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Owner Mike Repole to boycott the 2012 Breeders' Cup


Mike Repole breeders cup boycott horse racing

Owner Mike Repole with Calibrachoa after winning the 2012 Toboggan Stakes at Aqueduct

© Vanessa Ng
Updated October 18, 2012
On Wednesday, New York based owner Mike Repole announced that none of his horses will ship to California for the Breeders' Cup World Championships at Santa Anita on November 2 and 3. He was expected to have as many as six starters including Stay Thirsty in the Classic, off his close second place finish in the Jockey Club Gold Cup (G1) at Belmont Park.

He explained that he disagrees with the new ban on Lasix use, which in 2012 only affects the juvenile races. Repole said, "I'm a pro-Lasix person. It’s the one drug that can prevent a horse from bleeding and help a horse. I've spoken to a lot of veterinarians and a lot of trainers who have given me enough information to make me feel Lasix is a drug that horses need."

"Definitely, it's not fair to the fan. You’re going to be handicapping five 2-year-old races with horses that 99% ran on Lasix their whole careers, and now you're asking them to run without it. They're going to be impossible races to handicap, impossible races to bet. You might as well go by somebody's name or number. If you want to experiment with racing 2-year-olds without Lasix, I think I’m open to that. But let’s do it on the second race at Belmont on a Wednesday afternoon. Let’s not do it on one of the biggest days when people are actually paying attention. To me it makes no sense. Why would you want to experiment with top 2-year-olds? I wouldn’t want it to be my horse who bleeds or gets injured. I always say you need to worry about the horse first and the fans second. This decision seems to say they’re not really worried about the horse and they’re not really worried about the fans."

In addition he us concerned that New York horses have not had much success at Breeders' Cup events run in Southern California. "It's been proven when horses go from east to west – I’m not sure why, I wish I had the answer - they don’t seem to run too well. Even before there was Poly (Pro-Ride synthetic) out there, when you fly east to west the horses don’t travel well."

He also complained publically, as he has in the past, about New York not having hosted a Breeders' Cup since 2005. he said, "That Belmont hasn't had the Breeders’ Cup in almost 10 years to me is a travesty."

Instead of running in the Classic, Stay Thirsty will train up to the Cigar Mile (G1) at Aqueduct on November 24, which will be his final career start. Micromanage, an impressive debut winner at Saratoga but fifth in the Champagne (G1) at Belmont, will run the same day in the Remsen (G2). Overanalyze, winner of the Futurity (G2) after finishing fourth in the Hopeful (G2), will run in either the Nashua (G2) on November 4 at Aqueduct or the Iroquois (G3) at Churchill Downs on October 28. Coconut Shrimp, second in the Voodoo Dancer at Belmont after her disappointing fifth in the Natalma (G3) at Woodbine, will go next in the Chelsea Flower at Belmont on October 28, while Pilgrim Stakes (G3) runner-up Notacatbutallama will go in the Incurable Optimist also on October 28. Caixa Eletronica, second in the Vosburgh (G1) last out, is not Breeders' Cup nominated and would have to be supplemented; instead he will go in the Bold Ruler (G3) at Belmont on October 27.

Repole, a native of Long Island, New York, founded Energy Brands in 1996, which specialized in enhanced bottled waters. Vitaminwater was its most successful product line, leading the company to be sold to Coca-Cola for $4 billion in cash. Repole vowed to stay out of the beverage business but returned this year with BodyArmor SuperDrink. He also is chairman of Pirate's Booty all-natural snacks, and Energy Kitchen, a healthy fast food chain. A life-long racing fan who frequented Aqueduct while growing up in Queens, Repole entered the racing game as an owner, hiring Todd Pletcher as his trainer, and he found quick success with such horses as Stay Thirsty, Uncle Mo, Stopshoppingmaria, Calibrachoa, and Caixa Eletronica. The blue and red Repole silks are a common sight at NYRA tracks, as he keeps a stable of about 80 horses. When he wins a graded stakes race he invites many members of his extended family down to the winner's circle including his grandmother. As of October 17, 2012 his horses have a record of 527 wins, 391 seconds, and 338 thirds in 2,252 starts, with total earnings of $18,412,453.

Readers Respond: What do you think about Lasix being banned from the Breeders' Cup by 2013

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