12/31/2016 1:17PM

Fair Grounds: Second horse tests positive for equine herpesvirus


A second horse at Fair Grounds has gotten sick and tested positive for the equine herpesvirus, senior director of racing Jason Boulet said Saturday morning.

The herpes positive comes five days after one barn at Fair Grounds was put under quarantine because a horse died from the virus. That horse, trained by Alice Cohn, was housed in barn 14, as was the second horse to be infected, one trained by Jeff Thornbury.

The stricken animal, Boulet said, has been moved to an isolation area set up on the northeast corner of the Fair Grounds backstretch, away from the rest of the equine population.

Protocols put in place by the Louisiana Department of Agriculture require an infected site to have no herpes cases for 14 days in order to lift the quarantine. The latest case resets the start of that period to Dec. 31, though it is good news that the second infection occurred in the same barn. Starting last Tuesday, horses in that barn have been training between 9:30 and 10:30 a.m. after the horses from the rest of the backstretch have finished exercising.

Thornbury, Cohn, and Jack Frost run smaller strings in barn 14, whose major occupant is trainer Michelle Lovell. Horses from the quarantined barn are not permitted to race, and access to the barn is restricted by security.

Fair Grounds has not imposed restrictions on horses shipping into and out of its backstretch. Trainers, though, will be hesitant to send horses to the site of a herpes outbreak. Trainer Joe Sharp, for instance, elected not to ship two horses, Mom’s On Strike and Dolphus, for stakes on Saturday because of the ongoing situation.