12/09/2014 4:04PM

Finger Lakes appears free of strangles


There have not been any new cases of strangles at Finger Lakes since two horses tested positive for the illness last week and two barns were quarantined, according to Dave Brown, president of the local chapter of the Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association.

“The incubation countdown has begun,” Brown said. “If there aren’t any new cases, I think the quarantine could be lifted on Dec. 18 or 19.”

Strangles is a highly contagious, though not usually fatal, respiratory illness. The New York Racing Association last Wednesday placed a ban on horses from Finger Lakes shipping to Aqueduct or Belmont Park. The ban resulted in some horses at Aqueduct being scratched and has prevented trainers, including Chris and Jeremiah Englehart, from shipping horses downstate.

Finger Lakes concluded its 2014 meet last Friday and the main track and training track have been closed for training for the year. Brown estimated there were still approximately 400 horses on the grounds but thinks that number will drop to about 150 by the end of the weekend.

Brown said the two ill horses have been moved from Finger Lakes to a farm in the community. He estimated there were originally about 75 horses in the two quarantined barns but that only about 35 remained.

“People have signed releases and agreed to certain conditions, like testing their horses temperatures and so forth, and have taken their horses home,” Brown said. “The horses that were in close proximity to the two that tested positive have had to stay here.”

The first detected case of strangles was for a horse trained by James Giliforte