11/15/2012 5:31PM

Hawthorne: Sick horse euthanized, herpesvirus test results pending


STICKNEY, Ill. – A horse died Wednesday at Hawthorne Race Course after exhibiting symptoms consistent with the equine herpesvirus, which has infected the backstretch here. Result of herpes tests administered to that animal and another ailing horse in the same barn weren’t available Thursday afternoon, but if herpes is confirmed, it would be a setback in efforts to push the virus out of the Hawthorne stabling area.

Trainer Dale Bennett confirmed Thursday that a 2-year-old filly named Ginger and Spice had been euthanized Wednesday. Ginger and Spice, a $150,000 2-year-old in-training purchase owned by the Savoy Stable, had run a fever periodically for several weeks, but it was only Wednesday morning that she exhibited more serious symptoms. Bennett said Ginger and Spice lost coordination in the morning and stood motionless in her stall for hours. An attempt was made to move Ginger and Spice from Bennett’s barn to an EHV-1 isolation barn but the filly fell, could not rise, and had to be put down.

Illinois state veterinarian Dr. Dawn Folker-Calderon and Hawthorne assistant general manager Jim Miller both emphasized that EHV-1 had not yet been diagnosed in Ginger and Spice. Bennett, however, said he was “one-thousand percent sure” the filly had contracted the disease. Folker-Calderon said that even if a positive test is returned, the protocols already established here to try and slow the virus’s spread would basically remain unchanged.

Bennett’s horses are housed in Barn E along with those trained by Michael Reavis. A Reavis-trained filly also showed neurologic symptoms Tuesday and was moved to the isolation area in Barn K-2, which houses 10 horses now. She was said to have suffered in the past from equine protozoal myeloencephalitis, a disease that also can produce loss of coordination.

It had been 18 days since a new case of EHV-1 had been reported, leading horsemen and racing officials to hope the outbreak was winding down. If a positive is confirmed from Wednesday’s cases, the timeframe for Hawthorne to come out of a state-imposed quarantine would be pushed back accordingly. No horses stabled here are permitted to leave except for medical emergency, and any horse shipping here must remain at Hawthorne.

EHV-1 was first diagnosed Oct. 14 in Barn A, which sits on the western edge of the backstretch. A minor flare-up occurred in Barn C, which lies in the middle of the main row of barns, but Barn E – the Bennett barn – is located near the property’s east end.

Bennett said that for weeks horses in his care have run fevers at about four or five times their typical rate. Bennett kept his horses in the barn Thursday, but Reavis-trained horses exercised with the general population during regular training hours. A separate training period for horses that have tested positive for EHV-1 or have displayed neurologic symptoms of the disease has been set up later in the morning.

Diane Treadway More than 1 year ago
And the absurd statement that Jim Miller made recent about Bennetts ! Trying to hide & say there horse had something else What a coverup they are trying to do!!!! Something horses should not be able to train cuz this is a AIRBORNE VIRUS wHICH IS WORSE & this one is deadly This is just aweful & some outside department should step in & control this>>
Denise Filipowski More than 1 year ago
Keep moving the horses around Doesn't help at all! Should have been Quarantine a long time ago!
Diane Treadway More than 1 year ago
Trainer Mike Reavis is a Idoit Knowing him He's probably laughing about it He thinks everything is a joke!!! I know the Bennetts are care about there horses & are exceptional care givers & A good Trainer And Horseman!!!
Hannah Livesay More than 1 year ago
This disease is obviously spreading, how many more horses need to die before coming up with a new plan. Maybe the track should be shut down and horses moved to farms until the spring meet starts again.I Hate to say this, but, I know that if this disease was killing humans the track would have shut down until it is safe again. Animals should be equally important. Maybe its the infestation of rats!!!!
radnor87 More than 1 year ago
I'm trying to figure out why horses that were housed in the same barn as the euthanized filly were allowed to train with the general population. The outbreak is far from contained if horses are still running fevers . If any horse runs a fever is it being tested ?
R D B More than 1 year ago
A special training period for horses walking sideways. that nice.
Patricia Doyle More than 1 year ago
For the life of me I don't know why racing continued after the first case was identified. Why were horses being shipped in and out of the track to race. So now the virus has moved out of Barn A and hit barn B. Spreads like wildfire. When I researched the FMD in the UK in 2000/01 we found that vets and loree people were carrying the virus on their shoes, on loree tires etc. When someone went from Barn A to Barn E they might have unconsciously carried the virus. Every item in Barn A was suspect of infection. Sometimes grooms will use a brush to clean feeding tubs from other horses. Things like this. The track should have closed down early, meet ended at the onset. The less horses in the barn area the better.
laura ban More than 1 year ago
I've read this article once over again to try and understand a few important points but failed. This is a very concerning situation that hasn't been controled. Time for their protocols to be changed. Their efforts have failed, horses continue to die, I think it's time they called in somebody who has handled a situation like this before and knows what to do. Time is of the essence.
JoyJackson21 More than 1 year ago
How tragic. Poor Ginger and Spice. Such a lovely name, I'm sure was a lovely horse. Rest in peace, sweet filly. It's distressing to read this update after they had been so hopeful that they had turned a corner in fighting this disease at Hawthorne. I am praying for all of the horses that are sick or at risk. I'm also praying this disease is finally conquered along the backstretch of Hawthorne. These poor horses have been through enough.
chad mc rory More than 1 year ago
Fever several weeks before move to isolation barn... I just read that, right???
Rachel Harding More than 1 year ago
yup, thats what i read too