01/21/2006 1:00AM

Penn National horse has herpes; Pimlico quarantined

Email

As Maryland officials put a quarantine on Pimlico Race Course on Saturday due to the presence of the equine herpesvirus, a horse based at Penn National who raced in Maryland earlier this month was confirmed by her trainer to have the disease, prompting more shipping bans between racing jurisdictions in the Northeast.

West End Lady, a mare trained by Penn National-based Todd Beattie, was confirmed to have the equine herpesvirus. She raced at Laurel Park on Jan. 2. Beattie, who has two barns at Penn National, including one that he owns privately, has put both of his barns under quarantine.

Meanwhile, officials at the New York Racing Association and Philadelphia Park announced Saturday that they will not allow horses stabled at Penn National to run at their tracks. That comes one day after NYRA and Philadelphia Park decided to ban all shippers from Maryland.

Horses stabled in Maryland since Jan. 1 have also been barred from shipping into Gulfstream Park or the Palm Meadows training center in Boynton Beach, Fla.

Charles Town has also placed a ban on shippers from Pennsylvania and Maryland.

In addition to banning shippers from Penn National, NYRA will require horses shipping in from Philadelphia Park to have a 48-hour health certificate instead of the usual five-day certificate. Also, NYRA has dedicated certain stalls in the Aqueduct security barn for Philly Park shippers.

Officials from the Maryland Jockey Club announced Saturday that they will not allow horses to ship into or out of Pimlico for the immediate future. About 500 horses are stabled at Pimlico; of those, 110 are in barns that have training restrictions placed on them.

"This is a precautionary measure," Lou Raffetto, chief operating officer for the Maryland Jockey Club, said of the quarantine. "It's in our best interest to restrict the movement in and out of Pimlico until we see the outcome of the tests and on the horse in Barn A," where a horse has shown signs of the virus.

If, in two weeks, there are still issues with the equine herpesvirus, Maryland officials said they would consider moving the dates of the Barbara Fritchie and General George handicaps. The Barbara Fritchie is scheduled for Feb. 18 and the General George for Feb. 20.

"I think it would be foolhardy to run those races with the restrictions being put on horses from other jurisdictions," Raffetto said. "It wouldn't help those races or the program."

Two horses in Maryland have been confirmed as having contracted the equine herpesvirus, and nine have shown signs of the disease. The two horses that tested positive for the virus were euthanized. Eight horses from barns 5 and 6 at Pimlico are in isolation in the detention barn. A ninth horse, stabled in Barn A, showed signs of the virus on Thursday. Tests on that horse are not due back for another week.