04/21/2016 2:16PM

Parx makes plans to implement safeguards against equine herpesvirus


On Thursday at Parx Racing, an isolation area was being constructed to house any horses diagnosed with the equine herpesvirus. Also, after the current quarantine ends, new health requirements will be put into effect for horses at Parx, according to Sam Elliott, the track's director of racing.

Six horses at Parx have been diagnosed with the herpesvirus since April 1. Parx also was quarantined for much of last October after a horse shipped to the track and then became ill with the virus.

"When the quarantine is over we are going to put into place a program similar to what Monmouth Park and Maryland have started," Elliott said.

Elliott said horses shipping to Parx will have to be vaccinated for the equine herpesvirus at least seven days but not more than 90 days before entering the backstretch. Horses stabled at Parx will have to be vaccinated every four months.

"Hopefully, these new requirements will stop this from happening again," Elliott said. "The vaccinations aren't foolproof, but they should help cut back on the number of outbreaks and on the duration of any outbreaks that do occur."

A tent that will serve as an isolation area was being put up Thursday, according to Elliott. Temporary stalls will then be constructed.

Barns 4 and 30 are currently under quarantine at Parx. The horses stabled in those barns have not been allowed to train or race since April 1. Horses are currently not allowed to enter or leave Parx. Racing has continued uninterrupted.

The sick horses have all been stabled in Barn 30 with trainers Michael Aro and Ron Dandy. Barn 4 is quarantined because trainer Butch Reid claimed a horse from Dandy on March 29, the day before the first horse in Barn 30 became ill with the virus. The claimed horse, Sunshine Wild, later tested positive for the virus and has been moved to an off-site isolation area.

On Tuesday, a horse of Dandy's became the sixth horse to test positive for the virus.

Early next week, all of the horses in Barn 30 will be tested for the equine herpesvirus. After the results come back, any sick horses will be moved to the isolation tent. When that is completed, a 21-day quarantine will begin. All of the horses in Barn 30 will be retested during that period. If any horse tests positive, the quarantine clock will be reset.

Horses stabled in Barn 4 also are scheduled to be tested for the virus next week. If none of them test positive, the quarantine on that barn will be lifted.