04/08/2005 12:00AM

Keeneland sale safe from strangles

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The mare Patchen Beauty produced her third white foal, a colt, on April 1.

LEXINGTON, Ky. - The recent outbreak of the upper respiratory disease strangles in Louisville and Florida has spawned tighter requirements on horses shipping between racetracks. But it is not expected to have any negative effect on Keeneland's April 19 2-year-old sale in Lexington.

Keeneland, which opened its race meet on Friday, announced in March that it would require each shipper to have a health certificate signed by the examining veterinarian within two days of the horse's arrival at Keeneland. The certificate must include a declaration that the horse has not been on premises under quarantine for or exposed to the highly contagious bacterial infections; has not shown signs of the disease; and has not had a fever within the previous three weeks. The health certificate must also list the horse's rectal temperature at time of examination. Horses who have been on premises with confirmed strangles exposure must have written permission from Keeneland's director of racing, Rogers Beasley, before gaining admittance to the Keeneland grounds.

Those same restrictions apply to sale horses, explained sales director Geoffrey Russell.

"Consignors are following the same guidelines with their juveniles that we've asked trainers to follow," Russell said. "They're using the same grounds, so they have to have the same rules. So far, everyone is playing by those rules, and we've had no problems."

Russell said that there has been no sign of the disease among the horses, and so sales officials have not asked that barn workers or exercise riders take any additional precautions, such as disinfecting their hands when moving between horses.

"After the sale is over, we will steam-clean all the rubber in the pavilion," Russell said, adding that that is a standard procedure.

A significant proportion of 2-year-old sellers are Florida-based consignors, but, so far, they seem to have been largely unaffected by the outbreaks, which have resulted in quarantines at Florida's Palm Meadows training facility, Tampa Bay Downs, and Gulfstream Park. In Kentucky, there was a quarantine at the Trackside training center.

Jerry Bailey, who like many Florida consignors is based in the Ocala area far from the outbreaks, said he had no qualms about shipping into Keeneland, where racehorses from Florida and Kentucky mix with sale horses from the same areas.

"I had the ability to keep my own farm closed, and I was careful not to let any horses ship in," Bailey said. "But I didn't have any worries about going to Keeneland at all."

The under-tack previews for the auction will take place on April 11 and 18 starting at 10:30 a.m. The one-day auction will begin at 1:30 p.m. April 19.

Patchen Beauty produces white colt

Ten years ago, when Patchen Beauty was foaled, she created a big sensation. A Hatchet Man filly, Patchen Beauty was entirely white, a color so rare in the Thoroughbred breed that The Jockey Club has registered only 30 of them since the organization assumed responsibility for the American Stud Book in 1896. (The first white Thoroughbred registered was White Beauty, a filly bred in Kentucky by Herman Goodpaster, in 1963.)

Now, Patchen Beauty is creating a stir again, this time as a broodmare. On April 1, she produced her third white foal, a Pioneering colt who will be the 31st foal to earn The Jockey Club's unusual "wh" designation. White Prince was born at Warren Rosenthal's Patchen Wilkes Farm in Lexington, where his dam also was foaled. Like White Beauty and her two other foals, White Prince is a Patchen Wilkes homebred.

"When you have three foals in a row, it's still pretty exciting," said Barry Ezrine, the Patchen Wilkes manager. "You don't know they're going to be white until they come out. It's still kind of fun."

Patchen Beauty's oldest foal is also a Pioneering colt. That colt, now a 3-year-old named The White Fox, is in training at Turfway but has yet to race. Her second foal, a Skip Away filly named Spot of Beauty, is a yearling. Patchen Beauty was barren in 2003.

"They're playful and precocious," Ezrine said of the white foals. "And this colt is very intelligent. He reminds me a lot of The White Fox."

Patchen Wilkes is a commercial breeding farm, but Ezrine said that Rosenthal intends to keep the white horses and plans to stand The White Fox at stud when that colt retires from his racing career.

Upcoming veterinary programs

Two Lexington equine veterinary firms will host programs at the Kentucky Horse Park this month. On April 28, Rood and Riddle will offer a seminar from 4 to 6 p.m. on upper respiratory disease, acupuncture, vaccinating the sport horse, and equine nutrition; cost is $5 and includes a reception. For more information call Robin Murray at (859) 233-0137.

On April 28-30, Hagyard Davidson McGee will offer a series of presentations on equine rescue techniques in such emergencies as fire, trailer accident, and mud entrapment; equine acupuncture; and joint disease and therapy. Admission is free with paid admission to the Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event. For more information, contact LaTonna Wilson at (859) 255-8741.