Racing without Lasix: Mid-year leaders and Del Mar v. Saratoga

In February I wrote a piece published in the Paulick Report called, “Winning Without Lasix In 2018: McPeek, Rivelli Top All U.S. Trainers,” that seemed to generate a lot of interest. So, I’m following it up with a mid-year report for 2019.

Larry Rivelli, the perennial champion trainer on the Chicago circuit who finish second to Ken McPeek with 18 non-Lasix wins last year, tops the leaderboard with seven non-Lasix wins.

Stacy Lane Hendry sits in second place with six wins. That’s an impressive showing considering she finished last year tied for fifth place in the nation with nine wins, and most of the 2-year-old racing has yet to come.

Below is the leader board from January through June.

                                           Starts                    Non-Lasix Wins                                   %

Larry Rivelli                         21                                     7                                              33.3

Stacy Lane Hendry            30                                     6                                              20.0

Ben Colebrook                    26                                     5                                              19.2

Laura Wolhers                    28                                     5                                              17.9

Bill D. Hof                            33                                     5                                              15.2

Mr. Colebrook is the only trainer in the first half of 2019 with a non-Lasix graded stakes winner to his credit.

He saddled 3-year-old filly Fancy Dress Party in the $150,000 Beaumont Stakes (G3) during Keeneland’s spring race meet. It was the filly’s fourth consecutive win in as many attempts — all without Lasix. Throughout her four-race win streak Fancy Dress Party never faced a rival that had not received Lasix.

Following the Beaumont Stakes, her next race was a last place finish in the Acorn Stakes (G1) at Belmont Park on June 8, 2019. Freshened up since her disappointing Acorn finish, Mr. Colebrook says that the $250,000 Prioress Stakes (G2) at Saratoga will likely be Fancy Dress Party’s next start and that she might possibly race with Lasix for the first time.

“I feel like I might be at a disadvantage without it (Lasix),” said Mr. Colebrook.

Mr. Colebrook races the majority of his 2-year-olds without the aid of Lasix.

“It depends on the horse. It also depends on the owner. Some have a strong feeling on both sides of the issue. It’s a very divisive issue,” said Mr. Colebrook.

Look for Mr. Colebrook to be among the leaders in non-Lasix wins at the end of the year. Since the close of the second quarter he has notched another such win in a maiden special weight race at Ellis Park. Mr. Colebrook said that he has a dozen or so 2-year-olds that will hopefully be making their debut by the end of the year.

Saratoga v. Del Mar

If this was a competition the best description would be either “walkover,” “no contest,” or “distanced.”

That description is based on results from last year.

At Saratoga Race Course in 2018, there were a total of 152 starts and 11 wins from horses racing without Lasix. Of those totals, 2-year-olds were responsible for 88 starts and nine wins — of which four were Kenny McPeek trainees winning maiden special weight races.

Last year’s Del Mar summer meet saw only 30 non-Lasix starters, the sole winner coming in a maiden claimer trained by Saldana Reed.

Why such a substantial difference? I don’t know.

Saratoga 2019

Horse’s racing without Lasix got off to a quick start winning the first two juvenile maiden special weights offered at the Spa.

On July 11, opening day, trainer Gary Gullo scored a half-length victory at odds of 14-1 with a New York bred Big Brown filly, Big Q. The following day, Bill Mott saddled a Lea filly, Vast, to score at 13-1. Both horses were making their career debuts.

Two-year olds were not the only winners racing without Lasix on opening weekend. On Sunday, July 14, another longshot, a Kelsey Danner trainee, Call Me Harry, drew clear by 3¾ lengths to score at 15-1 in a maiden special weight for 3 & up New York breds. It was the Street Sense gelding’s first time out.

Another performance of note for a horse racing without Lasix was Christophe Clement saddling Tomato Bill to a second-place finish in the $150,000 Sanford Stakes (G3).

Del Mar opens this week

Saratoga has a one-week head start on Del Mar, which opens Wednesday, July 17, 2019. Both meets conclude on Labor Dar, Monday, September 2, 2019.

In the four days of racing prior to Del Mar’s opening there have been three horses win without Lasix at Saratoga.  That’s three times as many as won at Del Mar through the entirety of last summer’s race meet.

Will we see the same pattern repeat?

If so, why?

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