11/07/2012 12:11PM

Oaklawn Park: Horses from Hawthorne will not be allowed on grounds due to herpesvirus situation


Oaklawn Park in Hot Springs, Ark., will not allow horses from Hawthorne Race Course to enter its stable area when it opens on Monday due to six cases of equine herpesvirus found in horses at the Chicago-area racetrack. The first case of EHV-1, a contagious infection that can cause both respiratory and neurological diseases, was diagnosed Oct. 14.

Oaklawn does not begin its meet until Jan. 11, and officials are hopeful the ban will be lifted in advance of the season. Until then, Oaklawn will not allow any horse that was on the grounds of Hawthorne in the last 28 days to enter its stable gate.

The policy announced Wednesday comes on the heels of Oaklawn’s decision last week to require all horses entering its grounds to have proof of vaccination for EHV-1 – not more than 60-days old and not less than 14 days old.

Oaklawn has been working on the EHV-1 policies with Arkansas Racing Commission veterinarian Joe Lokanc and association veterinarian Lee Cyphers. A number of horsemen from Hawthorne winter at Oaklawn.

“We hope to lift the ban well before our live race meet, but we have to make the safety of all the horses entering the Oaklawn barn area our top priority,” said David Longinotti, assistant general manager of Oaklawn. “We will continue to monitor the situation closely and will rely on advice from both Dr. Lokanc and Dr. Cyphers.”

Hawthorne’s sixth equine herpesvirus case was detected Oct. 26 and the track has since cut a day of racing from its schedule. Two horses have died, while the four other cases remain quarantined, according to reports in Daily Racing Form .