11/29/2012 3:11PM

Hawthorne: Quarantine extended as euthanized horse tests positive for herpesvirus


STICKNEY, Ill. – A horse euthanized Monday at Hawthorne Race Course has tested positive for equine herpesvirus, becoming the fourth animal there killed by the disease and prolonging a quarantine that prohibits Hawthorne-based horses from shipping to other racing venues.

The horse, housed in Barn 1 and trained by Eduardo “Lalo” Rodriguez, was found down in its stall Monday morning and eventually had to be euthanized. The EHV-1 virus usually causes only fever or minor upper-respiratory symptoms, but at its worst attacks an animal’s neurological system. When horses lose coordination and fall down, the virus often proves fatal.

The Illinois state-employed veterinarian stationed at Hawthorne, Dr. Dawn Folker-Calderon, said Thursday that no other horses in Barn 1 had been reported to be sick. The horses in that barn, though, will only be permitted to exercise after regular training hours during a period reserved for horses that clearly have been exposed to the virus. Folker-Calderon said the Barn 1 horses would be monitored for at least one week before being permitted to resume normal training.

Monday’s neurologic EHV-1 case was the first reported since Nov. 15. Hawthorne will remain under a state-imposed quarantine until 28 days have passed after a horse with EHV-1 displays neurologic symptoms, and this latest case is a further setback for horsemen that hope to depart for winter racing in Florida, Arkansas, and Louisiana. Jim Miller, the track’s assistant general manager, said in a release Wednesday that despite the latest EHV-1 case, the incidence of infection was becoming more sporadic. The first EHV-1 case at the track occurred Oct. 14.

Horses that can be shipped to an approved out-of-state quarantine site started leaving the grounds Nov. 23. Three pony horses were allowed to leave the track on Wednesday for a facility in Arkansas, Folker-Calderon said.

Rob K More than 1 year ago
The State of Illinois is broke and in financial dire straits. I just wonder how much financial pressure there is to keep the track up and fully operating given these circumstances.
Jennifer Ice More than 1 year ago
I don't know how Frank goes from a story about the deaths of horses affected by the EH-V1 virus to a classist commentary on how he'd like to improve racing, but I find it entirely inappropriate. Horses are DYING over a virus, Frank. Maybe this isn't the forum to get on a soapbox about what you believe is wrong with racing.
chad mc rory More than 1 year ago
It looks like the discussion has drifted off-point. This story is about sick horses, not sick comments.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Frank, You are a King. A King of morons.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Any truth to the rumor that Arlington Park sent some people over to infect these horses? I wouldn't put it past them...
Cory Patton More than 1 year ago
In response to Frank, the reason America was formed was so that everyone would have a chance to follow there dreams. England is about the size of Louisiana and it would not be remotely possible to have the same type of circuits they have in England. If you don't like American racing bet overseas.
Frank More than 1 year ago
Too many racing dates, too many horses, too much waste. We need to learn from Europe in this sport. We need less tracks, breed less, trainers/owners should use farms to house their horses not tracks. The horses should be brought in to race only. Its the friggin sport of kings so we dont need more little owners. We need less races with more quality taken care of horses around the country. I mean this is the simulcasting age we can bet on a race anywhere -- we dont need these little dive tracks all over the place.