03/27/2003 1:00AM

Turfway eases restrictions


Turfway Park on Thursday began allowing the approximate 70 horses stabled in Barn 15 to resume training, although quarantine restrictions are scheduled to remain in place for about another week. Barn 15 horses will train after regular training hours, apart from unaffected horses.

The Barn 15 horses have been quarantined since March 16, one day after three horses in the barn tested positive for equine herpes virus type-1 (EVH-1), a contagious disease that can cause neurological or respiratory disorders. The infected horses are trained by Jim Morgan, who has about 15 more horses stabled in Barn 15. About six other trainers, including George Leonard III, with 26, also have horses in the barn.

Bob Elliston, president of Turfway Park, said that assuming no new cases of EVH-1 were diagnosed, the new arrangements likely would continue through April 5, culminating in a quarantine period of 21 days. Quarantined horses missed about 10 days of training.

In response to the Turfway outbreak, neighboring River Downs is requiring documentation of recent temperature readings for horses who ship into its barn area; the most obvious symptom of EVH-1 is a high body temperature. River Downs opens its stable area Saturday for a 122-day meet that begins April 12.