01/16/2009 12:00AM

New Fair Grounds test 'inconclusive'


A horse at Fair Grounds in New Orleans who initially tested positive for the non-neurological strain of equine herpesvirus did not test positive for the disease in a blood test that was returned to state veterinary officials on Tuesday, according to the equine medical director of the Louisiana State Racing Commission.

The blood test, which was conducted on a horse trained by Frank Leggio, returned an "inconclusive result," according to the medical director, Dr. Tom David. As a result, the horse is not considered to be positive for the disease, which, in its most potent form, can lead to neurological problems and death.

The Fair Grounds barn housing horses trained by Dallas Stewart and Neil Howard remains under quarantine because of the initial positive test and the diagnosis of equine herpesvirus in a horse shipped out of Fair Grounds by Stewart in late December.

Blood was pulled Tuesday from all 65 horses in the barn trained by Stewart and Howard. If those horses are not positive or the results are inconclusive again, then the quarantine on the two barns will be lifted, David said. The test results are expected back by Thursday at the earliest, according to David.

Correction: An earlier version of this article misstated a quarantined barn as well as the number and location of other horses whose test results are pending. A quarantine was limited to Barn 4, and did not include Barn 2, where trainer Frank Leggio has horses. Horses with pending test results numbered 65 "not five trained by Dallas Stewart and already off the grounds" and were stabled in Barn 4, occupied by trainees of Stewart and Neil Howard.