02/16/2018 12:56PM

Confirmed equine herpes case prompts barn quarantine at Belmont


ELMONT, N.Y. - Barn 10 at Belmont Park has been placed under quarantine due to a confirmed case of equine herpes myeloencephalopathy (EHM), a respiratory virus that can sometimes be fatal.

In fact, the filly in that barn who was tested for EHM, Ladies Day, was euthanized late Friday morning at Belmont. Ladies Day initially spiked a fever Monday and then had another temperature Thursday, according to her trainer, Tom Albertrani. The filly could not stand Thursday evening through Friday morning.

A blood test and a nasal swab taken on Ladies Day before she was euthanized came back positive for EHM, the New York Racing Association confirmed Saturday. On Friday, Dr. Anthony Verderosa, director of the New York Racing Association’s veterinarians, said Ladies Day exhibited symptoms consistent with the neurological form of the disease.

“I’d be very, very surprised – shocked, actually – if she’s not positive,” Verderosa said Friday morning outside Barn 10, which houses horses trained by Albertrani and Michael Dilger.

A full necropsy will be performed on Ladies Day at the Cornell University of Veterinary Medicine in Ithaca, N.Y.

Ladies Day, a 4-year-old daughter of Bernardini owned by Godolphin Racing, won once from 10 starts.

Albertrani and Dilger both have 10 horses stabled in Barn 10. Those horses will not be permitted to race during what is expected to be a 21-day quarantine period. That includes Evaluator, who was scheduled to run in Sunday’s $100,000 Gander Stakes at Aqueduct for New York-bred 3-year-olds.

“This is usually a 21-day quarantine and some retesting done,” Verderosa said. “Of course, if any horse develops a fever or any other symptoms, then the clock gets reset on the quarantine.”

During the quarantine period, horses in Barn 10 will be permitted to train only following the conclusion of regular training hours.

In January, Barn 44 at Belmont was placed under quarantine due to a suspected case of the equine herpesvirus (EHV-1). The horse in question in that case, an unraced 3-year-old trained by Linda Rice, did not show neurological signs of the disease and the quarantine was lifted in less than two weeks.

“This is different,” Verderosa said. “Linda’s horse was positive for EHV-1 but never developed anything but a fever.”

Verderosa said that only Barn 10 was under quarantine and not the entire Belmont backstretch.

“I am not closing the stable gates,” Verderosa said. “I’m confident because of my security people that this situation right here is contained. Plus, the 20 [other] horses are asymptomatic and do not have fevers, so that gives me even more confidence that we’ve got it under control at this point. But that could change.”

There were 14 horses based at Belmont Park that were scheduled to race at Laurel Park on Saturday, but officials at that track announced late Friday afternoon that they would not be permitted to ship down.

– additional reporting by Jim Dunleavy