04/05/2005 11:00PM

Strangles tests put Barn 17 back in quarantine

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HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. - The barn which houses horses for trainers Dale Romans, Scott Lake, and Gary Sciacca was placed under quarantine for the second time within the past week after two unidentified horses in the barn tested "suspicious" for strangles, Gulfstream Park president and general manager Scott Savin said Wednesday.

Barn 17 was originally quarantined for a day after it was learned a horse from Romans's stable that shipped to Churchill Downs last month tested positive for strangles. The other horses in the barn were placed in isolation and allowed on the track only after the rest of the general horse population finished training each morning.

"The first round of tests on all horses in the barn came back negative but there were two suspect tests in the second round," said Savin. "For safety precautions we've decided to re-quarantine the barn until the results of a third test on the two horses, which will be taken Thursday, return negative."

The results of those tests are expected early next week. "We have placed no restrictions on any other horses from Gulfstream shipping in or out since there are no confirmed positives at this time," said Savin. "Any restrictions are up to the individuals tracks to which horses would be sent."

HBPA board members elected

The board of directors of the Florida Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association last week elected Sam Gordon as president, Phil Combest and Mike Nyman as vice presidents, Kathleen O'Connell as secretary, and Barry Rose as treasurer. All officers will serve one-year terms.

Two weeks earlier five of the 15 seats on the board were filled in annual elections open to the entire membership. Elected to the board as owners were incumbent Herb Elkins along with T. Wynn Jolley and Sam Gordon. Trainers elected were O'Connell and Bill Cesare.

HBPA likes Senate version of slots bill

HBPA officials expressed optimism Wednesday over a Senate committee's version of a slots bill that called for Las Vegas-style slot machines, as opposed to the electronic bingo machines currently in use in the Indian casinos. The bill also set a maximum tax rate of 35 percent and would allow machines to operate 16 hours per day, seven days a week at the four Broward County facilities, including Gulfstream Park, that won rights to slots in last month's election.

The Senate version of the bill is far more favorable to horsemen than the original House bill, which is supported by Gov. Jeb Bush.

"It's a good start, but everything can change dramatically before the final version of the bill is released," said Kent Stirling, executive director of the HBPA.

* Vicarage, who finished seventh after prompting the pace in the Grade 1 Florida Derby on Saturday, might start next in the Derby Trial on opening day at Churchill Downs, according to Dogwood Stable president Cot Campbell. Vicarage had finished second behind the undefeated High Limit in his previous start.

* An electrical malfunction resulted in Lord Ravenal being left behind the starting gate in Wednesday's first race. All wagers on Lord Ravenal were refunded.