04/14/2014 1:35PM

Aqueduct quarantine termed 'precautionary'


OZONE PARK, N.Y. – A precautionary quarantine remained in place on Barn 10 at Aqueduct on Monday as officials awaited the results on tests conducted on a horse who died in that barn last Thursday.

Initial testing done on the horse, Clawback, indicated the presence of “very low amounts of EHV-1 [equine herpesvirus] in one of his samples,” according to Dr. Anthony Verderosa, the chief examining veterinarian for the New York Racing Association.

Should the quarantine last through Wednesday, it could have an impact on that afternoon’s card at Aqueduct, as a few horses scheduled to run that day are stabled in that barn and may have to scratch. That would include Very Cherry Candy (a main-track-only entrant in race  5), Blue Cherokee (race 7), and Ellen Dorene (race 9).

Horses stabled in Barn 10 – including 33 trained by David Jacobson and 16 trained by Rudy Rodriguez – will not be permitted to race until the quarantine is lifted. Also, those horses can only train among themselves after the general population at Aqueduct has concluded training.

The quarantine was put in place late Friday afternoon, one day after Clawback had to be euthanized. Clawback, the winner of the 2013 Jimmy Winkfield Stakes who was claimed by Jacobson last December, was in extreme pain and could not get up. Veterinarians advised that he be euthanized.

Verderosa said over the weekend that a multitude of tests were being conducted on Clawback, and the results might not be known until late in the week. Verderosa did not feel the need to implement any further restrictions on horses shipping in and out of Aqueduct for the time being.

“This is not a full-blown herpes outbreak; this is precautionary,” Verderosa said Saturday.

Officials at Parx, which had two EHV-1 incidents this winter, scratched two horses from last Saturday’s program who were trained by Rodriguez. Parx racing secretary Sal Sinatra said Monday he took entries from New York trainers for Friday’s card in hopes that the quarantine will be lifted by then.

Meanwhile, Samraat, the Gotham and Withers stakes winner, has been shipped from Aqueduct to Belmont Park to continue preparations for the Kentucky Derby. Trainer Rick Violette said Samraat was shipped April 6 – the day after Samraat finished second in the Wood Memorial – to Fair Hill, a training center in Maryland, where he spent several days. Samraat underwent therapy in a hyperbaric chamber and was turned out for a few days. He was just about to return to Aqueduct on Friday morning when Violette heard about the impending quarantine and rerouted the horse to Belmont.

On Monday, Samraat galloped 1 1/2 miles over Belmont’s main track with Violette looking on. Violette said Samraat would remain at Belmont until such time as he can get the horse back to Aqueduct. Samraat is expected to work the next two Saturdays before shipping to Churchill Downs on April 28.

“I don’t know that I would change anything other than being in his own stall at Aqueduct,” said Violette, who added that his top New York-bred turf filly, Effie Trinket, also is at Belmont. “This is the best-case scenario in case the worst-case scenario happens.”