12/04/2009 12:00AM

Rain, quarantine add up to Calder scratches


MIAMI - When it rains, it pours.

That was the case at Calder Race Course on Friday when early morning downpours compounded the track's problems, which began earlier in the week when the barn area was quarantined due to a case of equine herpesvirus.

A total of 29 horses were scratched off Friday's 10-race card, leaving 82 to run. Many were scratched because the afternoon's three scheduled turf races were moved to a sloppy main track. Others scratched were horses either stabled in the four barns that have been placed under restrictions on the local backstretch or who were scheduled to ship in from other training centers or racetracks. Under the quarantine restrictions, no horse can ship in or out of Calder until at least the 14th of this month.

Horses in the four affected barns cannot race and must train apart from the general population. Three of the barns contain horses trained by Bill White, who had a horse test positive for equine herpesvirus. The fourth barn, Barn 78, was placed under restriction Thursday morning after a horse stabled there exhibited symptoms of a possible neurological disorder. A total of 18 trainers are stabled in the four barns under restrictions, 14 of those in Barn 78. Results of tests taken on the stricken horse from that barn were expected to be received from the University of Kentucky in Lexington on Saturday.

The one bright light on Friday was news that a second horse from one of the three originally restricted barns who had contracted a fever earlier this week tested negative for the equine herpesvirus. That result, however, does not alter the existing restrictions on those barns, which will remain in effect until at least Oct. 21.

"We have not been given any time frame as to when to expect the test results from the horse in Barn 78, although if they come early enough and are negative, the horses from that barn who are entered on Saturday's card will be allowed to race," said Calder's racing secretary, Mike Anifantis.

Racing switched from a four- to five-day schedule this week, and Anifantis said the horsemen have cooperated with his office to help keep entries flowing as smoothly as possible.

"Obviously the timing for expanding to a five day week couldn't have been worse," said Anifantis. "But the communication with and cooperation from horseman has been tremendous. Many of them are putting horses back in the entries who had just raced three or four days earlier to help us out."

Anifantis said he will continue to card eight races daily and 12 on Saturday, if possible, until the quarantine is lifted. He also said there is still no decision regarding the rescheduling of the two Grade 3 stakes, the Tropical Turf and My Charmer handicaps, that were postponed from Saturday's card.

"We'll probably meet Monday or Tuesday to discuss a possible time frame for re-carding those two races," said Anifantis.