02/14/2005 1:00AM

Cerin to run tests of his own


ARCADIA, Calif. - Trainer Vladimir Cerin said on Sunday that he plans to conduct blood tests on some of his horses this week in an effort to determine why two starters from his barn tested positive for high bicarbonate levels earlier this month.

For 30 days, which began Sunday, Cerin's starters are to be quarantined for 24 hours before their races. The penalty is in accordance with rules being administered by a consortium of racing organizations - Santa Anita, the Thoroughbred Owners of California, and the California Thoroughbred Trainers - who are conducting prerace bicarbonate tests for the presence of alkalizing agents, or milkshakes.

Cerin on Saturday attributed the positives to a new supplement he was using on his horses. On Sunday he said he was unsure what caused the positive tests but, he said, "There were no illegal substances given to the horses.

"This is something I've pushed for in the past, better testing," he said. "It's ironic I'm in the position I'm in. I'm cooperating with Santa Anita. We'll do blood tests in the next week. If there are results that indicate what caused it, I'll show it."

Cerin's positive tests were found in Bless Her Heart, who finished second in the third race Feb. 3, and Smuggler's Run, who won the fifth race Feb. 5. They both tested in excess of 37 millimoles per liter of plasma, the minimum level for a positive.

According to veterinarian Rick Arthur, a spokesman for the consortium, Cerin did not have any positives for high bicarbonate levels last fall at the Oak Tree meeting, at which nearly every horse was tested.

Last week, the consortium announced that trainer Jeff Mullins had a horse test positive for a high level of bicarbonates last month and that Mullins's horses have been placed in a detention barn for 24 hours before their races. A third trainer has been notified of a positive, but the consortium has declined to reveal his name.

Trainers who have horses test positive for high bicarbonate levels face three levels of penalties - surveillance or the placing of horses in detention barns for a first offense; a ban on entering horses for 15 days for a second offense; and revocation of stalls for a third offense.