05/24/2005 12:00AM

Werner string free to train


Horses trained by Ronny Werner at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Ky., were cleared on Tuesday for training during specially designated times, meaning horses in all three barns who have been quarantined since May 13 at Churchill are now being allowed to train.

Werner said early Tuesday that all of his horses had tested negative for the equine herpes virus and were being allowed to join other quarantined horses who already had begun training sessions separate from the general population at the track. Those horses are trained by Steve Asmussen, Bill Cesare, Ron Ellis, and Paul McGee.

The separate sessions are expected to remain in effect until at least June 3, when a three-week period mandated by the Kentucky Department of Agriculture expires. The sessions are being conducted at various times, depending on when live racing is being conducted.

A quarantine order was made by the state's agriculture department after isolated cases of equine herpes had been confirmed in three barns. The quarantined horses still are not permitted to mix with the rest of the horse population.

Churchill reported Tuesday that the state agriculture department is still searching for the source of the equine herpes virus outbreak at the track.