01/28/2002 12:00AM

Foal abortions level with 2001

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LEXINGTON, Ky. - In the first month of foaling season, the number of reported late-term abortions is holding nearly level with last year, according to information issued by the Livestock Disease Diagnostic Laboratory in Lexington.

The laboratory reported Friday that from Dec. 30, 2001, through Jan. 19, 2002, breeders had submitted 77 aborted equine fetuses to the center for examination. For the same time period last year, before mare reproductive loss syndrome became evident in early May, breeders had submitted 75 aborted equine fetuses. The laboratory noted that the mean of equine fetuses for the same timeframe from 1996 through 2000 was 67.4. Though the report did not indicate how many of the fetuses submitted so far this year were Thoroughbreds, a statement accompanying the figures said that 66 percent of submissions to the center are Thoroughbred.