“It’s a respiratory virus. It causes low-grade temperatures, snotty noses and coughing and is more evident in stables that do not have good vaccination programs,” he said. “Yet, it has affected horses in those programs as well.” Arthur estimates about 500 horses at both tracks have been infected with the virus. “It primarily has surfaced in young horses, but some older horses have been affected as well,” Arthur said. “It looks like the cough runs at least 10 days after a horse comes down with the virus, which means the horse loses at least 10 days of training, but more likely three weeks.” Wild Fit, second in the Oak Leaf Stakes at odds of 1-2, is headed for the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies on Oct. 29 at Belmont Park in New York. “I was too easy on her,” said trainer Jeff Mullins, explaining her three-quarters of a length loss. “She only had 13 days between her races at Del Mar (winning a maiden race on Aug. 14 and the Del Mar Debutante on Aug. 27). I lightened up on her a little bit and she was a little fresh, a little rank early (in the Oak Leaf) and it cost me.” ARCADIA — From horse players to management, everybody hates small betting fields. A lack of horses in any race makes for poor wagering value and uninteresting competition. The Oak Tree meeting at Santa Anita already has experienced more than its fair share or short fields, but the reason for lack of activity at the entry box is a virus which has permeated the barn area at Santa Anita and Hollywood Park. The horse population for racing purposes has been reduced by “at least 10 to 15 percent,” according to veterinarian Dr. Rick Arthur. Jockey Alex Solis will retain the mount. Jockey Corey Nakatani again has switched agents from Nick Cosato to Bob Meldahl, who has represented Nakatani in the past. “We just went our separate ways,” Nakatani said about the split. “That about sums it up.” Martin Pedroza , who won his seventh riding title, and eighth overall, at the recent Fairplex Park meeting, readily admitted his riding style changes when he returns to a full-size oval like Santa Anita. “Santa Anita is a totally different track than Fairplex,” Pedroza said. “At Pomona, it’s all about making the turns and what rider I follow. At Fairplex everything is go, go, go. Here you have to be more patient and use your head more.” Jockey Patrick Valenzuela has been suspended for three days, this Friday through Sunday, by the Oak Tree stewards for his ride aboard Dealer Choice in last Thursday’s sixth race. Valenzuela was ticked for altering course without sufficient clearance around the far turn and causing interference. Dealer Choice won, but was disqualified and placed eighth. Agent Tony Matos said that jockey Victor Espinoza will ride Oak Leaf Stakes winner Diamond Omi in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies. Espinoza also has the assignment on Happy Ticket, a fast-closing second to Ashado in the recent Beldame Stakes in New York, in the Breeders’ Cup Distaff. Retired jockey Paco Mena, inducted last month into the Fairplex Park Hall of Fame, was a recent visitor to Oak Tree. “I’m hoping to find a job as a foreman with a trainer,” Nena said. Valentine Dancer, a disappointing fifth behind Healthy Addiction in the Lady’s Secret Handicap on Oct. 2, will run on California Cup Day on Nov. 6. However, trainer Craig Lewis hasn’t decided if the mare will compete on dirt, or turf. Oak Tree offers a special Columbus Day card this afternoon with first post at 12:30 p.m. Heading the nine-race program is the $75,000 Cover Gal Stakes at seven furlongs for 2-year-old fillies bred in California which drew a field of eight, including Cinderella Stakes winner River’s Prayer. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!