01/11/2007 12:00AM

Herpes found at Los Alamitos


Three horses at Los Alamitos have tested positive for the equine herpesvirus, and horses from that track have been banned from entering Santa Anita, according to Dr. Rick Arthur, the California Horse Racing Board's equine medical director.

Thursday, Five Star Cat, a 20-1 morning-line chance in a $25,000 claimer, was scratched from the fifth race at Santa Anita because he is based at Los Alamitos.

Arthur said that the affected horses are in the same barn and have been placed in "a relative isolation within the barn.

"We have no evidence of the equine herpesvirus outside of this specific barn," he said. "They cannot race and they cannot leave the grounds."

Arthur said that the quarantine restrictions did not apply to the entire Los Alamitos backstretch

"Horses can come and go from Los Alamitos," he said. "They cannot come and go from that barn."

The majority of the horses stabled at Los Alamitos, in Orange County, are Quarter Horses. There are also Arabians and Thoroughbreds who run for low claiming prices at the track.

Horses are allowed to ship from Santa Anita to Los Alamitos but will not be allowed to return to Santa Anita, said Santa Anita's director of racing, Mike Harlow.

Arthur did not identify the trainers involved with the isolated horses.