11/14/2008 12:00AM

Laurel takes action after herpes confirmed

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Laurel Park on Friday closed its backstretch indefinitely to ship-ins and began prohibiting horses from leaving the grounds after a second test on a 2-year-filly stabled there confirmed that she is positive for the highly contagious disease equine herpesvirus.

Because of the restrictions, 38 horses had to be scratched from Friday's card at Laurel. Twenty-nine shippers were entered in Saturday's races, and those horses have been scratched as well, according to the Maryland Jockey Club, the Magna Entertainment Corp. company that owns Laurel and its sister track, Pimlico Race Course.

As an exception, Laurel is allowing ship-ins from Bowie Training Center in Maryland on a shuttle administered by the track. Because of cost-cutting measures, Pimlico is not open for training.

Another 29 horses in the filly's barn have not shown any outward symptoms of the disease, according to track officials, but tests have now been ordered on those horses to see if any are positive for equine herpesvirus.

All horses in the barn are prohibited from mingling with any other horses on the backstretch.