03/13/2008 12:00AM

Charles Town lifts quarantine


A horse who was displaying symptoms of equine herpesvirus at Charles Town Races and Slots in West Virginia has tested negative for the highly contagious disease, racetrack officials said on Thursday, and the track has lifted a self-imposed quarantine.

Charles Town is scheduled to resume live racing on Friday night after canceling the Wednesday and Thursday cards because of concerns over the horse. Equine herpesvirus, which attacks a horse's upper respiratory system and can lead to neurological disease, is easily spread among confined horse populations if the disease is not addressed.

Danny Wright, chief steward of Charles Town, said that horses resumed training on Thursday morning at the track. As a result of the quarantine, all of the horses on the backstretch had been confined to their stalls since Tuesday.

"We're very relieved," Wright said. "But we're still satisfied that we took all the necessary precautions."

The unidentified horse who displayed the symptoms is still in quarantine in its barn, Wright said, while veterinarians work to determine what had affected the horse.