, it shouldn't run. As for buyers paying millions for a horse that can't run, well, if you can afford to buy, you can afford to do due diligence on the health of the horse's family before you buy. And the fact that Lasix can hide other drugs is another problem.

In fact, I agree with Dr. Drunkinbum on the whole Lasix issue, and especially when he said, "It's time to especially let 2 year old bodies mature without weakening their bones and ligaments with lasix and other meds. In time the sport will be much better off with no race day meds for any horse at any age. We'll get a Triple Crown winner again because we'll have one healthy enough and strong enough to do it." Right on!

10 Aug 2011 12:04 AM
Bob from Boston

Let me be clear: I love California. My wife loves L.A.

What Mike meant to say is, "My wife loves Ted from LA."  Aside from that, I am going to defer to Dr. Drunkinbum on the lasix issue.  He is a doctor afterall.  Mike is right about that being a bad time to experiment.  NY deserves the Breeders' Cup too.  There, Bob from Boston has spoken.  I've been away on vacation, but enjoyed all the theories on the last blog.  Ted from LA said he misses all of you, but he is in rehab trying to overcome his addiction to shoes.

10 Aug 2011 12:07 AM

IMHO, horses do not need Lasix to run well and have successful racing careers.  All other countries in the world have proven that.  We proved that when we ran horses without raceday meds as we used to do.  And New York was the last hold-out allowing Lasix.  Remember, horses did successfully ship from Lasix states to non-Lasix states and many managed to run well weaned off of the med for the race.  It does not stop bleeding.  It has never stopped bleeding.  Horses still bleed from exertion and still bleed through Lasix.  But I feel all raceday meds weaken the breed, and as a couple others have said, it has also put many horses into the gene pool who wouldn't have been there otherwise.  We need to think of the future of the breed.

10 Aug 2011 12:13 AM

As far as the BC at Santa Anita, there are worse places it could be.  As far as East Coast horses boycotting it, then it will be just like the rest of the year, little to no presence of East Coast horses in West Coast races.  Let the Cal and Euro horses reap the benefits.  And New York can hen hold their own races.  That will be good for racing in the US.  For the record, I would like to see it rotate too and include tracks like Arlington Park and Woodbine, as well as Lone Star and maybe Remington if it an hold enough people.

10 Aug 2011 12:30 AM
Donut Jimmy

Breeder's Cup at Santa Anita? I think the surface issues are VERY serious. We have no idea what the surface will be. But whatever they have you can bet it will be an absolute super-speedway. Very fast tracks are very hard tracks, and very hard tracks hurt horses. Speed kills. As long as track officials jump for joy when maiden claimers race in 1:08 and change (remember opening day after the first synthetic surface went in at Santa Anita) the track will not be safe. It wasn't this year, and whatever lip service they give to being "concerned about the safety of our horses", they want it fast and fast ain't kind.

I am sympathetic to east coasters wanting more Breeder's Cups in New York, but the last BCs held there were not exactly well received by the fans.

On the subject of Lasix, the only problem I see is that banning it just at the Breeder's Cup, will make Lasix the topic of the day, on a day when the topic ought to be champion racehorses.

The doomsayers who say we need Lasix, and that the sky will fall without it, are either not paying attention to the fact that the sky has not fallen in every other racing jurisdiction in the world, or are just not horsemen.  I am a DVM, and I would rather breed away from bleeding, then try to medicate away from it.

10 Aug 2011 12:33 AM
Needler in Virginia

Regarding the BC going back to California.....BLAH! I was angry when it stayed in California 2 years in a row, and I'm angry that Churchill has it 2 years in a row. Rotate the thing from coast to coast with several stops in between, rotate between coasts with only Churchill in between, or any other pattern you like, but this is NUTS! What about Woodbine? What about Woodlawn? What about all the other tracks that have hosted the BC and emerged alive and well on the Sunday after? Stronach and Santa Anita and the BC......... hmmm........ connected? When it looks like a duck and quacks like a duck and, know the rest. Any track willing to take on the demands of hosting a BC should be allowed to pitch itself to the powers that be, AND those tracks should be given SERIOUS consideration. In this economy, with the enormous expenditure required to get a track "ready" to host a BC, the bravery of tracks that actually want it should be respected and given the weight it deserves. On THIS point Mr Repole and I agree wholeheartedly; on the Salix/Lasix point not at all and never will. Repole's arguments, I think, are made only from the viewpoint of an owner with HUGE investments in horses and that's all he sees: the investments. One of these days he might see that his "investments" are alive but not so well. Just because "all the other horses are getting it" doesn't mean it's OK, except, of course, if it's a performance enhancer, which I believe it is. AND ALL HORSES ARE NOT BLEEDERS, thank goodness! I'm sticking to my guns on this one; the poster above who had known many, many racers from the "olden days" (well not so olden, but you get the point) that did not bleed is correct. There is a reason why so many (or are there really that many?) are bleeders today. The narrowing gene pool? Heavy breeding to bleeders just because they get fast 2 year olds? Completely ignoring the possibility that this is a genetic problem that can be "managed" right out of the breed? All of the above? Many possibilities I've missed? ABSOLUTELY any or all of these options are possible, but throwing Lasix at the problem, is not the answer......... it's contributing more scum to muddy the waters even more. And, Mr Repole, I'm sorry about your "investments"; I truly am, but sometimes life bites us in the butt, and we just have to deal with the consequences. So, pull up your big girl panties and deal with it.

Cheers and safe trips.

10 Aug 2011 12:35 AM

I respect Mike Repole... I am a Bloodstock agent in South Fla... and i tell you 1st hand I have seen What horse look like and how they Perform running in the HUMID/Muggy Climate we have here 9 mos out of the year... i pray for the day that Night Racing becomes a Reality... anyway.. Lasix is a Needed Race Day med.. anything Else I am ALL for Banning.. and I Mean Everything... CALDER has a band of trainers that for now SOME are able to Cut corners... because Medication rules aren't as Strict as say NY, KY, MD...etc...

Now on to ther BREEDERS CUP CHAMPIONSHIP sites.. i have been to 1 event in 1992 at OLD GULFSTREAM PK.. and it was awesome here.. i know GPm would need to make some Adjustments to Seating etc.. ,but Now with TIM RITVO NEW PRESIDENT and everything else going on Gulfstream Park is a MUST for BC... PLEASE........

10 Aug 2011 12:48 AM

Dr. D.,

OMG my mascara is running down my face from laughing so hard!  You are amazingly funny!!!  Between the lasix and the Smarty and the Senoritas on vacation I don't know what was funnier!  And once Mike Relva said Pletcher was training donkeys and I think I laughed for 2 days straight!  Thanks guys for keeping me laughing, it's great!

10 Aug 2011 1:31 AM
The Deacon

Dr D: I couldn't agree more, on both your posts.

Beau:  Again,I am in total agreement.......

Maybe horse racing should turn over the handling of the sport to Congress, they will surely get things right. :)

10 Aug 2011 2:44 AM

agree with the breeders cup statement but the lasix thing i dont the rest of the world does without and is fine so america get over it and adapt enough with the chemical horses already

10 Aug 2011 4:10 AM

I have two things to say.

1) There are plenty of American based horses that have run without lasix AND WON. Y'know, like the Dubai World Cup. I'm pretty sure 2YOs can survive a racing day or two without lasix. If the horse bleeds if he doesn't have lasix for even a day then that horse has no business being on the racetrack.

2) You say it's not a West Coast vs. East Coast thing. All right, then. BOYCOTT THE 2011 BREEDERS' CUP. You wanna protest their decision to choose Santa Anita for the 2012 Breeders' Cup? Boycott them this year. You can't just pick and choose when to boycott based on where they're going to be. Be consistent. Be true to your sentiments. Boycott this year's Breeders' Cup. Encourage others to do so. And tell NYRA to do SOMETHING to get the Breeders' Cup people interested in Belmont Park again. Right now you just sound like a bunch of sour grapes and it's not doing you any favors.

10 Aug 2011 5:57 AM

Uh, Mike. It's the weather, stupid.

Bad analogy, at best. Horses are NOT 285 pound grown men playing in snow in a Super Bowl - remember Monmouth? The slop? George Washington? The turf course was such a bog that John Sherriffs scratched After Market.

What is the problem with oats, hay and water, Mike? Afraid Pletcher wouldn't win as many stakes races without his trusty vets?

10 Aug 2011 6:49 AM

i Know mike..i live in south florida..and all i ever hear is how much better it is in new york..i know he has a mouth, but he should learn how to use it before he opens it..

10 Aug 2011 7:59 AM

Mike only says what many are thinking but too scared to say.  Good for him and I completely agree with him.  I even had my own thought that it would be awesome to see NYRA move its fall championship races to compete with the Breeders' Cup.  Regretfully, I don't have the money to boost the purses.  At least somebody who cares enough does!

10 Aug 2011 8:16 AM

I love Mike's enthusiasm for the sport but have to disagree on these 2 issues. Excellent point made about the California shippers coming in EVERY year for the Triple Crown. Also, yes, I'm guilty...watching from my home in Ohio, I'd rather see sunshine, palm trees and the beautiful horses in California or Florida rather than tune into the gray overcast of the east coast in November. Sure the horsemen should be addressed and perhaps a rotating schedule favoring warmer climate should be installed (seems like it is actually), because you MUST  consider the TV audience and advertising revenue and even attendance to make it worth while to the overall sport (future owners and fans, betters) the tracks and network. 75% of the country can look out their window and look at bare trees and 40 degrees, rain or slush the end of October beginning of November. Plan a trip to take in the Superbowl (a point made earlier) or BC races someplace nice and warm? Yes please! Someplace cold and thanks! Less revenue from ticket sales and fewer betters at the windows. I've been to several derbies in Kentucky because the first week of May, rain or shine, is still lovely. Yet travel to Kentucky for more bleak rain and chill in November....not so much. It's Florida or California trips for us northerners when our own weather turns to crap.

Also good riddance to Lasix. Forcing the kidneys to quickly dump water out of the blood that the body has already determined is needed there is bull$$$$ in an otherwise healthy being - it's not helping the breed and is a contributor to other issues leading to fragility too. It will be painful to the owners breeders for the first few years but then, business as usual. Welcome to modern racing and the public's perspective and influence on your sport and all other sports. Now, how 'bout Mo winning the KB and Thirsty taking the Travers on the same day...!?!?

10 Aug 2011 9:41 AM
joe perrotta

Well said !!

10 Aug 2011 10:06 AM

I don't know enough on the Lasix to really comment, but I do think Repole has a strong argument. If they were to ban it as a race day med then all tracks should do it right then so that it's not even a problem of how the horse will react if the suddenly come off of it when running on a national stage.

It is stupid to ban it when there has been no other moves made to reduce the usage of it. Repole made good sense as to why it would be a bad decision.

On the BC at Santa Anita, that is complete BS. Zenyatta was one of the main reasons that the crowds came out in 2010 and the fact that Curlin was there drew in spectators that probably would not have come as well. The reason people came out in 08 was to see the match of Curlin vs BB. Had neither one showed SA would have almost nothing to go off of.

Belmont has had plenty of success, cold weather or not. They deserve to have it back for 2012.

10 Aug 2011 10:32 AM
Kate Hunter

It is fine to argue about the venue of the Breeders Cup but not Lasix. The rest of the world does fine without it. The fact we use it is pathetic. If your horse NEEDS lasix then he shouldn't be a racehorse. End of story. What happens to owners who own a bleeder? The same thing that happens to any owner who gets a horse who can't win. This is racing. The odds of your making money as an owner are unlikely. There should be NO race day meds. If you are worried about your 2 year olds not being able to run off lasix in time for the breeders cup then START NOW! It is never too soon to stop pumping your horse full of chemicals!

10 Aug 2011 10:34 AM
kelso fan

I, for one, am happy to see the Breeders Cup back at Santa Anita.  As one contributor mentioned the horses (and the fans) from the West Coast have to ship (travel) to the East Coast for Triple Crown events every year.  Why so reluctant to ship West? I also understand the concern of Europeans - that did not appear to deter them from coming to SA for the grass racing as well as the then- synthetics.  I also understand the concern over the track surface - SA has been successful with several different surfaces so that should not be a huge concern at this point.  Churchill Downs, while I understand is not technically east coast is, at least driving distance from the east coast.  The weather is also more likely to be favorable in CA than at Belmont or even CD.  I attended the last BC at Belmont and truly love the venue.  However, it was miserably cold most of the day which made enjoying the day of racing a test of fortitude.  Have the 2012 BC at SA, 2013 at Belmont and find another West Coast venue to be in the rotation.  I know Del Mar has been mentioned and that would give DMTC 2 years to prepare to be a host.  Then go back to CD in 2014 and so on.  

10 Aug 2011 10:54 AM

Repole's comments were fair but I disagree on some points.  First, the Super Bowl does move around but to warm-winter-weather cities.  Gulfstream is no longer elegible to host because of it's county fair grandstand. The thought of another Monmouth (weather) disaster doesn't help the image of the sport.

The Triple Crown races are at a disadvantage to western horses and trainers.  None of them "Boycott" the series.  At a time where racing is losing customers left and right, to divide the sport would be just destroy what's left.

California has the MOST horseplayers in the nation.  BUT THEY WILL NEVER GET SLOTS IN OUR LIFETIME.  Californians bet on races all across the country.  The Preakness saved Pimlico from the wrecking ball so far.  A Breeders Cup that frequents Santa Anita could save the sport in California.  Once Aqueduct Casino gets running, how will Hollywood Park be able to compete with that?

Many of you people say "I love California Racing."  If you do, then help save it before it falls into the ocean.

10 Aug 2011 11:01 AM
calico cat

First, full disclosure: I live in the Los Angeles area and the horse in which I have a small percentage runs on Lasix.

For what it's worth, I think that Santa Anita should be the permanent site for the Breeders Cup. I know your civil rights (lol!) are being violated if the BC doesn't travel all over the country but so are ours when our horses have to go East for the TC races. So there! Are the East Coast horses so inferior that they cannot travel as ours do? Threatening to boycott and hold your own set of championship races makes one sound like the prima donnas of other sports and we all know how admirable they are. :)

On the subject of Lasix, count me in with Dr Drunkinbum and all the others who have expressed similar opinions. Just because our horse competes with Lasix against others who are also on it, doesn't make it right. We don't even know if he's a bleeder because he's never been allowed to run in a race without the darn stuff. I think this is shameful and I'm embarassed by this.

I applaud the steps taken by the BC to start the ball rolling. Someone had to and they did. Kudos to them for having the guts to take a strong stand against the use of medication to mask a problem.

It's really very simple: if a horse is a bleeder he/she shouldn't be racing and he/she certainly shouldn't head to the breeding shed.

I have admired and liked Mike Repole for his enthusiasm and for his contribution to the sport. He is entitled to his opinions but I reserve the right to disagree with him on these issues, mostly about the use of Lasix. The location of the BC events pales in comparison to what has happened to our horses and our sport through the use of race-day meds.  

10 Aug 2011 11:36 AM

every time the BC is in KY, BC has the biggest crowds and makes the most money. No way it will only be in Cali.

Have it at 5 tracks, and rotate it. Belmont, Churchill, Santa Anita, Gulfstream, and Oaklawn or some other track like Lonestar, Fairgrounds, or Arlington. Weather is always an issue in October and November, but horses love cold weather. If it is cold, wear a jacket...

As far as lasix, if lasix is so bad, then why do all of the EURO horses use it when they ship to the US? First time lasix users typically do well. remember Red Rocks!! I am pretty sure he was  first time Lasix when he won BC Turf in 06 at CD. I bet the crap out of him.

10 Aug 2011 12:24 PM

I agree witb John A......Zenyatta graz with her foal on the infield!   Ohbaoooo Mr. Repole!  It is and always has been an easg versus west thing.   Change is difficult.  Quit whinning!

10 Aug 2011 1:04 PM
Mary Zinke

Zookeeper, I love your comment. Horses that are not on Lasix win races just about every day  at tracks all over this country. Lasix FreeRacing on fb will give you updates, and hope.

10 Aug 2011 1:18 PM
Needler in Virginia

Billy's Empire, the reason the rest of the world uses Lasix when racing in the States is that it is a performance enhancer, AND legal here, so why the hell NOT use it? Why NOT take advantage of an edge?? Since you don't have to prove your horse requires Lasix and it's legal across the board, why not take advantage of it? The BC has now chopped the head off that snake so maybe this problem can begin to get sorted out and the Thoroughbred, as a breed, can try to regain some of its' former strengths....... maybe by NOT breeding to bleeders for a start?? And certainly by NOT breeding a bleeder to a bleeder? Talk about losing on an instant replay!

Cheers and safe trips.

10 Aug 2011 1:41 PM
Jason Shandler

Needler: I think what Billy means is, if the Euros agree that Lasix is not good for horses and abide by that line of thinking on a regular basis, why do they change their stance when they are ALLOWED to use it? Be consistent.

10 Aug 2011 1:56 PM

About where the BC should be held - the only fair thing is to rotate it.  That way every section of the country has it's day in the sun.  4 or 5 tracks in different parts of the country; it's the best compromise.  And while I like Mike Repole too and can definitely see his point about Lasix if the plan is to just take the horses off it for the BC (that would be a disaster!!!)  Really, start them off without meds, and if they can't do it don't make them racehorses.  Putting them on meds from the start ruins their development and makes them dependent.  But this change is not something to be done suddenly.  It is never a good idea to change anything about the routine and training of a horse just before an important race. (Remember Big Brown)

10 Aug 2011 2:10 PM
calico cat

Billy's Empire,

Sorry you don't share my opinion regarding a permanent site for the BC. I can live with what you propose. Shouldn't you do the same if things go the way I suggested? Or is it too difficult for you to drop the "no way" attitude?

Congratulations on the money you made betting on a first time Lasix user. How astute of you to recognize Lasix for what it is: a performance enhancing drug!!! Of course, in view of your big winnings you should continue to encourage the practice, no matter how harmful it is to the horses. Way to go Billy!

Mary Zinke,

Thank you, I'll visit there and get the info. I can use all the hope I can get. :)

To those who envision a 2012 BC with 2yrs old horses bleeding all over the track--- What foolish (and criminal) owners and trainers would wait until the BC Juvenile races to withdraw Lasix from their "horsemanship" regimen? Plenty of advance notice is being given. Those who don't pay attention to it should be the ones vilified, not the BC for leading the way out of the mess in which we have put our horses and our sport.  

10 Aug 2011 2:24 PM
Kelly Wietsma

It is a known fact…Virtually every equine athlete that is required to gallop for prolonged periods is susceptible to the effects of EIPH -- bleeding caused by the strain of exercise. However, the problem is most widespread in thoroughbreds because they maintain a high speed for up to two minutes or more. It will be interesting to see how Joe Tessitore, Jerry Bailey and Randy Moss explain on national television why the horse standing in the winner's circle is bleeding and coughing profusely…with blood pouring out of both nostrils.  They better hope it’s not a gray…be much more dramatic for the broadcast as the blood splatter could end up all over his face and neck.  Jockey too.  I’ve seen it up close in a grand prix show jumping event and it is horrific.  PETA???  You think our industry has had problems with them in the past after such issues as the breakdown of Eight Bells?  You haven’t seen anything until this can of worms has been opened on national television for all the public to see!  How can anyone compare Europe to here?  It’s a known fact that when a horse inhales particles the problem can be exacerbated.  Hello….we run on dirt here.  Have you ever seen a horse after running in the back of the field?  All of the kick back/dirt is all over his face.  Do you not understand how much of that is inhaled?  This is not rocket science.  And by the way…European horses do train on Lasix…just not used on race day.  There has not been enough study on the subject for BC to come out with such a hasty knee jerk decision.   I spoke with many owners and trainers on this subject at this week’s sale and most are disgusted with the decision.  Problem in our industry is not many of the people sitting on these boards have the balls to speak out or go up against their peers…shame on them…one of the main reasons our industry is in the shambles it is and why it continues to be so fragmented.  Thank God Mike Repole is not afraid to speak out on such a very important subject.  

10 Aug 2011 2:31 PM

Could not agree more.What i would like to know is who takes the determination of choosing were this event is going to take place.How these people and with whom authority reached the desicion.

10 Aug 2011 2:41 PM

Completely disagree on the Breeders Cup stance.  I believe that the Breeders Cup should be elevated to elite status by being hosted in the same location every year.  Just like the pinnacle of US golf is held at Augusta National, the Breeders Cup should settle into one location.  This will give the racing records set there actual value, and even the playing field for everyone.  The location for this beacon of thoroughbred racing......Hialeah, Florida.  Best and most predictable climate for November, with all the infrastructure to handle racing's greatest day, and accessible enough to attract the best of Europe too.  That is the way it should be.  Customize the track, make it the crown jewel of racing venues and they will come.

As for the lasix issue, it should be addressed with the greater issue of drugs and medications in the industry.  It should be an industry wide standard, and not something dictated by any one meeting.  Evaluate the medications and then rule on them industry wide.  It only makes sense.  

10 Aug 2011 3:06 PM

Uncle Mo will dominate and win for fun in 2 weeks.  No matter what you have to love Mike and his PASSION.  The sport NEEDS more PASSION.

10 Aug 2011 3:27 PM
Bob from Boston

Dr. Drunkinbum,

OMG my mascara is running down my face from laughing so hard!  You are amazingly funny!!! The best since Ted from LA died.  The only problem is the mascara is running into my whiskey and effecting (or is it affecting... and I'm not just asking that question for affect... or is it effect?) the flavor.  Let's get talking about the Arlington Million.  5-7-2 will be the trifecta.  There.  I am done talking about it.  Who is going to attend the Million besides Bob from Boston?  I am going to push Ted from LA's corpse around.  It's the way he wanted it.

10 Aug 2011 4:42 PM
Bob from Boston

Uncle Mo has NO CHANCE in two weeks.  And all you regular and irregular readers know why.

10 Aug 2011 5:07 PM

The only positive statement that I read from Mr. Repole in this article is that he is pursuing SoCal trainers in order to run a string of his horses "out there".

10 Aug 2011 5:24 PM

Somehow the entire rest of the world is able to put on world class racing without raceday lasix/salix so i am not sure why Mr. Repole thinks that this is some kind of novel experiment without any availble data. He is dead on about the Breeders Cup. Half of the Euros will skip it at SA, the dirt track is a mess, and it routinely takes less handle when the event is held there. So far the only positive is tyhat the horsemen like the weather better while they sit in the stands. I've decided personally not to wager on the event this year  over the return to SA and the addition of way too many races make the whole thing watered down anyway. Now what to do with my $500 saved?

10 Aug 2011 5:46 PM

@Myntjulius- It's clever the way you elevated the Masters as golf's only championship. There are 4 majors and three of them rotate the location of the event. The Open is the number one major for most of the world and the Masters is 50/50 with the US Open in terms of prestige so your have no point.

10 Aug 2011 5:49 PM

The Breeder's Cup should have picked Hollywood Park as Frank S. refused to allow an OakTree Meet this year at Santa Anita.  

I guess things will be patched up between Frank and OakTree by then.

10 Aug 2011 6:05 PM

There was a South African study how the use of Salix in the United States is that more American stallions are being exported to South Africa and the average number of bleeders per runners is increasing in that SAF. So  if I were making a 4 million dollar investement per year I would want to know and avoid stallion that are producing bleeders. What a novel idea.

10 Aug 2011 6:28 PM
Save OTTBs

I agree completely about the Lasix, but not necessarily about the track venues.

Don't limit it to just 3 tracks with a 4th one thrown in.

Make it available to every track in the North American.

Maryland and New Jersey needs the added revenue just as much as New York, and what about Delaware Park? I know I would love to see the Breeder's Cup in Delaware.

10 Aug 2011 7:07 PM
Needler in Virginia

Jason, you are absolutely right, and I agree, but as long as Lasix/Salix is allowed here foreign horses will make use of the edge.....more's the pity.

Cheers and safe trips.

10 Aug 2011 8:25 PM

Bob from Boston,

Ok, you are funny too, sorry forgot you!  I despise whiskey or even the smell of it so you can have it.  We all were in such an intense, serious discussion about Lasix and I thank Dr. D. for that laugh more than you know.  I have to be out of the country for 2 weeks and will have to miss going to Saratoga and the Travers, etc.  

Not a happy camper right now at all so the laughs were much appreciated.  And yes, we high-maintenance, ultra fashionable women do wear mascara that can run if we get teary eyed.  

10 Aug 2011 8:25 PM


 The pinnacle of professional golf is NOT held in Augusta every year. It's held at a different location year to year and is The U.S. Open. Ask any pro golfer if he was given the choice of winning the Masters or the Open and they will tell you the U.S. Open 99% of the time. While I am at it, the Breeders Cup should change location every year like they said it would from the very beginning.

10 Aug 2011 8:55 PM

Question:  am I the only one who thinks it's ridiculous, really ridiculous, to compare traveling to the three year old classics (established since the 1800's at their tracks, part of the reason for their uniqueness) to traveling to Cali for the B.C.???   Really.   Jason?

10 Aug 2011 8:57 PM
Stellar Jayne

I agree, the BC for 2012 should have been in NY, as well as the 2013!  If SA and Churchill can host two years in a row, so can everyone else.  Selection of the sites should be neutral - why does there need to be a review process and why are people allowed to lobby - look at the mess in

Washington, DC - LOL!!  I think there should be a rotation between CA, KY, NJ, NY, FL, IL and Canada.

If the weather is an issue, end the qualifying races early or mid-October and move the BC back a few weeks.

As to lasix - everyone should be getting their horses of all ages off it right now!  What are the owners, trainers and vets waiting for??? The Europeans and Japanese don't use Lasix, only when they come here to give their horses an even break.  Even worse they don't want to breed to our thoroughbreds any more - period!  If it was me, I wouldn't even allow my horse to be sold here.  Pure and simple - my concern is for our horses.  Those who are bleeders should have been identified as yearlings, or when they go through their first training.  It weakens the breed and puts them at unconscionable risks.  They trust the human to do what is right for them - but humans are unethical and ruthless in their pursuits and horse racing

is no exception.

10 Aug 2011 9:08 PM
Jason Shandler

Skyfire: You're right. Classics are about tradition.

But Im actually Ok with Santa Anita getting the BC in 2012, and truth be told, I wouldnt be opposed to having it there every year. The weather is perfect, the track is the most fan-friendly in the country, the place is enormous, the surrounding area is beauttiful, and they have dirt now. I love when the BC is in Cali. I like Churchill but there is no apron and most fans dont even get to see the races live. And NY is too cold and not very accessable. And dont get me started on the horrific job of running thier business that NYRA has done over the last decade. They dont deserve it. I told Mike as much.

10 Aug 2011 9:19 PM

Well, you have to applaud the fact that ALL race day medication including Lasix will be outlawed beginning with the 2 yr. old class of 2012.  The industry wanted to clean up the sport and this is a powerful step in the right direction. I'm 100% in support!

10 Aug 2011 9:25 PM


Some great posts.  I disagree on two small issues.  First, at the Medication Summit at Belmont Park there was some debate that Lasix was truly a performance enhancing drug or just let the horses run to the best of their own personal abilities.  I don't like the idea of 2 and 3 yr. old animals on diuretics and blood pressure reduction meds either, but are they basing their findings on one South African study?  I still think more research needs to be done on what causes EIPH and if the Lasix is truly beneficial in the long run.  It needs to be phased out industry-wide, which, I have stated before, will catapoult us into that unfortunate transitionary period of a few years before the playing field is level once again, sans Lasix.  But it needs to be done and not by one event only such as the BC.  What happens if a horse needs Lasix again after the BC and it has to be sidelined the 60 days or so to get approval for usage again?  I'm inclined to think the starting point (at the BC) wasn't well thought out as Mike states.  

I understand your point about the west coast horses having to ship east for the TC races, but the BC is "world championship" racing bringing in the European shippers.  It's a little easier for them arriving at points east than west and I still think Mike's rotation site idea is the fairest.  By not holding the BC at one venue it keeps the other 4 or 5 tracks on their toes so to speak in a state of preparedness to handle the event.  I think it is better for the country and USA racing in general to hold the BC at those 4 or 5 top-notch sites.

10 Aug 2011 9:26 PM
Linda in Texas

May i add Lone Star in Texas. During November we are in Indian Summer type weather actually.

Doesn't get cold and rainy til January and February. Remember the Super Bowl earlier this year?

Worst ice storm in years, heavy machinery to clear the roads for fans was trucked in, driven in, railed in, and no one was late to game.

But November is nice, still warm, leaves just changing. So give a think to Lone Star while you are listing all the possibilities.

Jason,the two topics, Lasix and

Santa Anita for The Breeder's Cup

have been about the most vitriolic of all the articles.

I hope we all can stay friends!

And that no one takes anything said too personal.

Life would be a bore if we all agreed so it is healthy to have a venue to blow off steam.

Thanks Jason.

10 Aug 2011 9:42 PM
Lexington Bloodstock

Mike Repole is, like most horse owners, completely devoid of the basics of horsemanship.

The sport and horses in general would be much better off without him.  

He should take his $4 million dollars a year and spend it in, say, Professional Wrestling, where it belongs.

10 Aug 2011 10:50 PM

Planes fly both ways.   Nothing wrong with SA being the chosen track for the 2012 BC races. I think SA should be the track that it's held at every year.  Due to the fact that it's a dirt track now, the weather is nicer at that time of year, the track is gorgeous and is big enough to accommodate very large crowds of fans.  

10 Aug 2011 10:57 PM

As Needler said, I can tell you why Euro's use Lasix when they are here.  They have said it over and over again.  They want to "level the playing field".  Whether they believe it is a performance enhancer or not, they aren't going to take the chance.  Using it once when they ship here is quite different than using it regularly over a long period of time.  To imply that they are being hypocritical because they use it once when shipping here is a little extreme when we can't even fathom running a horse without it.  Horses used to have to qualify to run on Lasix by being examined by a vet to determine that they bled.  Does that still apply?  Miss Alleged had to be seen bleeding on US soil before she could use Lasix.  She ran in the DC International and bled.  She got Lasix, won the BC Turf.  The rumor in Europe was that she was bleeding, but nobody actually officially reported it and her connections were not saying yes or no.  I know they allow foreign horses to automatically run on it now, but what is the rule for US based horses?  Does a vet have to determine that they are bleeding?  How long do they have to stay off the track before they can run again.  And Lasix doesn't even stop bleeding!  Horses routinely bleed through Lasix.  

10 Aug 2011 11:37 PM

I agree with Mike.  What he does not mention and may no know is the hypocracy.  Duncan Patterson, who is part of the De commision, and looks to banning all drugs, has forked tounge.  I know for a fact, and not just conversation, that he had to bute up his pony for the hunt each week.  So, it's not ok to help out a race horse, but ok to bute up the pony to go jumpimg.  

10 Aug 2011 11:47 PM
Bob from Boston

Stellar Jayne, I like what you have to say, but I lost so much on you when you raced that I am still a bit bitter.  I was at Lone Star when they hosted.  Nice event.  I sat next to Todd Pletcher's mom and therefore I am a fan of both.  Jason, I love you like a half-brother, but you're wrong on not letting NY get the Breeders' Cup.  This sport is hurting and they need to spread the excitement and the wealth to those parts of the country that still care. NYC is one of them.  Here is what we need and I heard this from Ted from LA on his death bed:  We need to nominate and vote on a national Board of Directors made up of owners, trainers, vets, writers and fans.  The 13 members vote on the pressing issues in the industry. There are really no national standards.  We need that as an industry.  Mike Repole could easily be the type of man to serve a President of the Board... if he was so voted.  Do it for Ted from LA.  He would have wanted it that way.  Bob from Boston agrees with this plan so it can't miss.

11 Aug 2011 12:27 AM


Great points about Cali racing.

11 Aug 2011 12:48 AM

I have attended Breeder's Cups throughout the country.  My two favorites were 09' at Santa Anita and 01' at Belmont.  

Obviously, Southern California has an advantage over New York in terms of early November weather, but a little chill in the air didn't stop the 01' Breeders Cup at Belmont from being one of the greatest days of racing ever.  And, the 03' Cup at Santa Anita experienced Santa Ana conditions with temps around 100 and fires burning in nearby hills.

Frankly, I was shocked Santa Anita was chosen over Belmont.  As a fan living in Southern California, I'm not going to be shedding any tears, but giving it to Belmont appeared to be the fair thing.

However, I do think people referring back to 05', as in 05' was the last year New York  hosted a Breeder's Cup, are being a tad misleading.  The Breeder's Cup was held at Monmouth in 2007.  I know Monmouth is in New Jersey, but it's still greater NYC metropolitan.  That would be like if the 12' BC was held at Del Mar and LA and Orange County folks were complaining that "they" (LA) haven't hosted a BC since 09'.  

11 Aug 2011 6:18 AM

I have been asking myself why I get worked up over the use of Lasix.

I am a consumer. If I am unhappy with the product produced by A, I can buy more of the product produced by B. If enough consumers do this, A will respond.

In this regard, on Saturday there is the Hungerford Stakes (Group 2) at Newbury. It contains 12 runners and my ADW company will accept bets. That is where I will look. It sure beats betting on medicated horses traveling around a bullring.

11 Aug 2011 6:49 AM
Criminal Type

Anyone know where the Super Bowl is being played this year ? It's in that lovely city known for its moderate winter climate...LOL...Indianapolis. So much for that theory, huh ? The Breeders Cup needs to stick to it's foundation.  The concept was for it to move to a different track every year so no specific group of horses would have an unfair advantage. To single out Monmouth's weather as a reason why it should be held in California is BULL%&#$. Plenty of other Breeders Cups have been held in the Northeast in the fall and the weather was beautiful. The venue selction process is not about the horses, horseman or fans anymore, its about the money and the politics of the track owners and promoters. Seriously, how can you name a track as the site when their surface issues are unresolved ?

Yes, European horses race without Lasix and that's fine. The issue here is not about banning lasix. It needs to be done. It's banning it on one day. Now they have effectively banned it for all graded stakes for 2 yr olds in 2012. This is ridiculous. If they are going to Ban it, then BAN IT. For all horses, not just a selected group. If its going to be a rule, it needs to affect everyone equally.

My guess I really didnt make my point in previous post. My point was not how horrified people would be to see horses with blood pouring out of their nostrils. The point was that Breeders Cup is not the day to put this ban into effect. If they are going to do it across the board, then make it a specific date like 01/01/2012. Wouldn't that be more logical and fair?

11 Aug 2011 7:52 AM
Dr Drunkinbum

I just found out that the Kentucky Derby is going to be in Kentucky again !!!!!!! It's just not fair. I now believe that Ted From LA is alive. I read it in The Enquirer when I was standing in line at the supermarket to buy American beer which is kind of like Lasix. I'm going to drink a case, then go out in 100 degree heat and see if I can run around the track and then decide for myself if horses should be on Lasix.

11 Aug 2011 9:26 AM
Dr Drunkinbum

Too many great posts here to comment on all of them but I will comment on one that surprised me. I am considering dropping my subscription to "The Jason's East Coast Bias Newsletter." Way to go Jason !!!!!!!

11 Aug 2011 9:28 AM
Dr Drunkinbum


   Thanks for letting me know !!!  Jason and a few others have really got me thinking. Maybe they should hold the BC at Santa Anita every year. If you look up the weather averages for Oct and Nov there, the weather is fabulous, whereas it's a lot more risky back East. Just plan on flying out every year if you're back East just like they have to every year for the Triple Crown races and the other big races. Just like Baffert(or maybe it was some other trainer in the West) said, "It's a good excuse for my boys to check out the fillies in the East."

11 Aug 2011 10:11 AM

Zookeeper, your horse runs on lasix. If you are so against it, cash out and save your money. You can't have it both ways. Is Runflatout hurt or damaged goods now that he is on lasix? If it is so terrible for horses, then why does everyone that can use it, USE it? To even the playing field?

11 Aug 2011 10:54 AM

Agree with Mike.

Keep having the BC in Cali and soon it will look just like Cal racing does.

Weren't you just hyping KY as the horse capital of the world a month ago Jason?

Only the experts who aren't in racing or haven't discussed it with the experts have expert opinions on Salix. Pretty funny.

To the person calling for Repole to leave racing?  Are you going to take his place and spend the millions he does? He doesn't just spend 4 million a year. Another ignorant opinion by a person who probably never spent more than $4 in racing.

Also all of the pretend veterinarians on here who can tell all of us the adverse effects of Salix need to study up a bit. Especially saying that it in and of itself it is a performance enhancing drug.

I have a sneaky suspicion that the people who are the most opposed to the medication and most opinionated about where the BC is held have never been to a Breeders Cup, don't frequent the races and most certainly don't contribute to racing as an owner in even one tenth of the way that Repole does.

Do I like him personally? He's a New Yorker and I'm from the West so he's not my cup of tea personality wise.  Funny I'm from the West and I agree with him. The SA surface is a crap shoot at best and disaster waiting to happen at worst.

11 Aug 2011 11:39 AM

Banning Lasix might mean a difficult transition period, but that's just the way it is with all performance enhancing meds. It's called withdrawal and its not fun, but it's beneficial in the long run. Tired of seeing horses breaking down so often and running so infrequently. Then there's the question of breeding bleeders whose problems have been masked by Lasix and further weakening the blood lines. Lasix also encourages cheating as it helps mask the use of other medications. Tired of seeing trainers brought up again and again on doping charges. Ban all race day meds, start breeding again for endurance, as the late Jess Jackson suggested, instead of just for speed, and we may see more versatile horses like Dr. Fager, Damascus, Seattle Slew, and Spectacular Bid again and see them more often on the track which will certainly please the racing public and help improve the future prospects of the sport. May also see an end to the trend of shortening racing distances in the Grade 1, 2, and 3 classics. How about a Jockey Gold Cup again run at a 2 mile distance as it was before 1975 ?  After all this reform is implemented and the breeding stock returns to what it used to be, the horses will not have to be handled so carefully by running the Breeders Cup again and again in southern California's optimum weather and track conditions and New York can again get it's shot at hosting the BC without complaints about the cold and track conditions. Furthermore, the Brits and Euros don't use the meds, but are forced use Lasix when their horses come here to even the playing field - a situation much like that in two-legged sports like cycling where all competitors are pressured to illegally dope to have a chance for success. Why should such a condition continue in the thoroughbred racing industry where such "cheating" is actually legalized ?  Where did all the wisdom go in the sport ? All the current trends and circumstances in the industry created by race day drug use are all bad and getting worse. Reverse course now, and the sport will revive and thrive once again. We'll get through the short term fallout Mike mentions with the ban of Lasix. No pain, no gain. Sorry, Mike, have to disagree about Lasix, and, Jason, you'll just have to get out your cold weather gear and grin and bear a BC held somewhere out of the climes of sunny southern California when the breeding stock returns to what it used to be free of the weakening effect of race day meds.

11 Aug 2011 11:53 AM
Windy City

Careful what you wish for Jason, I'm pretty sure Mike is just starting :-)

As for the venue issue, I strongly believe it should be rotated between different (bigger) tracks, not kept few years in a row in the same or switched back between two. BC involves a lot of money and attention and different tracks should be allowed to "make" something out of it (not only money but mostly spotlight) It would be more inviting and interesting for casual fans! How about picking some tracks on West, East and Central like Arlington Park? This way everything would be in balance and Midwest would get one more venue which is not that far from KY. Chicago is a pretty big city and many people who are not necessarily following horse racing would go to the track in a case of that big event...Having that said, I can understand their decision to go back to CA because of much better weather conditions.

Personally I am against all medications that "enhance" horse's performance, but I think the issue was taken care of from the wrong end. Horses should be banned any meds as a youngsters and before auctions first (2 year olds). This way new potential owners could examine horses after works (during the sale show) and decide if they want to buy a "bleeder". More tests should be implemented to enforce the stop to drugging young horses before they go to the sales ring. This way buyers who spend a lot of money on young horses would have much better chances that their new addition that cost only 1.2 M will at least make it to the track.

Mike - best of luck with Mo, Thirsty, Overdriven (r u sure he's not as good as Mo was at this stage??hmmm :-) and all other horses. I can't wait for your next Eclipse Awards speech, and I hope you'll get more than one! Peace everyone! :-)    

11 Aug 2011 12:37 PM

So let me get this straight.  Greg Avioli recently resigns as the Breeder's Cup President after 5 years and takes a position as CEO under the Stronach Group's gaming and racing division?  Santa Anita then mysteriously lands the Breeder's Cup once again for the Chapter 11 parent company?

Yes by all means please hold the Breeder's Cup at Santa Anita every year so we can have racing and not another 300 acre So Cal strip mall/Autozone.  Does anyone remember Bay Meadows?

Anyone interested in Jenny Craig's Rancho Santa Fe property?  She bought it in 1995 for 8 million from Eugene Kline of the San Diego Chargers/Winning Colors/Lady Secret connection.  The 229 acres five miles from Del Mar is now on the market for $24,950,000.

West coast racing in New Mexico is looking better and better.

11 Aug 2011 12:39 PM
calico cat

I keep hearing that the Europeans use Lasix on horses in training. Is there any truth to that or is it just being repeated by people who don't really know anything about it? Jason (or anyone), do you know if this is a FACT?

11 Aug 2011 12:53 PM

Mike Repole is an admirable and enthusiastic young horseman whose candor is very good for the sport.  However he might want to rethink his position on undermining the Breeder's Cup by throwing his weight/money around (not a good political or public relations strategy) simply because the current BC authorities select a site not pleasing to him.  What he's threatened to do amounts to violence to the sport that would effectively fragment horseracing at its highest level ...bad idea.  Perhaps it is youthful exuberance but I suggest a more patient and consiliatory approach to settling grievances than a mad rush to "political slaughter" of the sport.


Your post dated August 10, 2:31PM was very interesting but it seems to me that your "known facts" appear to be not very well known.

11 Aug 2011 12:56 PM
Terry M.

Just a correction re Woodbine hosting the BC the first (and only) time. I said it was originally scheduled for Arlington but changed to Woodbine, but my memory was wrong. My apologies. That was 15 years ago.

That said, the BC at Woodbine was, by all accounts, very successful, so why has Woodbine never hosted it again?

11 Aug 2011 2:32 PM

Will, have any of your horses run on Salix?  Or worse yet has one run without it and bled?  Global warming that might be the cause of so many more bleeders. Just kidding but the environment does have an influence on a lot of the bleeders now.

11 Aug 2011 2:55 PM
Criminal Type

Here's an idea, Let the Fan's pick the site every other year.  Every other year the BC would put forth a list of 5 tracks for the fans to vote on. For instance 2012 Santa Anita, 2013 anternate, 2014 Belmont/Saratoga/Aquaduct, 2015 alternate, 2016 Churchill Downs and so on. Ok, it's not a perfect plan but it's a thought.

Personally, I would like to see Saratoga and Gulfstream Park host again. No one can argue that the weather is bad in Hallendale Beach in the fall. Same goes with Oaklawn Park, Lone Star Park and Fair Grounds. The weather is always going to be a variable no matter where it is held, no one can predict that a year in advance.

Whatever the answer is, they (the BC board) have to make it fair for everyone, the horseman, the horses and the fan's.

11 Aug 2011 3:25 PM

Sorry it's Eugene Klein.  He also owned the Seattle Supersonics for a while as well as Open Mind. has Rancho Santa Fe listed as the 13th highest priced zip code (92067) with the median home price of 3,055,740.

Arcadia (Santa Anita) is listed as the 280th highest priced zip code and comes in with a median home price of 883,890 in what has been a "down market."  You pay for "pretty."

Read between the lines on the Dodger Stadium divorce and it's about Chavez Ravine and the land surrounding it and not the team.  Thanks to Mccourt the team is now worth next to nothing and bleeding money.  The seats are empty.

My point.  The land has simply become too valuable.

Stronach needs the Breeder's Cup to prop up the investment for 2-3 years until the market turns.  The last time Santa Anita went on the Chapter 11 block there were no viable offers.

11 Aug 2011 3:56 PM
Stellar Jayne

Bob From Boston, I'm sorry you lost money betting on me, please don't be bitter.  Thank you for having faith in my racing prowess.  How could you not love a big, gorgeous, strapping gray filly like me?  I couldn't be perfect every race, but I did win 9 times and placed 2nd twice and 3rd three times.  Didn't you bet on any of those? I did win against Ashado and Society Selection sometimes.  If you notice my record - I didn't do all that well in California, but I did race great on the east coast in NY and KY - fancy that especially given all the talk now about the BC being held at SA all the time - how foolish can humans be?  Tsk, tsk, tsk!

11 Aug 2011 4:28 PM

Zookeeper- I have not heard that they train with it, but it would not be illegal as long as it is out of the bloodstream by race day.

11 Aug 2011 4:36 PM
Mike Relva


While alot of your last comments are good,as for saying Repole is "youthful",he's forty two. Earlier stated I agreed with everything,now rethinking it.

11 Aug 2011 5:57 PM
Carlos in Cali

I'm just thankfull this great Sport is bigger than Mike and his ego,his last quoted paragraph says it all.

And I'm also thankfull for one more thing: IT'S FOOTBALL SEASON!!

BTW Draynay, BBaffert's Saddleranch will crush Uncle Mo in a few weeks.You heard it here first.

11 Aug 2011 7:03 PM
calico cat

Footlick- Thank you for attempting to answer my question. I'm not concerned about the legality of it's use but about the long-term effect it has on horses. You know far more than I do about European racing. If you haven't heard of its use in training (over there) maybe what I keep reading in comments is not actually based on facts.

11 Aug 2011 7:19 PM
Dawn in MN

Determining where to hold the Breeders Cup seems pretty simple to me.  Hold it at the track with the best safety record.  I don’t care which coast.  The Breeders Cup will be held whether certain owners boycott the races or not.  I don’t have a coast bias; I live smack in the middle of the continent.  

Breeders Cup, Bleeders Cup?  

Pants On Fire.  I'm not a veterinarian, I'm not an avid handicapper, I'm just a lowly fan who happens to love watching the athletic competition of horses and jockeys in Thoroughbred racing.   The question of whether or not to make changes to medication policies should hinge on facts, not opinions.  I for one have to admit that I would be horrified by the sight of a horse bleeding after a race.  I agree with those who state that the trait should be bred-out.  If the Breeders Cup is to live up to its name it needs to showcase the best and future breeding lines.    

Unfortunately Thoroughbred racing is without a commissioner or other national authority.  What has been created is a Breeder’s Cup in which we may not see all of the stars, because of the lasix ban.  The drugs that I would like to see banned are the ones that mask pain, or place the horse’s health at risk, as determined by science, pure and simple.  

11 Aug 2011 8:56 PM
Paula Higgins

Agreed Dr Drunkinbum. Draynay, I am with you on Uncle Mo. Here's hoping he does well and stays healthy.

11 Aug 2011 10:32 PM

Zookeeper- I do not know any European trainers personally, but my gut feeling is that most of them would not administer Lasix to their horses even in training.  They use it here for the race to "level the playing field" as there still is a stigma of first time Lasix use making a horse jump up in performance.  But as far as wide-spread use of it in training, my gut tells me no.   Might there be a few trainers who do, sure, but I doubt it is in wide use.  If somebody can prove me wrong, I'm all ears.  If any trace of it showed up in the post race test the horse would be disqualified and I am assuming major sanctions would be taken against the trainer.

11 Aug 2011 11:22 PM
Rhonda Slaughter

consider me stupid on the knowledge of all the medications or what goes on but what makes a horse bleed during a race anyway? if the meds help why not use them? from what my limited knowledge is if a horse is running and tastes blood dont they pull up? somebody help me understand.

11 Aug 2011 11:29 PM

Dawn in MN,

You most certainly are not a lowly fan!  You are a vital, integral part of the core fan base.  Even at the Medication Summit they recognized that the core fans are an intelligent, educated group with the love and welfare of the thoroughbred at heart, and that you have.  If you dissect racing down to it's core what do you get, all of us!  We all may not be billionaires with addresses with zip codes in Arcadia, Ca. but we have intelligence, the right passion for the sport, and the sincere concern for the well-being of our thoroughbreds.  You made some valid points too that count as much as anyone's so you're a superfan, an elite fan, an empowered fan who can possibly aid in bringing about positive industry changes.

11 Aug 2011 11:53 PM

Saturday go with Boisterous.  He finished right behind Gio in his last and need the race coming off the layoff. JR gets the mount and he is on fire.  Remember he has won 4 of his last 6 and seems to only be getting better with each race.  100 WP good luck.

12 Aug 2011 12:47 AM
The Deacon

Jason:  I totally agree with you, Santa Anita would be the perfect place to host the Breeder's Cup. Kentucky has the Derby, Maryland has the Preakness, saratoga has the Whitney, Alabama and the Travers among others. Belmont Park has the Belmont Stakes, the Jockey Club Gold Cup and again many other top races. Horse racing enthusiast need an identity for the Breeder's Cup. When I watched those races from Churchill Downs last year it felt odd, not normal, like it was all out of place. When we see the Twin Spires we think of Seattle Slew, Secretariat, Spectacular Bid and many more. November in kentucky is usually cold and dreary, not the best place to hold the industries Super Bowl. West coast horses go east, east coast horses should come west, that makes for a fair and equal playing field. This isn't about Stronach, Repole or anyone else. it's about the continued existence of our hallowed sport. Dr. Fager came west, Spectacular Bid did so as well as did Seattle Slew. It perks and peaks the interest of all. I have been to many Breeders Cups at Santa Anita, those are wonderful memories and no one left disappointed. The weather is awesome, the park itself is breathtaking and the back drop of the San Gabriel Mountains is beautiful. Many great posts here, all of you are passionate about our sport, this is so great to luck to all.

12 Aug 2011 1:36 AM

I am a BC winning trainer based in Europe.Horse won on 1st time lasix.

1) I train a very few(about 5%) horses on lasix..generally they  aren't ones that are then bred from(which is what this is all about). 2) There won't be any horses in the winners circle with blood pouring from the nose..bleeders are the ones that finish down the track.(which is why they don't get bred from everywhere else).

3)why would a horse bleeding turn off existing fans? Presumably these are the same fans that weren't turned off by 40 horses being vanned of the dirt track at the last Santa Anita meet.(compared to 8 on pro ride 12 mths previously). If bleeding becomes that much of an issue, ban the horses that do it more than once,as happens in Australia.

3) This blogs author wrote that Europeans are inconsistent because we use lasix in US...It costs approx £40k to get a horse to the gate for a BC race from Europe.Do you really think that we aren't going to use everything that the US horses do?

4) The idea that it is unfair on an East coast horse having to travel for what you claim is a world championship. What about the europeans coping in 08/09??

For the record,Woodbine is much the best track in America..holding it there would make it a genuine world championship

12 Aug 2011 3:55 AM
Smoking Baby

 Alex'sBigFan...It's 4:30 or so in California.  I just woke up.  Like most days I start my day by checking out what Jason and the rest of you folks have been up to.  I've got to say I loved your post to Dawn in MN.  WAY cool.  What a good way to begin my day.  Have a GREAT weekend everyone.

12 Aug 2011 7:42 AM

They wanted this race since the start of the year and here it is and Gio Ponti will win.  Traveling is not easy and Gio will take advantage and win The Arlington for the 2nd time.  200 WP on Gio !

12 Aug 2011 11:08 AM
calico cat

Footlick- Thank you. I'm all ears also for any information. I searched around and all I could find is that it is permitted to use while training in some countries but not in others like Germany, for example. (Why am I not surprised?).  

12 Aug 2011 11:19 AM
Dr Drunkinbum

Mike Repole said he'll make it out to BC 2012 if Ted From LA sings New York, New York in the winner's circle just prior to the first BC race at SA.

12 Aug 2011 11:20 AM

I've been fortunate enough to be able to attend BC's at Churchill, Santa Anita and Hollywood Park.  I would much rather attend the BC at Santa Anita.  The weather's better, you can actually see the races and you don't have 1/20 of the smoke blowing in your face all day.  

I went to Churchill last year and had to watch most of the races on the tote board.  I might as well stayed home and kept warm. As a fan, Santa Anita and Hollywood Park were more enjoyable experiences.

Europeans typically have travelled and travelled well out to California.  In the past at least, airlines such as KLM, Air France and Cargolux provided non stop flights from their respective bases on cargo or combi planes.  Horses do very well on these flights as seen by the results in prev. Breeder's Cups.

I would like to have the BC go back to Belmont or Monmouth.  Monmouth seemed to do a very good job in 2007. They just were horribly unlucky with the weather.  But bad weather can happen anywhere.

As for the posters wanting the BC to go to Del Mar, Arlington and Woodbine.. how quickly we forget. People were complaining and threatening boycotts over Santa Anita's synthetic surfaces.  RIghtly or wrongly, I doubt we will see DM, Arlington or Woodbine hold the BC because of their synthetic surfaces.  

12 Aug 2011 12:00 PM
Karen in Texas

Zookeeper---I do not have any personal knowledge of European training practices, but have followed the editorials and articles here on BH pertaining to race day meds, including Lasix. (I do have knowledge of furosemide, anabolic steroids, etc., in general, though, as a human healthcare professional.) Apparently, in France there is no training or racing on Lasix allowed. In Australia (not Europe, I know) horses can train on it. In Britain it looks as though they can train on it as long as it's cleared by race day. The British Horseracing Authority has a site with tons of very specific information on it including charts with many meds and all restrictions that apply--even approximate clearance times. Eric Mitchell has written several articles on BH condensing the current status of race day meds here in the U.S. and in other jurisdictions. I'll try to link one here.

12 Aug 2011 12:18 PM

before lasix, horses that bled from the nose at least three times were banned from the sport for their own protection, and yet racing thrived for more than century in this country at a sublime and premier level, culminating in the fastest times ever run in the KY derby and the belmont stakes, along with a record setting pace in the preakness

so, mr, repole's fears notwithstanding, i have no doubt that the sport will surely survive-the return to lasix-free racing--and more importantly, that the breed will almost surely prosper because of it.

lasix is a diuretic. period.

diuretics do one thing--remove fluid through chemically induced dehydration. that is all they do and all they can do. lasix does not stop bleeding. it hides it.

lasix dehydrates a horse putting considerable strain on the horse's kidneys, actively leaching calcium and potassium out of its bloodstream through excessive urination.

potassium deficiency is one of the most common side effects of lasix use. the effect of even mild potassium deficiency on performance is fatigue, muscle weakness, and cramping. strenuous exercise, such as might be experienced in race or in training, further depletes potassium, compounding the issue.

moreover, dehydration itself, even if mild, severely decreases athletic performance, and strains all of the internal organs in the process. the dehydration caused by the lasix is compounded by a horse sweating before a race.

the great irony is that the cult of lasix is probably directly responsible for most of the ills currently decried by the racing industry: the truncated racing careers, the current brittleness of the breed, and the perception that each new crop is slower and less consistent than those that preceded them.

bleeding is caused by physical rupturing of blood vessels in the lungs. lasix has no pharmacological way of preventing such ruptures from occurring. what it does, is mask the fact that the rupture has occurred by acting as a chemical sponge to soak up (or rather dry out) the tell-tale blood. the result is that horses that should be resting and healing, "scope clean" and continue to train and race, causing irreparable damage to their lungs and their ability to race in the future. and those poor horses that bleed through lasix, those poor horses are the ones who are so unfit for the task they are assigned that not even lasix is strong enough to clean up the scene of the crime--because every time you read that a horse bled through lasix, what you really are reading is that the level of pulmonary rupturing and the amount  of blood released thereby, was catastrophic, so much so that the almighty lasix couldn't do it's job.  

but even in non-catastrophic cases, overtime, the continued rupturing creates scar tissue throughout the horse's lungs, greatly reducing its performance ability and quality of life, by permanently impairing its lung capacity, ergo, its ability to breathe. but hey, the horse always scoped clean and there was no unsightly blood oozing out its nose, so what's the problem, right?

further, it is not the case that all horses inevitably rupture the blood vessels in their lungs when they run at their maximum effort. bleeding is a function of three things: level of Exertion, level of Fitness, Genetic propensity to bleed, and Athletic ability. you can think of it as B = [(F X G X A)/E] + 1. As long as a horse stays below this threshold (below the plus one), it won't bleed (or rupture). And really, what is the purpose of horse racing, if not to determine the horse with the highest natural threshold for a given distance, i.e. the highest [(F X G X A)/E]?

most horses will naturally reduce their level physical exertion to the level just below their pain threshold--which is the purpose pain serves. the bleeding is an emergency override for a horse who is not, or cannot, respond naturally to the pain it feels by slowing down. the blood released into the lungs by the rupture, doesn't actually cause mild suffocation, instead, it interferes with the oxygen uptake, which immediately and effectively reduces the horses ability to perform, forcing it to slow down.

my own belief is that horses who were running on steroids, were running faster than their natural (F X G X A)/E threshold, which "necessitated" using lasix, or else almost all the horses running would have been banned as bleeders, especially the ones posting the most impressive wins. that led to breeding programs not being able to identify and weed-out bleeding propensity from the bloodstock (and worse, actively, even if possibly unwittingly, breeding closet bleeders hailed as the best horses of their generation). so now, in the post-steroid age, many of the "best" horses running have inherited  low (F X G X A)/E thresholds and possibly even the genetic propensity to bleed, further "necessitating" the use of lasix.

if people can watch a horse breakdown on the track and not abandon the sport, they can handle seeing bloody nostrils. and if they see bloody nostrils, they will 1) demand that the "3 times and your retired rule" be re-instituted; (2) that trainers make sure they are racing fit horses, (3) that breeders are breeding strong, healthy horses, and 4) that race stewards are making sure that horses are sound to race. bloody nostrils keep the problem in the sunlight, and sunlight disinfects all.

but i wouldn't expect anyone who made his living selling sugar water as a health food to a nation with 30% obesity rates to agree with me. and i'm ok with that.

12 Aug 2011 12:24 PM
Brian Appleton

Someone earlier mentioned that it would be "unfair to the fans" to have a rival to the Breeders' Cup in NY. How "fair" is it to fans in the East that the Breeders' Cup is once again across the country from them. How are lower/middle class fans supposed to be able to make the trip to see the championships in this economy? If there's any "unfair" going on, it's with the Breeders' Cup location.

12 Aug 2011 12:24 PM
kelso fan

Just one final comment (from me) on Breeders Cup venues from a fan perspective.  For those of you fortunate enough to be able to get tickets at the smaller tracks - Arlington, Lone Star, Woodbine - how good was your view?   Were you actually able to see the races?  Not being familiar with Lone Star I stopped by the track when I was on a business track so I would know what seats to apply for.  It appeared that the entire grandstand (what there was of it) was reserved for owners, breeders, trainers and the lowly fans were relegated to temporary seating on the turns and no access to the paddocks.  Friends who were longtime fans were only able to get clubhouse turn tickets at ARlington and saw nothing.  While the smaller venues might try to do a great job, the lack of space is definitely a drawback.  And if we are going to talk about track safety, weather definitely plays into it. And as far as ease of Europeans shipping, they don't seem to have a problem shipping all over the world.  Maybe we could attract a few more Asian and AUstralian horses in CA - after all it is supposed to be the World Championships.

12 Aug 2011 12:50 PM
calico cat


I'm delighted to hear from someone who trains in Europe. Tell us, what happens, on the race course, to horses who have trained on Lasix and have to go without it on race day? Are you concerned about the long term effect of Lasix on horses who train with it? Sorry to badger you with more questions, but it's very difficult to get first hand information. Most of what we get is the repetition of what someone has heard. Thank you so much for responding!  

12 Aug 2011 12:53 PM
Smoking Baby

 Rory.  GREAT input and food for thought.  Thank you.  Woodbine and Arlington both have synthetic main tracks so many people would be whining if they ran the Breeder's Cup at those venues.  Or is it only the California synthetic tracks that everyone seems to have an issue with?

12 Aug 2011 1:18 PM

Maybe during the lasix ban "trial period", we can learn to train at the horses speed...not ours.  These are animals, and each horse developes at different times. If it is not "his time to shine", than he is not ready.  Its that simple.  Sure its a financial stress factor..but thats the game. No one likes to change and everyone thinks the way they do things is the only way.  But I think if we can keep an open mind and give it a realistic amount of time for everyone to adjust, the big picture will come into view. Do it for the future of the sport..and of course..the horse.

12 Aug 2011 2:03 PM

Rory,  Thank you so much for your expert contribution to this discussion.  I'm interested to know what it is about Woodbine that makes you feel it's the best track in America.  What specific characteristics are part of your evalutaion.

Papillion, WOW! I like that.  Don't pull any punches.

12 Aug 2011 2:11 PM
calico cat

Karen in Texas,

Like you, I've read everything I could get my hands on about Lasix. Some of it answered the questions I had, most of it precipitated more questions and that's where I hit a brick wall. Hopefully, Rory (or some other kind Euro horseman) will get back to us with more first-hand info, not about rules and regulations but about the "whys" and "hows" of using Lasix in training while forbidding it on race day.

If it is harmful to horses, as papillon's informative comment described, wouldn't it stand to reason that administering it should be illegal at all times?

I know I'm getting tiresome, so I'll stop asking and keep reading. The answers are out there somewhere.  

12 Aug 2011 2:44 PM

Rory- brilliant!  Thank you so much for your input.

Zookeeper- in Germany, from what I understand, a horse cannot stand stud if it has EVER run on amy medication at all.

12 Aug 2011 3:51 PM

Mike Relva,

I didn't know Repole's age but he certainly is youthful in comparison to a lot of the folks who run racing.  Anyway the real point is that his remarks seemed impulsive and immature to me.

Carlos & Draynay,

Flashpoint is the one they'll all have to beat in the King's Bishop.  Uncle Mo will have to be improved to outrun this grey beast at seven furlongs.  Also there is a Godolphin owned son of Bernardini named Bufum that sounded a warning last weekend.  He could conceivably also be a contender for the Travers.    

12 Aug 2011 4:10 PM

papillon- well said!

12 Aug 2011 4:17 PM
Dr Drunkinbum


  Superb, brilliant post and your name is one of my favorite all time books. Fabulous job explaining what lasix has done to the quality of American racing.

12 Aug 2011 5:01 PM

Thank you Dr Papillon.  I'm assuming you are a veterinarian and one who was in charge of the South African study on Salix?

As for me?  I think I'll stick with the findings of one of the most preeminent Equine veternarians in the country and who specializes in race horses, another who has been in practice for close to 50 years in equine medicine and is a former track veterinarian and another who has a PHD in veterinary medicine from Cornell and is a former professor and Equine specialist now working with the government on special projects.  Seems like that's a better idea than reading the cut and paste of an anonymous poster who probably doesn't own a race horse or a horse at all and has never seen one bleed.

12 Aug 2011 8:42 PM
Mary Zinke

I'll take the word of paillon who is putting the individual horse as well as the future of the Thoroughbred breed first over track veterinarians who have a vested interest in keeping as many horses in their care running as possible. Everyone who loves racing should educate themselves about the Lasix issue as much as papillon obviously has.  Skip, I agree. A race horse shouldn't bleed. Or race.

12 Aug 2011 11:13 PM
The Deacon

Congrats Mr. had some good ones.

13 Aug 2011 3:10 AM
Dr Drunkinbum


   Excellent points, especially about not stsnding in the winners circle becasue the bleeder will be finishing up the track. I feel the same way about some horses on Lasix in the heat. They are dehydrated when they should be hydrated and are finishing up the track because of the Lasix. To me the greatest thing is that they at least are starting to ban it in 2yo over here to their their bodies a much better chance to develop. You guys do it right over there and I hope we can follow suit.

13 Aug 2011 10:51 AM

Well said Papillion.

13 Aug 2011 1:05 PM
Mike Relva


As  indicated changing my opinions regarding what Repole stated. I spoke before thinking about it. Your comments are more in line.

13 Aug 2011 1:48 PM

If it's not, to quote Papillon, "the cult of Lasix" that's causing truncated racing careers and the alarming brittleness of the breed, then what's the culprit for this undeniable trend ? Like to see a poll conducted on Bloodhorse with the following two choices: would you prefer (1) the sight of bloody nostrils and the reinstating of the bleed three times = forced retirement rule or (2) the continuation of the use of Lasix

13 Aug 2011 1:50 PM

Woodbine is the best track in America because it has no bias'..turf or all weather.Sweeping bends and a long straight.

How can you call an event 'the world championships' and run two thirds of it on a surface that no other major nation uses,for training or racing?

Zookeeper.. if they aren't bleeding at home ,they are less likely to do so racing.

No concern about long term..generally it works and we phase out lasix over time(not long generally)..or it doesn't and we retire them.

Dr Drunk.. We all hope(and are sure)the US racing industry will improve with these measures,...I am selling very few horses to California these days!

13 Aug 2011 2:26 PM

Mary, it's inherent in horses. Part of the way they're made anatomically. Has to do with the vessels rupturing in the lungs and I will take the word of the vets I know none of whom are currently track vets and the one who was did that 40 or more years ago, before Salix etc was allowed or maybe even invented. That was when I saw one bleed badly. Saw others that did too.

What is funny is there are a lot of trainers who don't use Salix on first time starters, only if they need it. You never know when and if they will bleed though.

I am like Zookeeper and wonder why it is acceptable to train on Salix but not run on it.

13 Aug 2011 2:29 PM

this is a better article (the one I meant to link to):

the other artilcle is good too, but this one is more on point.

13 Aug 2011 3:40 PM
Linda in Texas

Off topic of salix and BC for a minute.

I am loving the ponies escorting the participants in The Arlington Races today, Saturday, August 13, their manes and tails are braided and ribboned, their harnesses are adorned with flowers and ribbons. That is a colorful and special touch. Bless the Groomers. I am noticing your handiwork, thank you and know you all are appreciated at all tracks. I love the outrider ponies. My fave is a big brown and white spotted fella who out rides at Gulf Stream Park.

I would love to see Gio Ponti win the race today. So it is moi and Draynay. Imagine that?

Hope you all win at the windows.

13 Aug 2011 4:24 PM

According to Satish Sanan on Steve Byk's show, the choice of Santa Anita is the best financially for the B.C.  Given stud fee reductions and the reality of the economy as well as the liklihood of future bipartisan govt. gridlock, I am OK. with the choice of Santa Anita as a site. (All things equal, I prefer rotation of the site.)

 The BC is the best thing in horse racing after the Triple Crown, and it needs to keep purses competitive with the rest of the world (Japan, Hong Kong, and Dubai in particular).

13 Aug 2011 9:27 PM

Wow, the Euros kicked our butts today.  Can we be surprised two Irish Derby winners swept the Million and Secretariat?  And former Euro and former Secretariat winner, Winchester, took down the Sword Dancer.  

I was proud of Dubawi Heights in the Beverly D.  She was a maiden 9 months ago and made her stakes debut at Hollywood just over 3 months ago.

By the way, how is the Sword Dancer still a gr.1?  It's been run on Million weekend for a while now, and the Million always draws the superior field.  

Woodbine has the best turf course in North America(Arlington is up there).  I always enjoyed going to Woodbine(probably went 15 times) when living in the Midwest, but it's just too small to be hosting a Breeder's Cup.  

From southeast Michigan I drove to Breeder's Cups at Churchill, Belmont, and Monmouth, but I didn't go when it was only 4 hours away in Arlington because of price(as in any seat that would give a person viewing access to the track or paddock was far too expensive).

Churchill is great because if you work hard enough(and are a little taller), you can always get a view of the horses in the paddock(even on Derby day).  The problem is getting a view of the track.

I haven't been to Belmont since 06', but I always found it really easy moving around and seeing the horses in the paddock and on track.  Even for Smarty's Belmont(with 120k), I was able to walk up to the 2nd and 3rd floors of the grandstand and get a standing space, behind the last row of seats, that gave me a complete view of the track.  Because the track is so big, I always found a place where I could stand and watch the races.

Santa Anita is the same.  They rebuilt the apron so that it was tiered, and even those away from the rail could still see the track. As a fan, Santa Anita and Belmont were/are the best.

14 Aug 2011 4:42 AM
Pedigree Ann

Skyfire, keeping our purses competitive will only lead to more days like yesterday - our supposed top turf horses beaten pointless by the second string from overseas. Something has depressed the quality and soundness of US racing stock and legal (and concealed illegal) raceday drug use is one of the chief suspects. By the way, horses bred in the US but trained and raced overseas (with no legal raceday drugs) show no such decline, eg. Raven's Pass.

The BC is not a World's Championship and never was. Full stop. This title comes from the mind of a publicity flack who decided that the event needed 'pumping up' to appeal to masses. It was an absurd decision at the time and remains 'snigger-worthy' to the rest of the world. Typical American boastfulness.

Oh, and by the way. Several major South American countries conduct  major racing on dirt/sand, 'Arena', particularly Argentina, whose Derby and Oaks are run at Palermo, the dirt track. Of course, Oct/Nov is the time that those classics are run, along with the Arc of South America, the Carlos Pelligrini, so you won't see any Argentine-trained runners shipping north.

14 Aug 2011 8:09 AM
Dawn in MN

re papillon's link and the bitless bridle....

good info, but lost on the Thoroughbred racing crowd.

I wholly endorse the bitless bridle.

For the past year I have been fortunate to spend time grooming and riding a couple of horses for their owners.  The horses are owned by a couple who have busy lives.  They weren't able to spend as much time as they would like with their horses.

One of the horses was in the habit of jerking his head/nose down and back toward his neck/chest.  It looked like some kind of strange tic.  He did it all the time while in a bitted bridle.  

After doing some research I bought a bitless bridle for him.  He was so improved in that bridle!  Without a bit you actually have to engage the horse's mind and have a conversation with the horse using the other riding aids.  This horse happens to have a very good mind, and knows the other riding aids, so he responded well.  

I am sold on the bitless bridle.  I think it is a humane, and respectful way to direct a horse.  

I seriously doubt that racing will adopt the bitless bridle.  People like the feeling of control that comes with a bit.  The bit allows them to just drag the horse around by the mouth.  The debate on the obvious benefits of the bitless bridle is a can of worms that people in racing won't even consider opening.

Now for the other horse I was grooming and exercising, he is a very hot game horse.  He prefers to work "on the bit."  He didn't do as well in the bitless bridle.  It was hard to keep him focused.  I am convinced that with work and practice he could have made the transition, but his personality, and my lack of experience prevented me from completely trusting him in the bitless bridle, so we used the bit.

While we're on the topic of bits let's talk about another piece of metal on the horse.

Shoes are another way that the Thorughbred is removed from a more natural way of going.  If it were possible it would be so much better to get rid of the shoes too.

Now I'll be branded a heretic, and banned from commenting.

14 Aug 2011 8:59 AM

On Lasix, I'm wondering how much of an increase you would see in bleeders run on dirt than on turf.If there was a way a study could be conductive I think it would be extremely informative as to if the cause of the bleeding was more the debris the horses breath it rather than just weak blood vessels.

A study would give us much more to go on, rather than having people just randomly saying an uninformed yes or no to the drug.

14 Aug 2011 11:19 AM

How much is our dependence on raceday meds determined by people who benefit from their use?  As Pedigree Ann pointed out, they run on dirt in South America and in South Africa.  They also run on dirt in Japan.  And no meds are allowed.  Are the dirt particles different?  Maybe we can import their dirt since it seems that their dirt horses do not need the meds.

On a side note, lots of chatter on the Euro blogs about "doped-up" Euros winning at Arlington and lots of praise for Ziyarid's race since de Royer-Dupre did not run him on Lasix, may calling him the best in the race because of the "dope" that Treasure Beach was on.  There are alot of Euros who do believe it is a performance enhancer, and results like this just reinforce that view.

14 Aug 2011 1:18 PM
Mike Relva


Regarding BC that's your opinion,not everyone's ....sorry.

14 Aug 2011 3:42 PM

Regarding the BC venue, they should do whatever is best for horse racing with consideration to parity.  With weather having become quite unpredictable, there's no guarantee it won't rain in So. Cal. late Oct. or early Nov. and I think it's a proven point the midwest and East coast tracks handle bad weather better than Santa Anita. Personally, I don't think any one track or locale should benefit from the tourist dollars the BC generates.

With regards to lasix, racing needs to do what is best for the horse.  Right now it appears to me that a large number of race horses need lasix to allow them to be competitive.  The need for lasix has been bred in to the modern thoroughbred over generations and will take generations to breed out.  I don't think any abrupt rule change benefits the horse or the sport, though I would certainly like to see a gradual phase-out of all drugs, including lasix.  

14 Aug 2011 5:39 PM
Stellar Jayne

Papillon - Thank you for that wonderful exposition on lasix and its impact on the thoroughbred!  Quite a few times I have seen horses returning from a race bleeding from the nose. It is easy to spot as they are led from the track to the backstretch.  For owners and trainers to continue denying the negative impact lasix has on the thoroughbred's health and breeding is disingenuous, disrespectful those in their care, dishonest and devoid of 'doing the right thing' by these world class athletes.

Hopefully the mindless and uncaring comments of those who side with Repole finally get it!

14 Aug 2011 8:28 PM
Stellar Jayne

Papillon - I just read the article on the site you provided.  My goodness what our equine athletes have to endure for our pleasure!  I wonder if aphsyxia contributes to breakdowns on the track or heart attacks?  Could the break down/bad steps be linked to it?  Track vets would lose a steady income if lasix was removed.  These are crimes against innocents.

14 Aug 2011 8:46 PM

I'm Cal but Rapole is exactly right on all his point specially o n the lasix issue, does the racing industry want PETA on their back?

14 Aug 2011 9:29 PM

typo on last comment "from"

14 Aug 2011 9:30 PM
Dr Drunkinbum

Dawn in MN

   That was a very enjoyable kibbles and bits post from you. There is no heresy there or anything to ban you with. You'll have to try a lot harder than that to get banned, cannned, or panned here. Speaking of no shoes. That is one of the reasons I mute all pre-race comments from the track video feed or TV. I was going to bet a horse at 48-1 until the commentator said that he was running with no shoes. I said, "No way he's going to win with no shoes." Then he blew by them in the stretch and won. 48 to bloody one !!!!! Lots of cussing. Then cussing and more cussing.

14 Aug 2011 9:44 PM
Bob from Boston

Stellar Jayne, I bet you hard EVERYTIME you lost (including the Oaks) and didn't make it to the track for all your wins.  Best breeders in the business were yours.  I forgive you.

"but i wouldn't expect anyone who made his living selling sugar water as a health food to a nation with 30% obesity rates to agree with me. and i'm ok with that."

papillon 12 Aug 2011 12:24 PM

That is pure poetry.  Not sure of all the issues involved, but I bow to this piece of writing.  Can you call writing a "piece?"

Ted from LA is alive.  I saw him at the Arlington Million.  It turns out, he was just sleeping late.  What a great event that was.  Dr. D isn't really a doctor.  He is a nurse.  Is it wrong that I like you people more than the real people in my life?

14 Aug 2011 10:59 PM

Mike- I agree with Pedigree Ann.  I can't consider the BC a World Championship either.  Sorry.  It is mostly American horses with some Europeans participating, and an occasional Japanese horse.  Compare it with Dubai and you will see the limitations. They get horses from all over the world in Dubai for the Carnival and World Cup day.  I love watching the BC, but it is not the world championships of racing.

14 Aug 2011 11:14 PM

robinm- there is no guarantee with weather period but the odds are that the weather will be much more pleasant in Southern California than Illinois, Kentucky or New York at that time of the year.

14 Aug 2011 11:19 PM

there is no reason for repole to be mad.... just like assmussen was/is making excuses to come out to the west coast...if you think about it out of the 26 yrs of the BC only 9 have been ran out in the west coast... you never hear the west coast horse owners making excuces to go out to the east on big race days... the lasix idk whatever is best for the horse should be done

15 Aug 2011 12:11 AM


It is very, very unlikely that it will rain late October/early Nov in So Cal.  We go months without rain.  October is typically very dry and warmer, with a number of "Santa Ana" wind days(hot and dry wind from the desert).  Like I wrote earlier, the biggest concern is that it could be too hot on BC Day(ironically, it was 99 degrees for the 03' BC, but the Euros did just fine-High Chaperrel, Islington, Six Perfections).

15 Aug 2011 12:59 AM

Stellar Jayne:  There are 2 legitimate sides to the lasix issue.  As I mentioned in my earlier post, right or wrong, modern thoroughbreds, by and large, need lasix to run competitively.  What would happen to all these thoroughbreds that could not be raced if lasix were abruptly withheld?  If lungs prone to bleeding is hereditary, they shouldn't be bred either.  What on earth would become of all of these horses?

15 Aug 2011 2:35 AM
Pedigree Ann

Mike, some of the best horses in the world come out of the Southern Hemisphere (So You Think, Invasor, Black Caviar, Choisir, etc.) yet you will never see horses who are trained in those countries in the BC. Because i) the BC takes place during the spring of the year when their major carnivals are in full swing and ii) the BC's nominating structure has always worked against non-Northern Hemisphere horses.

(Super Aussie 2yo Sepoy made his 3yo debut last weekend and looked good winning. He's an early foal(late September)so one might fear his prowess at 2 was just an age advantage, but "he's ba-ack.")

Moreover, Japanese horses have been showing that they are not far behind the best of Europe and Australasia (if at all). The number of top Japanese runners to have run in the BC since its inception can be numbered on the fingers of one hand.

If there is anything that is a World Championship, it the Dubai World Cup carnival.

15 Aug 2011 10:24 AM
Stellar Jayne


I'm sorry, but I disagree with you - there are no two sides to the lasix issue for thoroughbred athletes.  The bleeders should be identified when they are weanlings or yearlings and new careers found for them in eventing, dressage, therapeutic helpers, as trail rides, etc.  Their sires, or dams who are known bleeders should have limited matings.  The goal here is a healthier horse and progeny!  Read the science Papillon provided and what your eyes view when you are up close and personal when the horses return to the backside after a race.

15 Aug 2011 11:42 AM
Linda in Texas

robinm - (answer to your last question) :(

They would be expendable in the most egregious manner.

Which brings on another volatile subject. Too many horses being bred to be culled and whittled down to the precious few that are not expendable.

That said my favorite races over the week end were: Stopshoppingmaria, My Miss Aurelia and Cozy Rosie. Good girls all!

I am fond of More Than Ready,Smart Strike and Pleasantly Perfect, (sires) i just wish i could live up to Pleasantly Perfect's name.

15 Aug 2011 11:53 AM

Go ahead and boycott SA, and ruin this sport even more than all the drugs have!

15 Aug 2011 1:17 PM
Brenda from Texas

Luv ya Uncle Mike - I'm glad that the man's not afraid to voice his opinon - We have 2 tracks down here in TX with great Nov weather -take your pick - Y'all come on down - we'll throw a real good Breeder's Cup howdown - YEE HAW

Seriously - racing needs more owners like Mike & no more monopolies on hosting the races - spread the wealth around - it's only fair to all involved  

15 Aug 2011 2:03 PM

Thankfully it looks like Lasix is on it's way out. And yes, cruel as it sounds, so long to the bleeders (I shamefully raced a bleeder in the early 90s who was stellar - if you can call cleaning up condition races that). She was a nice mare, soft mouth for a racer and thankfully was still a dressage prospect after she did a hairline fracture of the front left ankle when she was 4. Too bad her career as a dressage horse didn't start earlier - thanks to Lasix and my own short sightedness, greed, it was delayed. For some horses, with Lasix gone it will start a more pleasant career sooner. Others it will bring about their sad demise sooner. The big picture is there will be less unhealthy horses overall in just a generation or two. But even then, those non-bleeders who just aren't that fast will still need second's not a fix all for the woes of the sport but is a step in the right direction.  

Now can we get a thread going to talk about Travers day? Mo has had 2 bullets prepping for the KB same day. Is The Factor on course for the KB too?

15 Aug 2011 2:41 PM

Stellar Jayne-Yes!

15 Aug 2011 4:11 PM
Mary Zinke

Skip, A horse that bleeds shouldn't be racing or breeding is what I meant. I don't see why it's okay to use Lasix in training either. The race training should stop if the bleeding persists. The Lasix isn't curing that problem. Just the symptom and only temporarily.

15 Aug 2011 4:40 PM
Mike Relva


Your comment is respectfully noted.

15 Aug 2011 5:46 PM
Dr Drunkinbum

Stellar Jayne

   No wonder they call you stellar. All of your points and posts were excellent, and stellar in the finest sense of the word.

15 Aug 2011 6:34 PM

Jason, if you see Uncle Mo in Saratoga please tell him one of his biggest fans cannot be there for his King's Bishop.  I will be in Morocco and have to miss going.  Tell Mo I will be in "Mo"Rocco, maybe he will get it! Best of luck to him, I'll be there in spirit for him.

Linda in Texas,

If you like the ponies that escort the horses to the track watch Los Alamitos.  There is a very cool white horse with long blond mane and tail that prances it's way out to the track.  It usually wears blue or pink wraps on it's legs. I watch on weekends just to see this horse!  I've written them for it's name and story.  It walks with such a purpose and almost is dancing out there like Zenyatta. I LOVE this horse!


Great post.  I diagree with the semantics of one thing though.  You said that Lasix hides the bleeding.  I wouldn't say it hides it, it is still present since Lasix is not a cure for EIPH, but it effectively by 70% per the Merck manual, reduces the severity of the pulmonary vascular pressure, reducing the bleeding.

15 Aug 2011 7:07 PM

Hello Everyone ;

Reading all the comments, 171 so far, has been of keen interest to me. Although I was shocked at Mr. Repoles reaction to banning lasix , I can undertsand where he is coming from. You see he has never been a horseman. The groom or the breeder.He doesn't live with the horses.

He does not understand the deliterious results of drugs being given to the horses such as lasix. I know he loves horses but must endeavor to learn more about them.

As for the Breeders Cup, I abide by thier decisions because I know they have a bigger picture than I do and also have more facts as to where the best place to run the "world" will be. I know they listen to thier nominators and to the public. Those in disageement should make contact & let thier thoughts be known.

I attended the 2009 in Santa Anita and found the weather and track to be a true joy. The  Race track is well set up to accomodate a large crowd.

I personally feel that the Championships should be held in both the East & the West .

I must say...I would not boycott the Breeders Cup this is not in good sportsmanship nor logic, and no way to pick up a good purse if your lucky enough to have made it with your horse.

And finally...


15 Aug 2011 8:58 PM

@Sunny Farm

you missed the whole point.

its implementing the procedures he is talking about and he has given a very good example of it.

16 Aug 2011 1:34 AM
Dawn in MN

Dr Drunkinbum, thanks for the story on the barefoot winner.  I usually regret sending comments, because I am relatively ignorant.  I love reading the fan comments on Bloodhorse, they always offer a diverse perspective.  I have written some scathing comments in the past, and have had to edit them, because they didn't get added.  

16 Aug 2011 5:58 AM

I say we abolish the Breeders Cup and set up a new series known as the Mike Repole Extravaganza. We can have such races as the Crybaby Stakes, the Whiner Handicap, and the Legend in My Own Mind Classic. As much as Repole actually had a horse who won one race in a Breeders Cup(please ignore the fact that the horse went on to accomplish nothing and appears to have been vastly overhyped), this certainly qualifies him to make the rules from here on out.

Silly me, I have been following people like Jerry Moss and his wife, who win and lose with class, appreciate the sport and their good luck, and let their horses do their talking for them on the track. What was I thinking? Yeah, I'm really going to miss going to New York next year.

16 Aug 2011 10:57 AM

Goldenbroom: @midnightlute, otherwise known as Bob Baffert, says the Factor has been working great and the KB is under consideration. He has also made comments that the track is really deep and one of his horse's fell this week b/c of the track and hurt his rider. Baffert, IMO, would not pass up a shot to run The Factor v MO. Would make for a hell of a day of racing! The only issue is the track.

BTW, the Alabama is going to be a hell of a race as well. Now that Royal Delta is going to run there and not on grass, as well as all of the other nice fillies that just ran in the CCA, should be another good race.

Footlick: had 3 out of 4 in Publichandicapper this week, picked Banned over Treasure Beach, which I knew I lost once I saw it start to rain. nailed Sassy Supreme in the Oaks though. Euro's just did work! Anyone else excited about Goldikiva's half sister???

16 Aug 2011 11:39 AM
tom mallios

my statement is i do not care what repolen or any other owner think of the issues.if you do not like the rules or situation act on is me folks lasix or n lasix is not the issue in these horses.this is the masking agent.the junk they must put into these horses is mind is incredible to hear every commentator state when the majority of pletcher horses come on the track how muscled up they are.and it is true,they all look like body builders.please dont tell me that their operation is the only one that concentrates physical well being.if the commission really cares about the health of horses,lasix the last drug they should be trying to enforce or ban

16 Aug 2011 11:42 AM

Lasix and all meds should be banned this is typical of the I want the golden egg now days of spoiled millionars.

Long term the meds do more harm than good.

I would be as extreme as to say try to get rid of shoes as well.

16 Aug 2011 12:34 PM

JON : Good Morning.

I can't see how I could miss this statement from Mr. Repole when he said :

"Lasix is a neccesary drug to help the horses "

OR : "Lets boycott the Breeders Cup , and start our own races in N.Y.

Have a fine day today !

16 Aug 2011 12:59 PM
calico cat


Your comment wins the grand prize for most sarcastic, funniest post of this whole blog. Be kind to Uncle Mo though, he's been sick. The rest of your comment made me roar with laughter! :)

16 Aug 2011 1:02 PM

When you look into the eye of a horse, you see a depth, a deeper knowing and you see pride & strength & honesty.

When you look into the eye of the horse you will also see your own reflection of what you are.

No one who has ever looked into the eye of any horse would say to drug that horse...IF he is comfortable in what what he sees in his own reflection.

It is time for the Thoroughbred to return to what he truly is.

16 Aug 2011 1:09 PM
Dr Drunkinbum

Sunny Farm

   Hi !!!! Visit more often !!!

Dawn In MN

   I know what you're talking about in regards to self-editing. Thanks. I love your spunk. keep it up.


  Interesting ideas !!!!! Way to amp up the competition fire too by throwing extra logs on the fire. Hope the house doesn't burn down. He might just have that Extravaganza and those Stakes races but I suspect he might change a few of the names.

16 Aug 2011 1:25 PM
Dr Drunkinbum

Sunny Farm

  Yes it is about time to return the thoroughbred to his natural health and glory and magnificence, and splendor isnt't it. Thanks for bringing that up. Triple Crown here we come. In fact I don't even want to see a TC winner now until they are unmedicated.

16 Aug 2011 1:55 PM

Billy- Congrats!  I had Ziyarid over Treasure Beach and Zack Hall over Cape Blanco and Gio.  I thought Ziyarid had it.  I had the tri in the Beverly D, but that wasn't too difficult.  I heard a rumor that Ziyarid was for sale when he was here.  Did you hear anything?

16 Aug 2011 2:04 PM
calico cat

SUNNY FARM - Beautiful comment at 1:09pm. Your love of the horse really comes through.

16 Aug 2011 2:10 PM

I find it amazing that this instant millionaire who has literally and figuratively bought his way into the sport over the past 3 years feels that his opinion because he spends "over 4 million" annually is the better opinion over people who have spent decades in the industry.  Go ahead Mr. Repole- run your horses somewhere else on BC Weekend.  I hope you do & let some of the little guys and home bred veterans win a few.  The BC location is NOT your perogative, I'm sorry to say, nor can you BUY it.  Go build your own track and create your own world championships- that way all your horses will be sure to be black type.  You remeind me of a one man IEAH- simply because you have the moiney does not make you right.  Get over yourself already and come to terms with the fact that the sport wasn't built around you.  

16 Aug 2011 2:18 PM

I did not hear that, but I would not doubt it. They already sent Cape Blano and Stacelita over, might as well have a 3yo Turf star.

i will find out

Anyone else been following Chad Brown at the Spa. I keep betting him and Javier, and they just keep on rolling.

16 Aug 2011 4:18 PM
Stellar Jayne

Racehorse1 - I love that post - too funny for words!  If the horse you were referring to was Uncle Mo, please - he hasn't had a fair chance with his owner and trainer.  I would have been very happy if Jerry and Ann Moss owned him and raced him under their colors.  Maybe a miracle will happen and they will buy him now before the Kings Bishop.

16 Aug 2011 6:04 PM

I have to go in defense of Mike Repole here.  He is a highly successful business entrepreneur who didn't get there by not being involved, hands-on, and proactive.

It sounds like so much jealousy out there.  Mike is spot-on with his ideas and as far as I can see has acted with class on all accounts.  I agree as I have previously stated with most of what he says, maybe the boycott of the BC is a little extreme, but in a way his spunk is reminding me of a reference I made months ago to a movie called "Dreamer" where Dakota Fanning stands up to the holyier-than-thou, stuffed shirts, Breeders' Cup Board!  It seems Mike has done a lot of research and thinking before venturing an opinion.  He seems to have a deep love of family and it is quite evident that love extends to his horse family as well.  Mike is in the game, right in the thick of it, who better than him to know what is really going on?  He's done nothing to say he does not exude as much class as Mr. Moss.  I think he is great, although I would not boycott the BC, I would try to convince them of the rotation idea and use Santa Anita, Belmont Park, Monmouth, Lone Star, Churchill and maybe another.

As far as IEAH goes, Mr. Iavarone is a founder of the Ruffian Equine Hospital in New York. The photo of him holding and hugging Big Brown after that strange Belmont says it all.  These are two men with their hearts in the right places.

16 Aug 2011 7:07 PM
Jason Shandler

Yeah Stellar Jayne, let's hope that happens. This way they can stash him away in California and duck top-level competition all year.

16 Aug 2011 7:20 PM
Linda in Texas

Alex'sBigFan, just reading about Rahy's Attorney being retired due to his injury last week end. The connections are saying they are entertaining the idea of his being a 'TRACK PONY' since he would stand for long periods of time just observing.

I say Hail To The Track Ponies. He might as well since he is a gelding, that's one that won't be darkening the stalls of the breeding shed.

I wish him good luck.

16 Aug 2011 8:14 PM
Linda in Texas

Jason, i wrote something earlier and deleted it. I was not going to submit it.But I really think that the Lasix comments regarding Mike Repole have gotten a little more personal than is healthy. I don't think Mike Repole invented Salix!

Nor is he the first owner to have horses on it.

It appears that some of the comments could only be from those filled with jealousy. Mike was praised when he shared his thoughts about Mo and he was enthusiastic. Now all of a sudden he mentions his thoughts on Lasix or Salix and he is castigated for it.

If the good folks on this blog had such a disdain for the use of the drug, why hasn't more been uttered about it before now?

Not knowing who the posters are with their posting names, i do not know if any other owners post on Jason's blogs. I would be interested to hear from other owners to hear their ideas and feelings about Lasix and Salix as it pertains to their horses.

Mike has been interested in horses since he was 13 living in Queens.

Give him credit where credit is due

and i submit a link to an article written last February in The Sports Section of The New York Times: about Mike.

He is a generous person.

A little good natured ribbing is healthy. But there is a fine line.

His love of horses is with enthusiasm where others are said to be sensitive and caring.

If one has never been to Queens, let me tell you it is just like the movie Grease. Asphalt and apartment buildings. I admire anyone who has reached the success Mike Repole has and he isn't finished, he has just begun.

Good Luck Mike. I hope you don't let a few comments stop your enthusiasm and sharing your world of racing with us.

Sorry Jason, i probably should just keep quiet. But i had to say something.

Thank you.  Linda

16 Aug 2011 8:35 PM
Linda in Texas

Alex'sBigFan - Mega Ditto's to your post of 7:07 PM

You said it better than i did.

Thank you.


16 Aug 2011 8:38 PM
Dr Drunkinbum

Linda In Texas

   You're right. A lot of us have loved Mike Repole's enthusiasm, and passion for the game and have really believed that his openess in interviews, and his willingness to write articles for this blog is very refreshing, and some of us who have loved his openess happen to disagree with him on a few of his statements here. The popularity of the sport and money bet on it has declined so we're not in favor of any type of boycott or monopolies of wagering off site for a particular track by any ADW or anything similar that takes away from the revenue and upsets fans. As far as the medications -I have mentioned it quite a few times on Bloodhorse blogs especially in regards to Lasix, and pain meds being detrimental to the horses and the sport. I think some posts have gone a little too far with their disagreement including mine but it is a very passionate subject. As far as Uncle Mo is concerned I have a concern that with his liver disease that taking meds again on raceday could possibly have an adverse effect on his liver. I hope they consider not giving him meds on raceday as a precaution. He should be talented enough so that it won't hurt his chances of winning eventhough others will be on Lasix. I personally don't believe that everyone has to be on Lasix to "level the playing field" and believe that some horses run worse on it than they would have without it. I think Mike Repole does deserve praise for what he has done for the sport but I think he is wrong about meds, and a BC boycott, and I think he showed that he has a temper and I have to wonder if his article would have been the same if he had a week to think about it. Who knows? I certainly don't believe that the amount of money you put into something where extraordinary living beings are involved gives you the right to do harm to them, and I think he's been talking to the wrong "experts." There are plenty of vets and other experts that have written about the harm that Lasix and other meds do to horses. I feel certain that without the meds we will have a healthier, happier, more productive breed.

16 Aug 2011 9:17 PM

Goodness Linda, Mike could use a little more than good natured ribbing. When people are as plain-spoken as he is they can expect some plain speak in return. Don't get me wrong, I admire quite a few things about Mr Repole, especially his horses. I think that I like him and am sure that he can take anything that Jason is willing to print.

There are a few things that he does that I completely disagree with including the product that he sells in order to purchase his horses. As an athlete, I drank his kool-aid in a race or two and the effects were not as pretty as the not-seen-in-nature colors of the water. The blessing was that I then educated myself better on nutrition and performance. Try a 6-hour race in the sun on corn syrup and get back to me. Papillon said it best in this regards.

The second is his assertion that his investments will suffer if he is not allowed to use lasix. Perhaps he will not make as much money, but certainly the long-term health of his horses will be improved. He needs to choose between the health of his horses and his investments.

His bullying statements regarding the BC are just that and while they are unattractive, don't strike me as anything but posturing, so I have ignored them.

I must thank him for this conversation. It has brought out many people who do not normally write here and good information regarding racing medications. I do wish that a BC spokesperson would give us a statement of the issues regarding lasix that led to this change in policy.

16 Aug 2011 10:27 PM

Linda in Texas,

Thank you.  I second your "Hail To The Track Ponies."  They are just great, and they work so hard all day walking back and forth.  Sometimes they get petted and fed carrots by fans between races.  They seem to know their job and do it so well.  At the Haskell, one had all purple violet flowers down it's mane and it was named Raven.  I had seen Pom Pom in New York at the Belmont.  I have GOT to know the name of the white one at Los Al!!!  Anybody out there know?

17 Aug 2011 12:20 AM

Really, racehorse1 and StellarJayne, does everything have to come back to Zenyatta and the Mosses?

I disagree with Mr. Repole's comments about Lasix but these personal attacks are way out of line.  Why attack an owner who actually shares his feelings about horses and horse-related topics as not having any class?  Frankly, your comments are infuriating.

Just because he has a difference of opinion from you doesn't mean that Repole doesn't love his horses, treat them well, or campaign them properly.  Again, while I disagree with him on the Lasix stance, I have the utmost respect for Mike Repole and believe he is a credit to the sport.

17 Aug 2011 12:39 PM
Linda in Texas

Please know i do not like meds of any kind and as one poster said Lasix is given to hide other meds that horses are routinely given.

That was disturbing and frankly i think this subject is a whole lot deeper than anyone has come out and talked about. It seems like a

dirty little secret in the horse racing world.

I think or heck i know there are  a whole lot of things i don't know that go on in racing. I am for 100 per cent total outing of all meds taken by any horse run on a track that people pay to come watch or those who go to the windows to place bets on.

I do not believe in boycotting the BC and i agree Dr. D. that perhaps Mike Repole would rephrase his thoughts. He was being honest with Jason on the spot.

Apapane, Mr. Repole sold his 'recipe' to The Coca Cola company and to my knowledge does not still sell it. I may be wrong. In fact i may be wrong in a lot of things i say. So you said "you don't like the product that he sells to buy his horses." As if in the present tense. I thought those rights were sold. Unless he has another product about which i am unfamiliar that he is selling now.

I agree totally with the last sentence in your post. It would be interesting to know why it has suddenly been banned.

Like i said in my post, if Lasix and Meds are bad for the horses, this is 2011, horse racing has been going on for over 100 years.

Little by little i presume meds were allowed by the authorities.So

why all of a sudden like Apapane asked has Lasix suddenly been outlawed for the near future?

Tom Mallios, said it all. He stated that Lasix masks other meds. So the ceasing of allowing Lasix will be the beginning of the revelation of other meds being given that shouldn't be.

I just wanted those who read this to know that i was not defending Lasix and i was not defending the comments about the Breeder's Cup. I just felt that the continual jabs at Mike were getting over the top and too visceral.

I am not fond of another owner, but i will not spill my feelings in a public forum and make fun of the way he made his money.

Heck, if i had invented the original 'church key' i would be a multi millionaire myself! Yes they only used to cost 25 cents, but a percentage of the volume sold would have been astronomical!

I learn something new everyday with every post. And i do love the horses who make this sport what it is. I want it to continue to prosper and grow and that is it in a nutshell.

Thanks Jason.

17 Aug 2011 5:15 PM
Dr Drunkinbum


   I just read at drf that the King's Bishop field could include the following stellar field- Uncle Mo, The Factor, Caleb's Posse, Flashpoint, Justin Phillip, Poseidon's Warrior and Runflatout !!!! I hope that does turn out to be the field. It will be a great race. Good luck to you and Runflatout !!!!!

17 Aug 2011 6:30 PM
Linda in Texas

Dr. Drunkinbum, if we had all been on our toes when Zookeeper stated on another blog "that she was planning a trip to Saratoga" we should have known she was up to something exciting!

I think that is wonderful. A West Coast horse headed to The East Coast to show them how The West Was Won! or Wins!

Oops, there is that West Coast East Coast thing again. No harm intended. I love them both.

17 Aug 2011 7:19 PM
Dr Drunkinbum

Linda In Texas

   It probably is a whole lot deeper. People have said and written for at least 20 years that one reason they like to use Lasix is that it masks the detection of other meds, but I don't know anything other than what's been written, and said to me from other bettors, and I haven't read anything specific that I recall as to why it works that way or what meds it covers up if it is true.

17 Aug 2011 8:20 PM
calico cat

Dr D.,

Thanks! but shhhhh! There be monsters out there!!!

17 Aug 2011 8:50 PM
Mike Relva



17 Aug 2011 9:44 PM

Dr. D.,

From the medical info I have read I learned that the other meds are less detectable in the urine as it is diluted.  That is the "masking" effect.  Whether or not the Lasix is unequivocably aiding in managing the EIPH, is it doing so at the expense of the skeletal system and depleting bone calcium as well?  It may be effectively helping one part of the body but having a negative detrimental quality to another part of the body.  Not enough scientific proof out there on that one yet.  I think it is ironic that Lasix started to be administered by accident in the early 1970's and we have not had a TC winner since 1978.  I wonder if there is any direct corrolation and if so why has it taken so long to figure it out?  Lasix may be the lesser of all the evils (meds) for all we know, it may not be the sole culprit for the breed's fragility.

I'd like to see our horses off of it though but Mike, as Linda stated, did not invent Lasix, nor did he issue the final decree to have all horses run on it, he is just an owner, stuck with the current state of affairs and having horses on it trying to find the best viable route to the light at the end of the tunnel.  I agree with you, no meds and we see the next TC winner emerge.  If the little Hard Spuns out there that we are so anticipating seeing, have not been given it (Lasix) yet maybe they stand a chance.

17 Aug 2011 10:13 PM

Zookeeper- Good luck if Runflatout does run in the King's Bishop!

18 Aug 2011 9:14 AM

Yes Mike, infuriating.  Everything turns into a personal attack and then somehow comes back to how great the Moss' and Zenyatta are?Do the Moss' not run their horses on Lasix?  Did Zenyatta not run on  Lasix?  What are the Moss' opinions on Lasix and the medication debate?

Again, I disagree with Mike Repole on this issue.  I wish we had a medication free sport.  But why should he be personally attacked for having a strong opinion and saying it.  Does it make him less classy? I feel confident in saying that if Lasix is banned nationwide, you won't see Mike Repole's horses on it or with medication violations.

18 Aug 2011 9:34 AM
Dr Drunkinbum


   Really enjoyable post at 10:13. Good information and assessment. Thanks. Wouldn't that be great if the Hard Spun's, Any Given Saturday's, Street Sense's, Curlin's etc could run without Lasix and other meds, and grow up to be big and strong just eating their Cheerios?

18 Aug 2011 10:06 AM
Mike Relva


Yes,Moss' ran Zenyatta on lasix. And....she is great.

18 Aug 2011 3:39 PM
Jason Shandler

Mike: What color are you pom-poms? You sound like a 16yo cheerleader.

18 Aug 2011 7:32 PM
Mike Relva


Maybe,kinda like when you do the same for Pletcher.

18 Aug 2011 7:59 PM

Wishing all of you a great Travers weekend and good luck on all of your Saratoga bets.  This is the last day I probably have to post for 2 weeks.  If anyone has internet connections where I will be in Morocco I will try to check in to say hello.  At least I may get to see some Arabians stabled there in my husband's town, the best I can hope for is that they are distant cousins of Mo and Shack because I'll miss them both.

Those going to Saratoga have a great time!

19 Aug 2011 1:37 AM
Linda in Texas

Alex'sBigFan - wishing you and your husband a safe journey and i will keep my eye on the ponies, and will really keep my eye on Winter Memories this week end. You know me and the grays.

Have a nice time and hope you find a computer to check in with us.

It portends to be a big exciting week end of races for us.

Cheers and Safe Passage!!  

19 Aug 2011 12:40 PM


Agree with your take.  In the end, drug free racing is best for the thoroughbred, the fans, racing and breeding.  I hope the powers that be in US racing can get to that point sooner than later but will not hold my breath.


Good luck with Runflatout and your trip to Saratoga.  Next week's racing is coming up huge.  Can't wait for Jason's blog on Travers weekend racing.

By the way, if The Factor runs in the King's Bishop he'll beat them all!

19 Aug 2011 2:30 PM

I love it when the BC is at Santa Anita!  It's such a great venue and the weather is great and the mornings are beautiful and I have been to several BCs here over the years.  I even went to CD in 1988 and froze to death!  I better get my tickets for 2012.  I'll see you there, Jason.

19 Aug 2011 3:38 PM

Linda in Texas,

Thank you very much.  Enjoy watching your grays.  Will try to stay in touch, don't want to miss the great articles from Jason and Steve.

19 Aug 2011 8:02 PM
Linda in Texas

I said i would be watching the grays, a bit disappointed with the ride today on Winter Memories and feel that keeping any horse under rein early spoils the outcome. And it did. WM came out of the gate well and was heading to the front when she was reined in.

On top of that, when she found a path she was checked by the horse to her right whose jockey moved over though his path was clear.

It was an obvious move to prevent Memories from passing. Another clear reason she lost.

Just watched Race 8 at Saratoga with Mike Repole's gray, Silver Screamer, in a $25,000 claiming race. She won and did so nicely.

In the slop. Hope you keep her Mike, she is a nice filly and for me the right color.

How many wins does that make so far for the Repole Stables? I have lost count.

Thanks Jason, i salute Hungry Island who won The Lake Placid. Just not happy that my choice didn't.

I know i sound like sour grapes. And will probably be put in my place by explanations far more experienced than mine. I deserve it i am sure and won't mind.

21 Aug 2011 4:55 PM

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