03/01/2016 3:45PM

Herpes positive forces quarantine of Payson Park


HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. - An unidentified horse has tested positive for the equine herpesvirus at Payson Park, forcing the Indiantown, Fla., training facility to be quarantined under Florida Department of Agriculture regulations for at least the next 21 days.

As a result of the quarantine, no horses will be allowed to ship out of Payson Park for the next three weeks. There are approximately 480 horses stabled at Payson Park.

Mary Gallagher, general manager of Payson Park, said the positive test result on the horse was received on Monday. She added that the stricken animal has been moved to a quarantine barn at the far reaches of the property to keep it segregated from the rest of the horses.

The sick horse recently shipped to Payson from Virginia. Officials at Gulfstream Park and Tampa Bay Downs both confirmed the horse belongs to trainer Niall Saville.

Neither Gulfstream Park nor Tampa Bay Downs will accept entries from any horse stabled at Payson Park for the duration of the quarantine. The immediate impact of the quarantine at Gulfstream Park was minimal, with only one horse from the training facility entered on Thursday and Friday’s programs. The long-range impact, however, figures to be greater, with such high-profile stables as Bill Mott, Christophe Clement and Shug McGaughey making their winter home at Payson.

Clement has five horses nominated to Saturday’s Grade 3 The Very One Stakes at Gulfstream. Mott has two horses and Clement one horse nominated for the Grade 2 Mac Diarmida on the same card. Mott will also have to alter plans for his top 3-year-old filly Carina Mia, who was scheduled to launch her 2016 campaign in the Grade 2 Honeybee Stakes at Oaklawn Park a week from Saturday.

Gallagher said representatives from the Florida Department of Agriculture arrived at Payson on Tuesday afternoon to begin testing the remainder of the horses there. 

“The trailers just rolled in this afternoon,” said Gallagher. “And if another positive pops up, the 21 days starts all over again.”