02/27/2006 12:00AM

Keeneland restricts ship-ins

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Keeneland Racecourse in Lexington, Ky., issued a rule on Monday that bans any horse from shipping into the track if the horse was stabled at several sites in Maryland and Pennsylvania affected by a recent outbreak of equine herpesvirus.

The rule requires any horse shipping into Keeneland to have a signed certificate stating that the horse has "not originated from, nor been stabled on, a premises which has had herpesvirus diagnosed during the previous 30-day period."

Another rule requires a herpesvirus vaccination within at least the preceding 14 days. Herpesvirus vaccinations are not 100 percent effective, but they do help horses ward off the disease.

Equine herpesvirus, which attacks a horse's upper respiratory and neurological systems, has been diagnosed in horses at Pimlico Race Course, Laurel Park, Fair Hill Training Center, and a farm in Maryland within the past two months, though no new cases have been reported at Laurel or Pimlico for several weeks. A horse also tested positive for equine herpesvirus earlier this month at Penn National Race Course in Pennsylvania.

On Feb. 24, the Kentucky state veterinarian, Robert Stout, issued restrictions that prohibits any horse that has been stabled at the sites in Maryland within the preceding 30 days from shipping into Kentucky. The restriction, however, allowed an exception for horses at Fair Hill that were not stabled in the barn where horses tested positive for the disease.

Keeneland said that as part of the track's new policy to contain equine herpesvirus, all horses stabled on the track's grounds will be required to have their temperatures recorded twice a day. Any horse with a temperature of 102 degrees Fahrenheit or higher will be required to be reported to the track's director of racing, the track said, "so that proper action may be taken to insure the containment of" the virus.