07/30/2004 12:00AM

Cup adopts disease policy


Breeders' Cup has put in place procedures to protect horses at this year's World Thoroughbred Championships event at Lone Star Park from a contagious equine disease found in Texas, ensuring that the event can go ahead as planned, Breeders' Cup officials said Friday.

The procedures are designed to protect horses from vesicular stomatitis, a contagious disease that was diagnosed in three horses in far western Texas earlier this year. The finding had prompted several states to issue bans on travel to Texas and led Breeders' Cup officials to explore the possibility of moving the site out of the state.

"We do have an established protocol in place for horses coming in and out of the area," said D.G. Van Clief, the president of Breeders' Cup and the interim commissioner of the National Thoroughbred Racing Association, which merged with Breeders' Cup in 2001. "It's a secure area. We are moving ahead as planned."

Dora Hughes, the Breeders' Cup's vice president of nominations, said that all horses shipping in to Lone Star Park will be required to test negative for vesicular stomatitis 10 days before the event. All horses also will be required to be physically examined by a licensed Texas veterinarian five days before the Breeders' Cup, Hughes said, to ensure that the horse is not showing any outward signs of the disease, such as lesions.