06/05/2010 12:00AM

Lone Star quarantined lifted; lab error


The quarantine the Texas Animal Health Commission placed Friday on the Lone Star Park stables of three trainers, including meet leader Bret Calhoun, has been lifted, an official with the Texas Racing Commission confirmed Saturday morning. The Texas Animal Health Commission had imposed the lockdown after each trainer had a horse in his care test positive for equine piroplasmosis, but the test results were later found to be in error.

"It was a lab error," said Ken Quirk, chief veterinarian with the Texas Racing Commission. "The positives were actually negative. There is no quarantine in place at Lone Star Park."

The other trainers whose stables came under quarantine were Kevin Favre and Brian House.

Equine piroplasmosis is a tick-borne disease that can lead to loss of appetite, fever, anemia, labored breathing colic and in some cases, death. Last fall, several horses on a working ranch in far South Texas tested positive for the disease.

"I guess it was a clerical error," Calhoun said early Saturday morning. "I was contacted this morning. They lifted the quarantine. Everything is over. There's no quarantine, no ban."

Calhoun had eight horses in six different races Friday night that were all scratched as a result of the situation. At the time, his initial feeling was that there was a mistake with the test, which was one of the first being done at a Texas lab that announced May 13 it had received USDA approvals to conduct piroplasmosis testing. The Texas lab became the second in the country with USDA approval behind a lab in Iowa, and Calhoun said past tests from his barn had gone through that lab without incident. Calhoun had blood pulled on the horse at Lone Star as routine procedure to ship him to Kentucky.