01/25/2017 2:36PM

Horses at Turfway and Keeneland positive for herpes


Two horses at Turfway Park and one at Keeneland from quarantined barns tested positive for the wild-type strain of the equine herpesvirus (EHV-1), according to Rusty Ford, The Kentucky Department of Agriculture Equine Programs Manager.

These latest findings, announced late Tuesday, come after a filly that left Turfway Park for a farm to prepare for the 2017 breeding season tested positive for herpes, which brought the quarantine protocols into place Saturday morning.

Horses in Barn 27 at Turfway and those in a pair of barns at Keeneland that house horses who have been moved to and from Turfway were placed under quarantine by Kentucky veterinary officials.

The two affected horses at Turfway – a 4-year-old gelding and 9-year-old mare – had not been removed from Barn 27 into an isolated location as of early Wednesday afternoon, Ford said. Once that happens, the barn at Turfway could potentially be removed from quarantine after 14 days, provided no other horses show signs of illness and tests show them clean of the virus, he said.

Ford met with Turfway horsemen Wednesday to update them on the quarantine, and Turfway officials are working toward isolating the affected horses and instituting a program that would allow horses in the quarantined barns to train separately from the general horse population.

Horses residing in Barn 27 at Turfway and the two barns at Keeneland cannot race until further notice by the Kentucky Department of Agriculture. There were several scratches of horses from the quarantined barns Wednesday night at Turfway.

Ford said to his knowledge none of the horses testing positive at Turfway Park or Keeneland were showing outward signs of illness, such as a high temperature.

The wild-type strain of the equine herpesvirus is far less dangerous than the neuropathic strain, which was found in a sick horse at HighPointe Training Center in Oldham County, Ky., earlier this month. Other cases of herpes were found there and at another location in that county.

Horses across the Midwest are under scrutiny following the discoveries of the equine herpesvirus at Fair Grounds in New Orleans and these latest cases in Kentucky.

Turfway is now requiring all ship-in horses to have health certificates from a veterinarian made within 24 hours of their arrival to the track, down from the usual 72 hours.