12/26/2005 12:00AM

Positive herpes tests at Turfway


Approximately 10 of 44 horses in a quarantined barn at Turfway Park have shown evidence of the contagious equine herpes virus in blood and nasal swab tests, a Kentucky Department of Agriculture official said Monday.

Kentucky state veterinarian Dr. Robert Stout said none of those with positive tests had displayed clinical symptoms, which include respiratory and neurological ailments. There have been no reports of the virus spreading beyond the quarantined stable, he added.

A Turfway Park-based 3-year-old filly named Coupe Aux Marrons was put down Friday at Hagyard Davidson McGee Clinic in Lexington, Ky., after suffering from complications of the disease. That filly had resided in Barn 26, the barn that has been quarantined.

Chuck Simon is the trainer of Coupe Aux Marrons. The other trainers with horses in the quarantined barn are Tom Upton, Joanie Cook, Jeff Greenhill, David Pate, and Sonja Herman, track officials said.

Kentucky agriculture department officials have not established a protocol for when the quarantined horses can return to the general horse population, but the quarantine procedures are expected to be similar to those in place when equine herpes was discovered at Churchill Downs in May. There, quarantined horses underwent weekly tests and were banned from racing for three weeks to a month. They were allowed to train separately from the general horse population about a week after the initial cases of equine herpes were discovered.

Track officials on Monday said they were taking added precautions and requiring all horses shipping to or from Turfway Park to show a health certificate issued within 24 hours of arriving or leaving the track.

Effective Jan. 11, all horses shipping to Turfway Park will be required to demonstrate inoculation against equine herpes no sooner than Jan. 4, 2006, and no later than 90 days prior to their date of arrival. - Byron King