01/07/2006 12:00AM

Second barn quarantined at Turfway


A second racehorse barn at Turfway Park in Florence, Ky., has been quarantined after a horse that had been stabled there tested positive for the equine herpes virus, a contagious disease that causes respiratory and neurological problems.

The horse that tested positive, whose name was not released, was sent to a clinic to be in isolation but is in good health after running a fever for less than 24 hours, said Dale Romans, the horse's trainer. The other horses in the newly quarantined 52-stall barn will not be tested for the virus until next week, a state official said. They have been quarantined because they came in close contact with the sick horse prior to it being sent to the clinic.

The newly quarantined barn, 27, is adjacent to the one that has been quarantined since late December when the virus was first discovered at Turfway. Two trainers, Romans and Mike Tammaro, have horses stabled in 27, Turfway president Bob Elliston said.

Last winter, Romans also had portions of his stable quarantined in Kentucky and Florida as a result of another contagious disease, strangles. "I'm tired of these infectious diseases," he said. "But you've just got to let it run its course."

Barn 26, where the first cases of equine herpes virus were diagnosed, remains under quarantine. Test results released Saturday indicated that the virus had not cleared the systems of all the horses stabled there, said Dr. Robert Stout, state veterinarian for the Kentucky Department of Agriculture.

The quarantine of barn 27 follows a decision by state and track officials to transfer the ponies and outrider horses stabled in two designated barns off the track after noticing evidence that the virus was circulating there. A horse used by an outrider and a racehorse have been put down since the virus was discovered.

The barns that had stabled the outrider horses and ponies have now "been sanitized and are ready for occupancy," said Elliston.

In western Kentucky, a small training center located near Henderson has also been quarantined after the discovery of equine herpes there, Stout said.

He said the latest quarantines do not change the plan for preventing the spread of the disease. If the disease continues to spread, he said the state and track officials would consider alternatives before the more drastic steps of suspending or ending the meet. Those alternatives could include allowing only those horses stabled on track to compete, he said.

Elliston said he believes the quarantine of the nearly 100 horses in the two racehorse barns will have a relatively small effect on the track's racing cards. Wednesday's races - which were drawn Saturday - drew 88 horses in the nine races, nearly 9.8 entries per race.