Salix-free race proves popular

A race-day medication-free race proved so popular at the entry box July 15 that the over-subscribed field of 2-year-old fillies was split into two divisions for the July 18 program at Gulfstream Park.

The only race-day medication allowed at Gulfstream is the diuretic furosemide [brand name Salix but also commonly called Lasix], which is used to prevent or reduce the severity of exercise-induced pulmonary hemorrhage.

The $65,000 Salix-free races have been carded as the sixth and eighth races on an 11-race program, both slated for 4-1/2 furlongs on the main track. Gulfstream put the Salix-free requirement in the conditions.

A Salix-free race for juvenile colts and geldings also is scheduled for the July 19 Gulfstream card.

Trainer Ralph Nicks entered three fillies in Saturday's races: Dancie and Harlan's Darlin in the 11-horse field drawn for the sixth and Kandoo in the 12-horse eighth race.

"They're all first-timers, and they don't need it," Nicks said. "If they did need it, they wouldn't be in there."

Gulfstream is working with Dr. Stephen Selway, who is conducting a study involving the voluntary scoping of 2-year-olds racing with and without Salix.

"The results of the study will hopefully be of significant benefit to the well being of racehorses. The study has been set up as to eliminate most variables and yield non-bias data," Selway said. "The cooperation of Gulfstream Park, the FHBPA [Florida Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association], and the trainers and owners is greatly appreciated. Without their support, this timely study could not be done."

The study receives private funding from Zayat Stables, who campaigns 2015 Triple Crown Champion American Pharoah. Video endoscopy equipment is provided by R F Systems.