07/27/2005 11:00PM

Spa adjusts security barns


SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. - In an effort to alleviate crowding in its raceday security barns, the New York Racing Association has decided to eliminate 12 stalls, six each from two of the temporary structures, effective immediately.

NYRA management took action after a horse had to be scratched out of a race for the second straight day because of problems related to the security barns. Lady Pegasus, a 3-year-old filly trained by Bobby Frankel, was scratched out of Thursday's third race after "freaking out" in one of the barns, according to Frankel. The security barns, set up by NYRA to help curb the administration of banned medication, include three temporary structures that are under tents and two regular barns.

On Wednesday, Purge, last year's Jim Dandy winner, was scratched out of an allowance race after washing out badly when stabled in one of the temporary structures.

The stalls will be eliminated from a middle row that had horses on either side of it. That created a situation where horses were looking at other horses in very close proximity. Those areas were also deemed hotter than others. What NYRA is doing will create more room between horses facing each other, and eliminate horses being back to back.

"I think there is a little overcrowding in the current situation," said Charlie Hayward, NYRA's president and CEO.

By eliminating 12 stalls, the security barns will now be able to house 98 horses. In the event more than 98 horses are entered for a card, some races would be excused from having to report to the barn and instead undergo a prerace test.

Though trainers complained that the stalls in the temporary structures - estimated to be 9 foot by 9 foot - are too small. Hayward maintained they were not.

"We are satisfied in talking to trainers it is not unsafe," Hayward said. "We got a little more due diligence to do."

Frankel said Lady Pegasus was "wringing wet" when she came to the paddock, and would kick when they tried to put bandages on her. "I said there's no way I'm going to put the saddle on her," Frankel said.

Frankel said he would not run Lady Pegasus or Miss Coronado, another high-strung filly, at this meet.

Todd Pletcher, the trainer of Purge, said his horse would not run at this meet. Instead, he could be pointed to races at Monmouth Park.

NYRA on Thursday was still trying to address horsemen's other concerns about the security barn. A backup generator arrived to allow for more fans to be used. Rubber floor mats will be put down over the plywood floors by Saturday. Horsemen were concerned that without the mats, the floors, with shavings on top of it, could become slippery.