04/12/2014 12:22PM

Aqueduct barn under precautionary quarantine for equine herpesvirus

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Michael Amoruso
Kentucky Derby candidate Samraat, who is based at Aqueduct, was re-routed to Belmont after the quarantine was announced.

OZONE PARK, N.Y. -- A precautionary quarantine has been placed on Barn 10 at Aqueduct after a horse that died in that barn last week was found to have the presence of a low amount of EHV-1 (equine herpesvirus) in one of his samples, according to the chief veterinarian for the New York Racing Association.

As of Saturday morning, horses in Barn 10 -- which included 33 trained by David Jacobson and 16 trained by Rudy Rodriguez -- were not permitted to race and may only train amongst themselves after the general population at Aqueduct has completed training. On Saturday, that meant those horses could go out after 9 a.m.

On Thursday, Clawback, winner of the 2013 Jimmy Winkfield Stakes who was claimed by Jacobson last December, had to be euthanized after he could not get up and was in extreme pain, according to Jacobson, who was advised by three veterinarians to have the horse euthanized. On the orders of Dr. Anthony Verderosa, NYRA’s chief examining veterinarian, Clawback was sent to Cornell University for a necropsy.

“There are multiple tests being done. On the initial reports they sent back, ‘the presence of very low amounts of EHV-1 in one of the samples,’ ” said Verderosa, quoting the report he received from Cornell veterinarians. “The other samples were negative.”

Some biosecurity measures have been put in place including the taking of temperatures twice a day of all the horses in Barn 10, Verderosa said.

“So far, we’ve had no cases or fevers since instituting them,” Verderosa said. “This is precautionary and also with all the results that are pending from Cornell this might turn out to be something else.”

Verderosa said he is not instituting any restrictions on any other horses stabled at Aqueduct. He said travel restrictions to Aqueduct regarding horses from other states “are up to each and every other jurisdiction; if they think we’re handling this okay or if they don’t. If people come here and they’re captured here we’ll make room for them.

“This is not a full-blown herpes outbreak, this is precautionary,” Verderosa added. “Until we know what we’re dealing with I can’t put in those kinds of restrictions and would not; it wouldn’t be prudent.”

No horses from Barn 10 were entered to run at Aqueduct on Saturday. However, Jacobson said he had three horses stabled in that barn entered for Wednesday and Rodriguez said he had one. Those horses are likely to be scratched.

“We have results pending from Cornell, many results from many tests on that horse,” Verderosa said. “The next hurdle is rabies and then we have many other test results pending and as soon as they report them I will make the appropriate changes.”

Samraat, runner-up in the Wood Memorial and a contender for the Kentucky Derby, was based at Aqueduct. However, he is now at Belmont Park after spending five days at the Fair Hill training center following the Wood.

Trainer Rick Violette said he sent Samraat to Fair Hill to make use of the hyperbaric chamber and to get turned out for a few days. Violette said the horse was scheduled to ship to Aqueduct on Friday, but when he got word of the situation with Clawback --  coincidentally a horse he used to train -- he re-routed the van to Belmont.

Violette said Samraat would remain at Belmont until such time as the quarantine issue at Aqueduct is resolved.