02/12/2005 1:00AM

Cerin horses quarantined


ARCADIA, Calif. - Trainer Vladimir Cerin will have his entrants confined to a quarantine barn 24 hours before their respective races for the next 30 days at Santa Anita after two of his horses had high readings for alkalizing agents in their recent races.

The sanction was disclosed on Saturday by Dr. Rick Arthur, the spokesman for a consortium of the Thoroughbred Owners of California, the California Thoroughbred Trainers, and Santa Anita, which is conducting and paying for the testing, designed to detect so-called "milkshakes."

Cerin is the second trainer whose horses will have to go to a prerace quarantine barn for 30 days at Santa Anita. Jeff Mullins was announced as the first on Thursday. The quarantine for both trainers' horses took effect immediately.

Cerin trainees Bless Her Heart and Smuggler's Run were found to have bicarbonate levels in excess of 37 millimoles per liter of plasma, the minimum level for a violation, Arthur said.

Smuggler's Run scored a $56.80 victory, winning by four lengths in the fifth race on Feb. 5, a $16,000 claiming race for 4-year-olds. It was his first start since finishing ninth in the fourth race at Santa Anita's Oak Tree meeting on Oct. 13.

Bless Her Heart finished second in the third race on Feb. 3 at 6-1, beaten by two lengths in the $20,000 claiming race for 4-year-old fillies.

According to Arthur, Cerin "was very embarrassed and attributed it to a new supplement he's been using."

"We evaluated his TC02 levels," Arthur said, referring to total carbon dioxide tests that measure alkalizing agents and are conducted on all starters at this meet, "and there was a dramatic change two to three weeks ago, which correlates to when he said he started using the supplement."

Arthur said that Cerin heretofore had a spotless record in regards to carbon dioxide testing. At last fall's Oak Tree meeting, where Arthur is on the board of directors, "he never had any of his horses test over 34 millimoles."

The decision to place Cerin's horses in quarantine was made by a five-member panel of Arthur, Ron Charles and George Haines of Santa Anita, Drew Couto of the TOC, and Ed Halpern of the CTT. That five-member panel is evaluating all total carbon dioxide violations at this meeting.

Santa Anita is doing the testing until a state rule takes effect later this year. The state rule has been approved by the California Horse Racing Board, but a concurrent change needed to the state law has yet to pass the state legislature.