Updated on 02/01/2011 1:26PM

Gulfstream quarantines some barns pending test results


HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. – An unidentified horse from the barn of trainer Jonathan Sheppard showing symptoms of possible neurological disease has prompted Gulfstream Park officials to quarantine one barn at the track and four others at its training facility at Palm Meadows on Thursday. Three of the barns at Palm Meadows contain horses trained by Todd Pletcher, including Kentucky Derby favorite Uncle Mo.

Test samples from the stricken horse, taken on Wednesday, were flown immediately to the University of Kentucky in Lexington and arrived by 8 a.m. on Thursday morning, track officials said. Track officials were hopeful results of those tests would be received early enough so that if it comes back negative the quarantine could be lifted prior to the start of racing on Thursday.

“We actually put one of our people on a flight to Lexington with the samples in hopes of getting a quick turnaround on these results so as not to disrupt even a single day of racing here,” said Gulfstream Park vice president of racing Tim Ritvo.

Barn 2 at Gulfstream, which contains horses trained by Sheppard, Pletcher, Steve Klesaris and Juan Vazquez, along with barns 0, 11, 12 and 38 at Palm Meadows were quarantined. Other trainers affected at Palm Meadows included Rick Violette and Saeed bin Suroor. The Palm Meadow barns were added to the quarantine list because both Pletcher and Violette have had horses ship in and out of Barn 2 at Gulfstream from Palm Meadows over the past several days, according to Ritvo.

The main track closed for training for the general population at Gulfstream at 9:20 a.m. on Thursday, 40 minutes earlier than usual, after which the horses from Barn 2 were allowed to train. Palm Meadows extended training hours on Thursday with horses from the four quarantined barns allowed to train after the regular closing time of 10:30 a.m.

Pletcher, Sheppard and Klesaris all had horses entered on Thursday’s card and all have been scratched as a result of the quarantine.

Pletcher’s pair of Skating and High Strider were scratched from the sixth race; the Klesaris-trained Mine N Gems was taken out of the seventh; while Sheppard’s Oh So Nice and Pletcher’s Golden Galleon were scratched from the eighth event on the nine-race card. 

An extension of the quarantine beyond Thursday could have major effects on a big weekend of racing upcoming at Gulfstream Park, with the Sunshine Millions scheduled on Saturday and both the Grade 3 Holy Bull and Grade 2 Forward Gal to be run here Sunday.