12/01/2012 12:40PM

Hawthorne: Fifth horse euthanized, test results due back Tuesday


STICKNEY, Ill. – Another horse died at Hawthorne Race Course on Saturday morning after displaying symptoms consistent with the equine herpesvirus that has killed four other animals and disrupted the track’s fall-winter race meeting since mid-October.

Test results that would confirm the presence of the virus won’t be available until Tuesday, but the horse was found down in its stall and unable to rise. Equine herpesvirus, or EHV-1, in its gravest form causes a loss of coordination and inability to stand.

The horse, a 2-year-old filly named Angelinthevening trained by Mike Reavis, had exercised as usual Friday morning and never ran a fever, according to Dr. Steven Seabaugh, the track veterinarian. She was found recumbent in her stall and unable to rise on Saturday morning, and eventually was euthanized.

Reavis claimed the filly Oct. 16 from trainer Mike Stidham, whose horses are housed in Barn H. There have been no reported neurologic cases of or positive tests for EHV-1 in that barn, but Reavis’s string resides in Barn E, in which the deadly strain of the virus has been active. Five horses there, one trained by Reavis and four by Dale Bennett, tested positive for EHV-1, and one horse was euthanized because of the disease on Nov. 14. The maximum incubation period for EHV-1is thought to be about 14 days, and it seems likely Angelinthevening contracted the virus after changing barns.

Claiming has gone on as usual during the outbreak, which began Oct. 14. There have been calls to restrict movement of horses between barns, but the Hawthorne backstretch lacks a separate space to stable claimed horses, according to Dr. Dawn Folker-Calderon, the Illinois state veterinarian at the track, and Jim Miller, Hawthorne’s assistant general manager. Miller also said that in general, horsemen wanted claiming to continue and didn’t support the idea of a claimed horse remaining in its original barn.

Saturday’s death was the second this week, following an EHV-1 fatality on Monday in Barn 1, the first confirmed EHV-1 positive in 11 days. Miller said the events of the week hadn’t moved Hawthorne officials to further consider halting the meet, which runs through Dec. 30.

A handful of the nearly 2,000 horses stabled at Hawthorne have been permitted to leave for approved out-of-state quarantine facilities during the last eight days, but the track remains under an Illinois Department of Agriculture quarantine. The quarantine expires 28 days after the last neurologically symptomatic horse is reported, and that timeline will be reset to Saturday morning if the Reavis horse produces a positive EHV-1 test.