12/11/2009 12:00AM

Gulfstream decision puts relief on hold


MIAMI - Restrictions that prohibited horses from shipping in or out of Calder will be lifted Sunday, nearly two weeks after a quarantine was imposed on three barns following a confirmed case of equine herpesvirus. But entries at Calder may not benefit as much as hoped due to shipping restrictions put into place by Gulfstream Park and the Palm Meadows training center.

The training centers will not allow any horses stabled on their grounds who race at Calder to return until Dec. 21. That's a day after the quarantine on the three Calder barns is scheduled to be lifted, barring any further outbreaks of the equine herpesvirus.

"After talking with Dr. Patricia Marquis and Dennis Miller from the Division of Pari-Mutuel Wagering, we decided to defer on the side of caution by waiting until one day after the all clear day for the last group of quarantined horses over there before allowing horses to ship into our barn areas from Calder," said Gulfstream racing manager Bernie Hettel.

Dr. Marquis is the track veterinarian for Calder and Gulfstream Park, and Dennis Miller is the Equine Operations Supervisor for the FDPMW.

Gulfstream's 2010 meet opens Jan. 3.

Calder racing secretary Mike Anifantis confirmed Gulfstream's decision while taking entries for Monday's program early Friday afternoon.

"We're still allowing horses to enter today for Monday from outside this barn area," said Anifantis. "From what I understand is that those horses coming from Gulfstream or Palm Meadows to race would have to remain here until the 21st. But that restriction does not apply to horses coming in from Payson Park, Ocala, or Tampa Bay Downs."

Anifantis said it would be difficult to find stall space for horses who ship over from Gulfstream or Palm Meadows to race next week.

"I can't keep them in the receiving barn for the week, because the horses shipping in to race the following day would have no place to go," Anifantis said. "Basically, the only way this would work out is if a trainer over there knows someone with an extra stall over here willing to put his or her horse up until the restriction is lifted."

Anifantis also said a make-up date for the two graded stakes, the Tropical Turf and My Charmer handicaps, has not been decided but that Dec. 19 or 20 are being considered. Both stakes were postponed Dec. 7 as a result of the quarantine.

Restrictions disrupt Pletcher's early roll

One trainer affected by the restrictions this month has been Todd Pletcher, who had two wins and two seconds from the five horses he had started at Calder before the quarantine was imposed Dec. 1.

"Obviously, we don't go down to south Florida with the focus of running at Calder, but I like to run some maidens and, occasionally, allowance horses on the turf during the month of December," said Pletcher. "The restrictions will set us back with some of the maidens we had planned to run there on the turf, although I'm not prepared to ship over and have them stay a week. If they do reschedule the Tropical Turf for the 19th, I would run Americain and let him stay over a night or two if need be."