Updated on 05/18/2016 8:32AM

Parx equine herpes quarantine lifted

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Nikki Sherman
A horse is led from the makeshift quarantine barn built over a basketball court on the Parx backstretch. An equine herpesvirus quarantine had been in place at the track since April 1.

The equine herpesvirus quarantine at Parx Racing was lifted by the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture on Tuesday after all of the horses in a quarantined barn and an ontrack isolation area tested negative for the disease. The quarantine had been in place since April 1.

All of the horses in Barn 30, where trainers Ron Dandy and Michael Aro are stabled, and two horses in the isolation area were tested for the herpesvirus Monday. The tests revealed that none of the horses are infected with the virus, which can cause respiratory and neurological problems. A total of seven horses came down with the virus at Parx and four horses died due to the severity of their illness.

According to Sam Elliott, the director of racing at Parx, effective immediately, horses are allowed to ship in and out of Parx.

With the quarantine over, trainer Ned Allard will be permitted to run Abiding Star in the 141st Preakness on Saturday. Allard and owner Gil Campbell will also be represented by Always Sunshine in the Grade 3 Maryland Sprint on Saturday.

All Preakness runners must be on the Pimlico grounds by noon Thursday. Allard plans to ship both of his horses to Pimlico on Thursday morning.

Pimlico has put in safety protocols this week for horses shipping in from Parx. Allard's horses will be segregated from the general horse population and housed in a temporary two-stall barn being built off to the side of the track's backstretch. Abiding Star and Always Sunshine will train at 5 a.m. both Friday and Saturday, before the track opens to other horses.

Other Parx-based horses racing at Pimlico on Friday and Saturday must ship in and out on the day of their race.

The Pimlico racing office accepted entries from Parx-based horses last Sunday for Friday's Black-Eyed Susan card. If the quarantine had not been lifted, those horses would have been scratched.

The Parx horses racing at Pimlico Friday include Disco Chick, who will race in the $100,000 Skipat Stakes for trainer Mario Serey Jr., and Joint Return, who trainer John Servis will start in the Grade 3 Allaire duPont Distaff.

Other Parx horses entered Friday at Pimlico are Wolfie, who trainer Greg Sacco has in an allowance race, and Lady Forest, trained by Kate DeMasi, and Previous Honor, trained by Roy Houghton, who both are in a second-level optional-claiming race.

The Monmouth Park meet, which opened last weekend, will benefit from the Parx quarantine coming to an end. Last week, Mike Anifantis, the director of racing at Monmouth, said there were approximately 100 to 150 horses stabled at Parx that he had granted stalls to at Monmouth.

Although racing never ceased at Parx during the quarantine, filling races had become increasingly difficult.

"Now that the quarantine is over, I expect our entries to improve," Elliott said. "We'll have some horses shipping in, which will help our program."