12/18/2012 4:50PM

Hawthorne: Equine health crisis appears to have stabilized


STICKNEY, Ill. – The situation regarding the equine herpesvirus outbreak at Hawthorne has been as quiet the last two weeks as at any point since the first horses became ill Oct. 14. No horses have displayed the serious neurologic symptoms of the disease, known as EHV-1, since a horse became ill and died Dec. 7.

But the quarantine clock remains set at Dec. 10, the date on which two Hugh Robertson-trained horses who were running fevers tested positive for the EHV-1 virus. The Illinois Department of Agriculture-imposed quarantine on Hawthorne will be in force for 28 days after any horse has displayed EHV-1 symptoms and tested positive for the virus.

Also, rules for shipping horses into Hawthorne have been changed. For most of the quarantine period, horses were permitted to ship onto the Hawthorne backstretch with the knowledge that they would be required to remain at the track until the quarantine was lifted. About two weeks ago, a ban on incoming 2-year-olds was imposed, and now, no new horses are being allowed on the grounds. Hawthorne's fall-winter meet ends Dec. 30.