Updated on 10/05/2015 3:18PM

Parx quarantine to last until Oct. 29


An equine herpesvirus quarantine at Parx Racing will remain in place until Oct. 29, provided no other horses test positive for the disease.

Horses are allowed to ship into Parx to race, according to Sam Elliott, director of racing, but they will not be able to leave the grounds during the quarantine, which is being overseen by the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture.

Parx is currently conducting its inaugural Fall Festival, during which purses have been doubled from approximately $250,000 to $500,000 per day. In response to the quarantine, which will undoubtedly limit the number of horses shipping to Parx to race, the terms of the festival are being altered.

Parx management and the Pennsylvania Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association have agreed beginning Sunday to reduce daily average purses to $300,000. While the Fall Festival was scheduled to conclude Oct. 20, the revised purse structure will remain in place for the remainder of the Parx meet, which concludes Dec. 22.

“Part of the reason to have the festival was to attract top horses from out of state,” Elliott said. “Not only will the quarantine restrict our ability to do that, but since horses shipping in will have to stay here, the backstretch area will soon be full, and we will lose our ability to accommodate them.”

Top of the Stretch, a 2-year-old filly trained by Blane Servis, began showing symptoms of the disease last Thursday, five days after she had raced at Parx, and was sent to the Mid-Atlantic Equine Medical Center in Ringoes, N.J. Last Friday night, test results confirmed that she had the equine herpesvirus.

The equine herpesvirus can cause respiratory and neurological problems in horses and is contagious. On occasion, it can prove fatal.

Top of the Stretch, owned by Tuozzo Racing, made five starts at Presque Isle Downs between May 25 and Aug. 27 for trainer Nick Caruso. Top of the Stretch was sent to Servis about two weeks ago and finished last in a Parx allowance race Sept. 26.

“She went to the track for the first day since her race, and the rider came back and said she didn’t feel right behind,” Servis said. “It progressed pretty quickly, so we sent her to the clinic. She wasn’t that sick, but she was losing her control behind and acting strange.”

Servis is stabled in Barn 29 at Parx. Other trainers in the barn include Marya Montoya and Eli Betancourt. The trainers of the horses stabled in Barn 29 have been told they will not be able to train or race while the quarantine is in effect.

The quarantine puts the Breeders’ Cup plans of Favorite Tale in jeopardy. Trainer Lupe Preciado wants to run Favorite Tale in the Breeders’ Cup Sprint and is trying to make arrangements to do so. As of Monday morning, Favorite Tale remained at Parx. Favorite Tale earned a fees-paid berth in the BC Sprint by winning the Smile Sprint Handicap at Gulfstream Park, a Win and You’re In race.

This is the third time in recent years that Parx has had an equine herpesvisus quarantine. Horses at Parx tested positive for the disease in February 2014 and November 2013, with both incidents leading to quarantines.