Virus confirmed in Laurel filly

race fields to shrink

horse racing

November 15, 2008|By Bill Ordine | Bill Ordine,bill.ordine@baltsun.com

No horses will be allowed to enter Laurel Park, except those brought in from the Bowie Training Center in special shuttles, while a case of equine herpesvirus at the racetrack continues to be investigated. An effect of the restriction is that race fields at Laurel Park will include fewer horses, Maryland Jockey Club officials said. Also, horses at Laurel and Bowie will be restricted to the grounds. Pimlico Race Course's stable area is closed for the winter.

Meanwhile, test results from the University of Kentucky confirmed the diagnosis of equine herpesvirus (EHV-1) for a 2-year-old filly, Nin, who is stabled at Barn 1 at Laurel Park. On Wednesday, Nin had trouble standing. By Thursday, though, she was sitting up, eating and had no fever. Her condition was unchanged yesterday.

The Maryland Department of Agriculture reported yesterday that of seven other horses who are also in Barn 1 and were tested for EHV-1, results were negative for three and are pending for the others. The testing was done Thursday and yesterday. About 30 horses are stabled in Barn 1, and about 800 horses are housed in about three dozen barns at Laurel Park.

Officials of the Maryland Jockey Club, which oversees Laurel Park, Pimlico and the Bowie center, said the most recent restriction on horses entering or leaving Laurel Park is precautionary.

As a result of the restrictions, 38 horses were scratched yesterday from the nine-race card and 29 more that would have been shipped in for today's races will not be allowed to run.

"Everyone is being affected financially, but you can't keep track of the movement of horses that come off the farm or another training center," said jockey club racing secretary Georganne Hale. "... We are trying to keep this situation confined."

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