03/02/2007 1:00AM

Maryland takes herpes action


The Maryland Jockey Club has issued a ban on any horses stabled in Virginia from shipping to its two tracks, Laurel Park and Pimlico Race Course, and to Bowie training center because of an outbreak of equine herpesvirus at two locations in Virginia.

According to Georganne Hale, the MJC's racing secretary, the ban was issued on Thursday and would remain in place "until the situation is under control down there." Similar bans on horses shipping to tracks from Virginia have been issued along the East Coast after horses began testing positive for equine herpesvirus, which is highly contagious, at a clinic in Virginia last month.

Earlier this week, a horse based at Lynfield Farm in northern Virginia also tested positive for equine herpesvirus. The disease attacks a horse's upper respiratory and neurological systems.

The MJC is currently holding a winter meet at Laurel Park.