05/14/2003 11:00PM

Belmont barn rule changed


ELMONT, N.Y. - The New York Racing Association has altered its recently announced policy regarding security for next month's Belmont Stakes.

Last month, NYRA announced that all horses arriving at Belmont after 3 p.m. on June 4 for the June 7 Belmont Stakes would have to be stabled in Barn 5. In addition, all Belmont Stakes starters would have to be stabled in Barn 5 by 3 p.m. Friday, June 6.

That caused an uproar from many trainers, including Bobby Frankel, Bob Baffert, and D. Wayne Lukas. Frankel threatened not to run Empire Maker in the Belmont if he had to move the horse the day before the race.

On Thursday, Belmont officials said that all Belmont Stakes starters whose trainers have been allotted stalls at Belmont can remain in their own barns until it is time to go to the paddock.

All Belmont Stakes starters, however, will be subject to prerace testing the morning of the race. Also, all starters for the Belmont - including those stabled at Aqueduct - must be on the Belmont grounds by 3 p.m. June 6.

"This gives us enough protection security-wise,'' said Terry Meyocks, president and CEO of NYRA.

Frankel, who has horses stabled in Barn 2 at Belmont, seemed pleased with the change, but doesn't believe it was made because of his objection.

"They probably thought it over and they figured out which is right," Frankel said.

NYRA also announced that it will work with the Nassau County Police Department, the Thoroughbred Racing and Protective Bureau, and the New York State Racing and Wagering Board to monitor horses before the Belmont Stakes. Also, veterinarians treating horses with Lasix will be required to use new, sealed bottles from which to draw at the prescribed time.