06/02/2005 11:00PM

Herpes quarantines eased


Precautionary quarantines have been lifted from stables at Churchill Downs and at Calder Race Course after tests on horses at those tracks came back negative for the equine herpes virus.

Trainers stabled in Barn 39 at Churchill Downs were notified Friday by the Kentucky Department of Agriculture that all their horses have cleared a second and final round of tests for herpes and would be allowed to train with the rest of the Churchill horse population, effective Saturday.

Those horses include about 30 trained by Paul McGee; Don't Get Mad, trained by Ron Ellis; and four trained by Bill Cesare.

Results of a second round of tests were expected to be known Saturday for Churchill's Barn 36, occupied by horses trained by Steve Asmussen. Another Churchill barn quarantined is Barn 6, occupied by Ronny Werner. Results of tests from horses there are expected Sunday or Monday.

At Calder, the quarantine was lifted from a barn that had housed a horse suspected of having herpes, track president Ken Dunn said Friday, after tests came back negative. Horses in that barn were allowed to return to training with the general horse population Friday morning.

Calder officials declined to name the trainer whose barn was affected.