Eric Mitchell, editor-in-chief of The Blood-Horse, shares his thoughts on the status of Salix-free juvenile horse racing. Share your thoughts on Eric’s blog on BloodHorse.com.
Nearly two months have passed since a coalition of more than 60 Thoroughbred racehorse owners launched an experiment into Salix-free racing, pledging to run their 2-year-olds without the controversial anti-bleeder medication (also known as Lasix) on race day.
Several trainers managing the medication-free horses say not enough time has gone by to ascertain any significant differences between the Salix and non-Salix runners in their barns, but they noted that none of the Salix-free horses have shown any signs of bleeding after their races so far.
"We scope every other time they work and every time they race," said Kentucky Derby winning trainer Graham Motion, whose barn had 25 juvenile starts between July 20 and Sept. 5 with 16 starts made without Salix. "I have been pleasantly surprised that we have not had more that have bled after a race."
The encouraging news has a caveat.
"I don’t see this as any real form of information," said trainer Tony Dutrow, who had 27 juvenile starts during the same period, with 14 of the starts made without Salix. "Most first-time starters are limited in what is expected of them in their first race. A great deal of them are not putting into their first race what they will put into the