01/12/2017 4:20PM

Fair Grounds ready to fill stakes fields despite outbreak

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Entries for the six stakes races Jan. 21 at Fair Grounds were to be taken Friday, and track officials remained confident that despite the equine herpesvirus outbreak at the track that began late last month, there would be sufficient horses to fill them.

Per a track directive following a positive herpes test in the receiving barn Jan. 2, horses have not been allowed to leave or come to Fair Grounds, which means no shippers for the stakes races. As of Thursday, six barns on the Fair Grounds backstretch remained under quarantine because of positive tests for the virus, known as EHV-1.

The quarantine affects nearly 250 horses among the roughly 1,800 stabled at the track. Horses in those barns are allowed to train during dedicated periods each morning but cannot race. Some barns could come out of quarantine before the Jan. 21 races, and entries from those stables will be taken on the chance that the horses will be permitted to run, but there also remains the possibility of new EHV-1 positive tests in barns previously unaffected.

The most recent positive tests were returned Tuesday, with two new barns, 4 and 30, now affected. Blood was drawn and nasal swabs taken Wednesday for EHV-1 testing on all horses stabled in quarantined barns, but results of those 118 tests weren’t expected until Friday at the earliest.