01/05/2009 1:00AM

Oaklawn to lift Fair Grounds ban


Oaklawn Park in Hot Springs, Ark., on Friday will lift its ban on shippers from Fair Grounds, Delta Downs, and Evangeline Downs that was established last month in response to a Fair Grounds-based horse testing positive for equine herpesvirus on Dec. 24.

There will, however, be special conditions in place for horses shipping into the stable area from south Louisiana, said David Longinotti, assistant general manager for racing at Oaklawn.

Longinotti said horses from that region will need proof of a veterinary inspection within 48 hours of shipping in, as well as proof of vaccination for the equine herpesvirus during a period of 14 to 90 days before their arrival at Oaklawn. The policy was set on Monday on the recommendation of Lee Cyphers, association veterinarian at Oaklawn. Longinotti said Cyphers has been in contact with Tom David, state veterinarian in Louisiana.

Following the initial positive last month at Fair Grounds, five more horses tested positive for the virus. All have been removed from the stable area, while their barn was placed under quarantine. Fair Grounds has since lifted its ban on shippers. As for other tracks in the region, Texas recently banned all Fair Grounds shippers at its tracks and licensed training facilities, while there are no restrictions in place in New Mexico.