01/02/2017 9:16PM

Fourth equine herpesvirus case at Fair Grounds


One of the two horses at Fair Grounds who ran fevers Monday and were tested for the equine herpesvirus was confirmed to have a form of the virus.

The horse tested positive for the so-called “wild” sub-strain of the EHV-1 virus, becoming the fourth horse at Fair Grounds with a confirmed EHV-1 case. The horse has been moved to an isolation area on the backstretch but was stabled in the receiving barn along with the rest of the small string trained by Chris Davis. The receiving barn was placed under a 14-day quarantine period starting Monday.

The other horse, trained by Tom Amoss, according to a Fair Grounds release, tested negative for EHV-1 after running a fever. That horse was returned to barn 14, where it had been stabled, from another isolation area where it had been taken Monday morning.

The first EHV-1 cases were in barn 14, including a horse who had to be euthanized because of the neurologic symptoms often associated with the virus. The second horse’s condition has improved since it was moved to the isolation area.

Amoss has only a couple of overflow stalls in barn 14; the bulk of his stable resides in a nearby Fair Grounds barn.

The Davis-trained horse, a filly, has been moved to an isolation area that also houses an EHV-1 positive horse who came from trainer Mike Stidham’s string in barn 37. Both of these horses tested positive for the wild sub-strain of the EHV-1 virus. The horses in barn 14 tested positive for the generally more severe neuropathogenic strain.

Horses afflicted with the wild strain are less likely to show the serious neurologic effects of the virus. Stidham’s horse, however, was neurologic, but Davis said his was not. He said the filly had run a temperature of about 102 on Monday morning but was otherwise doing well. The horse has been stabled at Fair Grounds for several weeks, Davis said.

Fair Grounds and the Louisiana State Department of Agriculture announced Monday morning that they were placing the entire backstretch under quarantine and had banned horses shipping into and out of the track, a move likely related to the sick horse in the receiving barn.

The track continues to allow horses from barns that housed infected horses to train during special periods following regular morning exercise. Races were conducted as scheduled Monday, though the last two races on the card, the eighth and ninth, were canceled after heavy storms swept through New Orleans.

Barn 14 remains under a 14-day quarantine with a start date of Dec. 31, the day of the most recent positive test there. Barn 36’s 14-day quarantine is set to Jan. 1, and the receiving barn quarantine has a start date of Jan. 2.

Fair Grounds hosts its Road to the Derby Kickoff Day, featuring the Grade 3 Lecomte Stakes for 3-year-olds, on Jan. 21.